There is nothing quite like a holiday video to share the joy with friends and family.
It’s the perfect time to pull out phones and video cameras to document the joys in life and capture the season.It’s also a great way to show why we love what we do. Here is our list of holiday video hacks for all of you who are going to try your hand at video production:
- Orientation. If you are using your phone, hold it sideways or horizontal to capture the moment in widescreen. It will look much better when you play it back on your computer or television.
- Moments. Don’t try to capture everything. It’s not necessary. Focus on getting moments that capture the essence of the event instead of a full accounting of every move. The quality of the moment matters more than the quantity of footage you shoot.
- Distractions. Compose your shot. Make sure you have the best view and that there aren’t a lot of distractions in the background. There’s nothing worse than having an adorable foreground shot and your weird uncle in the background doing something no one wants to see. Pay attention to what is in view of the lens before you shoot.
- Framing. Fill your frame with the main subject. Don’t be afraid to put them a bit off centered to create more interest. But make sure they are the main focus.
- Zoom. Use this feature this carefully. A tiny bit of zoom is more than enough. When in doubt, leave it out. If you do want to zoom in on something, take it slow. You don’t want to make anyone dizzy. Also opt for the optical zoom, not digital. It looks better, even though it doesn’t get you as close to the subject.
- Wide Shots. These are also best used sparingly. People want to see what’s happening, not where. A wide shot is an establishing shot that sets place. Use it at the beginning and then focus on what matters. It’s best to be more specific in the main part of the video.
- Vantage Points. Don’t just lock your location and call it a day. Move around. Show what’s happening from different vantage points. This helps keep your audience engaged and heightens the drama.
- Backlighting. Avoid it. Backlighting creates shadows and makes it harder to see people’s faces. It also creates a halo effect that is great if you want your audience to think the person is an angel, but not so great if you want them to see expressions and details.
- Lighting in General. This is one of the toughest parts of any video. Lighting can make or break a video. Go for soft lighting from the sides or natural lighting. Watch filming near windows because they can “blow out” the shot, or fill the screen with too much light and adversely affect the video image.
- Sound. If at all possible, avoid using the in-camera microphone. It will not give you clear audio.
- Editing. If you get too much of something or capture a moment that should not have been captured, edit. Create clips of the best bits and string them together to create a final video.
- Finishing Touches. Be careful with the special effects and treatments. A little goes a long way. Sure, you are going to want to add transitions to soften the cuts you’ve made, but they should be seamless, not star wipes and crazy…unless you are going for a humorous touch.
- Steady. Consider using a tripod for the cleanest shot. Handheld often has an amateur look. Think Blair Witch Project. It’s not great for holiday videos, except at Halloween.
- Be Prepared. The last thing you want is to run out of space on the big day. Be sure to have a charged phone or camera and have plenty of memory cards on hand.
- Battery Backup. It’s not a bad idea to be able to boost your battery if you start to run low.
- Back it Up. At the end of the day, be sure to back up your work to secure it.