From soccer games, birthdays and graduations to talent shows, holidays and vacations — families today are more active than ever. And everyone seems to be having a great time capturing their memories on mobile devices and digital cameras but despite having high-tech tools at their fingertips, people are still often at a loss as to how to make their videos and photos better.
Robert Vince, writer-director-producer of Disney’s Buddies movies, offers seven tips to help make the most of these “shoots,” no matter how sophisticated (or not!) the family camera:
- Watch your lighting. Natural light is best, but if you’re indoors, it helps to turn on several lamps so the area is well lit. It’s also important to be mindful of any light behind your subject. If the camera doesn’t adjust, this could obscure faces and turn your subjects into moving shadows.
- Prepare in advance. Professional photographers always create a list of shots they know their client will want. You can do the same by thinking ahead rather than trying to capture everything on the fly. For example, if you’re filming a birthday party, you can guess there will be a moment when the guest of honor blows out the candles. Plan ahead and scout the best place to stand before the cake comes out, candles blazing. The best shot would then run from beginning to the end of that off-key “Happy Birthday.” Likewise, decide before the event what else you’d like to capture: greeting guests as they arrive, opening presents, any special decorations, testimonials, etc.. Once the party is over, you’ll have a nice sequence of highlights from the event.
- Steady as you go. Nothing makes a home video look more polished than the clean control of a tripod. No matter how steady-handed you may be, there are inevitably shakes and lack of focus that accompany a handheld shot. Sometimes a monopod serves the same purpose and is more portable. Other tricks for steadiness include leaning on a wall, placing your camera on the ground (along with yourself) and drawing your arms close to your body. And finally – something few people know – in a pinch, a conveniently placed lamp can serve as a tripod as the thread on its harp is the same as a tripod’s!
- Avoid LP mode. LP stands for long play and although it allows you to record longer, it takes away from the quality of the video. Less is more, after all, and when you look back you are going to want the clearest picture possible.
- Point of view. Look for any unusual angles to shoot from – high, low, off-kilter. When photographing children or animals, get down to their level.
- Maximize storage. Capturing the image can be the easiest part but once the images are uploaded, they can get lost or forgotten. Yellowing photo albums are now a thing of the past, jump drives are easily lost and some hard drives get too crowded too fast. Many savvy parents have discovered that recordable Blu-ray discs will solve the problem. Blu-ray allows the most storage space (and thus the highest quality) for those special moments families will want to cherish for generations to come. Transferring your older videos and still photos is easier than ever today, and now everything can be conveniently accessible (and safer) anytime you want to revisit a happy occasion. Simply pop the disc into any Blu-ray player or computer with a Blu-ray drive and watch the memories unfold.
- Make quality time! The best home videos capture quality time that family members spend with one another. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as the time is well spent, so make a point to tune out outside distractions (phones, texts, TV) and set aside time to bond. You can do anything: a family hike through a local park, a trip to get ice cream cones, or even a miniature golf tournament. More important than any technical tips is the essence of your adventures.
Courtesy of the Blu-Ray Disc Association
Owner of An Island Life. A flight attendant and mother to 3 beautiful girls. . . living a blessed life in Hawaii.