|Boring home video of Cousin Dan’s trip to the Grand Canyon….tedious shots of Susie’s first piano recital….shaky footage of a poorly lit 1970s Christmas….We’ve all suffered through terrible home movies.
To help families avoid common pitfalls and take better home movies, iMemories has prepared its list of “12 Tips for Home Movie Success”:
1. Invest in a good digital video camera and use digital tape. The new camcorders on the market are excellent and extremely affordable, often starting at $200. Buy a high definition video camera for the best quality, but be sure to use digital tape, not the hard drive. The reason is that if you’re taking video on vacation, your hard drive will fill up and you won’t have an easy way to offload the video.
2. Avoid zoom controls at all costs. Zooming in and out while shooting is extremely distracting to viewers. If you must zoom – first put the camcorder on pause, zoom in, turn the camcorder on, and turn it off again when you switch to another scene.
3. Panning should be done in sloooow motion. New vid
eographers are tempted to pan because they now have a 360-degree view of the room, rather than a limited still picture format. But they tend to pan much too quickly. If you must pan – go at a pace 10x slower than you think normal.
4. Eliminate ‘shaky camera syndrome’ – treat your body like a tripod, and use two hands to keep the camcorder steady. Otherwise, your home movies will look as if you shot them during an earthquake.
5. Pay attention to lighting. Camcorders have a notoriously difficult time in poor lighting, so if you’re taking a shot of the kids opening their Christmas presents in the early morning, turn on more lights. A common error is to shoot the Christmas tree against the living room window, without realizing until it’s too late that the incoming light puts all subjects in silhouette.
6. Keep track of the audio track.
You’ll have good audio if you’re never more than 2-3 feet away from your subject. Help yourself out – don’t talk while you’re shooting, as your voice will be much too loud for the microphone on the video camera, and get in closer to Grandma Mildred so you capture her voice perfectly.
7. Create a story. Set up what’s called an “establishing shot” before you launch into the main activity. Show the family members arriving and coming up the walkway for a special occasion. Shoot your main footage, then end with a powerful “coda,” such as the guests leaving or the kids sleeping peacefully in their beds after a long day.
8. Catch people in action. The beauty of video is that it adds two things that still pictures cannot: motion and sound. The best home videos show family members engaged in self-absorbing activity. Save the artificial posing for the still camera.
9. Realize there can be too much of a good thing. Don’t focus on any one activity or subject for more than 10 minutes. All you need of the kids opening presents is 30-60 seconds at most – viewing that simple short clip later will resurrect in your mind the entire morning. Capture the essence of the experience by filming in short bursts, rather than the fixed, unedited C-SPAN tripod approach.
10. Remember the rule of “thirds.” In Hollywood, cinematographers speak of “thirds,” their method of dividing a screen into three vertical columns. Rather than putting your subject dead center in your viewing screen every shot, mix it up. Have the subject in one of the left or right thirds. This adds character and variety to your shots.
11. Watch your home movies right away. People often shoot video for several years without ever viewing it, thus replicating the same mistakes. If you watch your footage immediately, you can catch and correct your bad habits.
12. Don’t forget to share what you’ve shot. With the power of digital media in the form of DVDs and online video, now everyone can enjoy the footage, whether it’s Uncle Bob in Boston or Aunt Cathy in California. So make it memorable.
“While consumers have mastered the art of digital still photography, motion pictures and sound still represent a new concept to many,” syas Mark Rukavina, founder & CEO of iMemories. “With just a few changes, however, novice videographers can create a mini production that everyone will enjoy. And with the power of DVD and online video sharing, it’s no longer relegated to viewing just on the family TV. Family members and friends anywhere can view it. With that level of exposure, now there’s even more pressure to make it interesting!”
iMemories is a leader in the dynamic Web 2.0-generation of Internet services. The company transforms old-media memories into crystal-clear digital files that consumers can enjoy and share—whenever and wherever they like.
In iMemories’ 8,500-square foot fiber-optic studio, production professionals use state-of-the-art technology and techniques to convert old home-movie films, videotapes, photographs and slides into organized archives and full-length digital productions. Memories that were deteriorating in the dark are preserved forever on optical disc—and easy to edit, organize, store and share worldwide through iMemories’ private, secure user experience.
In a market crowded with audiovisual houses and small firms offering basic video-transfer services, iMemories’ technology and expertise enable it to deliver a premium product efficiently and affordably. Founded and led by new-media entrepreneur Mark Rukavina, iMemories is privately held and based in Scottsdale, Ariz. To learn more, visit imemories.com or call 480-767-2510.
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