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Filming Tips for Better Home Movies

Updated on August 19, 2014

Want Better Home Movies? You May Need Some Filming Tips.

The camcorder of today allows even casual users to create great home movies. They are much more convenient to use as their size and weight has shrunk considerably over the years. The short life span of tape is no longer a factor with digital video camcorders which use memory cards and hard drives to store images. These newer camcorders even make editing easy so that viewers can enjoy just the highlights and finished version of your creations.

Digital cameras can capture video too but certainly don't allow long stretches of recording nor the quality or degree of editing capabilities of a dedicated camcorder.

To get better home movies however, you need more than just a nice camcorder. You need a bit of knowledge about how to use it and this page will provide the fliming tips you need to get you started.

Filming Tips: Steadiness

Some of the filming tips for capturing great video are similar to those for capturing great still pictures. Camera movement while shooting creates blurry stills and it makes video difficult to watch.

There are a few very simple things that can make a tremendous difference in the steadiness of your home movies.

The first camcorder tip is to choose and use a camcorder with image stabilization. This helps to avoid or reduce small, unintentional movements. This feature is especially important when using the zoom feature because small movements are especially exaggerated with zoom. Another important tip whether you have optical stabilization or not is to avoid moving while filming. Walking while filming is generally a sure recipe for footage that is basically useless. It is better to turn the camcorder off and then restart filming after you have moved or zoomed rather than filming during the process. The final suggestion on our list of filming tips to assure steadiness is to use a tripod when possible. Because camcorders are so light weight and images are being captured for long periods of time, inadvertent movements are unavoidable. A tripod provides the steadiest shot and even allows panning with reasonably good results.

Filming Tips: Staying Close

Again, some of the basic photography rules apply to filming with a camcorder. One of the most basic of these shared photography and filming tips is that it's generally best to stay close to your subject. Staying close allows you to see detail and it reduces any distractions caused by a busy surrounding scene.

Staying close to your subject also allows you to pick up sound. If you want to hear the words of a child, or the song of a bird, you will get better volume and fewer interferring noises by staying close.

Filming Tips: Lighting

Other filming tips to improve your home movies involve proper lighting. When filming outdoors the sun generally provides enough lighting. If it's behind your subject however, it can darken them excessively. In addition, the sun can create a blinding glare if the person filming is facing it. Often the best lighting is obtained by keeping the sun to the right or left of the person filming. Filming at mid-day is often inadvisable due to the harshness of the light.

When indoors, artificial light is generally needed. One camcorder tip you can use while filming indoors is to experiment with bouncing light off of the wall onto your subject or diffusing the light by placing tissue paper over it to reduce the harshness.

Filming Tips: Good Audio

Some of our filming tips don't even involve the video. In some home movie scenes the video is acceptable but the sound is poor. For better home movies, consider the audio!

For the most watchable home movie, avoid talking while filming. Allow the movie to focus on the sounds or talking of your subject(s). Another common mistake is for the person filming to create a great deal of extraneous noise by either moving around or adjusting the camcorder controls. A steady camcorder, is a quiet camcorder; thus, tripods are great for better audio as well as video. Try to eliminate any intruding, unwanted noise for better home movies. Turn off the television, the washing machine, and so forth. Film close to your subject and avoid noisy areas unless you specifically want to capture a given activity such as a playground, the beach, a busy street, and so forth.

Consider the purchase of an external microphone to pick up sound in front of the camcorder. A shotgun or cardioid microphone can be very useful.

Filming Tips: Editing

Our final suggestion on our list of filming tips is about the need to eliminate some things. When great film makers release a film, you only see portions of it; some parts were eliminated as unacceptable and others to avoid unnecessary length. If you want better home movies that are enjoyable, take advantage of the film editing features.

Failing to edit your home movie is leaving the job undone.

There are many products on the market that give home movie makers even greater control over their finished product if you want to become creative.

Video Editing Tips Using Windows Movie Maker

Photo Credits:

Introduction: airgap.

Home Movie Tip- Steadiness: SarahCartwright.

Home Movie Tip- Staying Close: brymo.

Home Movie Tip- Lighting: gr3ndata.

Home Movie Tip- Good Audio: cursedthing.

Home Movie Tip- Editing: mobilechina2007.

Filming Tips for Better Home Movies: Was This Page Helpful? Let Us Know!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Best reviews thanks for information and i have new camera reviews about panasonic lumix gh2

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 7 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      My biggest problem is steadiness. It's like I suddenly develop parkinson's when I get a camera in my hand. Seriously, it's that bad. I will have to try and use a tripod more.

    • Andy-Po profile image

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Very useful. I know very little about making home movies. I must give it a try.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      I really want to learn how to do some quality short films that are worthy of being uploaded to YouTube -- only recently I tried my FIRST stab at it with my FinePix V10 camera. A long ways to go!

    • only1bub profile image

      Debbie Hawkins 9 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Have you seen the new Flip Video? I just got one and love it so much I made a page about it! I think your page would be a good addition to it - lensrolling! Thanks. :)

    • FootballCrazy LM profile image

      FootballCrazy LM 9 years ago

      You've provided some great tips here! A very interesting and incredibly useful lens! I'm thinking of buying a camcorder soon, so if I do so then I'll most definitely be coming back here to refresh my memory of the tips you've provided.

    • profile image

      harryfielder 9 years ago

      I needed plenty of tips for 32


    • CA1E8 profile image

      CA1E8 9 years ago

      Good tips Thanks

    • Wordilydoc profile image

      Wordilydoc 9 years ago

      Pretty interesting, great tips!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 9 years ago

      Well done... lots of great tips and resources!

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 9 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      DH always jokes that I must suffer from pre-parkinsonism because of my terrible camera shake. It definitely gives us lots of laughs. Thanks for the great tips.

    • profile image

      LeslieBrenner 9 years ago

      Well done, lots of good tips here. 5 stars.

    • rebeccahiatt profile image

      rebeccahiatt 9 years ago

      This might improve my home movies. Thanks