12 simple hacks for shooting great home videos

Turn your home video into a hit movie with relatives just by following these easy-peasy tweaks! No additional equipment necessary!

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Time really flies when you’re having fun, and especially when you’re bonding with your child – they grow up so fast! Having a camera at the ready allows you to capture priceless moments that would have otherwise be nothing more than a memory. It’s also a tangible heart-felt memento from you to your little fellas that’ll live on in the years to come.

Now that every smartphone on the market comes with a built-in camera and video recording capabilities, you can snap photos and shoot captivating videos at the same time. Chances are you already have all the equipment — like a phone or tablet — you need to take or create videos. Follow these top tips for taking better videos of your brood…

1. Always use the back-facing camera The front-facing cameras on your phones and tablets are of a lower resolution so while it is great for selfies and video-chats, it isn’t great for capturing high quality visuals. The camera on the back of your phone usually has a higher resolution and better technical specifications, which will help you capture better quality visuals with greater clarity.

2. Watch your battery level! Capturing videos saps your phone’s batteries faster than playing a round of Candy Crush so be sure to pack along a portable power-bank to ensure you don’t run out of battery juice before you’re done filming.

3. Hold your camera in a horizontal position when capturing video Don’t bore your viewers by just capturing your subject — the person or thing being filmed up-close. Holding your phone in a horizontal (or landscape) setting gives viewers a wider view of your child in the midst of his surroundings. Videos captured horizontally will also fill the screen when it is being transferred and viewed on a computer. Vertical videos are best suited to being viewed on your phones. Also refrain from switching between filming in a horizontal and vertical position while filming as that can lead to motion sickness.

Follow this basic rule: Just ensure the source of lighting is positioned in front of your subject and camera rather than behind it.

4. Watch the lighting Unlike editing photos, correcting the brightness (or the exposure) and the intensity of colours (or saturation) of a video after you’ve filmed it, can damage its quality. Professional film-makers use a far more advanced and tedious technique of colour correction to emphasise or dial back specific colours of their visuals. So, follow this basic rule: Just ensure the source of lighting is positioned in front of your subject and camera rather than behind it. Look out for your shadow as well, you don’t want it to be making a cameo in your video, or overshadow your subject.

5. Avoid zooming in This is an important rule to follow especially if you’re recording your video on a smartphone, which likely uses a digital zoom function instead of an optical zoom. The camera enlarges the appearance of the person or thing in the centre of the frame — causing it to become blurry, sometimes pixelated — and cuts out anything that’s sitting on the outer edges in a digital zoom. An optical zoom, on the other hand, often requires the use of additional lenses attached to your camera to create a better quality image.

6. Frame your subject right Fill your camera frame with your subject by ensuring they are situated within the centre of your shot. Having said that, you shouldn’t shy away from capturing your subject slightly off-centre in your video, either. For instance if your child is jumping into the pool, you can place them slightly on the left or right of the centre of the frame, it’ll minimise the movement of your camera when they jump into the pool.

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7. Don’t just focus on their faces When it comes to filming your loved ones, you should experiment with capturing different parts of their body as compared to just their faces. It can be the wrinkling of their skin around the eyes as they smile or the rubbing of their palms together in anticipation.

8. Get down and film from your child’s point of view The world certainly looks bigger and more intimidating when it’s viewed from your mini-explorer’s height. Filming the sights from your kiddo’s height also changes your viewers’ perspective on a certain scene or event.

9. Move about and record from different vantage points Say you are recording your child’s dance performance up on stage, instead of filming from your seat, you can think about moving to the sides to get a clearer shot of them. Moving further back in the theatre gives you the added height to keep the hands or cameras of your fellow audience members out of your shot.

Moving further back in the theatre gives you the added height to keep the hands or cameras of your fellow audience members out of your shot.

10. Record footage of different places If you’re making a video of your brood while you are on holiday, think about other shots you can take that will add colour and context or a timeline to your home video. Shooting a time-lapse of a picturesque sunrise or sunset can ease viewers into a change in time or mood in a video. Capturing shots of people milling around or rush hour traffic in a city-centre can also increase the pace of your videos as well.

11. Don’t forget the audio Unless you are producing a silent film, you can make use of audio recordings to breathe life into your videos. Unfortunately, most built-in mics on smartphones aren’t the best at capturing quality audio, so you may want to invest in an external recorder to help capture the sounds. Another option is to pair your clips with a suitable song or adding subtitles when you are editing the video on your laptop.

12. Use readymade templates to glam up your film With the wide variety of video editing applications available on the app store, you no longer have to transfer your footage to a computer to edit them into a full-length video. Many of these apps also come with pre-set filters to enhance the look and theme of your home video. And not to mention transition effects to move from one clip to the next. Sharing your video with the rest of the world is made easy with the built-in sharing function in these video editing apps.

Photos: iStock

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