I have been shooting and editing such videos since last three years. Over this period there are few lessons that I have learnt, all from experience. I guess it is a nice idea to share some of the learnings so that it helps those who want to know how to make a family vacation video interesting for viewers other than the family itself. 🙂
Tips for shooting
Take still and steady shots: When you are new to shooting videos, you often tend to zoom in at objects, then zoom out, then move the camera from object A to object B. In other words, you switch on the camera, press on record, start seeing through the view finder and then keep moving from here to there, depending on whatever interesting thing you find through the view-finder. Everyone who is new, does this. Don’t do it! The way to go is, first deciding what you want to shoot, and then shooting exactly that (just like you take photographs) for 2-5 seconds. Even if you need to zoom in to some object, or you need to pan the camera from here to there, do that only after having mentally decided the shot in advance.
Make people speak: Most often when we are shooting on any occasion, we keep on shooting generally. There is no story, no flow. No one can ever have the patience to watch a video full of shots of many objects until and unless some really cool action is taking place. That’s one thing that makes such family vacation videos really dull and boring. But the fact is, there is no story! So, you should try to catch hold of people who are good in saying funny one liners or who are good at making interesting remarks on the ongoing event. Such clippings can then be used during the editing process to turn an otherwise boring series of shots into an enjoyable vacation video. There are couple of tips on interviewing as well.
- If you are shooting the video and asking questions yourself, then please don’t ask specific questions like: ‘do you think it will rain today?’ Instead of that, ask general questions like: ‘describe the climate today’. The reason I say this is that when you edit, it looks odd to retain the voice of the cameraman. Now if you ask specific question, the answer won’t make sense till you also keep the voice of the cameraman. But for general question, the answer of the guy you are shooting is enough to make sense even when you cut the part where you ask question.
- Make sure the person speaks loudly and clearly, especially if there is not external microphone. Try to be as close to the person as possible without making him look like a monkey. Ideally, the person should take up half of screen, leaving half the space for surrounding background.
Make sure you shoot from an angle such that the object is lighted adequately. Sometimes, it’s not possible but whenever it is, make sure light is falling on the object and not on the camera.
I shall jot down tips for editing in part II. Thanks. All the best for making your own videos.