Wednesday 27 November 2013

Eight Ways to Capture Your Best Holiday Memories on Video

Let’s face it: most holiday home movies are dreadful no matter how hard we try to make them entertaining. Usually the scenes are too dark, the audio is inaudible and shots of endless holiday decorations, table settings, presents and stockings without explanation or proper context are…well…boring. Your home videos should focus more on actual moments – the look on your son’s face when he meets Santa for the first time, your daughter making snow angels and your cousins drinking and laughing by the fire. Below are eight tips that will help you create holiday videos that are entertaining, poignant and fun – memories that loves ones will want to watch and share for a lifetime.
Tip One: Focus on People, Not Scenes
  • Most people make the mistake of filming several minutes of specific scenes: the perfectly set holiday table, the flickering fire, the blinking lights on the Christmas tree. Truth is, too much scenery is boring and generic – it lacks the personal connection and pizzazz of real moments. The rule of thumb is only keep 3-5 seconds of scenery in your videos juxtaposed with real moments that are either meaningful or hilarious. Go ahead: capture your grandmother singing “Santa Baby” after a few too many eggnogs. Film the dog struggling to take the faux reindeer antlers off his head or your brother proposing to his girlfriend by the tree. These moments matter way more than scenery.
Tip Two: Turn off the Zoom
  • To get better sound and video quality, turn off the zoom. If you shoot zoom across the room, you will end up with an unprofessional looking video. So walk over and get your close-up instead.
Tip Three: Engage Your Subjects
  • Get your subjects to open up and share their thoughts and comments – nothing is more entertaining than friends and family sharing spontaneously. When filming, ask them open-ended questions that encourage deeper responses such as “Dad, what was your favorite Hanukah gift of all time?” or “Aunt Bea, where did you get the Christmas wreath?” 
Tip Four: Play with Different Angles
  • To get a varied, beautifully shot video, play with different camera angles – rather than just holding the camera at chest height all the time. For example, if you are filming a holiday dinner, hold the camera high over your head so that you can capture the table full of guests. When opening presents with the kids, film while sitting on the floor with them so you can capture their facial expressions and moments of joy.
Tip Five: Capture the Quirky, Not-so-Perfect Moments
  • Be on the lookout for the not-so-perfect moments – the dishes piled up in the sink after a hearty meal, the dog sniffing the tinsel on the tree, a crying toddler on Santa’s lap. People die of boredom while watching the perfect pristine scenes in most holiday videos. The best family moments and “remember when” memories usually start with quirky or awkward-at-the-time experiences that will have everyone laughing – in a good way of course!
Tip Six: Time for Close-Ups
  • Your family and friends have unique personalities which typically show in their faces – expressive eyes, crinkled foreheads and loopy grins capture the right moment at the right time. So don’t forget to get close-ups of people’s faces in your video when they are reacting to something. This may be the only time you can capture the priceless look on your daughter’s face when she gets her first Barbie Dream House. 
Tip Seven: Don’t Forget to Edit
  • Most likely you will end up taking way too much footage and a good chunk of it will be useless. That is why you need to edit your videos before showing them. This will give you a chance to really make the memories come alive by cutting out footage that is out-of-context or too boring to engage your audience.
Tip Eight: Video Editing Software is Your Friend
  • You don’t have to be a professional videographer or a technical wizard to edit videos. Nowadays, video editing software is made for regular people who want to take and share professional quality videos. Look for PowerDirector at This software is easy-to-use, affordable and turns dull home movies into memory masterpieces with just a few quick minutes of editing. 
Don’t have PowerDirector yet? Download a FREE 30-day trial here.
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