improve home videosThe holidays are upon us, and it’s a time a lot of people are taking a lot of video to preserve special memories, and to share with friends and family via Facebook or YouTube.

While spontaneous videos are often the most interesting and the most memorable, for some people, sitting down and actually figuring out how to get the most out of an expensive video camera, and ultimately creating a higher-quality videos can be fun (and can even turn into a hobby).

So, if you have some time over the holidays, here are 3 ways to improve your home videos.

1. Invest in a better microphone
The built-in microphones that come with most videocameras are pretty good, and can effectively capture who’s saying what at the beach or in the living room unwrapping presents under the Christmas tree. However, the onboard mic is often located too far away from whoever you’re filming, so sound quality suffers, and a lot of unwanted background noise gets captured too.

Wireless clip-on mics are a great way to introduce quality into your videos, and can usually be purchased for well under one hundred dollars.

2. Use a tripod
Once again, although almost all video cameras these days have great image-stabilizationg features, nothing says “home movie” (and motion sickness!) more than jerky images. An inexpensive tripod is an obvious solution to provide stable and consistent shots.

Using a tripod can also help you plan out different shots of your subject from different angles, giving you more material to throw into muvee to create a compelling video.

3. Be mindful of lighting
If nothing else, making sure you have adequate lighting is the single-greatest tip that will help you take better videos. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and invest in a lighting rig (this can get complicated and expensive real quick). Rather, take advantage of lighting conditions to make your subject look good.

For example, shoot near a window. At this time of year, in the Northern Hemisphere at least, if it isn’t cloudy, the best light will often come from south-facing windows between 10 in the morning and 1 in the afternoon.

Try to get your subject to face the available light (the light should be behind the camera), as this will bring the face alive, and ideally will also breathe life into your subjects’ eyes. If you can, turn on indoor lights to “warmify” things, and be aware that fluorescent light will often wash out and flatten colors.

Bonus tip: choose the appropriate time to experiment

Obviously, friends and family are going to have a limited amount of patience – or next to no patience – as you experiment with these techniques over the holidays.

Instead of pestering your loved ones with clip-on mics, tripods, and capturing just the right amount of light, instead find a willing accomplice, and perhaps:

  1. Try creating a video-letter
  2. Experiment with a video ad for something you want to sell on Craigslist
  3. Get a docile subject for your video experimentations by taming the family pet with massive amounts of turkey

These three simple tips should help you take better videos, and get more out of your video equipment. If you have a tip for shooting videos, please let us know in the comments below!

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