Creating Memories with Family Home Videos

A little pre-planning can turn shooting and later editing raw video footage into a very memorable family video with these easy hints.

Write a one paragraph summary of what is going to happen in the video. Are you telling a story or recording an event?

Create a storyboard. Think about the type of activities that will take place at the family event. Decide which activities you would like to capture on video. This will help give your family video a beginning, middle, and end.

Create a cast of characters. Make a list of all family members and decide if they should be highlighted in the video (or have significant roles in the movie). Make another list of
supporting roles.

Use the Familycrossings family calendar for scheduling. The family calendar will remind everyone by email when certain events will occur so that no one will miss a shoot date.

Depending on your digital video camera consider bringing extra batteries and tapes. If your camera uses a hard drive bring your USB cable to dump all the footage to a hard drive.

Before the family event starts take some location shots so you can use it later in editing as part of your introduction, conclusion and effects. In the movie industry this is called "B roll".

Timing and context is important to the storyline. Start running the camera when guests arrive and make sure to capture all the activities that you planned.

The lens in new video cameras can adjust to both bright and poorly lit conditions. Shoot the video with the sun behind you, not your subjects. When the sun is behind your subjects, it's called backlighting. Backlighting causes the images in your video to appear in shadow. Check the camera's menu for a special "back light" button that you can press to quickly adjust the exposure.

Reality TV has shown us that candid moments in a video are frequently the most interesting. Those embarrassing moments might not seem funny at the time, but they will when you watch the family home video later!

Shoot extra footage to make the video interesting:

  • Posterity - have seniors in the family talk about the past and family traditions.
  • Food - if the recipe has meaning.
  • Gift giving - that graduation car is memorable.
  • Holiday moments - share funny family stories, meaningful quotes or thoughts about what the holidays mean.
  • Skits - Get the children to put on mini-plays for the family.

Family videos build family memories and can serve as an important part of family history for future generations.