Important Guidelines For Shooting Family Videos

The Camera

The new video camera are small and amazing simple to use. Many of them take high definition footage which provides extra clarity and captures video in a wide screeen format (16 x9). These cameras usually have a hard drive built-in. When you are finished shooting transfer the footage to your computer for editing. Older digital camcorders use video tape that needs to be encoded on your computer before being edited and uploaded to your FamilyCrossings
family website.


Don’t forget the golden rule of never shooting a person with the light behind them. It should always be behind you. Or use a backlight menu on your camcorder to compensate.


Moving the camera lens in or out is called Zooming. Do NOT overuse the zoom function on your camera. Setup the shot while the camera is paused, then click the record button two seconds before the action starts. You can zoom in or out but do it slowly and use this feature sparingly. Never zoom in and then out on the same shot.


Moving the camera from side to side is called Panning. Panning to capture a wide view of a scene can be difficult on a small camcorder. If holding the camera in your hands tuck your elbows into your body forming a triangle to steady the camera. Then move your body very slowly to let the lens adjust otherwise your panned image will just become blurred.


Let the family members tell the story. Off camera directorial comments can be irritating and the sound levels will not match. Get into the habit of being the videographer or the subject of the family video.


Create a shot list and adding images that represents composition is called storyboarding. Storyboards will make every family video you shoot better by giving your video a much greater sense having a beginning, middle and end.

Spontaneous Action Not Posed Shots

If your family members are not used to having a video camera pointed at them, you run the risk of contrived shots as relatives try to ‘ham’ things up for the camera. Instead try to capture spontaneous behaviour.

Use A Tripod

If you don’t want your video to look like an earthquake scenario, use a tripod. If you don’t have a tripod, find a table or some other solid object like a wall which you can lean against to ensure stability of your video recording.

Capturing the Moment

You don’t need to shoot the entire process for a specific event. Less is more. Put the camera at the same eye level as the family member and let the action speak for itself.

Screen "Thirds"

Split the viewfinder on your digital camera into 3 vertical columns – left, centre and right. When shooting the family video mix it up and shoot your subject in both the left and right side of the screen to add variety to your shots.

The Family Matters

Don’t forget about the audience... its the family. Remember to get video of everyone in the family (don't forget your wife!).

Follow these guideline and you’ll have the start of a well received family home video. Setting up a family website to share your family videos is fast.