Top Ten Home Video Tips

Jeff StolhandJust for Fun, Production

Want to Shoot Better Home Videos?

Here Are Our Top Ten Home Video Tips

Top Ten Home Video Tips

Canon 7D

As quality gets higher and price gets lower on great video cameras, there is no reason not to record those special moments. Here are our top ten home video tips. Use these tips to make your home videos more enjoyable to shoot and more fun to watch. Whether using a DSLR like the Canon 7D or a simpler point and shoot video camera, these tips can help your videos shine.

Plan Your Shoot

The first of our top ten home video tips:  Plan your shoot. Take a few moments to think about the event you are shooting. Whether it’s a birthday, a wedding or other family event, it’s important to decide ahead of time what you would like to shoot. This way you don’t forget an important moment.

Use a tripod

This may seem obvious, but it seems we are always in a hurry. Let’s grab the camera and shoot. Even though many cameras have great video stabilization, it’s still best to keep a tripod handy for when you need it. If you need to move fast and stay mobile, you could even consider a monopod. Although, not as ideal as a traditional tripod, a monopod can give you a little extra stability while staying on the move.

Keep an Eye on the Light

It’s light that makes pretty pictures. Avoid shooting into back-lit situations, unless you are prepared to compensate for them. Likewise avoid extremely low light situations. This can make the video dull and grainy. Soft light tends to be more flattering, so avoid harsh direct sun.

Use the Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a wonderful technique to enhance the composition of a shot. The rule of thirds means simply to break up the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Doing this gives you nine equal parts. Where these parts intersect is considered a good point to place an important element of your subject.

Don’t forget the Sound

If you are shooting birthdays or family gatherings it can be fun to get interviews. But interviews are no good if you can’t hear anything. Always stage interviews away from the “main action” of the event. Find a quiet space and get the camera as close as possible since you are likely using the on-camera mic.

Shoot Close

Wide shots are great to let us know where we are. An establishing shot of the church or backyard or living room will anchor us to the context of the video. However, remember it’s about the emotion of the event. Don’t forget the close shots of faces. Catch the smiles and the laughter. The emotion of the scene makes any video that much more enjoyable.

Easy on the Zooms

Be careful of zooming in too fast. Those mind-dizzying zooms can be a detriment to the final video.

Get a Variety of Shots

Don’t be afraid to get creative. Look for a variety of ways to get interesting shots. Shoot into a mirror, stand on a chair or lay on the ground if necessary. This makes the shooting process more fun and the final result more interesting to watch.

Consider the Edit

With so much home-based editing software available, like iMovie, consider editing the final product. If you plan to edit, then over shoot the scenes. Also, get plenty of b-roll, i.e. “cut-away” shots like a cake, a table of appetizers, a crowd of people mingling. These are shots that can easily cover a camera bump or transition to another scene.

Prep Your Gear

And the last of our top ten home video tips:  Again, this sounds basic, but it’s easy to forget. Be sure and charge your batteries the night before. Make sure you have lens cleaner. Make sure you have all of your cables and accessories handy.


These top ten home video tips are just a few of the things you can do to improve your homemade family videos. Whether you utilize all top ten home video tips or just one or two of the top ten home video tips, you are bound to have more fun shooting and more fun watching.