Photography Information

Camcorder Techniques: How To Make Home Movies Your Family And Friends Will Be Excited To Watch


It's all got to start somewhere, so before you even charge your batteries, rewind those tapes or pack the car, take a seat and have a good think about what you are planning to shoot with your camcorder. 'Planning is the key' to a good production even if you're just shooting a small home movie.

It may sound like overkill if you head out the door to film your children at a sporting event or a family birthday party, but if you are planning to display the video to family and friends or even review it yourself for extended lengths of time, you will want AND need it to be as compelling as possible.

Now if you're filming a longer feature or being paid for a project, pre-production planning is essential. Both in streamlining the production phase of the project and displaying a professional image for your business. This is done by using basic filming techniques.

This may consist of sketching up a storyboard (to download a sample go to, detailed notes or an interview/information session with the client.

"But I just want to shoot a home movie, not a production of Ben Hur!" I hear you say. OK then, let's bring it back to basics shall we?

First of all any video you take needs to have a beginning, a middle and an end. Simple as that!

Now, say you were to tell people at work on Monday morning an interesting event that happened on the weekend. How would you go about it? A bit of background information, then the main 'body' of the event and close it off with a punchline or resolution. You're telling a STORY.

Now go out with your video camera and- "Tell a Story on Film". Still unclear?

Here's a practical example... Timmy's first soccer final is on Saturday. It's a big occasion so you are going to capture it on video. Using our basic formula lets make it into a compelling story-


Open with a shot of the alarm clock, Timmy packing his bag, having breakfast then climbing into the car. All less than 5 seconds duration and if your camera has the function, set it to fade in and out to black.


The team runs onto the field. Shots of Timmy chasing, dribbling and passing the ball at warm-up. Get the opening whistle and kick off, then move around the field for various angles and shots of Timmy. Film the coaches address to his players at half time followed by more game footage.


Ref blows the full-time whistle and you video the teams shaking hands and walking off the field. Finally, close the video with a shot of our star and maybe a few words.

That's it! A very simplified version so here's a few tips to remember- >

  • Don't just keep the camera rolling in the hope that something interesting will happen
  • move around so you're not always filming from the one spot
  • use close-ups and wide shots alternatively
  • don't talk over the footage, let the pictures tell the story

Now with a bit of pre-planning and good camcorder and filming techniques, you'll Have friends and family lining up to watch your home movies!

Mark Sturge is the owner of KMS Productions and webmaster at A site where visitors can find information, training videos and manuals that help people to better their camcorder techniques or discover ways to earn an income from their video taking hobby.

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