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Better Vacation Videos

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Travel
Theres nothing worse than being made to watch a vacation video that looks like it was recorded by someone on a rolling barrel or trampoline.

With a few changes to your shooting style you could have people begging you for your video secrets instead of secretly trying to avoid you when you get back from your vacation.

Here are some quick tips and considerations that will result in terrific video footage of your vacation, or anything else you choose to tape.

Built-in camera microphones tend to pick up every sound around them. Your ears are more directional than these microphones, meaning that you can pick out someones voice in a crowd. Your camera microphone cannot do this. It will only hear the crowd. If you want to pick out a particular sound, whether it is someones voice, a car, some music in a parade etc., you need to get physically close the subject. The reverse happens when you get in close the camera picks up the sound of your subject and tends to cancel out all the surrounding noise.

If you have to walk with your camera in the record mode because your subject is moving and you are following it, or youre with a walking tour and you cant stop, then use your zoom lever to zoom out to your widest setting. This will reduce the appearance of camera shake that is transmitted through your hand to the camera. When you zoom in close to your subject the high zoom setting not only magnifies your subject in the frame, but also magnifies any shaky hand movements. Also, try rocking from the heel of your foot to your toes as you walk in a kind of arc shape, rather than just jolting each foot down on the ground. This all provides for smooth movement.

Panning is when you move your camera from left to right, as in a panoramic shot of the horizon. Tilting is the up and down motion of the camera, as in shooting a building from the tip all the way down to the foundation. When you pan or tilt your camera there is a tendency to go too fast which results in motion sickness for your viewers. As a general rule, move your camera about one-third to one-half of the speed you think you should. Always have a starting and finishing point for your pan or tilt.

Try to keep all your movements smooth by moving slower than you think you should. Pre-think your shots if you can and shoot with purpose. Shoot more footage than you need and then edit it later on your computer. Think about your viewer and what you want to actually show them in each shot. It may be a race car or birds in a park. If youre shooting a building, also video tape some of the birds that rest on it or some of the people who walk by it. Why not interview your tour guide on tape?

With some practice you may even notice yourself getting creative.

Happy taping!