We all want those holiday videos to be as memorable as the holidays themselves, but all too often they turn out disjointed, lackluster or just plain boring. Here’s how to get more out of your holiday moviemaking and keep your viewers glued to the screen.
You probably know the holiday routine by now. Presents are opened at a certain time. Dinner is served at another. That’s followed by cleanup, coffee, conversation, maybe a football game on TV. Dad falls asleep on the couch on cue. Use this knowledge to your advantage and plan ahead. This may mean getting up before the kids and staking out a spot to catch them as they attack their presents, but the expressions you’ll get are worth it. By planning ahead you’ll do a better job telling the story of a happy day.
Winter in Michigan isn’t the same as winter in Florida. And shooting inside versus outside is a far different experience. A camcorder like the Samsung QF20BN will automatically account for different weather and lighting conditions, but you can get even better results by using manual modes to tweak the video’s appearance further.
Pay attention to the white balance (found under “Manual” on the QF20BN’s home screen). Indoors you’ll want to use a tungsten or fluorescent mode; outside try the cloudy or daylight mode, depending on the weather. If your shot is looking too dark, tick the Exposure Value (EV) up, or tick it down if things are looking too washed out. Finally, if you’re shooting in snow, the Back Light option on will prevent people from looking shadowy and dark.
Viewers will become bored with any scene longer than about 15 seconds. Choose your shots carefully and don’t start shooting until you know the action is about to begin. Likewise, stop when the excitement has faded, not when everyone has gone to bed. Above all, pay attention to how you’re feeling during a shot. If you’re getting bored, the audience will be getting bored too. Remember: With the Samsung QF20BN, you can pause while recording and resume later and still maintain a single, continuous video file.
Keep your camera still while you’re shooting these scenes. The 20x optical zoom on the QF20BN may also be tempting, but you’ll get the best results with zoom if you use it between shots, not during them.
It’s natural to focus on children during holiday video making, but remember the other people in your family and give them each their due (pets, too). Try approaching everyone individually for on-camera commentary if you’re so inclined. Interactivity with the filmmaker is a good thing. Don’t leave anyone out—Grandma, Uncle Chester and don’t forget yourself. Sure, everyone wants to see the new baby. But they want to see everyone else who was present, as well.
Try to shoot everyone at their own respective eye level, instead of from above, which is unflattering and distorts their appearance. If you’re shooting an infant, this might mean crawling on the ground. Fortunately this is easy with the Switch Grip 2.0 system on the Samsung QF20BN, which lets you use the camera with either hand, in any position.
The ideal length for any home movie is 10 minutes. Go longer and your audience’s attention will start to wander, no matter how awesome Uncle Chester is. Using the Pause feature religiously will help you stick to this guideline. If your final film is still too long, you can trim and combine clips during playback on the QF20BN with the Combine and Divide functions. The Smart BGM (Background Music) function can be used to add music to your film, too. Some music will make it feel shorter and really drive home those emotional moments.
Your holiday masterpiece is ready for the world. Now it’s time to share it. The Samsung QF20BN lets you upload a video directly to YouTube if you’re in range of a Wi-Fi® network. Just send your friends and family to the YouTube link for instant holiday fun. You can also wirelessly stream videos to a television that supports TV Link and backup videos to a PC on your home network, if you install the included Auto Backup program.
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