When you first get a digital camcorder, it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out how to use it. Sure, the basics come naturally, but it’s all too easy to make mistakes – and if you’ve just bought the camcorder to record something important to you, you don’t want that to happen. Before you let yourself loose in the big wide world with your camera, here are a few tips to help you get started.
The most vital tip – and this will make a huge difference to the quality of your videos – is to steady the camera somehow. Shaky-cam effects might be fashionable with indie filmmakers, but they just make home movies look amateur. The best thing, of course, is to get a tripod, but if you don’t want to do that then just improvise with whatever’s available – tables, walls, anything.
While you’re filming, make sure you flip out the LCD screen and take some time to compose the screen you want to see. A few seconds spent doing this can take away a lot of the fear that comes when you decide to watch the movie back.
By the same token, edit as you go – don’t leave it all to the end. It’s far better to arrive home with a finished film than to arrive with tens of hours of unpolished footage to wade through.
One tip that I’ve seen improve people’s movies a lot is this: be visual. Instead of narrating the film, talking to the camera or using captions, film things that represent what you want to stay. Do brief exterior shots of transport and buildings, so that people know where you are as the film goes on, instead of you constantly having to tell them.
Finally, there’s one beginner mistake that I really need to point out to you right now. Whatever you do, don’t forget to take enough tapes, and a power adaptor! These things are always hard to get, and no matter how expensive or luxurious your camera is, it’s useless without them!
John Gibb is the owner of digital camcorder sources For more information on digital camcorders check out http://www.digital-camcorder-data2k.info