The holiday season is upon us, and while it is the time for getting together with friends and family and expressing affection through cards and gifts, it is also the most beautiful time of the year for the video making of family traditions and holiday celebrations. Filming a holiday family video is not only a fun activity for everyone in the family, but it is also something that will be treasured for years to come. Here are 10 videography tips for recording your family’s holiday event that will help make it a home movie to remember.
Stabilize Your Camera
As with any situation when shooting video, be mindful of the camera in your hand and try your very best to keep it steady. You might want to consider investing in a tripod if you don’t have one already. If you find yourself in a situation where a tripod can’t be used, then be sure to hold your camera steady by tucking in your arms and holding it as close to your body as possible.
Get Establishing Shots
Before you start filming specific events, grab a few establishing shots to set the scene. This can be either be a wide shot of the entire house or a medium shot of the front door to help build the narrative. Also, as children often feel more comfortable talking to the camera, it might be a cute idea to have a little kid address the camera and establish where you are and what you’re doing instead.
Start Rolling Before And After The Big Things Happen
The anticipation leading up to any big event and the expressions after is always a memorable one – the sparkle in a kid’s eyes before their present is handed to them, the rubbing of hands in excitement as the Christmas tree is lit up, and the “oohs” and “aahs” at the lights. So, be sure to include this experience in your video by getting the camera rolling a few seconds before the big events starts and leaving it running for a few extra seconds after the event has ended. These scenes will also come in handy during the editing process, when you find that you need transitions from one big event to another.
Mix Up The Action With Unconventional Perspectives
It’s natural to want to focus on the children when shooting holiday videos, after all, they bring a sense of childlike wonder and innocence to the video. But, remember the other people in your family too and give them each some screen time of their own. Also, try not to shoot the entire event from a standing position. Vary your angles and try to shoot from every subject’s point of video. For example, if you’re going to record little children or pets running around, get down to their level. This provides a personal view into how everyone in your family is involved in the event. One more thing, if you’re comfortable handing over your camera to the little ones in the family, go ahead and let them take control of the filming. You’ll never know what type of interesting shots they are able to get.
Unveil Stories With Family Interviews
Interaction with your subjects is important to keep your video engaging, so talk to your relatives and friends and other people in your video and get their thoughts. For example, when opening gifts, interview the kids asking them what they hope to receive, and afterwards about how they feel towards their gifts. Think up questions and topics that open the door to a subject they know. Don’t ask yes or no questions.
Focus On Family Traditions
Each family has their own set of traditions for the holidays, be it setting up the table for the Christmas feast, baking cookies or putting the star at the top of the Christmas tree. So capture all these moments now and look back on them for years to come.
Capture Family Relationships
Granted, holidays are all about the presents, the lights and the food. But in the end, it is the company of your family and friends that is the most important. Don’t get caught up capturing all the big moments and neglect the ones that mean the most. So make sure to capture those laughs, smiles, inside jokes and tender moments between the family.
Capture The Excitement Of Gifting
The giving and receiving of gifts is a big part of the holidays, and is arguably one of the most anticipated moments of the year, especially for the little ones. So be prepared to capture this pent-up excitement as it unfolds – focus on their eyes and their look of anticipation as they wait to receive their gifts and then afterwards when they’re opening them. Also, make sure to film your subjects using their new gifts – be it your kids riding their new bike, grandma looking at the family photo album or dad modeling his new sweater.
Film Good B-Roll
Especially useful for the editing process, try at best to film as much B-roll as you can get. Look for shots that capture that holiday spirit. Record the preparation of the food, the Christmas tree with all the decorations and presents, record the “wreckage” of all the ripped up wrapping paper all over the house, family members trying out their new presents etc. You get the idea.
Have Fun! Be A Part of the Holiday
As the designated videographer of your holiday event, you may feel inclined to consistently be behind your camera to make sure you don’t miss any of the action. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. Holiday home videos can give you great memories, but there is nothing like experiencing and participating in the holiday events yourself. So don’t let the camera keep you from celebrating with your family and friends. Attach it on the tripod, press the record button, and dive right into the activities.
Don’t be overwhelmed by all the tips listed here, there is no need to do them all. What’s more important is to remember that the holidays are a time for family, friends, celebration and fun; and that the camera is meant to just capture the moment, not control them. So just relax and join in the fun, and let the camera capture all the spontaneity that is what makes home videos so unique and interesting. Happy Holidays!
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