You’ve spent good money buying a high definition camcorder. But somehow you find that the holiday video you took is not what you expected them to be. Friends and family members start fidgeting 5 minutes into the video and turn their attention to something else.

Here are some tips to help make your videos more engaging and at least hope to keep your audience attention for a longer time.

1) Videos are too long – this is what all newbies fall prey to. You bought your first camcorder and begin shooting like crazy. Press the record button and keep the tape rolling…bad idea. Most people will not be able to sit through hours of amateur videos. You need to keep your video clips short and to the point. If you know video editing it helps to cut off extraneous footages and make your video short and crisp. If not, plan ahead, have the scene you have in your mind before shooting. As a rule of thumb make each take less than a minute long unless it is really necessary, like your child’s musical performance.

2) Frame your shots well – fill the frame with your subject, and don’t be afraid to place him or her slightly off-center. For example, when filming your children, it is more visually engaging to capture the them in their natural activity like laughing, talking or playing with them a bit to the right or left of center.

3) Use different angles and vantage points – Recording your child playing an entire football game sitting on the bench from the sidelines could be a bit dull to watch later. Shooting from behind the goal, or walking along the sidelines provide more interesting mix of shots, and can heighten the drama of important moments. Also, use the most effective shooting angle: kneel down to get near your subject, when appropriate, or use a higher vantage point to capture the whole pitch.

4) Avoid backlighting – Unless you are creating some special effects, just because youe can see people’s faces when they’re backlit doesn’t mean the camera can. More often than not, images that has bright sky or intense lighting behind the subject shots result in uncomfortable haloing effect with no visible features so you miss out on the facial expressions. By shifting to one side or asking your subject to turn the body slighlty will usually improve the shot. Some camcorders have a feature that lets you reduce the effects of backlighting, but are usually not that effective and tends to make a mess of the scene.

5) Have a pair of steady hands (or use a tripod). Last but not least, a shaky video will turn everyone off. Make sure you keep your hands really steady and pan slowly. Do not make any sudden movements otherwise it will be a nauseating to watch. If you do not have a pair of steady hands, invest in a tripod.

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