Video Recording: Some Handy Tips to Remember

February 17th, 2012

All of us have tons of video footage shot on our camcorders, digicams, and smartphones taken during weekend trips, birthday parties, graduation ceremonies or the ball game. Since these are most often impromptu recordings, they would turn out blurry, lack smooth flow and often out of focus making it absolutely no fun to watch. While we agree that in these cases you don’t have and really don’t need a whole production team, or heavy-duty video recording paraphernalia, but there are a few things to be noted that could set you on the right track in getting some viewable and shareable videos.

Have a Plan

Have a plan and a story: This is the most basic point that you have to address before you set out recording your video. What are you recording? Is it a birthday party, or a ball game? What elements do you want to capture? Video making is like story telling. So, if you want to hook your viewers you need to tell a story. Plan the start, the middle and end of the video and ensure that you have enough footage to complete the story. If you are recording your kid’s ball game, get down from the bleachers and get into the game (not literally :-) ) You could start off by recording your kid getting ready for the game, the coach giving last minute instructions to the actual ball game, and then you could end it with the last moments at the game, maybe the win and the celebration afterward. Planning this ahead gives you a sense of direction, makes it easier while recording and the video looks much smoother.

Know your device: Learn the ins and outs of your recording device. If you are recording on your iPhone, learn what controls it offers you when you record your video. Learn when to apply the tap-to-focus and auto-exposure and auto-focus options during the recording.


Lighting: Most of us go wrong with the lighting. What we consider to be good lighting at the time of recording may not be the same for the camera, thus you end up with footage of dark figures with no visible features. The best way to overcome this issue is to shoot outdoors. Try to shoot in the morning or late afternoon if it is sunny. Avoid filming when the sun is directly overhead. If you must shoot indoors, try to bring in as much light as possible. At low light situations and if there is a lot of movement in the shot, it’s best to disable the auto-focus to avoid the pulsing effects from the lens trying to lock onto a subject.

Keep it steady

Keep it steady: Most often people are put off by shaky and blurry videos. Although the iPhone automatically steadies shaky shots with video stabilization, a tripod comes in real handy at this point. The basic idea here is to keep the device really steady, so if you really don’t want to get a tripod, try to stabilize your arm or yourself by either resting your arm on something or lean against a wall. Better yet, if the subject of your recording is really low, don’t be afraid to sit on the ground and shoot. Recording videos of kids at the park or while they are playing is best this way. Get down to their level.

Shoot close

Shoot close and get a mixture of shots: Most often you are tempted to zoom in while recording your video. If your camera offers you an optical zoom go for it. If like the iPhone it only offers digital zoom, it’s better that you avoid going overboard with the zoom, unless you like grainy and pixelated videos. While recording a video it’s best to get down and dirty. There is absolutely no joy in watching a video from a single perspective. Try to have a mixture of all kinds of shots, the birthday girl blowing the candles, the reactions of the other kids when the presents are opened and so on to heighten the drama. Don’t just focus on the birthday girl, but include close shots of the other kids, the adults and so on to give a complete feel to the video.

Short is Sweet

Short is sweet: Try to keep each clip of your video short. If you are filming a mountain climb and have reached the top, don’t go overboard by recording the mountain view for too long no matter how awesome it looks. At best keep each shot of your video to 5 seconds. This will ensure a fair balance of all the shots in your video and make it more enjoyable to watch.

Rule of Thirds

Use the rule of thirds: This is very popular in the photography circles and is useful while recording videos too. While recording on your iPhone just imagine your screen crisscrossed by two horizontal and two vertical lines. Now place your subject along these lines or near one of the four intersections, but not the centre space. In other words, if you are recording a birthday party scene, keep the birthday girl out of the center square. This makes it more visually interesting.

Hold the Shot: While recording do make it a point to hold on to a shot for sometime. Although this may seem tedious, you’ll find it helpful especially while editing the footage.

So, are you set to wow everyone with your newly acquired video-recording skills? While at some times all of this can’t be controlled or planned, two top tips to keep in mind always is ensure that while recording you keep your hands steady and don’t miss anything. We are curious to know what tip helped you the most and if we missed out on a few feel free to add on to them!


  1. Silvano Dotti
    | #1

    It’s all right. Exactly what I try to teach to my pupils!

  2. | #2

    Hi there.This article had been extremely fascinating, especially since I was looking into for applying for grants this make any difference last Friday.

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