Some people get nervous or act un-natural when you’re trying to videotape them. To get better results from these camera-shy folks, place a small piece of black electrical tape over your camera’s tally light. If they can’t see the light, they act more natural, not knowing whether you are recording or not.
For a quick easy white balance use a piece of white cloth instead of paper (which is nearly impossible to keep intact). Not only is the cloth sturdy and easy to carry, it also makes a handy rag for dusting off your gear.
Two First-Generation Tapes?
When shooting at home, run A/V cables out of your camcorder to a nearby VCR, insert a tape and record. The result is two first-generation tapes, which might come in handy, especially if you’ll be editing.
When videotaping a special event like a wedding, graduation or recital, title the video by pointing your camera at the event’s printed program. They are often professionally created and make very nice graphical elements for video.
Whenever possible, shoot with your camera in the manual mode. Auto features, such as zoom and autofocus, are run by the motor, and drain juice quickly from your battery.
Avoid using a telephoto lens when shooting hand-held. This setting magnifies jerky movements. Instead, zoom out as far as you can and get close to your subject. Stabilization will improve and you’ll have an easier time following a moving subject.
Create Some Depth
When composing a shot, try to put an object in the foreground, and another in the background. This will create depth and make your shot more visually appealing. Be sure to switch to manual focus to prevent focal drift.