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Holiday Home Movie Tips

Before you press record on Christmas morning, consider these handy tips for a timeless home movie

When you break out the video camera this year on Christmas morning, you do it to capture happy memories of your family at that moment in time. You want to look back on it someday and relive the joy of that moment.

Do it wrong, and you may regret it.

Here are some holiday home movie tips to consider before you hit the record button, courtesy of Ryan Ritchey, of R Cubed Networks in Spring House.

R Cubed Networks is a video production company that launched in 2007, specializing in training videos for companies, webcasting, and streaming live events.

Don’t Forget the Adults

“I think the biggest mistake that people make is they just focus on the children,” said Ritchey. “It’s exciting – they are opening shiny new presents and all that – but you also have grandparents and great-grandparents.”

It will be really nice to look at the video years later and see grandmom or grandpop from nine Christmases ago.

Ritchey said the best ratio is 50/50 between the youngest generation and the oldest generation.

Get at the Kids’ Level

Don’t shoot above the children – get down on the floor to their level.

“Make sure the shoot is more effective,” Ritchey said. “You want them looking right into the camera instead of looking at it from an awkward angle.”

Let Others Shoot the Video

If you trust the children, of if you trust other adults, with your video camera, hand it over to them.

“Other adults will open up and be more relaxed and do goofy things if the child or grandchild has the camera rather than another adult,” he said.

Let the Camera Roll and Keep it Short

“You have to decide what you want to make,” said Ritchey. “If you want to make something more of a YouTube video, or a short video, shoot that differently than if you would document the event.”

Ritchey suggested getting some short shots and setting the camera in the corner and letting it record the day as it unfolds.

Don’t Rely on your Smartphone Video

Ritchey said a lot of people shoot video with their Smartphones. That’s good, he said, but it can’t shoot for long periods of time.

What you choose to shoot on depends on the user. There are those who use expensive cameras that record to DVD or those who use FlipCams. Then, there are those who still rely on videotape.

“If you are shooting to tape – and it’s harder to get tape-based cameras today – it feels safer for archiving than something on a hard drive that can crash or get deleted accidentally,” he said.

“There has to be a happy medium,” he said. “You can record a fair amount of video on a Flipcam, and it’s not a $1,000 camera. You may be more comfortable with letting the kids run around with it.”

While Flipcams are discontinued by Cisco, there are Kodak comparable cameras out there.

“Any camera now will have really good video quality, it’s just a matter of space and battery life,” Ritchey said. “The camera should be up to the task of making it through the day.”

Ritchey assumed that Christmas is one of the biggest days of videorecording of the year.

These tips would only make that day better now and for the future.

“I think what happens is we see so much video that people have an expectation that it’s going to be this great thing and they are left scratching their head, asking, ‘Why isn’t like I see on TV?’ If you watch TV Christmas ads with children, the camera angle is in line with the children’s eyes,” he said. “It may not turn out quite as good as  you hoped.”

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