Since the introduction of consumer video cameras in the early 1980's, shooting home videos has become the preferred method for families to document their activities. As with all things technological, significant improvements have been made over time with video cameras. Regardless of these impressive advances, watching a poorly made video is hard to endure. This problem is completely avoidable with a few basic pointers for amateur videographers who wish to make their videos more enjoyable to watch.
STABILIZE YOUR CAMERA
One of the most important elements in achieving good results is to stabilize your camera. A camera that is not stable will not produce clean and fluid shots. When you are shooting hand-held video, i.e. without the use of a supporting device, you can stabilize your camera by keeping the upper part of your shooting arm flat against the side of your body. This technique not only stabilizes the camera but also prevents arm fatigue. To create even more stability, you can lightly hold the view finder screen on the outer edge with your opposite hand to provide another anchor point. Additionally most camcorders include an image stabilization function which you can activate to further improve steadiness.
If you are shooting something like a school play, a ball game, or other lengthy event, using a tripod or a monopod is a must. It is simply not possible to keep the camera from making unwanted movements for such an extended period of time. Arm fatigue, breathing, or being jostled by bystanders all become exaggerated motions in your video.
USE THE ZOOM SPARINGLY
Most beginners fall into the habit of using their camcorder's zoom function excessively. The constant in and out movement of the zoom lens will create a very unpleasant visual experience. Experienced shooters first "frame" their subject, use the zoom to move in or out of the frame and then begin taping. If you do decide to use the "zoom" as a special effect in your video, execute the zoom as slowly and evenly as possible. This will result in a much better viewing experience. Less is more when it comes to the zoom.
LIMIT CAMCORDER PANNING
Beginning videographers also have a tendency of panning back and forth across a scene. I call this the "garden hose" effect because the camera is sweeping back and forth like you are watering a garden. To make effective use of panning in your video, chose the beginning and ending points of the shot and then very slowly sweep the camera across the scene. When you reach the end of the pan, simply stop the camera. The end result will be interesting, clean and crisp.
By incorporating just these three basic recommendations into your video shooting, you should see a dramatic improvement in the viewing quality of your videos.