– Don't record shots that are too short for viewers
to absorb. Start recording five seconds before the action starts
and stop five seconds after it ends. Even if you're shooting
a video of a still subject (like a sunset), count to ten after
you push record.
– Go easy with the zoom! Zoomed shots feel unnatural
because our eyeballs don't zoom. Only use the zoom if you can't
get physically closer (such as for a child onstage or a wild
animal). Zoom gently, and hold the zoomed shot for a few seconds.
– Never use digital zoom. All camcorders have an optical
zoom, which is a lens operation. Many also have a "digital
zoom," which is purely marketing hype. Digital zoom is software
in the camera that enlarges the image by faking pixels. Turn
– Pan slowly. Hold the starting shot for a few seconds.
Then slowly pan to your ending shot, and hold for another few
seconds. Avoid "firehosing," or pointing the camcorder
at one random thing after another.
– Your camcorder video transfer can
be ruined by a low-light situation. Turn on more lights to avoid
video that is snowy or noisy. If more lights aren't available,
keep the camcorder very steady and switch off the autofocus.
– Beware of backlighting. A backlit scene has a bright
light behind the main action, forcing the camcorder to adjust
the aperture and make the subject a dark shadow. Avoid backlighting
by keeping lights behind you. When you cannot reposition, use
your camcorder's backlight button – don't
forget to turn it off afterwards!
– Don't use the built-in special effects. Your camcorder
likely has the ability to shoot in black and white, sepia, and
psychedelic colors, or add fade ins and outs. But there is no
way to undo these effects if you'd rather have a normal video
later. Only add effects with an editing program when you transfer video
– Keep your camera stable. Hold your camcorder with both
hands, lean against a wall, or use a tripod. If you must walk
while shooting, use your elbows and slightly bent knees as shock
– Shut up. You are the closest person to your camcorder's
microphone, so anything you say will drown out the other audio.
Resist the temptation to react with laughter or sighs.