It is time once again for us to collect the 2014 series of baby sign language videos. To that end, we reached out to several videographer and techie friends to get awesome tips on how to achieve the best possible videos using our smartphones. Many of these tips are applicable to camera videography but we want to give you as much info as possible on how to get a fantastic video with your phone because we know for most of us it is the go-to device always within arm reach.
It is extra tempting to record on the vertical since that is the natural form to hold our device but doing a vertical video will result in decreased quality, will give you less background space to frame and it will not be aligned with the natural display format of televisions, computers, tablets and video distribution channels such as YouTube and Vimeo. While it is possible to rotate the video while editing this will result in Pillar-boxing. In addition to a more advantageous format holding your phone in landscape format provides you with a great opportunity to hold the phone with both hands resulting in increased image stability
You can achieve the best possible baby videos by filming outside early in the morning or late afternoon. This will result in full but softer light. Avoid direct sunlight or areas with patterned shading such as under a tree. Pick a background with brilliant colors and make sure baby is outfitted in contrasting tones for clarity. Avoid clutter. A clean space allows the viewer to focus on baby. If you are using a blanket pick a solid color blanket.
When outdoors is not possible there are many indoor tricks you can implement to have the best possible videos. Open all curtains and blinds to allow natural light into the house. Replace your light bulbs with full spectrum lighting and set the stage in a highly lighted area such as close to a large window but away from direct sunlight. Make sure the lighting is in front and not behind your baby.
Be Lens & Mic Ready
If you are like most mamas your phone is the source of recreation for the whole family and it is often subject to great duress. For fantastic videos with clear sound and highest clarity make it a habit to keep a clear lens and mic. You can buy disposable wipes at most camera shops.
Distance & Angle
Even with the best technological advances your smartphone is still limited by size and design. For optimal baby videos try to be at baby’s level or below and no more than six feet away.
Earlier we showed you an example on how to hold your smartphone in a way that facilitates steady images. In addition to proper holding technique you may want to opt for a miniature tripod; a tripod is a very affordable solution that let’s you achieve steadier images and allows you to be part of the production instead of hiding behind the camera. If you are feeling crafty check out this project made by a 4-year old boy
Set the Stage
Pick a clutter-free background. Do a check by taking a still photo of your stage. Remove items that are unbecoming and add eye treats such as a classic toy or a single flower in a base. Seek to compose your video using the same principles we use for creating wonderful photos. Less is more, solids are better than prints and light is priceless. As for your baby pick classic and timeless outfits that convey their stage in life. Select colors that compliment their skin tone. If you have a little girl have fun playing with her hair. Keep wipes handy for a spotless face unless you are capturing one of those cute messy moments such as a first meal or an art project with finger paints.
Manage background noises. TV and radio should be off unless you are capturing one of those impromptu dances. Close your eyes and listen. If you can hear the washer or the musical toy so will those enjoying your baby video.
Edit Your Video
There are many wonderful free or low cost Apps for Android and Iphone that will let you have a gorgeous final product. My favorite is the Vimeo App
Manage Your Camera Time
Not too short, not too long. The ideal baby video is over sixty seconds but no longer than four minutes. By keeping it brief you stand a better chance of having friends and relatives truly enjoying your baby’s milestones without becoming overwhelmed.
Tell a Story-Keep it Topical
Make sure your baby video is narrative or reflective of a milestone or achievement. Keep it focused try to incorporate a verbal intro and convey a sense of closure at the end. If you are making a series highlight upcoming surprises or try to build up suspense.
Take many videos but only share the best. Remember, once your video makes it to the web it will likely be there forever. Don’t set the stage for trolls to do what they do best.
Be playful and engaging. Make memories and above all have a ton of fun. Time flies and before you know it you will be recording college graduation & wedding videos!
Join us next week as we share more tips on how to make a really cool and memorable video of your baby signing.