Most of us parents are not videographers but we all want to film our kids growing up.


We want to capture those memories so that we can reminisce a few years down the road.

But we also don't have time to watch boring bad quality home movies.

So here are a few do's and don'ts.

These tips probably won't make you into a Spielberg, it'll just make you into a video dad or mom.



Who is the subject of your Video?

If it is your precious 6 month old baby then make sure that the baby fills the screen and keep the background to a minimum.

There is no point having your precious baby as a speck on the screen with this overwhelming background of the pre-cast wall or your beautiful garden.

Get close to the kids when you're filming.

Take lots of close-ups of the kids. 

Memories are made by people not backgrounds.

Make the child the most important part in the video.

If the child is blowing out his candles on his birthday cake also include his buddies in the video.

One day he can look at his childhood videos and say "There is Joe Blogs at my 5th birthday and now he is the top striker at Manchester United."

Video the candle blowing ceremony from different angles so as to capture all the kids that are present.



The duration of a clip is the most important aspect in making exciting non boring videos.

A video scene should ideally be 10 to 15 seconds long.

Of coarse some scenes such as blowing out birthday candles can be a bit longer.

Instead of keeping the recording going for the full 5 minutes, stop the recording, change to a different position or angle and start recording again.

Never mount your video camera on a tripod to record the afternoon’s activities continuously. This is just so boring.

Long boring videos can of course be edited, but this is time consuming and therefore very expensive.



The height I'm referring to is the height of your video camera above your subject.

Let’s say you are 6 foot 2 inches tall and you are standing upright taking videos of your baby crawling for the first time.

If it's aerial videography that you are practicing, then carry on.

Otherwise, if you want memories of your kids, get down to their level.

Remember that the kid is a mere 500 mm off the ground.

Stop filming the top of his head.



Firstly switch the digital zoom of the video camera off, yes, forever.

Use only the optical zoom of the video camera. This is sufficient zoom for family videos.

A 200 x digital zoom on an amateur video camera is nothing more than a sales gimmick.

Professional cameras with large zoom lenses cost hundreds of thousands of Rands.

These cameras that zoom into soccer players on the opposite side of the field have very high quality lenses and are mounted on a sturdy platform.

If you leave the digital zoom on you will be tempted to zoom into little Johnny's soccer game when he is on the opposite side of the field.

If you must use the zoom, try mounting the camera on a sturdy tripod. This will reduce the shake.



This is when you start recording and rotate the camera to capture a panoramic view.

Keep panning to a minimum.

Rather, record, switch the camera off, rotate the camera and start recording again.

If you are recording a child and suddenly you want to now record another child who is behind you, first stop the recording, turn the camera around and then start recording again.

Do not spin the camera around while it is still recording.



Bear in mind that the more expensive the camera, the better the lens and the electronic CCD.

Most amateur video cameras are not capable of operating in low light conditions.

If you need to do a lot of low light filming it's best to use a portable video light.



If you are interviewing people at a party or function get them to talk into an external microphone.

Remember the cameras' mic is built into the camera so your voice might be audible because you are close to the mic but the person you are interviewing might be 2 or 3 metres away so their voice might not be as audible.

If you have to zoom into someone to interview them then they are too far to be interviewed.



Always carry a spare new tape.

There is nothing worse than being forced to record over older footage especially if you haven't even viewed this old footage.

Always carry a spare fully charged battery.