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Basic Camcorder Shooting Tips

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If you've never shot video on a camcorder shooting your first video can be a little intimidating. Many first time camcorder users make mistakes that make their video for the most part unwatchable. Here are some basic camcorder shooting tips that can help you shoot fantastic videos every time you take out your camcorder.

Watch the Zoom

In general when you shoot a video you want to limit the amount of time you zoom in and out. Many new camcorder users will zoom in and out constantly with their camcorder. Video shot in this manner usually ends up making viewers nauseous with the constant movement. Using the zoom on your camcorder is a good idea, but try to only use the feature when you need it. A good slow steady zoom into a subject is also usually much nicer to watch than a quick zoom in to a subject.

Most camcorders have both optical and digital zoom. The digital zoom on your camcorder only enlarges the individual pixels in your video rather than getting closer to your subject. The result? Most video shot with a digital zoom looks distorted often to the point that the viewer has no idea what they're even looking at. If you have a digital zoom on your camcorder you want to use it as little as possible. It can be a good idea to even disable your digital zoom so you don't accidentally use it while recording. This is a simple camcorder tip that drastically increase the quality of your video.

Bring a Tripod

Chances are you have seen video recorded by someone who did not have a tripod. Handheld video usually looks great for the first few minutes, then as the person recording the video gets tired the video starts to look worse. You naturally move up and down slightly when you breathe, if your holding a camcorder then that motion is exaggerated on video and can make it look like you were jumping up and down while holding your camcorder. Along those same lines, if you are shooting a video handheld then you want to make sure the image stabilization on your camcorder in enabled. Image stabilization will help even out the movements your camcorder makes and minimize shaking in your finished video.

Skip The Special Effects

Most camcorders now will come with some effects built in. While things like wipes and fades can be great things to add to your finished video it is better to add them in a video editing program instead of to your raw video. Whatever effects you do to your video when you shoot it you are stuck with forever. For instance if you shoot your child's birthday party in black and white, then you'll never have the option to watch it in color. If you add the back and white in a video editing program then if you decide you'd like it in color after all you can simply take the effect off.

Turn On The Lights

Camcorders typically have a difficult time recording video in darker areas. Camcorders will typically make video shot in dim areas look as though it was shot in complete darkness. If you have the ability to turn on more lights where you are, do it. the brighter the area you are recording the better. White balancing your camcorder can also help your camcorder record in different lighting conditions. White balancing should be done when ever you change lighting conditions or rooms with your camcorder.

Get a Microphone

Most built-in camcorder microphones are pretty crappy when it comes to recording audio. If you have a place to plug one into your camcorder, consider purchasing a small lavaliere microphone. A lavaliere microphone is a small microphone that will clip onto your subjects clothing and can make your audio sound much better. Lavaliere microphones can usually be purchased rather inexpensively and are well worth the investment for the quality they can give your video.

Shoot Extra Video

In most camcorders it will take a few seconds for your camcorder to start recording after you press the record button. For that reason give yourself a second or two after you start recording to have a subject start talking or an event to begin. Likewise, give yourself a few seconds after an event ends before you stop recording. It is much better to have too much video and edit out the pieces that you don't want than have too little at the end of the day.

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