Kids are one of the main reasons we buy camcorders. After all, how will we embarrass them when they get older? But kids can be tricky subjects as all parents tend to discover. If you're just not fully satisfied with the video you're taking of your children, here are some tricks that can help:
Tip 1: Get Low Kids live on the floor and so should you (at least while you’re filming them). Getting down on your knees, or even lying flat on your belly, can capture infants and young children straight-on. If you’re standing, you’ll get lots of video of the tops of the heads but nothing from a more natural vantage point.
Tip 2: Stay Close Even if your camcorder has a powerful optical zoom lens, you should still try to put yourself as close to your subject as humanly possible. The more you rely on your zoom, the greater the chance you'll have some slight jitters due to camera shake (as you zoom out, the camcorder gets much more sensitive to even the smallest body movements).
Tip 3: Fill the Frame Another reason why you'll want to stay close to your youthful subjects is that you'll want to fill the entire frame with their cheerful (or not so cheerful) faces. Remember - they're the subject of your video and any background you're picking up is just extraneous.
Tip 4: Selecting Autofocus Even if you're still possessed of that youthful vigor, it can be tough for your camcorder to keep up with fast moving subjects. Fortunately, there's two simple tricks to keep your moving minors in focus. The first is to set your camcorder into a "sports" mode (if one is available). This will optimize the camcorder's settings for tracking subjects in fast motion. The second option - using a tracking autofocus - is available on more sophisticated camcorders. This will let you designate an object to focus on, ensuring the camcorder will track that specific object even if it's moving about (provided you keep it in the frame). Check your camcorder's specifications to see if it offers a tracking autofocus option.
Tip 5: Stay Bright Regardless of the type of autofocus system your camcorder has, it will operate faster and more accurately the more light there is. Unless you're trying to steal a few minutes of footage while they're napping, keep the scene well lit. That will ensure your adorable subjects stay sharply focused.
Tip 6: Flip It: One trick I’ve discovered when trying to get the kids to perform for the camera is to make them the star. If your camcorder has a flip-out and rotatable LCD display, try turning it around so the kids can see themselves in it. The kids tend to keep themselves in the frame while they prance and parade about.