Three Ways to Massively Improve the Quality of Your Family Video Shots

I’ve got three big tips that will help jump-start your action videos of your family members...

Let’s face it. Few of us would mind if Steven Spielberg showed up with his camera crew to immortalize our next family event. All of that talent poured into the visual capture would undoubtedly generate amazing imagery. (I don’t care how disruptive a large film crew would be!)

Unfortunately, I know that scenario is also a fantasy. But instead of dreaming about how you might improve your home videos, I’ve got three ways to upgrade your video talents to the next level…

Steady Does It

Shaky jumps and bumps created by an unsteady hand are sure signs of amateur video. The good news is technology is making it easier for you these days to create steadier shots, especially when covering action.

Digital stabilization is now common in consumer camera tech, but a real game changer is consumer-grade ‘gimbals.’ These are 3-axis stabilized handheld devices.

You can mount your smartphones to these stabilizers to create silky-smooth cinematic videos.

DJI makes the Osmo Mobile 3.
$119.00 on Amazon Prime

Or you can go with the DJI Osmo Pocket, which is a tiny, all-in-one camera/gimbal that can create amazingly smooth action from the palm of your hand.
$349 on Amazon Prime

I use the Osmo Pocket, and it maximizes many video opportunities to keep up with my active nine-year-old son.

Slow It Down

I know I’ve recently taken a deep dive into the value of shooting in slow motion, but I think the point bears repeating.

When not overused, slow motion video can really add emotional impact to your video storytelling. It can also help you extend a significant visual moment which goes by too quickly. 

All you need to do is shoot at a higher frame-rate. Today’s smartphones are entirely capable to handle this trick with a tap of a setting. 

If you’re not already a slow-motion believer, just give it a try. You’ll see what I mean.

Let There Be Light!

Sure, you can buy expensive gear to help shoot in low light, and the results can be strikingly beautiful. But why confront this difficult challenge if you don’t have to? 

Instead, simply look for every opportunity to record in good light. Either take advantage of the outdoors or a well-lit room. Simply avoid those infamous backlight problems that come from bright windows or the sun in the background. 

And always remember to keep the brightest light in front of your subject!

Show and Tell

Here’s an example of these three tips in action… I used my DJI Osmo Pocket to ‘smoothly’ document my son’s participation in a community fun run on a bright, cold weekend morning.

I recorded these clips at 60 frames per second and then slowed the motion down a bit while editing them in Final Cut Pro X on my iMac. I added in a little rhythm from Apple’s GarageBand and threw in some white flashes to finish off the sequence.

Put It All Together

Steady, slow and the use of lots of light will help you take a significant step forward as the family videographer. 

(I believe my post’s title says, “massive.” I’ll stand by that.)

If you incorporate these strategies when capturing action, you can create clips that will turn lots of heads.

All right, maybe just a few… but I expect the ones that matter to you!