As you cruise to the beach or barbecue this weekend, take your video camera. And think about these tips to shoot better Labor Day video:
1) Memories are about faces. Faces are where emotion lives. The eyes are the window to the soul and all that. And faces are how we chart time– when you want to remember who you were 5 years ago, a long shot of a crowd drinking beer won’t do the job. When you watch video of small children or elderly grandparents later, you’ll never wish you were farther away.
Thinking of shooting distant closeups of vague human figures in front of a smoking grill? You’re doing it wrong. Get close.
2) Ask real questions and you’ll get real answers. “How’s the beer, dude?” may get you a high-five from your buddy, but asking him what he did this summer will be a lot more interesting. Ask people to describe the guests, ask kids to tell you what they did today– anything that requires just a little thought reveals more of the real people in your life on video.
3) Shoot action. “Dad” is not a shot. “Dad putting too much lighter fluid on the grill” is. Subject plus action = interesting. “Grill blowing up.” or “Mom sprays Dad with fire extinguisher” should also be good.
4) Shoot what interests you, and it will be interesting. Just because you’re going to Ocean City for the weekend doesn’t mean you have to shoot a video showing the family lying on the beach. Make your video about something instead.
Anything will work. Your video can be about your quest for the perfect oyster, your two brothers taking their first vacation together in 20 years, or how much you hate tourists. It’s up to you. But the trick is to go one step past “point and shoot” in your head. Have a point of view. If you shoot something you’re interested in, we’ll be interested too!
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It’s important to give you epic story a focal point. Steven Spielberg didn’t tell the story of World War II–he made Schindler’s List, Private Ryan, and War Horse.
To tell your epic story, feature a the story of a main character within that huge event even if it’s a trip to Disneyworld or a day at the beach.