Family Video Production : Some Useful Pointers

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Sharing memories of birthday parties, family outings, wedding anniversaries and graduation ceremonies with close family members is a breeze these days. You can pass around DVDs or even share them over a video sharing site such as YouTube.

Anybody who owns a video camera can point and shoot, but only those who have the necessary video production knowledge can put together a video piece that will make folks sit up and take notice.

You can learn these techniques with the help of this guide. Bear in mind that the first step towards putting together an accomplished video production is to think like a pro. You may not have the equipment of a pro, but if you set out to work like a pro, you will accomplish something that will give you a feeling of achievement.


Now that you have decided to work like a pro, the first thing to do is sketch out a plan for the particular family video production. Pros plan to help them foresee problems relating to video production and to prepare for the big event by ironing out potential problems.

If you are going to shoot your family video in a location you are not familiar with, visit it in advance and check out lighting, availability of electrical outlets, sound interference and so on. In short, you should not have to do any thinking if a problem crops up when shooting your video.

Planning also involves how you are going to execute a project. For example, if you are going to include interviews in your video, prepare the questions in advance and pass a copy to the subjects who will be interviewed. You may also want to draw a storyboard to visualize how your video will flow, which is helpful if you have to shoot numerous sequences in different locations. Planning does not mean covering all possibilities. The whole idea is to minimize or avoid as many potential problems as possible.


The most important area to consider is preparing the necessary equipment in advance. If you think you can memorize all of the equipment you should bring to the shooting location, you may be mistaken. You are bound to forget something important if you rely on memory alone.

To avoid this, create a written checklist days in advance. Tick the necessary items off as you put them in your bag. It is better to go through a checklist rather than have to drive all the way back to collect an important accessory you have forgotten.

An item you should always include on the checklist is a tripod. You may say that you have a portable camera, which you can operate stably with your hands. However, a tripod will come in handy when you shoot interviews or speeches. Also, bear in mind that even if have access to power outlets at the location, you should arm yourself with spare batteries so that you are not left in the lurch in case there is a power failure. With all the necessary equipment with you, half the battle is won on the day of the shooting.

Don’t scrimp on video footage on the day of the shooting. Shoot as much video footage as you think is relevant to the theme of your video. If you have used more than a few tapes, it is wise to label them and not wait until you get back to do it. This will save you time and frustration in case your tapes are mixed up with others in your collection.

Video Editing

If the concept for your family video is good, you don’t need a video editing program that comes with hundreds of effects. In fact, if you are starting out, you could do well to stick to the video editing program that came with your computer’s operating system, such as Windows Movie Maker, iMovie or a free alternative.

It pays to familiarize yourself with these video editing programs. Spend a weekend or two to test drive the video editing program, preferably at the planning stage. At least you will not have gone through the hassle of figuring out the program when you are supposed to be making editing decisions.


Article information based on writer’s experience in family video production.

Additional information gleaned from The Videomaker Guide to Video Production by John Bukhart.