June 26, 2008
Film Pros Tell You How to Make High-Quality Home Movies
Photos and videos are often the only remembrances of life's great moments -- weddings, graduations, birthday parties and holiday gatherings. "To make your own professional-quality home videos, proper lighting and sound are key," says Christy Sheehan, who co-owns New York-based film production company, Mad Props Productions, with her husband Jonny Sheehan. "By doing a bit of simple planning, you can really improve the quality of videos that you shoot."
The Sheehans, who bring years of film and TV experience to their business, create captivating short- and long-form broadcast-quality films to honor the lives of everyday people. Clients hire them to produce tribute videos to commemorate birthdays, retirements, upcoming weddings and other major events or to create family documentaries. They share the following tips to create your own professional-quality videos:
"Consider the setting before shooting begins; take note of lighting factors and small noises that may be disrupting on video," advises Christy Sheehan. Avoid back lights and windows that will make your subject look like just a dark shadow. To reduce shadowing, make sure that all lighting is projected onto the subject from the front rather than the back. "You always want subjects to look their best, so videotape and photograph from slightly above the subject for a slimming effect. Shooting from below creates an unflattering widening effect," explains Jonny Sheehan. "Be very conscious of the sightline when conducting interviews by having them look at and talk to the interviewer not the camera. You might want to practice on a friend or family member before your next special occasion."
Capturing voices, music and other intended sounds sharply is what helps give video a polished effect. A fixed microphone on a consumer camera is not of the highest quality and can pick up unintended noises if you're not mindful of where the microphone is mounted. To ensure the best audio quality, rent a high-quality external microphone. On a fixed microphone, noises from wind will be more dominant than voices and create audible distractions, so don't record subjects outside unless you have a very high-quality microphone. When shooting indoors the same factors apply, so fans and air conditioning should be turned off, the Sheehans advise.
If pouring over hours of video footage to decide what to include in a final video seems overwhelming, you may seek professional help. Mad Props Productions offers the "Director's Cut" service, whereby the Mad Props team edits your photo and video collections to show the most meaningful images and organizes them either thematically or chronologically, adds music and delivers to you a polished, professional DVD.
Mad Props Productions serves clients throughout the U.S. and parts of Canada, with rates starting at $2,500 for a "Director's Cut" and $5,000 for a short-form tribute video; custom packages are available. For more information, visit www.madpropsproductions.com or call 718-288-6023.
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SOURCE: Mad Props Productions