10 expert tips for making home movies that look amazing
Equipment and settings to use on every home movie project
1. Using a phone camera? Always use the back camera
2. Use a camera if you have one
3. Pay attention to stability and focus
4. Record in landscape mode
5. Add a grid when shooting
6. Use more than one lighting source
7. Experiment with angles
8. Zoom with your feet
9. Use your camera’s onboard effects
10. Alternate shots
Video editing made easy
Shooting in bad lighting
Forgetting about the audio
Failing to take backup shots
Neglecting to properly frame each shot
Trying to fix everything in post
7 must-have video editing features
When you make home movies, you should always start recording before the action of the scene begins and keep recording a few seconds after the action ends. This gives you some room to edit the beginning and end to start and stop the scene at exactly the right moment to make a clean transition. For this reason, trimming – cutting off the beginning and/or end of a video clip – is probably the most-used video editing feature in the moviemaking industry.
Similar to trimming, cropping allows you to cut out parts of a video clip. Your video editing software will typically show your clip in a timeline and give you the tools to select a portion of the clip to crop out. It will then play the parts of the clip before and after the excised section together as one video.
Transitions are especially useful because cropping can often create a jarring effect, jumping from one part of the action to another. After you crop a clip, you can go in and use software like Movavi Video Editor Plus to add pre-defined transitions that create a smoother, more polished result.
4. Adding photos
When you’re making your own movie, you want to include as many of the details of a professional film as possible. This can often include adding photos to a video project. Whether you’re including them in an animated family photo montage or you’re adding them as part of the credits, look for video editing software that makes this easy. We recommend trying out Movavi Video Editor Plus for Windows or Mac.
5. Titles, credits, and captions
Speaking of credits, what pro-level movie is complete without a title sequence and credits? Along the same lines, more and more home video makers are including captions and subtitles in their videos. This detail makes videos more inclusive, and it makes it possible for people to watch on their phones when they’re in public and can’t turn the sound up. With the right software, you can add captions, titles, and other text to any video.
6. Music and voiceover tracks
Of course, no great family movie is complete without a soundtrack! The best video editing programs will give you the ability to add additional audio tracks to your video clips, so you can add your favorite music or include a voiceover of a video sequence that doesn’t have any sound or dialogue.
This feature can really make a video feel complete, but where can you source the music for your videos? If you’re just planning on watching your movies with your family and friends, you can add any music you want from your library. However, if you want to share your videos online, you should be aware that many platforms will restrict your video or mute it if it includes copyrighted music.
To avoid that hassle, you can find royalty-free music from several sources online, including SoundCloud, YouTube Audio Library, and AudioJungle. Just make sure that you check if the music you want to use is licensed for public non-commercial and/or commercial use before you get too far into the editing process.
Stabilization may be one of the most under-estimated video editing features for making a video that looks professional and sleek on a budget. We mentioned earlier that there’s a way to smooth out shaky shots when you’re zooming with your feet or when you’re doing anything else where a tripod isn’t ideal – this is how! If your video editing software includes a stabilization feature, it will automatically remove camera shake and give you the steady shot that you want.
Saving and organizing videos
1. In the cloud
Want to save homemade video clips somewhere that you can always access them, no matter what device you’re using? Cloud-based storage lets you offload those hefty files online. As long as you’re connected to the internet, you can reach them. There are free and paid options, including Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive, and DropBox. For this option, if you’re looking for a free service, you’ll likely only be able to save a few gigs of files. If you need to save more than 5 GB of videos, you’ll need to opt for a paid service.
Access anywhere online
Most paid services are inexpensive
Requires an internet connection for access
Limited storage on free services
2. On your hard drive
If your computer has a lot of RAM, you can always save your video files locally. And, if you’re not planning on watching them regularly, you can compress and archive them to save space. If you want to know how to make a home movie every week for a year, this probably isn’t the best storage idea, as you’ll be limited by how much available memory you have on your computer.
No additional cost
Easy access from your computer
Storage limited by computer memory
3. On an external drive
Instead of storing your videos on your computer or in the cloud, you can also invest in an external drive. These drives will usually connect to your computer via a USB port, and they’ve gotten very affordable as technology has progressed. And, if you need to save a lot of videos, external drives can often hold multiple terabytes of data.
Massive storage space
Must connect the drive to your computer to access files
Transferring files to and from the drive can be slow
Final thoughts: never underestimate the power of editing
Movavi Video Editor
*The trial version of Movavi Video Editor may have the following restrictions depending on the build: a 7-day trial period, watermark on exported clips, 60-second video or 1/2 audio length limit, and/or some advanced features unavailable when exporting videos.
Sign up for news and special offers