7801 Norfolk Avenue * Suite T-2 * Bethesda, MD 20814
If you decide not to use our professional videography services (and for your child's birthday party, that's perfectly understandable), here are some tips for doing your own video recording:
- Whenever possible, use a tripod. Even an inexpensive tripod from Best Buy will make your video look better than trying to shoot handheld.
- When shooting indoors, there's almost no such thing as too much light. Turn on as many lights as you can without affecting the mood of whatever it is that you are recording.
- Avoid recording someone with a bright light behind them. This can make their face appear so dark that you can't see them. Using a window on a bright sunny day as a backdrop looks good to your eye, but the camera often can't adjust for it.
- When using a smart phone or tablet to record your video, turn it sideways so the image more closely matches a TV screen. If you shoot the video the way you hold the phone, you will end up with a tall rectangular video with large black bars on either side.
- If your camera has a white balance control, you should use it. Usually, there is a setting for indoors and a setting for outdoors. It makes a big difference in getting colors to look correct.
- The microphone on your camcorder or phone needs to be a close to the sound source as possible. There is no "zoom" for the microphone.
- The only sounds that can be diminished from a video recording are steady sounds like a fan or air conditioner. Even these cannot be removed entirely. Sounds such as other people talking cannot be removed
- Most camcorders and phones have a quality setting for the video. Choose the best quality available. You may wish to install an additional memory card (SD, MicroSD, etc.) in your camera or phone since the video files produced when recording at the best quality level will be larger.
Photo Montage Videos
- Decide which and how many photos you want to use. Photos are on screen for an average of 4-5 seconds, or 12-15 photos per minute (this is flexible, depending on how you want you video to look)
- If you are bringing to us printed photos to be scanned, use small post-it notes on the back to number them in sequence. Writing directly on the backs of photos can damage the fronts of other photos when you stack them. If you accidentally leave out a photo, you can use letter designations (i.e. 42B).
- If you are bringing to us photos from digital cameras, you may have to rename the files in order to communicate in what order they should go. For example, a photo file named "DSC02676.jpg" may need to be renamed "42.jpg" if it is the 42nd photo in the sequence. It may be best to make a copy of all the photo files you wish to use and then rename the copies.
- You may supply appropriate music from your music collection. We can use cassettes, CDs, LPs or audio files such as mp3s. We do not maintain a library of songs to use in photo videos.
- Write down the numbers for which photos go with which songs (i.e. 1 -26 with "Unforgettable", 27-53 with "It Had To Be You", etc.)
- Decide on the wording for a title screen and an end screen (i.e. "John's 50th Birthday" and "Happy Birthday, John. We love you!")
- Call us to schedule an appointment to bring in your materials.
- If possible, we can post your video to an unlisted YouTube link in order for you to review it. Please note that the copyright holders of many songs have an agreement with YouTube that the video will have no sound if one of their songs is detected. In this case, we will schedule an appointment for you to view the video in our facility.
- Your finished video can be delivered on DVD or USB thumb drive.
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