11 Show-Stopping Tips for Shooting a Summer Movie With the Kids

Like if this guide is helpful
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

Once upon a time, before smartphones gave us the ability to capture and share every moment of our lives on YouTube and Facebook, being on camera was a novelty.  

Now, though – whether it's with a smartphone, compact camera, DSLR digital camera or hi-tech camcorder – everyone has the technology to shoot high-quality video.

With the summer holidays stretching ahead and the kids already complaining they’re ‘Bored!’, now could be the perfect time to get creative and shoot your first family blockbuster together.

But your camera has its limitations, which is why we’ve found the essential gadgets to help you produce a professional, Oscar-worthy performance... 
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

1. Stop the Shake

The simplest way to achieve a professionally smooth video is by using a hand-held stabiliser, also known as a Steadicam.

Stabilisers hold your camera securely and feature a counter-balanced arm that eliminates shake and jerky movements while you’re walking around.

Once only available for professionals, they’re now cheap and suitable for most cameras (including smartphones), so there’s no excuse for a wobbly video.
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

2. Keep It Steady

The tripod is another essential piece of kit for budding movie directors.

By creating a sturdy base for the camera you’ll keep the shot perfectly still and at the same height scene after scene – great for continuity.

When choosing a model, make sure you buy one designed for video with a ‘ball’ or ‘fluid’ head, which allows you to pan and tilt the angle of the shot smoothly.

If you’re using a smartphone or action camera, or want to shoot from an unusual angle, try a Gorillapod. This super-flexible design can grip onto posts, branches and create a sturdy base, even on uneven ground. 
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

3. Boost the Battery

Smartphone cameras are now so good you can video in super-smooth high definition virtually anywhere. But battery life, unfortunately, can let you down.

A good quality backup battery pack will quickly top up your phone on the go. Choose the largest capacity you can (shown in mAh, or milliampere-hour). An iPhone 6 has a 1,810mAh battery, so make sure you choose a battery pack with a minimum of 2000mAh so you’ll get at least one full charge. 

If you don’t want to wait around while your phone recharges, you could always buy a phone case with built-in battery booster. Some models even come with built-in memory, so you can video for hours without filling up your phone’s internal memory.  
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

4. Sounds Good

We’re not suggesting you mic-up all the toddlers at a birthday party, but if you want to take your videos to the next level, don’t rely on a camera's built-in microphone.

What you need is a shotgun mic that mounts on, and plugs into, your DSLR camera to pick up the sound in front rather than to the side of – or behind – the camera. As a result, you’ll hear the action you’re videoing and eliminate background chatter.  
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

5. More Memory

HD video footage takes up a lot of space on your camera’s memory cards, so you'll need to make sure you have enough gigabytes to store all your shooting.

SD is the most common memory card – and you can now fit as much as 512GB of data on the tiny piece of plastic. Most people won't need that much, but it’s worth looking out for a ‘Class 10’ card, which can process data far quicker.
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

6. Get Those Tough Shots

Thanks to the latest action cameras and mounts, you can now capture incredible hi-res video from literally anywhere.

Whether you’re skiing, mountain biking, hiking, skydiving, swimming or surfing, there’s no excuse to miss the action.

The GoPro is the most popular brand thanks to the pin-sharp professional quality and unrivalled choice of mounts, fastenings and stands that allow you to attach the camera to virtually any surface.
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

7. Go Widescreen

Smartphones are brilliant for quick videos, but – if you’re looking to get more creative with your camerawork – it’s worth investing in a clip-on lens like the Olloclip 3-in-1 lens that can mimic the effects of a professional camera lens.

Choose from widescreen, close up, telephoto zoom and even fisheye, which is great for action sequences. Some just clip over the smartphone lens, while others are built into protective cases for extra convenience.
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

8. Remote Control

Always stuck behind the camera? Secretly want to be an actor, rather than just letting the kids get all the BAFTAs? You need a Bluetooth remote shutter release for your smartphone.

Once connected, you can set the smartphone up on a tripod or mount, control the camera’s shutter wirelessly and finally be the star of the show!  
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

9. Get Better Lighting

One of the most telling differences between professional film and amateur movies is lighting. While most of us won’t need diffusers, reflectors and filters for our home videos, it is possible to quickly improve the overall quality.

One easy tip is to avoid shooting under overhead lighting. This type of lighting tends to give people unflattering Panda eyes, so try moving the subject just a few feet away from the light source so the shadow falls differently.

There’s no end of choice when it comes to lighting equipment. But if you invest in one item for your home movies, choose a battery-powered LED Video Camera Light that clips to the top of your camera and provides an even, constant light source in any conditions. 
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

10. Final Edit

If you've never edited a video before, there are some very good apps available for your smartphone. Free apps such as iMovie make editing easy – and with practice you'll be amazed by just how good your home movies can look.

That said, for a professional finish you still can't beat editing on your computer using dedicated editing software packages. When you finish shooting, plug your phone in, upload your footage, and import your videos into your editor of choice.
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

11. Take To the Sky

Camera drones are fast becoming an essential tool for videographers, allowing dramatic aerial shots, fast-action sequences and beautiful panoramas.

But you don’t have to spend big to get the same effect with your home movies. Even the most affordable drones now come with a built-in high definition camera to capture all of the action.  
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos

Looking for More Brilliant Photography Tips?

We've got all the advice you need for choosing the right camera. Plus, discover the photography essentials the pros can't shoot without. 
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides