I'm sure you and everyone wants to make the best home video possible.
So why are home videos sometimes...usually...almost always so Boring? Tedious? Awful?
OK, they aren't all terrible.
But what if your neighbor says, "Come watch the videos that I took of junior playing soccer," or "from my recent trip to Italy." Do you want to run the other way?
And do you dare offer your home videos to anyone but your closest family members (who will smile because the grandkids are in it, regardless of anything else)?
Wrong. If you want one, and can afford it, then fine. Go ahead. (Check out these tips for finding the camcorder for you.) But don't expect it to make the best home video by itself. Clearer, sharper — yes. More watchable? Nah, you'll just be a lot clearer about what's boring you to death.
Probably Not. Assuming you're not trying to compete with Pixar, a reasonably good computer is all you need. And there are some inexpensive or free editing packages that can do just fine. (See my page about video editing equipment.) But they won't make your videos "great" by themselves.
If only. Movie editing software loves to brag that it includes hundreds of transitions. You can make your scenes do backflips, explode into a million pieces, or swirl around like they're being flushed down a toilet bowl.
Does that make your movie into the best home video possible? Uh, no.
(One hint: If your transitions are more interesting than the stuff in between the transitions, then that's a problem.)
The key to making great home videos is the same as the key to making great movies.
We love good stories. Stories connect a bunch of random scenes and events into a coherent whole. A good story makes us want to stay until the end, and helps us enjoy the parts in between.
A story has flow. It draws you in. It has a beginning, a middle, and a finale.
The most compelling stories have some dramatic tension, something that makes you want to stay to see how it all turns out. That's the way to make the best home video you can.
How many home videos have a good story? Certainly the best ones do.
A good story isn't just "once upon a time." But it needs to be something that draws you in, keeps you there, and makes you enjoy the ride.
Here's a clip from a story-telling master, Scott Simon of National Public Radio, where he talks about how to tell a story.
Think about how to put stories around your home videos, or even start with the story in mind. That will make people want to watch them over and over again.