The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate your traditions and express your love, appreciation and warm wishes to family, friends, and associates. Mailing cards is a time-honored way of sharing these special times. In an increasingly digital age, digital cards are an excellent way to continue this tradition, especially when the holidays are fast approaching and you haven’t sent your cards yet!
Many websites allow you to create and send digital cards, with still photos or videos. This year, it’s time to take your digital cards to a personal level, using RealCloud to share your holiday video card with all of your recipients.
HOLIDAY VIDEO CARD CONSIDERATIONS
Even if you’ve shot video for a while, much of that may have been at events or gatherings capturing the moment spontaneously. Making a holiday video card is a bit different: you want to send a specific message, and have a lot more control over the look, feel, and quality of the video you create.
There are lots of things to consider before you start shooting. Here is our helpful guide to get you started creating a great holiday video card:
Who will shoot the video?
Who will be in the card?
What will they wear?
Who is the card for?
Are you shooting this video inside or outside?
What’s the setting, and do you need extra equipment to make it happen?
What is the lighting like? (Be sure to avoid back-lighting your amazing video card subjects!)
Is the camera’s built-in microphone adequate?
Who is going to say what and when? (Is everyone going to say, “Happy Holidays … “ simultaneously, in turn or deliver special messages?)
Do you want background music?
How long does the video need to be?
Shoot a test to be sure you can create good quality images and sound. A little time spent planning before pressing the record button will pay off in efficiency and will make the process more fun for everyone. Unless you want to do more advanced editing, you’ll need to take your video card in a single shot, so make sure everything is ready before you start.
RealCloud is a terrific media player, downloader, and file format converter, but it is not designed for video editing. Shoot as many “takes” as necessary, and then select the best.
SHOOTING YOUR HOLIDAY VIDEO CARD
The assumption here is that no one is actually operating the video camera while recording. Everyone will be in front of the camera. It’s a locked-down shot. Just let the video recorder run and simply do another take if needed. Using a quiet countdown of “1-2-3” will help everyone start on time. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when creating your video card:
Create a “Slate.” If you plan on making more than one holiday video card, list the people who will be receiving it and what to say to each. If there are several recipients, write their names in big letters on a sheet of paper. When you are shooting the video for each person, hold the paper so the camera sees it, and say the name, lower it, and then begin your message. This acts as a homemade “Slate,” making it easier to identify which shot is for which person. You can also number the “takes” if that method works better for you.
Eliminate a Shaky Shot. Compose the shot. Keep the camera steady by placing it on a tripod. Tiny desktop tripods are available. If that’s not possible, secure the camcorder or smartphone so it’s stable.
Lighting Goes A Long Way. Be sure there is enough light on the people in the video. Especially if there are lights behind them or the background
is bright, such as a sunny day in the snow. You don’t need to buy expensive lighting kits, you can just rearrange the lights in your house to make sure everyone’s face is well-lit and doesn’t have dark shadows under the eyes.
Add Audio Ambiance. It’s possible to include background music with your video card. Place a speaker near the microphone and play the music while shooting. Be sure you’ve tested this before, so the music is at the right level. If it doesn’t work, forget it. Your family and friends want to hear you most of all.
Testing, Testing, Testing. Shoot a test with everyone in place, then stop recording and check the playback to make sure everything is as it should be.
Roll with It. Once you start shooting for real, keep recording. If someone makes a mistake or flubs a line, just start again.
Do the Filming in One Sitting. Shoot as many versions for as many people as you want.
Check the Footage. When finished, check the playback again to make sure everything was recorded correctly.
Once you’ve gotten a great cut of your holiday card, you’re all set! Upload it into your RealCloud account, and share away. Your friends and family will be excited to receive a personalized holiday card where you speak directly to them through your own amazing video. If you don’t have RealCloud, now’s the perfect time to download and get started spreading holiday cheer.