How to record a Christmas Video Message
A Christmas Video Message is a really great way to send Season’s Greetings to your family and friends, especially if you are not able to celebrate together.
If you are unable to see an elderly relative this Christmas or have a loved one in a nursing home, a Christmas video message from the people they care about most will really lift their spirits and it’s something that they can watch again and again.
Follow these simple tips to make sure you record a fabulous message.
Before you start
Get your family on board! You might have to use your powers of persuasion (bribery) if you have teenagers. Remind them that they will be making so many people happy with their message.
Have a think about what you are going to say or do before you turn the camera on and have a few rehearsals. Decide in which order you are going to speak before you start. If you all just say Happy Christmas, your video won’t be very exciting. Your family and friends will love to hear your news even if it’s just about your DIY projects or how you entertained yourself in lockdown. Try and think of your message as a Round Robin on video. You can also add some photographs so that everyone can see what you’ve been doing. The most important thing is to have a good time because then it will be fun to watch you.
Ideas if you don’t want to talk on camera
- Why not video your holiday preparations; the family decorating the tree, baking, decorating a gingerbread house etc. We can speed up the video, add music and a personal message.
- Get the family to perform their party piece, dance, sing or play an instrument.
- Or how about a carpool karaoke, miming to your favourite Christmas song?
- Have a look at our blog on how to record a video message when you are camera shy.
Spend some time on your appearance
If you haven’t been able to make the background look Christmassy, why not put on a festive sweater or hat. Spend some time on your appearance, you’ll want to look your best.
Choosing the perfect location
The better the light, the better the quality of your video recording and so whether you are recording outside or inside, the best time is during the day so that you have natural light.
If you prefer to video your message outside, you must be sure that it will be quiet. If you live on a busy road, under a flight path, or if it’s too windy, record your video inside. Clear sound is so important, especially if the video is being sent to elderly relatives.
- You’ll get the best light outside in daylight and if you’re lucky enough to have sun, make sure that you’re not pointing the camera into it.
- Make sure you have an attractive background and there is nothing distracting behind you. How about in front of your house? A local beauty spot would make a great location, an outdoor skating rink or a Christmas lights’ display.
It might be too early to get the decorations out, but you could always put some fairy lights in the background, or hang some stockings and put some cards on the mantlepiece and hopefully, that will make it look more festive, without too much work. If you’re super organised and the house is ready, then record your message in front of the tree.
- If you decide to film inside, avoid a dimly lit room. Try and get natural light from a window on you and not the background. If it’s still too dark, turn on as many lights as you can but don’t stand directly underneath. Use the settings on your camera to change the exposure.
Before you start – Settings Checklist
- Go to settings
- Turn on Airplane Mode. The last thing you want are interruptions during recording.
- Then Camera, then Record video (this is where you can select the quality of the video image you want) 4k is the highest quality but it uses a lot of storage. I recommend 4k at 30fps (which is better in lower light) or 1080 HD at 60fps.
- In Camera, under composition, put the Grid on, I find it helpful when composing your shot to either centre your subject or remind you of the rule of thirds.
- Put your phone on airplane mode so that your recording isn’t interrupted by calls or notifications.
- Clean the lens.
- If there’s time, it’s a good idea to give the microphones a quick clean.
When you are ready to record, and everyone is in position, hold your finger on the screen to lock the AE/AF lock. Tap once to see the exposure setting and slide up or down to make it lighter or darker.
If someone else is videoing you, ask them to hold the camera as still as possible. A good tip is to keep their elbows tucked in tight against their body to steady themselves or rest their elbows on a nearby object.
You’ll get the best results if you use a selfie stick, set the camera on a tripod or prop it up on a small table.
Recording your message – Checklist
- Hold the camera in the landscape or horizontal position.
- Keep your hands clear of the built-in microphone, if you can’t hear yourself loudly and clearly when you play it back, record it again.
- Ideally, your eye level should line up with the camera. Check you are in the centre of the frame, head and shoulders. If there are a few of you, make sure you fit in or move the camera to each person in turn as they speak. You are more important than the scenery and you need to be near enough to the camera so that the sound is clear.
- Don’t forget to look at the lens and not the screen, that way it will look as though you are speaking directly to the recipient.
- You can put a small sticker near the lens to remind you, if that helps.
- When you press record, wait a few seconds before you start speaking and leave the camera running at the end so that your words aren’t cut off in the edit.
- When you are ready to record your message, take a deep breath, be yourself and pretend that the person who will be watching the video is right in front of you.
- Don’t forget to smile and speak up clearly without rushing and shouting. When you have a genuine smile on your face, you release chemicals that help you relax and therefore you feel more confident. As you know, smiles are contagious, so the people watching won’t be able to stop themselves smiling along with you.
- Your message should ideally be around a couple of minutes.
- Play your message back and check you are happy with it. Make sure the sound is clear. It’s normal to mess up the words a few times, so don’t worry if you don’t get it right first time. Sometimes it’s fun to include the outtakes!
Choose some photographs
Select some photographs of the year’s events, achievements and holidays. Put them in chronological order, it’s a great way to quickly update everyone that you don’t get to see as much you’d like. We can add captions and music for the finishing touch.
Don’t forget to smile and have fun!