TODAY   |  November 17, 2013

Lights, camera, action! Make home videos great

It’s the perfect time of year to review the basics of shooting, lighting and stabilizing smartphone shots so those homemade holiday movies come out perfectly. TODAY’s digital lifestyle correspondent Mario Armstrong reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> movies with your smart phone can be better than ever.

>> you're very far apart. there's a good reason for this.

>> we're going to be showing you clips of how you?? should and should not shoot video. we have to preserve these memories for future generations.

>> your first tip is the most important. we hold our phones like this, we should not do vertical, we should do horizontal.

>> this is why. at home you're seeing the black bars on the side which is why we're separated here. your video is only going to show in the middle of the screen. if you blow this up on your laptop or big screen television , you'll have the huge black bars on each side and the video only in the very little middle.

>> that is not artistic. that's tough to watch. instead, we just shoot it this way.

>> turn it horizontal and get the full picture.

>> on that note, i can come closer.

>> you can come closer.

>> your second tip is about lighting and sound. we're lucky of course we're in a studio, we have professional lights, a great crew that makes us look and sound fantastic. at home, how do we get that?

>> this is bad lighting . you want to have the light behind you, not the camera shooting ifrnt that light. here is a video clip -- see the dark shadows there? it's really not that great. that's my son playing the piano, by the way. this is bad low light . you want to turn on all the lights in the house near the subject.

>> now we can see him.

>> now you can actually see him. don't cover the microphone. a lot of people cover the mic. i do the cupping technique. know where the mic is on your phone.

>> sometimes it's hard to know where it is. it's almost always at the bottom?

>> it's almost always at the bottom. i call it cupping. when i'm filming you, i cup the mic to capture the sound better.

>> we're not cupping the microphone, but just around it.

>> around it.

>> also, as you're holding that up, you're pretty steady, but a lot of these videos get very shaky.

>> that's the worst. the roller coaster. i want to help you stabilize it. this is me shooting christopher jitter. i have my arms extended, too far away , not balanced. become a human tripod.

>> you're making me a little nauseous with that video.

>> this is good stable video.

>> i can tell the rockefeller center sign in the background isn't moving.

>> make yourself a human tripod. hold your phone horizontally and hold it stable. out don't extend it and you don't hold it with one hand.

>> use two hands.

>> use two hands. and when you turn, pan.

>> there are also tripods that are fairly inexpensive?

>> yes. you can use one that has its own stand. there's a little shoe here on the top, you can put a microphone or an additional light.