So you've just came back from that perfect vacation and you are excited to relive it again and again through the videos that you took? How would you feel if your videos were lousy? There's nothing worse then taking the perfect vacation, and then having a very imperfect recording of it! Read on for a few suggestions on how you can shoot high quality vacation videos. SOUND Built-in camera microphones tend to pick up every sound around them. Your ears are more directional than these microphones, meaning that you can pick out someone’s voice in a crowd. Your camera microphone cannot do this. It will only hear the crowd. If you want to pick out a particular sound, whether it is someone’s voice, a car, some music in a parade etc., you need to get physically close the subject. The reverse happens when you get in close – the camera picks up the sound of your subject and tends to cancel out all the surrounding noise. WALKING WITH YOUR CAMERA If you have to walk with your camera in the record mode because your subject is moving and you are following it, or you’re with a walking tour and you can’t stop, then use your zoom lever to zoom out to your widest setting. This will reduce the appearance of camera shake that is transmitted through your hand to the camera. When you zoom in close to your subject the high zoom setting not only magnifies your subject in the frame, but also magnifies any shaky hand movements. Also, try rocking from the heel of your foot to your toes as you walk in a kind of arc shape, rather than just jolting each foot down on the ground. This all provides for smooth movement. PANNING AND TILTING “Panning” is when you move your camera from left to right, as in a panoramic shot of the horizon. “Tilting” is the up and down motion of the camera, as in shooting a building from the tip all the way down to the foundation. When you pan or tilt your camera there is a tendency to go too fast which results in motion sickness for your viewers. As a general rule, move your camera about one-third to one-half of the speed you think you should. Always have a starting and finishing point for your pan or tilt. ADDITIONAL TIPS Try to keep all your movements smooth by moving slower than you think you should. Pre-think your shots if you can and shoot with purpose. Shoot more footage than you need and then edit it later on your computer. Think about your viewer and what you want to actually show them in each shot. It may be a race car or birds in a park. If you’re shooting a building, also video tape some of the birds that rest on it or some of the people who walk by it. Why not interview your tour guide on tape? With some practice you may even notice yourself getting creative.