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Digital Video 101

The Toshiba Camileo BW10 shoots HD video even underwater.

Photo: Courtesy of Toshiba America

Step 1: Before you even leave the house, decide on simple story lines for your videos (say, food in Italy or wildlife in Australia). It’ll leave you with less footage to pore over later, and turn out compelling movies.

Step 2: Variety is the spice of a vacation video. Get establishing shots to show viewers where you are, as well as plenty of close-ups. Shoot a single subject from multiple angles. And keep your recording time short—15 seconds tops. Longer scenes tend to be boring and can be time-consuming to edit.

Step 3: Don’t zoom: it can cause nausea. The same goes for shaky footage. The good news is that many camcorders now have anti-shake technology. But to be sure, position your camcorder on a ledge or lean against a wall to keep a steady hand.

Step 4: Edit your movie while the memories are fresh. Thanks to built-in editing modes on most camcorders—not to mention mobile versions of programs (iMovie for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad; VidTrim and Clesh for Android)—it’s easy to make short films ready for YouTube and Facebook in as little as five minutes.

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