Pet Home Videos 101

Reptile owners are typically lucky when it comes to taking great pet home videos. Snakes are impressive, and many of them move slowly. Similarly, taking a video clip of an iguana can make a statement without being crazy-making. Feline and canine owners often find that a home video session can turn into a game of tag or hide-and-go-seek in a heartbeat. It is important to think one step ahead of your pet before taking home videos that have a “wow” factor. After all, you are the human, right?

Get Your Pet Used to the Camera

Some pets have stage fright. Everything can be great until you whip out the camera with the little red light on it, and a chase can ensue. Have your camera around, and get your pet used to the idea of it being there before trying to videotape an exceptionally cute or cool trick. Be patient. Some pets could care less, and others can have a minor freak out by nature. Feed your pet treats when he gets close to the camera to create a positive association with the handheld flashing, beeping box.

Have an Idea of What You Want to Shoot and Why

• Are you going for cute?
• Are you going for cool?
• Are you going for funny?
• Are you going for outrageous?

Figure out the theme of what you want, and set the stage accordingly. If you want to show the world how your boa can crush a mouse, you might want to skip any cute intros. Conversely, dressing your dog up in a hat and some sunglasses can make a boring video catch on. One of the best ways to come up with creative themes is to get your kids involved. Kids tend to have an almost endless imagination for just about anything, and getting the family pet ready for his or her time in the spotlight can be pretty exciting.

Play Off Your Pet’s Strong Points

Some cats love to cuddle, and others snub their noses at the idea. Similarly, some dogs are more like grumpy old men than bouncing puppies. Capture your pet’s personality instead of trying to force your pet to do something that doesn’t fit his MO. However, there is nothing cuter than a small kitten sleeping in a laundry basket. You have to admit it and move on.

Think About Adequate (Not Optimal) Video Quality

Setting up too many lights can prompt your pet to have a dog in the headlights look. You want the quality of your videos to be good enough for others to see, but you don’t want it to be too crisp if you want to share it online. When in doubt, have a video that is a little too good and shave down the file size before posting. More often than not, natural light can be your best friend. Open some windows for indoor shoots, or let your pet roam around the yard in the day time. Nighttime videos can be tricky, but they can work with a little bit of practice.

And… Action!

Some of the best pet videos are barely scripted. Take as much video as you want, and keep the best parts. Few people want to see a three-hour documentary on your pet’s afternoon. Keep the good stuff, and have a good time filming.

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