Whether you want to capture your child's birthday party, a wedding or the sites from your summer travels, making a home video is one of the most popular ways of preserving the memories.
Nearly 54 percent of Americans own a camcorder, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. As digital video cameras have become increasingly popular and much more affordable - average prices have decreased about a third in the last several years - many people are taking the magic of home videos one step further by doing their own editing and adding special effects and music.
Here are some tips to help bring out the Hollywood director in you the next time you turn on your camcorder.
* Be prepared. Learn as much as you can about your camera before shooting footage. Familiarize yourself with its zooming capabilities and other features. Also, don't forget to charge the battery and have a spare one handy.
* Practice makes perfect. Take some practice footage with your camera using different features. This is the best way to learn the ins and outs of your camera.
* Focus on the stars. Most of us go to the movie theater to see our favorite actors in action, right? Remember: It's the people, not the places, who will keep you coming back to watch home videos 10 years from now.
* Cut and polish. Once you've captured the footage, the real fun begins. With the help of easy-to-use video-editing software, you can make home movies that the whole family will enjoy.
Ever wonder how to add music, create transitions from one scene to another and remove dead footage? Adobe Premiere Elements is a favorite among amateur videographers for editing their videos, adding music, splicing in still images, creating slide shows, and even adding bits of old home movies to a new video.
The software is an all-in-one home-video studio. With a little practice, you can add fun effects as well as Hollywood-style
titles and credits, and burn your own DVDs or save your home movie to a Web format and post it online for your friends and family to download.