How to Make Your Home Movies Look More Professional

Previously on this blog we looked at common mistakes that those shooting home movies sometimes make. You can check out our tips here and here. But there are a few things you can do to ensure that Bella and Ron’s wedding is on par with A Clockwork Orange. Even Darcie’s 11th birthday party can achieve the same watchability as Saving Private Ryan, so long as you shoot it right.

So today we’re going to check out a few ways to create an absolutely awesome home movie that even your next-door neighbour’s sister’s friend would want to watch.

Prepare and Plan

Planning is absolutely crucial if you want the best movie possible. There are key moments at any event that you’ll want to capture, right? Walking down the aisle and cutting the cake at a wedding, for instance. Or the candles being blown out at that birthday party. So you want to be prepared for those moments ahead of time, getting into position and ready to film first time – the bride’s not going to walk down the aisle twice just because you didn’t manually focus the shot.

Making It Up as You Go

For all that planning, there are some moments you just can’t account for – and you’ll want to remember those too. Uncle Paul dancing like Baloo the Bear may not be on your roster, but you’ll want to be ready to film it in a heartbeat – even if Uncle Paul may wish you hadn’t! Keep your wits about you, and be prepared to capture anything your viewers may want to watch back again and again.

Try a Tripod

Hey, want to induce seasickness in some of your viewers? Then definitely don’t use a tripod. If, on the other hand, you want your audience to enjoy the movie, you’ll want to get one. The tripod will keep your shots steady and visually engaging. Better yet, it’ll give your film a professional polish.

Enlighten the Audience

Lighting is one of those factors that people don’t think they have much control over. And sure, if you’re trying to stop the sun from setting until you’ve got that shot you know will make your movie, you’re probably not going to have much luck. But you can control factors such as where you’re filming – for instance, don’t have natural light coming in from behind the main players, because no-one wants to remember a silhouette which may or may not be Auntie Jan. If you’re filming inside, whack on as many lights as possible, and whip open the curtains.

You Aren’t There

A lot of amateur home movie-makers forget that they’re not the centre of attention. In fact, you shouldn’t be centre of anything, but instead blend in like a wildlife documentary filmmaker. That way you’ll capture real moments, rather than shoving the camera into the face of a now-conscious and inhibited guest.

Insert Shot Here

You know what can be a real drag with home movies. The same long shot capturing absolutely everything for two or three hours. Hey, you’re a movie-maker now, so be creative. Get as many different shots as you can. A long-shot of the birthday girl in front of the cake to set the scene, before a nice close-up of the candles being blown out, followed by reaction shots can really enliven those moments. That goes for angles too. A low-angle shot, followed by a towering overhead can make a home movie far more visually appealing.

Can You Hear Me Now

Sound can be a tricky thing to get right. Some camcorders can go all to hell when there’s too much chatter. But if you have control over the ambient noise, then you should take advantage of that. Lowering the volume of the music, for instance, may make all the difference. Invest in a pair of headphones and hook them up to your camera – that way you’ll know precisely how that sound’s being caught on film.

Once you’ve got your epic movie, it’s time to share it. And what better way than to hold screenings on DVD? That’s where we can help. Whatever format you’ve filmed it on, we can convert it for you. We can even transfer 8mm film to DVD if that’s your bag. To get the scoop on how we can help you, simply contact us on 0800 592 433 and our experienced team of technicians will be delighted to help.

4 Tips for First-Time Filmmakers

It’s difficult to know where to start when making a film, and even more so when you’re a first time film-maker. Should you wait until your perfect story comes along, or just use any old one you have lying around? Should you invest more in cameras or cast? And if you’re low on numbers, are you allowed to hire your mum and your dog? Well, here at Cine2DVD Transfers, we know a few things about filmmaking and so we’ve put together this blog post to put you on your path to winning a Best Director award!

Have a Great Story


Amazing stories have the power of capturing a viewer’s full attention. This means that if you make any mistakes, or are unable to do certain things due to time and budget constraints, your viewers will be forgiving (to a certain extent). Having a solid script will mean that you’ll still have a shot, unless something totally disastrous happens on set. A brilliant screenplay doesn’t have to be written from scratch of course, it’s perfectly acceptable and often a lot quicker to base a screenplay on an already existing story. However, don’t just wait around all your life for that perfect story to come along!

Find a Good Cast


If you have any friends that have ever had a dream to be a famous actor, when they find out that you’re making a film they’ll no doubt be nagging you for a part. Unless you’re friends with someone who’s actually a professional actor, casting your friends is almost certainly an awful idea. It’s difficult to tell a friend that they’re doing something wrong, and unless they’re a trained actor it’s likely that they’ll be making plenty of mistakes. Instead, focus on finding a cast that’ll be able to effectively act out the story you’re telling. Remember that making a film is a serious task.

Work with What You’ve Got

If you only have 10 actors to fill up your credits, it’s unrealistic to write a huge crowd-scene into your film. Unless you’re infinitely rich and have decades to make your movie, you’re going to have limits when making your film that you will have to deal with. Thankfully, you can almost always adapt the film to accommodate what you do have, and leave out what you don’t. Tweak the script, use effects, or even sneak some shots of crowds at events to make your film; after all, being flexible is essential in film making.

Break the Rules


Like all creative pieces of work, breaking the rules is one of the most important rules in filmmaking. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore any and all advice you’re given and do whatever you want, but advice should be treated as a tool in your toolbox that may or may not be useful for a certain film. If you strictly follow the rules then your film will lack originality and innovation. Contrary to how the saying goes: rules are not meant to be broken, but it’s certainly fun to do so!

Here at Cine2DVD Transfers, we specialise in 8mm film to DVD conversions, so if your film calls for some old footage, or you just want to modernise your collection, we can surely help! If you’d like more information, don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 592 433 or email and a member of our team will be happy to help.

Top 3 Classic Films (1950-1970)

Last year, we started looking at some classic films from 1930-1950, and there were some fantastic movies to choose from. In this post, we shall carry on our theme of days gone by, as we look at some of the best films that were released between 1950 and 1970.

Ben-Hur (1959)

Starring the brilliant Charlton Heston, this film tells the story of Judah Ben-Hur, a rich Jewish prince and merchant living in Jerusalem at the beginning of the 1st century. The prince is delighted to hear that his childhood friend Messala has been named as a commanding officer of the Roman garrison of Jerusalem, but upon meeting with him, realises that his friend has changed. Messala punishes his old friend for refusing to divulge to him the names of those who oppose him, by sending him off as a galley slave. But that is not the last the arrogant officer will see of Judah Ben-Hur…

FUN FACT: An infirmary was created specifically for the filming of the chariot race scenes. Thankfully, few injuries were sustained, most of them being sunburn.

Psycho (1960)

This Alfred Hitchcock classic follows the story of Marion Crane, a young woman who has taken off with $40,000 of her employer’s money. In a bid to start a new life for herself, she drives off with the money towards California, stopping over at a motel to rest for the night. Little does she know what a mistake that was when she arrives at Bates Motel, run by a peculiar young man named Norman, who seems to be dominated by his mother…

FUN FACT: After seeing her famous shower scene on screen, actress Janet Leigh was so moved by the vulnerability of a woman in the shower, that she only took baths from then on.

The Graduate (1967)

Starring a very young Dustin Hoffman, The Graduate tells the story of Ben, a recent college graduate. After returning home, he finds himself embroiled in an affair with the wife of his father’s business partner, Mrs Robinson. To complicate things more, he begins to fall in love with Elaine, the daughter of Mrs Robinson.

FUN FACT: The first names of the older characters are never used in the film, increasing the sense of a generation gap.

Here at Cine 2 DVD, we’re passionate about film, whether it’s a Hollywood classic, or your home movie of Christmas 1982. We provide a great service allowing you to transfer your 8mm film to DVD. For more information, contact us today by calling 0800 592 433 to speak to a member of our team.