Top tips for filming family days out

There’s nothing better than a spring jaunt in the great outdoors to bring the whole family together. Whether it’s that special Mother’s Day outing or an exciting Easter trip to remember, family days out can provide the perfect opportunity to capture some precious moments on film, to cherish forever.

Children with ice-cream on the beach at Studland, Dorset

But long car journeys, unpredictable weather, and you stuck behind the camera don’t always make for the best family video. To get you on the right track we’ve put together some top tips for filming family days out.

1. Be creative – Make your videos look more fun by using creative effects and filming modes. If you’re going on a long car journey, ask the person in the passenger seat to film the view of the road and fast forward this into a timelapse. You can also switch to black and white mode to make it look like a silent movie and get the kids to do their best mime artist impression.
Child in the exhibition room at Corfe Castle, Dorset

2. Level up – It can often be difficult to keep the shot level when you’re filming on a small camcorder. Look out for camcorders that offer a ‘Level Shot’ function. The camcorder will detect and correct tilting so that the horizon is always straight. This way, if you’re filming a family day out at the seaside or a beautiful sunset the shot won’t be wonky.

3. Star in your own movie – If you’re behind the camera, it often means that you don’t appear much in your family videos. A great way to make sure you get a starring role is to use a camcorder that can be controlled remotely using a Smartphone. For example, with the new Panasonic V520 you can position the camcorder in a corner, join in on the family fun and click record using your Smartphone. You can also zoom in and out, check the sound levels and watch the live image all on your phone.

4. Share the fun – If there’s a family member that can’t join you on your day out but you don’t want them to miss out on the fun, opt for a camcorder with real-time broadcasting. This function lets you stream live images via Ustream to anyone around the world with an internet connection. So if someone is stuck at work or lives on the other side of the world, they can still be part of the little ones’ precious moments.
Children running at Corfe Castle, Dorset

If you’re stuck for ideas on where to go for family fun, here are the National Trust’s top days out for families.

Belton House, Lincolnshire

Uncover the glitz, glamour and wealth of the 17th century. Find the Victorian-themed activity room and get dressed up. Outside, swing and slide your way around the mega-sized adventure playground. There’s also the Discovery Centre in the Stableyard complete with hands-on family activities.

Rain: Dress up in Victorian clothing.

Shine: Enjoy miniature train rides in the summer months.

Lydford Gorge, Devon

Follow the walks through different sections of the gorge, see the breathtaking White Lady Waterfall, pass over the tumbling water at Tunnel Falls and watch the river bubble as you ‘walk the plank’ over the Devil’s Cauldron.

Rain: Watch woodland birds from the bird hide.

Shine: Spot butterflies, dragonflies and dazzling damselflies as well as creepy bugs and beetles.

Family enjoying exploring Corfe Castle, Dorset

Corfe Castle, Dorset

Enid Blyton fans may get a strange sense of feeling that you know the place well, as this ruin featured in the Famous Five. From spooky ruins and grisly dungeons, to medieval loos and murder holes – there’s loads to explore.

Rain: Find out which English king was the first to wear a dressing gown or play with all the interactive displays.

Shine: Have a Famous Five picnic.

Sudbury Museum of Childhood, Derbyshire

Sudbury is a late 17th century house celebrating everything from outdoor adventure to stories and imagination. Younger visitors can try fun activity sheets and garden trails as well as see a colourful garden made entirely out of plasticine.

Rain: Experience life ‘below stairs’ on the Meet the Butler tour.

Shine: Picnic on the meadow as the swans swim by.

Wimpole Home Farm, Cambridgeshire

This is a farm that invites you to look, touch and even feed its animals. Hidden among the trees, the adventure playground is perfect for those who love to climb, slide, scramble and swing, while tiny tots can enjoy their own play.

Rain: Find out how the Farm Manager manages a modern farm.

Shine: Watch the Jersey cow on the milking machine and join in grooming the donkeys.

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