10 Ways to Take a Great Cat Video

Playful cats make for adorable action shots.

By Jessica Remitz | Pet360.com


Looking to get the perfect video of your cat but just can't get it right? All pet owners have been there before, especially when trying to shoot videos of a crazy kitten or a cat that's finally come out of hiding to play. We've asked professional pet videographers Tim Mattson and Cesar Gracia to share their top tips for taking videos of your cat.

1. Make Sure Your Pet is Properly Framed

No matter what kind of video you're looking to take of your cat, you'll want to be sure to frame them properly in the shot, Mattson says. Do this by following the rule of thirds-mentally dividing your frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically to create a reference point of where to place your subject in the shot. Place your cat along one of the third lines, preferably at a point where the lines intersect, and move your camera so that your cat is at the 1/3 or 2/3 line, rather than in the center of the shot.

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2. Keep Your Camera Stationary

Even if you're using a pocket camera like your cell phone or another handheld device, one of the first things to consider, especially if you're new to video, is having a stationary shot, Gracia says. If you're using a video camera, put it on a table or even a tripod if you have one. If you're using your cell phone, Gracia recommends putting it up against a book or something to hold it in place for a more stationary shot.

If you're planning to shoot your pet doing tricks or jumps, Mattson recommends using a tripod or holding your camera as steady as possible. This could also mean purchasing a steadicam or other handheld camcorder rig that will keep it steady, he says.

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3. Be Prepared

Take a little time before you begin shooting your pet to make sure your camcorder or camera batteries are changed, your camera lens is clean and that you have enough space for video to record to your phone's or camcorder's memory card, Mattson says. Being prepared before a shoot will help make sure you get clear, focused video and don't have to stop shooting because of a low battery or storage space issue.

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4. Make Sure You Have Enough Light

Whether you're choosing to shoot your cat out in your front yard or on her favorite perch by the window or near your bed, you'll want to be sure there's enough light to shoot your video. Try to get natural light if possible or turn on a few extra lights to make sure you aren't shooting in a dimly lit room.

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5. Focus on Audio

Even though your pet may not always make much noise, you'll want to make sure the microphone on your camera or phone isn't covered up to muffle the sound in the room. If you're looking for excellent audio, Mattson recommends using a shotgun microphone with your camcorder. A shotgun microphone is an attachment for a video camera that excels at picking up sounds in front of it and is often used when you can't position a microphone directly in front of a sound source.

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6. Grab Your Cat's Attention

Find out what interests your pet the most-be it a treat or toy-and use that to get your cat's attention. Gracia recommends using a shoelace to encourage your pet to chase it for a fun action shot or to help direct your pet to go where you want them to within a shot.

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7. Keep Your Cat in the Frame

If you're using a handheld camera, hold it and the string or toy in the same hand to help frame the shot. Keep the string in the shot to keep your cat interested and always in the shot with the string. If you keep them coming at you, Gracia says, you aren't going to miss any action like them jumping sideways or moving in any other direction after the string.

8. Try a Wide Angle Lens

You can also trying holding your camera and string or toy in different hands for a more wide-angle shot, Gracia says. Just be sure to keep your camera focused on the string or toy because your pet will always be there chasing after it. Shooting with a wide-angle lens can also be an easier way to shoot, Mattson says.

9. Go For the Action Shot

Hold your toy or string high up above your pet's head to encourage them to jump, especially when working with a cat. If you have a high-energy pet, action shots like these can be easier to shoot than still shots and, if you have a nicer camera, Gracia recommends shooting their jumps in slow motion for a priceless shot.

10. Have Fun

Although it can be stressful to try and get the perfect video, remember that capturing a video of your pet should be an enjoyable time for you both to bond and create some memorable moments.