Stef and Hannah Michalak describe themselves as 'a family from Bath that make videos'. The couple record intimate moments of their journey through parenting in a series of cinematic videos that have clearly struck a chord – since joining YouTube in 2012, The Michalaks' weekly vlogs have attracted 276,000 subscribers, and amassed more than 43 million views.
While the videos give an authentic, spontaneous impression of their life, they are the result of careful planning, shooting and editing – a process that Stef has perfected through trial and error, and years of practice.
For Stef and Hannah, the hard work has been worth it. Not just because they've found success as YouTubers, but because they have a library of beautiful videos that they'll be able to look back on in years to come. As Stef says, "It really is worth putting a little bit of effort into it, because you won't be able to put a price on that video's value to your family. You're never going to look back 20 years later and think, I really regret that day when we took all that footage and made that beautiful video. And the reason we use videos for capturing memories, rather than photos, is that nothing can bring you back to the moment like video can".
The Michalaks started out with a simple compact camera, and while they have since added professional cameras to their kitbag, their main vlogging camera for capturing life's little moments is the Canon EOS M50, a great all-round mirrorless camera that packs 24.1 megapixel photo capabilities and 4K Ultra High Definition video technology into a compact body.
"You need a camera like the Canon EOS M50 to be your little go-to workhorse, and it's so simple to use: turn it on, set it to movie mode, maybe spend a couple of seconds making adjustments in the menus, and that's it, you're ready to go," reveals Stef.
Find out how Stef got on as he shoots a film about his youngest son learning to ride a bike – and offers some tips for how to take your first steps in video.
If you're more comfortable shooting photos than video, don't be afraid to make the switch. You can put all of your photography composition skills to good use when shooting video. "I think it's important to approach a shot as if it could be a photograph," says Stef. "Essentially you've got this tiny window looking out onto this huge view and it's all about where you place that window to perfectly capture that scene. Sometimes it's a case of taking a step to the left or right, or moving the camera down or up to improve the composition and draw the viewer towards the subject."
"People tend to hold the camera at eye level, but it's important to try different angles," he adds. "When you're filming children, for example, it's important to get the camera down to their level. The majority of the time, I'm either squatting, sitting or lying down. The handy thing about the Canon EOS M50 is that it has a Vari-Angle touchscreen, so you can hold the camera at a low level and simply tilt up the screen to monitor what you're recording. I'd also recommend activating the grid lines display to help frame your shot."
The Canon Camera Connect app, which connects your camera to your iOS or Android device, is also useful for capturing footage from unusual angles, because it enables you to adjust focus while you're filming without touching the camera.