Animation is Acting, Infact, as I see it, its beyond acting. Its more of controlling an actor than being an actor. As they say, An Actor Performs and An Animator Describes. I would say any good acting shot get developed once you have a fantastic acting reference.
I have noticed over the years that students/ artists tend to run away from recording a video reference and try doing things from thr mind. However, I feel any artist or animator can do stuff without recording reference too but given that he has studied the action, performance carefully.
Video Reference is never recorded to copy or do a roto over the video. Its just a part of study to make more believable animation. So, its not very important to record urself, one may try to find out different places to absorb actions and reactions of people.
Some of my top resources for finding out great looking gestures and great moments are listed below:
1. Recording yourself: The best and the foremost resource is to go and stretch yourself, have full size mirrors installed and perform your shot for atleast 20 mins. Just put a camera and start performing. Do loads of retakes until you feel totally comfortable and have forgotten about the camera. After you are done watch all clips and take out the best moments.
2. MovieClips.com : This site is an amazing source of great stuff having mostly clips from all the films. Has capability of searching and sorting by props, mood, theme, actor, director. If you like a clip, i use Internet Download Manager IDM, to download these clips and later convert them to mp4 using Real Player or any other FLV- Mp4 Convertor.
3. Just for Laugh Tv : Though this link takes you to thr channel on Youtube. But this stays one of my biggest resource for getting true reactions and funny pantomime. Filled with loads to superb, fresh ideas, expressions, if you want to get rid of cliche'. Here is an Example:
4. Vault : No web link for this, Long back someone shared this idea of maintaining a personal vault where you put images, videos, audio or what ever that inspires you the most. These collections are invaluable and they can become the place to search when you find nothing online.
5. Other Online Resources: Like Youtube, Vimeo, BBC Motion Gallery, Artanatomy, Etc.
Above are some of the resources that I use. Feel free to add comments, any new resources.