Lights, Camera, Baby!
We’ve all sat through bad baby videos. The poor lighting, shakiness, and choppy sound -- UGH! That’s no way to welcome a new bundle of joy into the world. Whether you’ve decided to film the birth or capture your tike’s first
words crazy sounds at home, here are 5 shooting tips to make your home videos enjoyable, memorable, and fun!
1. Know your lighting. As with still photography, your subject is only as good as the light. Mixed indoor fixtures (fluorescent + incandescent + halogen + LED) create the most bizarre colors on video. Try as often as possible to shoot near a window with clean natural light. When shooting outside, avoid the harsh mid-afternoon sun. The most natural illumination comes in the morning after daybreak and in the afternoon just before the sun goes down. This light is truly magical.
2. Get down with the action! Capturing dynamic baby video often means positioning the camera at the baby’s level. Take a knee beside the crib. Get down on your stomach and record your little guy crawling to or away from you. By keeping the camera at the “baby level” you’ll wow your audiences from an amazing perspective.
3. Rock steady, Freddy. As camcorders get smaller and smaller, there’s a tendency for lots of one-handed shooting. This leads to camera shake and motion sickness for your viewers. Consider using a light tripod or Gorillapod to keep things stable. Even when a tripod isn’t available, there are plenty ways to steady your shots. Start by always trying to keep two hands on the camcorder. Leaning against a support structure like a doorframe or the edge of the crib can help, too. Recording your daughter’s first attempt with solid food? Support your shot by placing your elbows on the kitchen or dining table and forming a human bi-pod.
4. It’s about the sites AND SOUNDS. Your camera’s built-in microphone is okay, but for optimum recording of baby’s first words, laughter, and other audibles you’ll want an external mic. If your camcorder has an external mic jack, try an Azden SMX-10 Stereo Mic. It’s light, inexpensive, and easy to set up. If you can’t use an external mic, try getting the camera closer to the baby. By minimizing the distance between your little one and the on-board mic, all the coos and giggles will sound richer and fuller.
5. Always keep your camera at the ready. There’s always a lot of debate about what’s the best type camera to buy. Whether you choose a simple shoot and share like the Kodak Zi8 or a more full-featured prosumer cam like the Canon VIXIA HF S21, the best camera is the one that you have with you.
Got a tip for shooting baby video? Share it with us below.
David Flores is a photographer and filmmaker based in New York City.