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Filming Kids' Events

If you’re anything like us, you dutifully record your kids’ big events. Soccer games, recitals, school plays, science fairs, Scouting awards—you know what I mean. You find a good spot in the audience, whip out the phone or video camera, and press record.

Then what? Well, again, if you’re like us, nothing, that’s what. Maybe you show part to your child afterwards, maybe you upload it or parts of it, but let’s be honest; how many hours of unwatched events are hanging around your hard drive?

Because here’s the thing. Your kids are terrific—miracles, wonders of nature, really—but come on, an entire soccer game? A whole school play in which your child has only one line? Those things can be hard enough to watch once (admit it!) let alone again. If you and your family have an hour of free time together, are you going to pop some popcorn, settle into the TV room, and watch the entire grade-school spring music concert? Right. Neither are we.

So let’s free ourselves from the point-and-shaky-shoot-for-a-whole-hour thing. Here are some tips for filming kids’ events:

1: Brace yourself. Hold the camera against your body to minimize shaky frames. Or invest in an inexpensive (but priceless!) stand. Try a gorillapod, which you can wrap around the branch of a tree or the back or a folding chair.

2: Be picky. What's the most interesting part? Your kid's appearance, of course. But if you familiarize yourself with the event beforehand, you can make some educated guesses about when the interesting stuff will take place. In a sporting event, maybe it's the team huddle, the coin toss, the high-fives at the end. In a play, find out when the action scenes or best songs take place. For a telent show, pick a few acts to record. Just get the highlights.

3: Shhh. Let the action unfold. Don't narrate. If it's not interesting enough to stand on its own, is it really interesting enough to film? There's nothing worse than haveing voice-over narration interrupt important parts of the scene.

4: Wrap it up. Include an interview or two. How does your child feel about this event? Is he nervous? Did she have fun? Ask Grandma, on-camera, what her favorite parts were. Those moments may turn out to be the biggest treasure of all.



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