I used to work in TV news, so I use techiques learned there, like your 10 second rule, etc. However, in taking video of my son (just finished kindergarten), I find it hard to figure out when to turn the camera on and off for the 10 seconds due to the unpredictable nature of what he (or others around him) may do. I may miss the best stuff! Any tips on how to minimize footage and reviewing time while maximizing good stuff?
–Kirsten in Tallahasee
Knowing when to turn the video camera off is tough– especially when you’re the parent of the cutest child in the world. But if you shoot everything out of fear of missing something, you’ll end up documenting your son’s life in real time. Which means you’ll need another full lifetime to watch it.
Changing this behavior requires tough practice, especially for parents of young kids, but here’s what you have to do: Put the camera down and observe more with your eyes. If you try it, two interesting things will happen.
First, by watching your son and his friends more carefully you’ll develop an almost psychic sense of when something cute may happen, and you’ll end up catching more on video than you expect.
Second, even if you miss shooting some stuff, you’ll see it instead. For real, instead of through a little electronic screen. And memories of real life are worth a lot. Get comfortable that there will be many, many cute things to shoot in your son’s life, and sometimes things just happen without anyone documenting them.
Can’t do it? When you find yourself overshooting you must edit before you inflict this video on anyone else. Editing in this case simply means loading your video into the computer and chopping out all the boring parts. If you have trouble seeing what could possibly be “boring” about your son, imagine that this video is of someone else’s kid doing the exact same thing. Now hack away.
Keep your edited video down around 2 minutes (not a rule, just the likely tolerance cutoff for, say, your mother). Maybe add a little music. You’ll have a nicely put together video.
Bonus: Having to edit your own footage also develops your “knowing what not to shoot” muscles. You’ll naturally put the camera down more, knowing how much work it is to cut it later.
Thanks for the great question, Kirsten.
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