You've waited so long to hear your baby's first cry, to hold your baby in your arms, and count their tiny fingers and toes. Your baby's birth is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Many parents choose to record the event so they have a treasured keepsake of the day your baby is born. But making a baby birth video during labor and delivery can be tricky and might even take your attention away from the main event.
Some people ask a family member or friend to film their baby's birth, and others hire a professional videographer to capture footage. Here are a few things to know and tips on how to prepare before recording your labor and delivery.
3 Things to Know About Making a Birth Video
In most cases, you don't want to walk into labor and delivery and plan to use your cell phone to record the event. There are some key considerations to take into account before the big day.
Get Consent for Your Baby Delivery Video
If you're planning on giving birth at a hospital or birthing center, ask your healthcare provider about what policies the medical facility has in place regarding video recording. Many hospitals do not allow video recording, though they do allow photography.
If the facility you plan on giving birth in allows video recording, you will need consent (permission) from everyone in the labor and delivery room before you begin recording. Consent from all recorded parties, including doctors, nurses, and midwives, is often required by hospitals.
Once you have consent from your healthcare providers, take care to avoid filming any other patients or staff who have not consented to being recorded. Some facilities will have certain requirements, such as restrictions on where you can set up your equipment so it doesn't get in the way as your healthcare providers are working.
Choose a Birth Videographer
If you live in a metropolitan area, you may have several videographers to choose from when considering as you look for right person to film your childbirth. Read reviews online, and reach out to videograpers to ask them questions about their process to ensure they are the right fit for you. This person will be invited into an emotional, intimate moment if your life and it is important you feel comfortable with them.
For people who live in more rural areas, you may want to reach out to local birth photographers to ask if they offer birth videography services in addition to photos. Your doctor, midwife, hospital, or birthing center may have recommendations if you're not sure who to hire.
If you don't have the budget for a professional videographer, consider asking a trusted family member or friend to video record for you. While your partner may seem like the obvious choice, you may want to find someone else to do the recording. Your partner will likely take a more active role as your support person while you are in labor, so a different person with the specific job of video recording is the best way to ensure you get the footage you want.
Consider Which Moments You Want Filmed
When you're in labor and giving birth, you won't be in the frame of mind to play director for a day. Talk with your videographer or family member/friend before you go into labor about what shots you want to be included in the video recording, and which moments you'd rather the camera be turned off.
For example, you may want to capture footage of:
- You and your partner spending time together as you labor and prepare for your baby's birth.
- Baby's head crowning as they enter the world. Consider whether you want this from the birthing parent's point-of-view (with the camera above your head), or the delivering provider's point-of-view (with the camera at your feet).
- You and/your partner's reactions the moment your baby is born.
- Baby's first cries.
- The moment the umbilical cord is cut and baby is placed on your chest.
- Baby getting weighed and examined by hospital staff.
- The quiet moments after birth as you and your partner dote over your new family member.
- Family members and friends meeting the baby.
It's important to ensure that recordings are only taken of the moments (and body parts) you feel comfortable being on film. For example, consider if you would feel more comfortable avoiding video footage of your body from the waist-down.
More Tips for Recording Your Baby's Birth
If you're working with a videographer, they'll ask you many questions about the type of footage you want and the camera angles you are most comfortable with. They'll also come with their own equipment, so you won't need to worry about making room in your hospital bag for the video equipment.
If a family member or friend will be recording for you, here are some tips on how to create a memorable childbirth film:
- Test your recording equipment ahead of time. Ensure there is enough space on the memory card or the phone to capture hours of footage, that recordings can be replayed, and the audio works as it should.
- Bring backup batteries and/or a charger. You don't want your recording device's battery to die moments before your baby takes their first breath.
- Use a tripod when possible. The birth of a child is an emotional moment, and shaky hands may make the video footage difficult to watch. A tripod will help keep the camera steady so your footage is clear and easy to view.
- Avoid excessive panning and tilting. This can make the footage blurry, or dizzying to watch.
- Variation is key. Childbirth can sometimes be a long process. Rather than keeping the camera fixated on one specific area, capture the look on the birthing parent's face as they push, shots of the expectant parents holding hands, the baby's isolette (bed), etc…
For more tips, visit the extensive filming glossary and video editing instructions at Media College.
How to Edit Raw Footage to Make a Beautiful Video
Labor and delivery can last for several hours, so you may want to edit the footage down to create a shorter video that includes the most important moments. Here are some editing tips for creating a special childbirth video:
- Download an editing software program onto your computer, such as Adobe's Premiere Pro or Apple's Final Cut Pro.
- Edit the raw footage by cutting out shots you don't want to include in your final video.
- Choose small segments of footage, ranging in length from 20 to 40 seconds, for each clip you want to include in your final version. The delivery of your baby itself may be much longer than 40 seconds, and whether you include the entire delivery rather than just a short snippet is up to you.
- Splice (join) the small segments of video together. You may want to add transitions in between segments, which convey the passage of time and smoothly connect one shot to the next. Examples of video transitions include the dissolve,fade in, fade out, split-cuts, and more.
- End the edited video with a few short video clips or photographs of your baby, you and your partner holding the baby, your older children meeting their new sibling, and other family and friends with your new addition.
- Add background music to the video. The music should fit the "mood" of the video and can be a specific song you have in mind or instrumental music. Not sure what song to use? You may find something you like on this labor and delivery playlist from Lamaze International.
Once your video editing is done, you'll want to decide if you want to share your keepsake with others. The birth of your baby will no doubt be one of the most memorable moments of your life. Even when you want to remember every detail, memories fade over time. By creating a childbirth video, you'll have documentation of the day your baby joined your family that you can cherish for many years to come.