Home Movies: 5 Tips for Filming Kids Birthday Parties

Filming home movies of a kiddie birthday party is almost as stressful as planning the party itself. Oftentimes, the finished product is a shaky and unwatchable hour-long footage of a lot of running around and incoherent conversation. If you want a home movie that you can be proud of, and one that your kids will someday love to show to kids of their own, keep these tips in mind.

1. Plan It

It's hard to plan shooting a home movie of a kiddie birthday party. With so many things to consider, and so many kids running around, it's not as if you can set up scenes to your liking. More often than not, you'll be at the mercy of the moment. Despite this, a little planning will help you come up with professional-looking shots. Know which scenes you want to capture - the arrival of the guests, the party games and more. Also, know where you will position your camera during the key highlights of the event, like the candle blowing.

2. Stay Steady

The most annoying thing about home movies is the dizzying wishy-washy nature. Often, amateur camerawork is shown through its shaky framing and constant panning. Instead of trying to catch all the actions at the same time by constantly moving your camera about, commit to a certain shot. Decide which action you want to capture, and stick to it. Refrain from constantly moving about and zooming in and out.

3. Create Close Ups

You shouldn't constantly zoom in and out, but you do have to zoom in at times. Close ups and tight shots should be given to interesting subjects. Staying at a wide angle will only clutter up your screen, and distract your viewers from the focus of the shot. Do zoom in to facial reactions and to details. This will make your home movie more interesting. For instance, zoom in on the birthday boy's face as he is blowing out the candles, and take some close up shots of the reactions of the guests.

4. Create Cutaways

Amateur videographers and home movie makers might not be familiar with this term, but this is what will save your final product from jarring jump cuts. Cutaways are basically shots of an action taken from a different angle.  This can be used in the final edit to trim down the action, or to make the sequence more interesting. If you're taking a shot of the party games, you may want to take close ups of the party favors, or alternate between a top shot of the whole party and close ups of kids playing.

5. Hand Over the Camera

If you're not strictly the designated camera guy, don't be afraid to let someone take over the filmmaking reigns. This might prove to be interesting in the end. You might want to ask a kid to handle the camera, and see a different point of view. Or, you might ask grandpa to try and take some shots and hear his funny commentary. A good upside to this also is you get to be in the shot. Having someone else do the camerawork for variety will make your home video more interesting and dynamic. 

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