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Birth Video

Mother and Child

An interesting type of home video is the childbirth video. A tricky subject at the best of times, birth videos can be difficult, awkward or even controversial.

Whereas some people think it is important to record this momentous event, others may be uncomfortable with the idea or openly opposed.

Clearly, the key issue with birth videos is sensitivity. You must be very aware of how everyone concerned is likely to feel, both now and in the future.

Some general guidelines and suggestions follow...

Involve People

Make a note of everyone who is likely to be affected by the video. This includes parents, siblings, other family members, birthing attendants (midwife, doctor), and anyone else you can think of. Make sure they are all comfortable with the proposed video.

The Audience

Who will see the video? Is it just for immediate family members or are you planning on sharing it with a wider audience?

Before the birth, try talking to the prospective audience. Ask them if they are actually interested in seeing the video, and if so, what sort of things they like to see (and not see).

Obviously you will want to shoot/edit the video to suit the audience. You could also edit more than one version, for example, a longer and more detailed video for the parents and a more discreet highlight package for the extended family.

If people from other cultures are going to see the video, be aware of any related cultural issues.

How explicit should the video be?

Do the family want all the birth details captured on tape like a nature documentary, or would they prefer a more subtle approach like a Hollywood movie? Make sure you know exactly what you can and can't shoot, and plan how you will fill any gaps.

The Camera Operator

Father with Twins

Who will shoot the video? The father is often the first choice, and may be the most practical option simply because he is available and least likely to cause the mother to feel uncomfortable. However, depending on the parent's philosophy, the father will probably be involved in the birth process to some extent. Once things start happening the father may find himself too wrapped up in the birth to concentrate on the video.

If you can find someone else to shoot the video, and everyone is happy with this, it might be safer.

And finally...

Remember that the birth itself is what matters. Don't let the video production get in the way.