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March Break means for some of us its time to time to kick back and relax, and spend time with the family. If your are lucky few spending time with the your kids can be great, and may want to capture those moments on camera to share with others. Well instead of just sharing the same old videos , why not take this opportunity to create a short documentary. Here are some of my tips for making a great documentary with your kids.

Shooting Tips

Shooting wide keeps you image more steady. The more you Zoom in the harder it is to keep the image steady.  Pretending that the zoom feature does not work, this will force you to move around and develop skills that better replicate the natural way of seeing.  The human eye does not have a zoom feature, contrary to popular belief. If you need to get closer to the action, then move the camera closer to the subject. This better replicates how we interact with another naturally.

Panning and Tilting the camera is often used to display to others what is goin on in the scene. However, try to avoid the urge to whip the camera around unless you are trying to create the sense of urgency. Instead pretend the camera is a human head, you would not want to spin or tilt your head that fast? by doing this it better creates the fluid movement naturally giving a better documentary look.


Tripods are great for when working with full feature films or dramas. But in the case of documentary they may become a hinder, especially when working with kids. Children are often running around doing something. By not using the tripod you can portray a the excitement in the children’s emotions as you try to keep up with them. For instance if they are getting ready for dress up time and maybe putting together a short play. You would loose much of what is going fiddling around with a tripod. Documentary is a great genere to loose the tripod, not only will be able to keep up with the action, but you will avoid putting the audience to sleep. If you want to keep from getting tired maybe invest in a small shoulder brace.


Editing Tips

When editing your documentary together try not to get hung up on sequence order of the day, instead look at the inner story, This is often refereed to as re-structuring.  For instance if the kids spent time getting dressed up in the morning, but made better comments about their outfits and the end of the day while undressing… it may be a better idea to include those in the beginning of the documentary. By dwelling deeper for the story you can better engage your audience.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.


Using Photos from the day is a great way to integrate other things you may have missed.  You can introduce several photos while having the kids dialogue underneath discussing there day’s event. Just remember not to do this often, as this will for sure put the audience to sleep. There is nothing worse than turning all your hard work into a slideshow. If used sparingly, you can use this technique as a great  transition between scenes.

Finally while while putting together your doc, don’t forget its all about fun. There really is no real rules about it. It is gorilla film making at it’s best. These moments your have with kids are short lived… before they leave the nest into the world, and what better way to capture their moments than in a documentary about them.

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