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video-taping-kidsSchool Day Memories

There is nothing like the first day of school to define the word "bittersweet." It's great to see your little one enter a new, hopefully happy, phase that will change his life forever. On the other hand, it can be hard and even scary to say goodbye. Once he goes through those doors, you can't micromanage every part of his world anymore. Save this momentous occasion for posterity by creating a first day of school video he'll treasure for years to come.

School Photos and Videos

You can opt for the traditional shaky, hand-held camera footage of your kindergartner climbing on the bus, or you can make something truly special and memorable with a little planning and forethought. This idea will help you create a first day of school video that truly captures you little one's excitement, worries and character.

Back to School Interview: Create a documentary style video by combining footage filmed at home with scenes from the big day. Sit your child down in a comfortable chair and ask her the following questions:

  • Where are you going today?
  • What are you most excited about?
  • What are you least excited about?
  • What do you think you will learn?
  • What do you think your teacher will be like?

Let your child answer candidly. After the interview, take the normal first day of school pictures and videos. After school, do a follow up interview by asking these questions:

  • What did you do in class?
  • Did you know anyone in your class?
  • Who do you think will be your friend?
  • What was your teacher like?
  • What was the best part of the day?

Use computer software to edit the scenes together. There are even websites that will allow you to combine and edit simple movie clips. You could make the interview an annual tradition and keep them all on one disk.

Filming the First Day of School

Keep in mind that some schools do not allow video cameras on the premises without written permission from the principal. Find out in advance if you need to make any special arrangements to film your student. Once you get the green light, keep these filming tips in mind:

  • Use a tripod when possible. Hand-held shots are difficult to keep steady, even with cameras that feature anti-vibration features. Even bracing your arms on a desk or chair will improve your film.
  • Pay attention to lighting. Shooting outdoors on a sunny day is the best bet. Otherwise try to film near a window with the sun at your back. This will help light your subjects and prevent dark shadows.
  • Most home video recorders don't have very good microphones. The chaos of the first day of kindergarten can be too much. Consider editing the footage with a cheerful or meaningful song beneath the images rather than the raw sound.
  • Remember that your child's first experience with school is more about her feeling comfortable than you getting a good shot. If she needs you, put the camera down or consider bringing along a spouse of friend to film so you can focus on your child.
  • Get shots of things besides your child. Wide shots of the school, busses, and busy kids milling around will set the scene.

A video of the first day of school will become a lasting keepsake for you and your child. Just remember to make the day about the kids. Put your diva director persona aside and enjoy this special moment.

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