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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 5th, 2008, 02:59 AM   #1
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Is this a first and would you do it?

I've been contacted by a young lady to provide a quote to film the birth of her baby later this year.

I'm not sure how this could be arranged timing wise as even planned births can be early or late. Who knows if i could drop everything and arrive at the hospital in time.

I dont know if there is a partner involved but I'm assuming they're are OK with a complete stranger filming this extremely personal moment, not to mention the hospital and staff. I am not sure I am though, there´s something about it that just seems a bit weird to me.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 03:54 AM   #2
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There has been a docu on tv some time ago about a filmcrew following Belgian mothers to be right into the deliveryroom, so that even went on tv for all to see. There I imagine you had beside the cameraman also a sound guy pointing his boom :)
As it is impossible to give a date/hour she can't expect you to stay prepared when it happens and drop everything you are doing at that moment? What if you are in the middle of an assignment? Think she has to realize that.
If you would accept it add an extra line in your contract that if you don't make it in time to film it that's bad luck for her. But on the other hand if you know that might happen would you feel good if you failed to film that one moment that would be of such big importance to her? I don't think I would accept it and if I did it would be a at high price if I had to guarantuee that someone had to be available to capture that moment.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 06:59 AM   #3
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I would definitely have a line in there about your availability. Babies can come 2-3 weeks early or 2-3 weeks late. It's a planned event... but UNSCHEDULED! 4am or 4pm? Who knows!

Also, labor can last A LONG TIME! 20+ hours?! YIKES! Can you stick around that long AND stay awake?! Get all that stuff situated before it happens!
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Old August 5th, 2008, 02:23 PM   #4
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Personally, I don't think I would be comfortable shooting/editing this. I would definitely have a line in my contract to give you an "out" depending on the timing. Also, how are you going to charge for this? Hourly? I would suggest at least a minimum charge that includes "X" hours of coverage, and then each additional hour is "$X". That way if you have to film for 20 hours you're not getting paid to film 4. Make sure you hourly rate includes more than just shooting time. It should also include editing time for that hour of footage, as well as tape material. You might want to also include a bit extra for food and caffinee and perhaps some tylenol. d;-)
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Old August 5th, 2008, 03:34 PM   #5
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I can't help but think most Hospitals wouldn't want a video camera across their doorstep from a legal point of view. God forbid something goes wrong, does your tape then become evidence of malpractice.....I'd probably give this one a polite wide berth. Why not suggest to her to get a stills camera that takes movie clips as well, then edit them into a montage?
May give her partner something to do in between getting nails dug into his arm?
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Old August 5th, 2008, 03:57 PM   #6
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I let my brother-in-law borrow one of my smaller videocameras and the hospital had no issue with it .. just to throw that out there.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 04:04 PM   #7
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I would suggest bringing a 2nd camera guy to shoot when you are changing tapes, I am sure the couple would not want to miss that moment.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 04:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Noel Lising View Post
I would suggest bringing a 2nd camera guy to shoot when you are changing tapes, I am sure the couple would not want to miss that moment.

Could the sound or lighting guy or maybe one of the runners not handle that?
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Old August 5th, 2008, 08:49 PM   #9
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There is no way I would do this on a professional level. I don't care how much the job paid. I might do it for a friend for free.

Things change the moment you bring the term 'professional videographer' to the table. If I was just doing it for a friend I would just use a home camera. And if I was able to make it.. great. If not, then , o well. We tried.
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Old August 6th, 2008, 10:57 PM   #10
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Don't do it

I've done one of these, a long time ago. ( http://vimeo.com/461439 ) I would never do it again though. It was the biggest pain ever waiting around for that darn baby to be born. I think I charged the couple $500 bucks but that didn't even cover the time I sat at the hospital waiting for the action to start happening.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 03:42 AM   #11
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If it was me, I would suggest to the couple that they spend the money on buying their own camcorder. For a lot less than what they'd have to pay a professional they could film the birth themselves plus have a video camera around to capture all the milestones along the way as the little one grows up.

Just an idea.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 04:26 AM   #12
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If it was me, I would suggest to the couple that they spend the money on buying their own camcorder. For a lot less than what they'd have to pay a professional they could film the birth themselves plus have a video camera around to capture all the milestones along the way as the little one grows up.

Just an idea.
Sounds good to me. They could always book you to give a tutorial on how to use the camera properly and also give them some ideas on how to film the event.

If they still wanted you to film something, perhaps they could call you after the baby is delivered and you could come up to the ward at your convenience to do a pro job on the mother and baby. That way it's much more under your control.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 05:59 AM   #13
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Josh, that was very tasteful and well put together....it didn't go too far and just showed the right amounts of what needed to be seen

Dan, maybe show your client that clip and see what she thinks?
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Old August 7th, 2008, 08:03 AM   #14
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My wife is a certified doula and an apprentice midwife. I've personally watched eleven births - five in a hospital and six at home.

I *might* do this if it was a home birth and only if my wife was the attendant. No way if this is a hospital birth.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 08:37 AM   #15
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I'd LOve to do one! In fact I've begged people to let me (I have shy friends!) but so far no takers.

As far as the logistics...I think you've recieved some great advice already...seems pretty complicated if it's a stranger!

Good luck and let us know what you decide
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