The way each child sees the world is unique and magical. The ideas they formulate have the capacity to surprise, amuse and provoke thought. Their perspective is constantly changing as they learn and develop. Each idea is a delight, but it’s also fleeting. Over the past ten years, we’ve developed our World According to Kids program as a way of capturing these observations. Many families choose to get us to film their kids in order to document each stage of childhood.
However, having a professional film crew is not the only way to do this. If sufficiently motivated and organized, you could do this yourself at home each year.
What do you need?
- A device with a camera – an iPhone/smart phone is fine.
- Well-rested children – avoid trying this with sleepy and hungry kids…. And definitely not sandwiched ten minutes before football practice or ballet lessons. Find a quiet Sunday afternoon when everyone is suitably relaxed.
- A quiet room with good light – It’s ideal to film in lots of natural light. Not evening with artificial light. Don’t forget to shoot away from the window, not facing it.
How to film
- Rest the camera/phone on something steady like a chair or a table.
- Set the camera the right way around (landscape NOT portrait)
- Compose your shot and make sure you can see them clearly. The eyes should be roughly 1/3 of the way down from the top.
Here are some examples of well-framed and well-lit shots.
- Test your footage. Film a clip for ten seconds and playback the test to make sure you’re happy with the sound and video.
What to ask
It’s best to prep a list of questions in advance – think about what you would like to remember about them and things you can ask them year after year.
Start with some simple questions
- What’s your name?
- How old are you?
- What’s the best thing about mum and dad?
- Where do you live?
- What school do you go to?
- What’s your favourite food in the world? – ice cream
- Then follow with:
What do you prefer ice cream or mum/sibling? Etc.
Capture their interest
- Ask them about things they are interested in (favourite toys, games and books etc.).
- Chatting about favourite things can kick start an interview and help to get children to open up.
Ask the big questions
Don’t be afraid to get on to the more weighty topics…It’s in these areas that kids often have the most interesting ideas.
Think about questions like:
- Do you want to get married?
- What do you want to be when you’re older?
- What is the most important thing in the world to you?
What makes them laugh?
- Ask them to tell you a funny story.
- Get them to describe what makes them smile.
- What’s your favourite joke?
Don’t go on too long
30 minutes is a good amount of time
Back up your footage
Save your video somewhere where it’ll be easy to find.
Make a note when you might want to film them again
Put a note in your calendar to film again in the future. Every 1-2 years is a good interval.