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February 13, 2002
8:18 AM   Subscribe

Children's lives insufficiently documented. Video-shunning parent ostracized, jailed. I agree with this parent. Constantly taping your child, it does sometimes feel as if you're sacrificing actually being in the moment to capturing the moment, and this during some of the best "moments" of your child's life. If my understanding of old age is correct, however, memories are all you have. So I'm trying to nail me some shit down, for rocking chair days.
posted by luser (23 comments total)

 
Fixed link: Don't say "cheese"
posted by riffola at 8:23 AM on February 13, 2002


from the (oddly minimalistic) link: The other day I told a friend how Elias, my 3-year-old son, shimmies into his pink-sequined evening gown, slips his feet into his high-heeled silver shoes with the pink fluff on them, then clacks around the house like a tiny diva.

:: blink ::

:: blink ::

what?!?
posted by grabbingsand at 8:24 AM on February 13, 2002


shortest. post. ever.

that article...the guy is too self-aware. He needs to buy some disposable cameras and click away when he can so he doesn't have to ruin the moment. i'm a photo addict though, but i don't care if every shot comes out perfect. Some blurry shot of my thumb as the candid shot i wanted fades into action is still a moment and memories captured for however long the picture lasts.

I had this ex-girlfriend...her 3 year old son had a pair of pink sequined pumps. *shrug*

this comment brought to you by kodak
posted by th3ph17 at 8:26 AM on February 13, 2002


Actually luser posted this:
Children's lives insufficiently documented. Video-shunning parent ostracized, jailed. I agree with this parent. Constantly taping your child, it does sometimes feel as if you're sacrificing actually being in the moment to capturing the moment, and this during some of the best "moments" of your child's life. If my understanding of old age is correct, however, memories are all you have. So I'm trying to nail me some shit down, for rocking chair days.
posted by riffola at 8:27 AM on February 13, 2002


th3ph17: How'd you know?
posted by luser at 8:31 AM on February 13, 2002


Er, riffola, I mean. This thread is 100% cursed for me.
posted by luser at 8:36 AM on February 13, 2002


look at the source of the page and you can see all the post, it's just some of the < or> that must be screwed up
posted by ajbattrick at 8:38 AM on February 13, 2002


my dad is 67 and his daily question is "How did we get here?" with a confused and dazed look. Not everyone has memories during the rocking chair days, i think documenting is a good thing and taking pictures is easy, just don't let it get in the way of life.

video....video is evil. video cameras should only record 15-20 seconds at a time by default. I shot my little sisters wedding years ago...did short pans, tiny snippets here and there. Finished thing, unedited, was under 6 minutes long. Finally a wedding video people actually liked and watched.

luser...deep breaths. take deep breaths. its all good.
posted by th3ph17 at 8:38 AM on February 13, 2002


The quotes in the main link are messed up, although it's weird because the link is the first thing in the post.
posted by riffola at 8:46 AM on February 13, 2002


th3ph17, that's one approach. Personally, I record the whole damn thing as tastefully as I can, then point it towards iMovie and edit it down.

It's better to crop footage than not have enough to work with. And I'm speaking as someone who makes a lot of 30 second movies.
posted by jragon at 9:32 AM on February 13, 2002


video....video is evil. ... I shot my little sisters wedding years ago...[it] was under 6 minutes long. Finally a wedding video people actually liked and watched.

No kidding, th. (it's ok if I call you th?) My aunt and uncle insisted on taping our entire wedding ceremony, and 2 years later, we haven't watched it yet and don't plan to. Not always, but often, watching a home video of yourself is painful-- like going back to read your junior high diary.
posted by jojo at 9:38 AM on February 13, 2002


Nice essay. I rather like the author's point of view. You can't enjoy the moment as much with your eye behind a viewfinder, and the documentary value is generally lower than people expect.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:54 AM on February 13, 2002


Yes, watching a home video can be painful. But as suggested, if you avoid long, static shots and shoot a few seconds at a time, or edit the footage if you have the time and inclination, you can end up with something that's fairly watchable.

A friend of ours offered to videotape our wedding and reception. I told her not to, since I didn't want a poorly shot documentary debunking our golden memories of the event. But now, I kind of wish I had some of that footage. Then, I'd still have the option of not watching it.

Since our son was born, we have shot a lot of tape, but I never felt like I was missing anything. It does come with an OFF button. Sometimes, an active camera encourages interesting behavior in normal, boring people.
posted by groundhog at 10:59 AM on February 13, 2002


Before our daughter was born, I bought a DV camcorder thinking I would be one of those "must tape everything" kind of people, but it never really mainfested itself. I have only shot a grand total of 60 minutes in almost nine months (I know because I just filled up the only tape I've used so far). I do take a lot of photos, but not to the exclusion of participating in things.

It's fun to record some highlights, but, truth be told, babies don't really do much that's all that exciting to watch, and I don't need to tape such "scintillating" family events as sitting around my brother's backyard eating burgers on the 4th of July.

As with everything else, a little bit in moderation isn't a bad thing when it comes to home videos, but anything in excess is always bad.
posted by briank at 11:16 AM on February 13, 2002


What about moderation in excess?
posted by websavvy at 11:31 AM on February 13, 2002


My video camera is very neglected. I am usually too busy cracking up at my kids to stop and whip out the video camera. And when I do there is lots of very uninteresting crap sprinkled with some funny stuff. Guess I should learn to use one of those editing thingies.

Regular camera, on the other hand, I love. Now that you can go to the store and make a billion copies of a snapshot, I rarely have my kids portraits made. The snapshots usually show more personality anyway.
posted by domino at 12:11 PM on February 13, 2002


Actually since I got a digital camera I use it so much, the camcorder is gathering dust. It's a little Canon elph, fits nicely in a pocket.

Luckily it also has the ability to shoot a bit of low-fi AVI video as well, short bursts of 10 seconds or so. I do use that occasionally.
posted by luser at 12:32 PM on February 13, 2002


My memory is pretty terrible, so I like to take pictures to help jog it along. I take pictures but not to an obnoxious degree.

I'm conflicted about video cameras. I never have owned one, and tend to feel ridiculous when I watch myself. But just recently I got to see some video footage of a friend of mine who died in the WTC. A mutual friend had met up with him in France for a couple of days last year and they had videotaped each other. It was really wonderful (and bittersweet) to see and hear him--he was such a funny person--and it's nice knowing that that videotape exists.

At the same time, I have a sister who is constantly behind the video camera at family functions. I think it's best in small doses.

I miss the silent films of my childhood with those super 8 cameras. We watch them now at family reunions and they're a lot of fun. Especially since you don't know what people are saying.
posted by witchstone at 12:47 PM on February 13, 2002


Jailed? Did I miss something?
posted by whuppy at 1:09 PM on February 13, 2002


My wife rarely shoots video, so my kid's going to think she didn't have a dad! But seriously I rarely shoot more than a few seconds. It does ruin the moment, and even at 1.5 yrs my daughter already hams it up or stops everything and looks at the camera. I like digital stills cause you shoot as many as you want and just save the good ones. BUT.. I make a point to just skip it on some outings and shoot less on some vacations...
posted by Slagman at 1:44 PM on February 13, 2002


I spent Christmas 2000 with my then-boyfriend, his family, and his five-year-old son. (I'm Jewish. I wasn't missing anything with my own family.) Everyone gathered in the living room to watch the boy open his presents. For each present, the kid had to stop and pose for three still cameras and a video cam. The first time it happened, I thought, "What a cute picture. That'll be great." But the multimedia continued through every. single. present. The boy, a sweet kid with great manners, never objected, but I had to leave the room before I started breaking cameras.
posted by swerve at 3:49 PM on February 13, 2002


I was in the TV biz for fifteen years... you think I'd be whipping the camera out all the time and recording the kids. But I just hate the way it removes me from whatever is going on. I bought my camcorder when my son was a year old. He's five now, and I've shot about 4 hours of tape, total.

Oh, and here's the pocket guide to good home video: Shoot a ten-second wide shot of the scene as an establishing shot. Get up closer and get about 30 seconds of medium shots. Then get right up next to your subject and get two minutes of tight shots. Then back off to medium for 20 seconds, wide for 20, and turn off the camera. I am of the opinion that if there was some way to disable the zoom function on camcorders, we'd all be better off. Same goes for panning... the professional shooters I worked with during my tv career rarely, repeat: rarely, panned. Seasickness ensues.

That whole phenomenon of being removed from the action when you're looking through a viewfinder is a very interesting thing. I spent a lot of time dragging videographers out of ridiculously risky situations because they felt insulated from the action since they were looking at it on a tiny tv screen rather than directly at the train headed their way.
posted by apollo at 3:57 PM on February 13, 2002


this reminds me of a john mayer song called 3x5. the person in the song is tired of experiencing life through pictures and wants to live it for himself.

"didn't have a camera by my side this time, hoping i would see the world with both my eyes. maybe i will tell you all about it when i'm in the mood to lose my way with words"
posted by hazelmeg at 4:18 PM on February 13, 2002


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