Why should I have my birth filmed?

People have many life milestones filmed such as weddings, graduations… so why not film one of the most important moments of your life and probably the biggest milestone of your journey as a parent; The birth of your child.  You may not remember much of it, as all the special moments of your birth morph into a blur, so having a beautiful birth movie celebrating that day will give you, your child and your family a visual expression of your child’s birth and first moments outside the womb.  You will be able to show your child their birth story and not only share it verbally.  Parents never regret having their birth journey filmed professionally, but some of my clients do regret not knowing me when they had their first children.  I

Why not have my partner or doula film the birth?

Holding a video camera creates a natural barrier between the videographer and the subject.   It keeps you in your head and not necessarily in the moment.  Your partner is big part of your birth journey and deserves to be in the movie as well – not behind the camera.  You will need your partner’s physical and emotional support and full focus and presence.  In addition, your partner may be too excited or emotional to film well and might miss some of the beautiful and essential moments of your child’s birth.  A doula is trained to be your physical, emotional and educational support at the birth.   A professional videographer is trained to work in low light, backlit or on the fly situations.  We know how to film in any environment and how to angle and move for the best possible results.  There is a huge difference between what a professionally filmed birth looks like than what someone-you-know-that-has-a video-camera’s work looks like. Without the proper training and experience, the footage of a non-professional is often are over- or under- exposed, blurry and shot at less than flattering angles.  Don’t deprive yourself or your child from having the best birth movie possible.

Do we meet before the birth?

Your birth is a very personal and intimate life event, so meeting in person and developing a relationship is important.  For a home birth, I’d prefer to meet at your home, otherwise we can choose a mutually agreed upon location.  At our meeting we will discuss your wants and needs, the options I offer, answer questions etc.  If time does not allow for a personal meeting, we could have a skype or phone consultation.

Will you be on call for my birth?

My hold time for your birth starts from two weeks before until two weeks after your EDD, and during that time I will be on call for your birth 24/7 until your baby is born.  During this time I also don’t schedule anything I can’t cancel or give up (including other births), I don’t go out of cell range, and my gear is always packed and ready to go.  Your non-refundable deposit reserves me for the month surrounding birth.

What if I want to hire you, but you’ve already got plans or booked?

Depending on the situation, you could consider having me as a Last Minute option, or go with a Fresh 48 Story Session instead.   Since there is no guarantee that I’ll be available, my fees will be paid at the time of birth.  You will want to pre-write a check and have it with your signed contract/model release, so you can hand it to me when I come.  This is also a great option if you are on the fence about having your birth filmed, and once in labor you know that you want it.  Keep in mind that since I’m not on call for you, my phone may be off at night and/or I may not be in cell range.  A Fresh 48 Story Session offers more flexibility, as I would come within the first few days of birth.

When do I call you, when I go into labor?

Call me as soon as you have any signs of labor, even if you don’t need me yet.  Having a ‘heads-up’ will give me time to rearrange my day, finish whatever I’m doing, head home, prepare etc.  If it’s after 11pm don’t text, as I wont here it!  Together we will decide when I should come.  I will usually be with you within 2-3 hours from the time you ask me to come.  It may take longer if we had no early communication and/or ‘heads up’ on your status, if your location is more than 15 miles from my home  Early communication and being ‘in the know’ is essential for me to get there sooner rather than later. 

When do you arrive and how long do you stay?

A good time for me to arrive is just before or around the time your doula arrives.  If you haven’t hired a doula, then we will make that decision together once you labor begins.  I remain at your birth for 1 hour after your baby is born.  That is when I capture all the first moments of your baby’s life outside the womb.

What if I go into labor in the middle of the night?

Once I’m on call for you, I’m available 24/7, and that means you can call me in the middle of the night as well.

What happens if you miss the birth?

Birth is unpredictable, and even though my schedule is cleared for your birth, there is always the possibility of some unforeseeable emergency that may prevent me from being there on time or at all.  This also includes precipitous labors.  Should this happen, and I miss the actual birth but arrive right after, then I will film all the first hours of your baby’s life and use that to create your movie.   If you have stills and/or video footage from the birth, I can possibly incorporate that into the movie.   If I don’t make it at all, then I will offer you an In Home Story Session and a Fresh 48 Story Session instead.  An Fresh 48 Story Session would be filmed within 72 hours after birth and an In Home Story Session within 1 month.  If I am unable to attend your birth due to no fault of my own (i.e. I am not called on time and given proper advanced notice, I am not called at all, it was a precipitous birth etc.) you must call me within 24 hours of your birth if you would like to schedule a session for My First Days Movie.  The fees are non-refundable.

What if my labor is very long or very short?

We all hope for a birth that lasts a ‘reasonable’ amount of time.  If you have a very short labor, everyone ‘wins.’  If you have a long labor, I will be there for as long as it takes, at no extra charge.

Will you film at my home as well, if I want to go to the hospital at the very last minute?

Yes. Your home is where the journey begins, and if you plan on staying there as long as you can, then I would want to be there to capture the magic.

What is your rate for filming a birth?  

My rates vary depending on where you birth and what option/s you choose.  The rate covers many things such as the pre-natal consultation, 4 weeks of on call time, the time at your birth, limiting the number of additional clients, music licensing fees etc.  Please feel free to contact me for detailed pricing information.

Do you offer a sliding scale?

I do offer discounted rates when I can and under specific circumstances and conditions.  These are determined on an individual basis.  I also offer home and birthing center births a reduced fee.  From my experience, I’ve found that I spend more hours at hospital births, as I often start filming at the home and then transfer to the hospital.  There are also more costs involved with hospital birth such as parking, coffee, food etc.  The editing rate is the same for all births.

What happens if you have two births at the same time?

Because I don’t have a back up, I could only take 1-2 births per month.  When you book me, you’re pretty much booking me for the entire month surrounding your EDD.

Do they allow filming at the hospital or birth center?

Most hospitals allow filming, but you must verify that with your OBGYN.  If informed ahead of time that you are hiring a professional birth videographer, they are likely to be more accommodating.  Adding it to your birth preferences and communicating your choice with your caregivers can be very beneficial.  Let them know how important it is to you.  Birth centers are pretty open to filming, but I would still clear it with your midwife.

What about a Cesarean birth?

I have filmed Cesarean births in the past.  Whether yours is a planned Cesarean or not, you will need permission from both your OBGYN and anesthesiologist to have me film it.  Keep in mind that most hospitals only allow 1 or 2 people in the OR.  If the hospital does not allow filming and/or stills during a Cesarean birth, then I will film before and right after.  If I’m not allowed into the OR, then your birth companion could take stills/video with a smart phone or small digital camera during the surgery, and I will edit that into your birth movie.

What music do you use?

Due to copyright laws, I only use licensed music.  As I edit your birth, I carefully select the music to create a soundtrack that fits the emotion and enhances the final product.

Will the film be graphic?

Some women want to have it all, and some would rather keep in PG.  There are many ways for me to film your baby’s entrance into the world while still keeping it PG.  At your consultation, we discuss what you want and don’t want filmed, as well as what you would like to have in the edited birth movie.  I work within your comfort level, and you could change your mind about what you want me to film even at the birth itself.  I can also have moments of your birth movie blurred out for an extra charge.

In what format is the final edited Birth Movie, and how long will it be?

You will receive a DVD of your final edited film, which will be 3-7 minutes long. 

How soon will I receive film ?

Much of my time goes into the editing of your birth movie, and that is where my creation journey begins.  Each birth tells a unique story, and each personal birth movie is treated as such.  I go through the raw footage choosing the most touching and inspiring moments.  I then weave them with music, titles, stills and love.   This process could take up to 2-3 months, depending on my workload.  If you needed it sooner than 6 weeks after the birth, I do offer a rush service for an additional 20% of your total editing fee.

When is a good time to book you?

Once you’ve decided to have your birth filmed, call me.   The sooner you reserve me, the better, as I could only take a limited number of births.