Filming Character Autographs

Collecting character autographs was something my daughters really enjoyed during our last visit to WDW. Like everything else, keeping a few simple tips in mind can greatly improve the quality of your footage and the enjoyment of your audience. Here are a few of the things we learned, that I am going to pass on to you!

Tip #1 – We were surprised after our last visit to discover we had collected 14 autographs and that I had video footage of them all! I think character autographs are great when seen as a montage. Instead of viewing an autograph as a single event, use editing software to edit your several clips into a series. The autographs are more cohesive as a group. While it is hard to tell a story with a single autograph, the group tells the story of your autograph “hunt” during your visit.

Tip #2 – Each Disney character has something they do as part of their autograph that makes them special. I frankly didn’t notice everything until later when I was editing my video footage, but it only served to remind me of how wonderful the Disney characters are and why video is such a great way to capture the nuances of a character. In our video, Pluto balanced the autograph book when his nose when he signed it. The princesses all talked about their films and the worlds they were from. Chip and Dale danced with my daughters, just like they did 30 years ago with me. So film every autograph, every time, and pay attention for the attention to detail that Disney is famous for.

Tip #2 EXTRA – One way you could “plus” your video is by getting beside the character and actually taking a clip of the pen as it moves across the paper. If that is not possible, then film a few seconds of close-up on the page with the character’s signature after he/she/it is done signing. If you are editing your video, you could use these as transitions, or do an additional montage with a series of clips.

Tip #3 – If you are trying to get character autographs and to capture it on video, eventually you are going to have to deal with a rude guest. It always happens: you wait in line 15 minutes for your favorite character, and just when you are about to take your picture or turn on the video camera, and untethered child shoves their way into the frame. Losing your cool is unDisney-like and unnecessary. Just smile and wait. Many characters have a Disney Cast member “handler” who is trained to quickly shuttle gatecrashers to the appropriate spot in line. If there is no handler or the child is confused for one of your own, just smile and wait. You won’t be rushed, and simply wait to take your photo or video until after the offending child doddles back to their parents. I have some wonderful video of 2 complete strangers who intruded upon my family as I was filming them. I followed my own advice, and later edited that part of the video out. If you do not edit your video at home, simply pause the recording and wait until the interlopers leave.

Tip #4 – Remember your most valuable subject is the person you are filming. Don’t forget to capture the joy on their faces. These are the memories you always want to capture.

To check out my tutorial on YouTube! click on this link – Filming Character Autographs

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