Shooting with a Camcorder
Making a video is a wonderful thing to do as well. One advantage of moving pictures is that you are able to record sounds—the first cries and gurgles of your child as well as the laughter and chatter of the family members who come to visit.
It will likely be just fine if you bring a camcorder to the ultrasound exams or possibly other prenatal visits. Filming during the birth, however, is somewhat more questionable. You may think it's a nifty idea, but your partner may be dead-set against it. Before you get too far in your discussions, check with the hospital to see what its policy is. Some do not allow camcorders to be used during labor and delivery.
Shooting During Birth
Assuming you have the approval to go ahead with your plan to be the Steven Spielberg of baby movie production (and you're not worried about making ‘Alien IV’), the best technique is to set the camcorder up on a tripod in a spot in the room that gives you a view of the bed but that is not in anyone's way. Nurses and doctors come and go during labor and delivery. This activity increases in the moments before birth. The medical people cannot be bumping into the tripod while they're trying to birth your baby.
Another reason for a tripod is that you need to have your hands free to help your partner. There may be moments where you can walk over to the camcorder and shoot some film. This will be much easier to do if it is already set up and ready to go than if you have to fumble around with it each time you want to use it.
On this issue of filming the birth, your partner deserves veto power. If she doesn't want to be filmed during birth, that's her call to make. Even so, remember to bring the camcorder with you. Nobody will object to filming after the birth or when friends and family come to visit.
During the all-out intensity of transition and pushing, as well as the quieter, more sublime moments right after birth, you cannot adequately do your job as labor coach while doubling as director of photography. You need to concentrate on your partner and the business at hand. You may solve this problem by bringing in a friend to handle the film-making responsibilities (again, with the approval of your partner).