If you’re a cinematographer, you’ve probably thought of all the avenues to explore where you can apply your skills and expertise – movies, of course, but also serial television, commercials, corporate videos, music videos, and web series; but one of the most enjoyable cinematic endeavors may be one you have not yet considered – wedding videos.
While it is certainly fun and uplifting to caputure couples in love on their big day, it’s not without its pressures, especially given that you may be the sole party responsible for capturing exceptionally personal footage (and there’s only one opportunity to get it right.)
Luckily you’re a cinematographer, ergo you’re already far more qualified than the bride’s drunk Uncle Tom. So, let’s get started!
1. Communication > Videography
Poor communication skills won’t only create a bad impression (and therefore stymieing future recommendations), but it’ll also leave you woefully under-prepared for the couple’s big day.
No two weddings are alike, and the same goes for the couple’s expectations. Will there be any outside-the-norm events they want you to capture? Has the groom got a special surprise he wants you to be there for? Any particular guests or parts of the venue that need extra attention?
Even just agreeing on the times you’ll be there and shooting need to be established long in advance so that everyone is on the same page.
This doesn’t just stop at the couple, either. It’s imperative to speak to the venue, too, and find out the rules, regulations, logistics and possible restrictions that you may face on the day. Same goes for the DJ or band, although for different reasons (more on this later.)
And when the day is done, you job isn’t. There’s an element of customer aftercare in wedding videography; naturally you’ll want to carry out editing and post-production work, but also ensure they’re happy with the footage you deliver. If you’d set up expectations properly in the initial steps, this should be easy to achieve and you’ll be rewarded with a glowing testimonial.
2. Pack for Expedience
By all means pack your car with as much videography equipment as you like, but bear in mind that when the action starts, it’s no understatement to say that you’ll be running around like a lunatic. Capturing a wedding video is a full-contact sport!
To help you get from one side of the venue to film the bride’s make-up session to the other side of the venue to film the groom’s side of the wedding party, try to limit yourself to no more than a single camera and two lenses (three, at a push).
You can always return to the car during brief reprieves to swap out gear ahead of the evening’s festivities.
3. Two Halves of the Equation
A wedding photographer need only worry about light; you’ve got the envious job of not only capturing video, but audio too.
Avoid the crying baby at the back of the venue, use multiple audio recording devices (especially if the one in your camera isn’t great) and consider putting a lavalier on the groom and/or wedding officiant – be sure to allow for extra setting-up time to arrange this!
The other consideration to make is the evening’s entertainment – needless to say, bands and DJs can be louder than your portable mics can handle without peaking. If possible, ask the act if you can plug directly into the PA system (not always doable, but great if you can.)
4. Hit the Same Beats as the Photographer…
… but keep out of their way! Definitely liaise with the photographer before the ceremony if you get the chance, but either way, don’t get under their feet when the fun begins.
Giving the photographer room to move comes with another benefit: the more you blend into the background, the more relaxed the couple will be. Being constantly aware that you’re being recorded is enough to make anyone paranoid!
Otherwise, your aim as a videographer is to capture the same key moments that the photographer will be aiming for, albeit in live-action format.
5. Keep Calm and Carry On
The run-up to the ceremony itself can be the most tense and nerve-wracking moments of anyone’s life. Don’t let the atmosphere get to you personally; a videographer running around in a fluster only exacerbates things.
Stable video is also the main goal – given that tripods aren’t usually effective (aside from the main ceremony), it’s doubly imperative that you remain as calm as possible while in the eye of the storm. Stay focused, keep tabs on the key players, and identify the best shots. The happy couple are counting on you.
Have any great tips for creating the best wedding video? Let us know in the comments below!