Producing a good wedding video presents many challenges. Of course, the technical and logistical issues can sometimes be quite daunting. But, they always seem to get resolved, one way or another. The biggest challenge, however, is making a video that will “wow” both the bride and the groom. So, how do you accomplish this? The best way is to go back to the basic principals of good story telling.
Let’s review the 5 key elements to every good story and consider some of the things to think about as you plan your wedding shoot.
1. Setting – This is the location where the story takes place. Be sure to take plenty of B-roll, to establish the setting. Show the location, inside and out. Use some interesting camera angles and take advantage of the light at different times of the day. For example, if the wedding will be held inside a church that has cathedral ceilings and a big stained glass window, be sure to get some shots of the window from the outside and also the colored light streaming into the chapel on the inside. If the wedding is outdoors, be sure to get shots of the meadow, the forest, the ocean, the beach, etc. Think ahead and shoot anything you will need to help you establish the setting.
2. Character(s) – This is the person or people whose story you are telling. At a wedding, of course, your main characters are the bride and groom. Find out more about each of your characters, before you begin shooting. Include elements about their lives that will help your audience know them better. Be sure to include impressive accomplishments and interesting hobbies. Include anything that will help your audience feel like they know them on a personal level.
3. Back Story – The events that led up to the existing situation. This is where you can introduce your audience to the happy couple. What made them who they are today? Are there any big events or accomplishments that molded them into the people they have become? Was there anyone – family or friends – who had a particularly big influence on their lives? What was it? How did the couple meet? How did they fall in love? When did they first know they were in love? How did the groom propose?
4. Plot – The events in the story that lead up to an emotional effect or general theme. This is where you give the story purpose and direction. You will need to find a way to weave all the other elements of the story together, to form the “plot.” Sometimes, using voiceovers captured from interviews can be an effective way to carry the story along. The story should culminate in a big “payoff.” In the case of a wedding, the payoff is often the ceremony itself.
5. Detail – The specific information you are imparting. This is where you tell the story of the special day. Be sure to include all the important elements of the wedding. Some of the highlights you could include are: the bride and groom getting ready, the ceremony itself, exchanging vows, ring exchange, first kiss, the new couple going down the aisle, cutting the cake, throwing the bouquet, first dance, toasts and anything else the bride and groom would like you to capture. Be sure to include shots of family and friends in attendance.
As a wedding videographer, your job is to tell the story of the bride and groom, in a way that will be both entertaining and engaging to them, their families and their friends. The way to do this is to tell a story that will grab their attention, make them laugh and tug at their emotions.
Remember, when shooting this wedding you aren’t just shooting another event. You are creating the opening page to a new book that tells the story of this day, as well as the history, and eventual future of this couple. Like branches on a family tree, all of their future stories or videos will follow yours. From this day to the birth of their first child, to their children’s first birthdays and first day of school, all the way to their graduation, this family’s video beginnings start with the epic you are creating. That’s quite a humbling honor to be the person chosen to help begin this history.
Using the elements of good storytelling, you will be able to take your audience on a journey they will remember fondly, for a long time to come and leave them with the feeling that their story is special and unique.
Scott Memmott is Videomaker’s Executive Editor.