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I am currently writing a book about wedding videos. Here is an excerpt. Please let me know if it is helpful. I shot weddings for about 15 years. I would appreciate your feedback on my book excerpt.
Bryan, President firstname.lastname@example.org
Video Doc Productions, Pittsburgh, PA
The most important tip I can give you from my 20 years of wedding video experience is simply to think about what you are shooting and why is it important to the bride and groom.. Think about what the bride and groom would want to see if they were taping their wedding. Are you capturing everything that they would think is important or special? Make a game plan ahead of time and stick to that plan as best you can. How do you come up with a game plan? You have to get involved with your client and come up with a plan of what events they want covered and what they want to see in their wedding video. Do not show up and wing it. That is the worst thing you could do and it will ultimately show in the type of video you shoot and produce. You can shoot a good video without the use of post-production editing equipment if you plan ahead, prepare yourself and have reliable equipment. You can make a memory for your client to last a lifetime.
When you are generally showing the reception hall, vary your shots from panning the room to fixed shots of flowers, the present table, the cake table, guests tables and wide shots of the room. The Bride & Groom will arrive art the reception and will not have time to walk around and look at all the decorations and details that they have struggled to plan for months. It is your job and responsibility to document the day for the new couple. When a couple decides to get married, a tremendous amount of time and energy go into the planning of the entire wedding event. There are gifts to buy, the church & reception hall needs to be scheduled, transportation to and from the wedding needs to be planned, flowers need to be purchased, the bridal gown and tuxedos need to be purchased, and the list goes on infinitely. A couple could plan the very basic Justice of the Peace ceremony to the extremely elaborate wedding & reception could be planned. The one thing the Bride and Groom do not have time to do is videotape their own wedding. This is your job. I fully believe that you can never have too much video footage. You can, however spend too much time on one item and miss another. You do need to pay attention to what is going on around you at all times, but videotape as much as you can diligently.
With the invention of good quality consumer digital camcorders, anyone can shoot good video if you have the right type of shot and dont get too crazy with your shots. I went to a wedding once as a guest, and I was appalled at the conduct of the so-called professional videographer. He was constantly moving around, jumping up on chairs, laying on the floor, crawling around with infants and generally being annoying. You definitely want to get a variety of shots for your video, but not by becoming the center of attention at a wedding. You need to blend in with the crowd, get your shots without getting in the way of the wedding ceremony or reception. I like to stand back at the reception and let my zoom do the work for me. Like the old yellow pages TV ad used to say: Let your fingers do the walking. This way, you can still get a variety of shots without having to move around frequently and get the way of the guests. Now dont get me wrong, you do need to move around from time to time to get different angles and backgrounds in your shots, but you can get a variety of shots while standing in one location at a time.
You need to take your job seriously for the people who are paying you money to videotape their wedding. Think of how many little girls have had countless dreams, of what their wedding day would be like. A flowing gown with a train a three foot long, flowers, friends, family and all pomp and circumstance of Cinderellas Ball. You need to document their day without adding to the chaos. The best compliment you can receive from a guest at a wedding is: I didnt even know you were there. Over my 20 years of videotaping weddings and events, I would typically hear that compliment at least once a month. I didnt want to stand out or even get in the way of the wedding events. I wasnt the center of attention, I was just there to videotape their event for them.
What I would do is attempt to blend in with the crowd. I wanted to look and act like a guest, except I knew what I was doing with a video camera. I would typically wear a suit and tie like the other guests. No tuxedo or uniform. Just a normal suit and tie to blend in with the crowd. That is the best way to get true candid, unstaged shots of guests at a wedding. Stand back, turn on your light and tape the events as they are happening without being noticed or getting in the way.
I recently attended the wedding of my wifes cousins daughter. How refreshing it was to be a guest and enjoy the time with my wifes family. It also gave me a chance to see another videographer work at the wedding. I was very surprised at what I saw. In fact, I was appalled how the videographer was dressed and how little video he actually shot. First off, he showed up 15 minutes before the ceremony started. At first I thought he was the grip or assistant for the videographer. Wrong! He was the videographer, hired by the Photographer as a package deal. When I heard that the Photographer had a package deal that included the Photographer, Videographer and DJ, I knew my wifes cousin was not going to get her moneys worth from any of the 3 professionals. The Videographer was unshaven, he wore a shirt that was untucked and I would classify it as a work shirt. This guy had the nerve to stand-up in front of the entire church looking like he was ready to change my cars oil.
Then, the videographer set-up a tripod and was preparing to tape the processional from the front left corner of the church. I said to myself, OK, that is acceptable if the church had specific regulations that prevented him getting a better angle or standing in the front of the church beside the Photographer to tape the processional. To my surprise, the Photographer was allowed to stand in the front row of the church and in the middle aisle during the processional. So logic would say, if he was allowed to tape the processional from that location, why didnt the Videographer take the other side of the aisle too? I would have.
The next deadly sin he committed was not using his tripod the entire time. He then set-up the camera on the tripod before the processional started, then took the camera off the tripod for the processional and never used it through the entire ceremony. He shot hand-held from the side aisle while sitting down! What kind of angle was he getting? Im sure it was not one that the Bride and Groom will be pleased with when they get their video back. Did he use a wireless microphone? No. And it would have been extremely beneficial since the groom was actually crying during his vows and would ultimately end up whispering his vows to his new bride. There is no microphone except a parabolic mic that could pick-up a whisper in a church such as the one the groom did for his vows. He was very emotional and choked up during his vows. A simple wireless mic would have picked-up all of the audio and every word of his softly spoken word if a wireless mic was used. Howe disappointing. I know my wifes cousin will be disappointed with their daughters wedding video. They told us they wanted to have my wife and I as guests and hoped we were not upset that they didnt use our company. I was thrilled that I had a Saturday off and could enjoy myself as a guest. However, I do wish they would have at least asked our opinion before they booked this Photographers package deal. I am a firm believer that the package deals do not result in better coverage. They only pad the pocket of the person organizing and offering the package deal. Lets get back to the bad habits of this videographer.
We were seated towards the back of the church for the ceremony. This gave me a good view of everything that was going on during the wedding service. The bride and groom had a receiving line after the ceremony. I never saw the videographer videotape one second of the receiving line. The receiving line is a great way to capture people that may not be actively involved with the reception or taking part in the dancing at the reception. Also, if you videotape bits and pieces of the receiving line, you will now have more footage available to use as a selling point for the after sale of raw footage to the bride and groom. I would typically try to take some of the people from the first 3 rows of seats. These are generally close family members of friends of the bride and grooms family. These people are important to tape for the bride and groom to see who was at the church. Then, I watch out for older adult guests to tape during the receiving line. This is a good way to attempt to capture every single guest at the wedding and will give you an additional selling point for the couple to purchase the raw footage after you have produced their wedding video.
The brides mom and dad have saved their pennies (now-a-days, dollars, and a lot of them), to pay for the dream wedding. The flowers are ordered, the church is booked and the reception is finalized. The photographer has been booked, now all they need is a good videographer to capture their dream wedding on video. You may be the person whom they are counting on for memories to be shared with family and friends for a lifetime. Are you up for the task? You will be after reading this helpful and informative book