When planning your wedding video, it’s important to make the right choice of who will actually shoot it and edit it for you. Whomever you choose, make sure they understand what you want and help them to create it.
If you’re thinking of asking a friend to do it or you’ve had an offer from a friend of a friend who is a dab hand at video filming, make sure they really know what they’re doing and are prepared to put the effort and time to plan a successful wedding video shoot.
If you prefer to put your wedding in the hands of professional wedding videographer, then checking local businesses’ websites and asking others who have had weddings filmed recently is a good starting point. Above all, you’ll want to avoid the plight of some couples who have been so unhappy with their wedding videos or stills photography that they’ve re-enacted their weddings to get better results.
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Planning Your Wedding Video
Whether it’s a friend of a professional company, prior planning is very important. Meet with them and tell them about all the venues they’ll be shooting.
Better still, visit the venues with them and discuss some areas where things will happen – where the guests will arrive, where the speeches are being made from, cake-cutting, etc.
Have your videographer attend the rehearsals – a professional outfit will likely request this before being asked. Make sure the various footage you’d like is discussed and they prepare for it. For example, you’ll want the camera to show the walk down the aisle, but rehearsing the shot in a near-empty church could be very different from the day when it’s full of people. There would be nothing worse than a camera position that works well in rehearsal but is hopeless on the day as it’s being blocked by a horde of bodies.
Decide what type of footage you definitely want. The wedding vows being made, the cake being cut, the speeches, and the bride and groom’s first dance, for example. But mention other parts that may be less common, such as children playing, family members chatting and the best man and bridesmaids performing their duties. You may have an idea of a perfect wedding scene, for example; the bride and groom pictured at a certain spot at the reception venue on the grounds, by a river, or on a little bridge. Make sure any special requirements are discussed and noted with the videographer beforehand, and ensure that there is time in the schedule for all your plans.
If you have a friend shooting the video, you’ll maybe be using a professional company to edit it, in case said friend doesn’t have access to editing equipment or the necessary skills to do the job. If so, make sure some footage is shot with editing in mind – fixed camera footage of the church, for example – to enable a more fluent editing process.
Shooting the Wedding
A professional will know how to capture the action without becoming intrusive, so if you’re not dealing with a professional, then ask your camera operator to use their common sense when capturing those key moments. After all, when having the first dance, you don’t want a camera poking around less than an inch or two from your faces!
Reflecting the Theme and Style
If it’s a themed wedding, then this should be reflected in the way it’s filmed. A professional videographer will understand this and know how to blend thematic links in without making it corny or intrusive.
For example, if it’s a winter wedding with the reception in a period-style building, a sense of atmosphere may be required. A stills photographer may use filters and certain post-production techniques to heighten that winter “coolness” look. Similarly, a skilled videographer will know how to achieve the effect you want – especially with outdoor shots. Again, if you’re using a friend then be sure to bring up these ideas.
Working with the Official Photographer
Sometimes good harmony can be struck with the official stills photographer, and they may be able to help the videographer and vice-versa. Other times, a bit of friction can occur as both the photographer and videographer are keen to get the best shots they can, and therefore be in the best position to do so.
No one wants tension or arguments between them. A professional videographer will know how to handle these situations. They may even know the photographer you’re using and have worked with them before. If not, they should be able to handle the situation without you having to worry. Scheduling a meet-and-greet is a good idea, in case they’ve never met.
Post-Production and Editing
Mentioned earlier, if you do have a friend shoot the video, it’s well worth asking a professional company to edit it for you. Along with the ‘main event’ they can, if you like, create a shorter version as a taster, and maybe make something of the unused footage by way of ‘an alternative view’ of the big day.
Unless they’re skilled and have professional editing equipment, try to steer clear of a well-meaning friend conducting the post-production.
If in doubt, call the pros
For such an important function of your big day, it really does pay to hire a professional wedding video company if you can. Even the friend with a video camera may relax knowing the weight of responsibility is off their shoulders and they can enjoy the day with everyone else.
Your wedding videographer will know how to plan, will have listened to your instructions and will act upon them during the day. This will allow you to enjoy your big day knowing you’ll soon have an amazing video record of your wedding.
Jennifer Fage is the Co-Founder of Essex based cinematic filmmakers Unique Visuals, and it is their passion for getting an insight into a couple relationship before the big day, that sets them apart from the rest.