How to have an AMAZING wedding film!
So you want to have an amazing wedding film? You’ve seen some great work online and have found the videographer you want to capture and highlight your big day. That’s all good, but there’s more to do than sign the wedding agreement and show up for the wedding. This post is to help couples help the videographer create the best wedding film-making experience as possible.
The best wedding film-making experiences and results are when couples are into the process along with the videographer. There are certain elements that help us videographers out for the highlight film.
A video requires movement vs like photos where couples are posed and sit still at times in order to get a great photograph. For example, when kissing each other, don’t freeze once your lips touch. This is one of the most romantic aspects of a video, so get into it!
For video, I like to capture natural movement vs anything that is posed. I’ll give suggestions and guide you through the process, but just remember we are not freezing for poses as you would for photos.
Dedicated Videography Time
While I am working with a photographer (if I am only shooting video) I will get some similar shots and be out of the way, but when it comes to getting those cinematic sequences, I need dedicated time with the couple where the photographer is not using flash, asking for poses, or interfering with the process of filming.
Also, a photographer’s camera might be a little loud with the shutter clicks. Audio is an important part of the recording. If there is a part of the day that requires a quiet atmosphere, such as a letter reading, it might be a good idea to ask the photographer to be mindful of the clicks of the camera’s shutter. Both the photographer and videographer want to capture the raw moments, but the clicks can ruin the audio. There have been times where I would need to re-record the audio from a letter reading because the clicks were too loud.
Each photographer has their own style and way they use their gear. That said, flash can be just as distracting as the click from the camera. Using a letter reading or first look as an example, if you want good looking footage, the photographer needs to be mindful how using a flash too much can ruin the video footage.
Usually, a good time to have dedicated videography time is right after the first look. Give me 10-15 minutes with the couple to get those romantic cinematic shots and the photographer can have the couple the rest of the time before the ceremony. Most of the time I am not capturing anything during the photography portrait sessions as those are posed and flash is used a lot of the time. That time period works well for photos, not videos.
All that said, the main point is we all have to work together in order to get the best results for both photos and videos.
Bonus Point: To debunk a common assumption from photographers, us videographers can’t just edit out a part to make a film better. Video is not like a photo where you can simply Photoshop a subject out of the image. Especially when a photographer over uses flash and the video clips end up having bars all over the screen or stepping in-front of a video camera.
As mentioned audio is such an important part of wedding films! Capturing vows, letter readings, first looks, toasts, speeches, etc. add HUGE value to wedding films. Whether the audio is captured for highlight films or full recordings, you want to have these elements part of your wedding day.
“Let others bless you,” said Anne Berry (wedding planner) who was referring to toasts and speeches.
My goal for wedding highlight films is to capture and communicate the heart of the couple and the emotion of the wedding experience. That’s done through the video cinematic sequences and audio from the listed sources above.
I encourage all couples to incorporate letter readings, writing their own vows, first looks, and allow others to speak life into your marriage through toasts and speeches.
My goal is to never have a cookie cutter wedding film. I want the video to reflect the characteristics of the couple. If you’re goofy, be goofy. If you’re reserved, be reserved. I’m not asking you to act like anything outside of who you are. When you are yourself I am able to cultivate the wedding elements around that vs forcing something that doesn’t fit.
During a first look Whitney’s veil flew off “like a bird,” as she comically put. I could have cut that part, because it’s not a “clean cut” clip, BUT it added humor and character that fit the vibe of the couple. Whitney actually mentioned how she liked I kept that part in the video. Scenes like the veil flying off in the wind helped viewers laugh even during a beautiful first look that even some people might have been tearing up through.
The ceremony, first dances, and toasts & speeches are very important parts of the recording. Therefore, it is strongly suggested to have guests put away their phones and cameras. Let the Pros capture the day and let the guests take in the experience with their own eyes vs through a screen.
To be blunt, there have been times where guests got in the way of my work and ruined a shot because they were trying to get their own shot. It’s very inconsiderate to the professionals hired to capture the day and it’s disrespectful to the couple’s investment.
This is a nontraditional approach, but there are SO many benefits of doing a first look.
First, all portraits with family, wedding party, bridal, groom, and couple shots can be done before the ceremony.
It’s very intimate. My preference for first looks is to encourage couple to not let others watch the first look live. Let this moment be with you and your about to be spouse. I also like to give a few minutes of privacy before jumping into the 10-15 minutes of videography time and portraits.
The first look can literally be the only few minutes you have with each other on your wedding day.
I’ve seen “better” reactions during a first look vs seeing each other down the aisle. Us guys are performers and we are going to do our best to hold it together. However, in this intimate setting, we let our guard down a little more.
It’s not unlucky to see each other before the ceremony.
A timeline of events throughout the reception that has worked well is as follows.
Announce the newly-weds
Go right into the first dances
30 minutes later cut the cake
Toasts and speeches right after cake cutting
15-20 minutes later do the tosses
15-20 minutes later do the mock exit
What’s a mock exit? Everyone lines up with sparklers, bubbles, or whatever is being used for the exit and we go through the motion of the couple leaving, but the couple actually doesn’t leave. Why do this?
Everyone is still there and the photos & videos will include everyone.
There is nothing left of the to-do list and it’s party time the rest of the evening!
If the photographer and videographer are booked for a certain amount of time this helps keep within their time restrictions.
Again, there is more to creating a wedding film than just showing up and the videographer recording random stuff. This post is not to put pressure on the couple, but to help prepare for the wedding day.
Are there any other things couples can do to help the videographer create the best wedding films? Let us know in the comments!