With wedding season upon us, knowing the basics of shooting a successful cinematic wedding is a must-have on any production pro's registry. Learn some quick tips on your way to the chapel that might help you catch the perfect shot, right alongside the bouquet or garder!
LaSalle Barnes of LaSalle Barnes Photography
When filming weddings, it is imperative to discuss guest etiquette with the bride and groom. Often times, the perfect shots are ruined because a guest is using a personal camera with an extraordinary flash or holding up a huge computer tablet blocking the videographer's view. For the ultimate wedding video, the couple must agree that the videographer's views should be the absolute priority, thereby requiring that an announcement be made to guests.
Wade Phelps of All Choral Works
We make a practice of running extra unmanned cameras in the corners of the event. It is amazing how many times, when we go to editing, that theses cameras catch something small that we didn't initially see. It is these "little" moments that make the biggest impact
Jamie Podworski, owner and lead filmmaker at JPod Productions
One of the biggest differences we see at high-end weddings is the ambiance, and more specifically, the professional lighting. As a wedding cinematographer, we will add our own lighting elements to the first dance, toasts and parent dances to make them really stand out in our films. But, the key to this is to not overtake the ambiance of the room and to only use the lights when needed. Professional wedding filmmakers need to make sure they are lighting up their venue space properly by using the right amount of light to not flood out the room with light. Also, when a room is lit by a professional designer, it is important for the guests to enter the room for the first time and see the pin-spotting, uplights and color splashes that have been elegantly designed to the couple's tastes. As cinematographers, we need to wait until the final moments before the introductions and first dance, as well as the toasts to bring up our lights that help us make better films. It is a delicate balance of creating a quality film, but still blending into the surroundings at the event.
2. A second important element to have as a high-end wedding filmmaker is to be a good storyteller. A wedding film at this level cannot be a bunch of pretty video clips put together to music. Wedding filmmakers have to capture quality audio elements from the day as well, and then utilize them to tell a story within their wedding films. This type of client is very intelligent and they are looking for a final product that will not only capture the pretty details that were designed throughout the day, but to tell a story that reaches them on an emotional level as well.
3. Another big tip is to be clean, neat and organized. This starts with the way you present yourself personally to the way you store your equipment. With high-end events, equipment cannot be lying around affecting the ambiance of the venue. You need to know what you need and have it ready, while having the rest of your equipment in a safe and stored away place. Don't be the messy videographer!
Jay Chaudhry of Escape Studios
Tip 1: Acquiring the "Big Client"
Film every wedding, no matter how big or small, like it's going to be screened for the Oscars. When you start out, it's key to treat every client in preparation for the next. One way to do this is by going above and beyond for them, outside their budget. If they pay you $3,000, provide them with $6,000 worth of production value and customer service. You'd be surprised how fast word travels.
Tip 2: Getting Beyond the 'Creative Block'
Time and time again, you'll find yourself stuck shooting in the same style as it becomes second nature. Needless to say, you want to provide your clients with something fresh, all while keeping consistency in your work. Hire an extra cinematographer at your next wedding and spend your time filming it from outside your comfort zone. Your client will get the same product they initially wanted, and you have something new to show your future couples!
Tip 3: Know the schedule!
Filming live events is no easy task, especially when one moment missed could sacrifice your reputation in the industry. Happy bride, happy life. The wedding day itinerary should be imprinted in yours and your staff's head so that you can precisely time your shots and set up the angle before it strikes. A technical, yet life saving side note: always have back up memory cards, batteries and grips on you at all times for easy switch-a-roonies!
image courtesy of Google & JPod Productions