Summer is wedding time, and wedding videography means a lot to a wedding. If you are planning to videotape weddings, these tips will show you how to make great-looking wedding videos.
Remember your role
When you videotap a wedding, you generally either do so as a friend or professional who has been tasked with shooting the official wedding video, or as a guest who happened to bring a video camera.
If you’re not shooting the official wedding video, stay away from the one who is. The groom and bride likely paid a lot of money to hire this professional, and he or she should always be given the priority in preparing the best shot and getting the best angle to the events.
If you step in front of the hired videographer to get a good shot of your vows, you are actually ruining the wedding video the bride and groom paid. No one will please you, no matter how good your video is.
If you’re new to video, shooting wedding videos makes for an intense camp to boot. Tips for recording good video and good audio will help you shoot a wedding video (or any kind of video for that matter).
You have extra tapes and batteries
You will need a lot of space on your flash drive, depending on the length of the day. You will also need an extra battery or two, as just one might not last you all day. If you don’t have enough batteries bring your own charger so that you can recharge the batteries during the downtime. Nobody wants half a wedding video!
Use a lapel microphone
Without a bride’s microphone, you probably won’t be able to hear the voice of promises. Ideally, you will have a wireless microphone that can connect to the camera. However, these are very expensive, so you may not be able to afford them (especially if you are not getting paid for your work!).
Alternatively, you can purchase a digital recorder (or convert your iPod into a digital recorder) and attach a fold microphone to it. You will have to sync the audio and video while editing.
Know the table
Talk to the couple ahead of time to find out the schedule for the wedding. This way, you will be able to anticipate the action and not find yourself in the wrong place at a critical moment or miss an important event that you must videotap.
Ideally, you will be able to attend the wedding rehearsal. This will give you a chance to find the best place to set up your camera. You will also have a chance to see if there are any restrictions at the ceremony site. Many churches have rules about where videographers can stand, whether you can move around, and use lamps.
If you’re not into rehearsal, grab a copy of the program so you can see what happens during the party.
Remember, a wedding is a day to celebrate a married couple. While it is important to make a great video to remember that day, it is also important for yourself to let the bride, groom and their guests enjoy the day. You may have to move around somewhere during the ceremony, but try to do so quickly and calmly so that you are not drawing attention from the spouses.
Also, use your zoom to get close to the guests. Nobody likes to have a push camera in their faces, and it’s one of the biggest complaints people have about videographers.
Talk to guests (or leave them alone)
Some wedding guests are vocal and want to say something to the camera. Some camera shy and want to be left alone. If this is the case, respect their wishes.
Light up the scene
With new, better quality digital video cameras, the days when wedding photographers needed to set up large, 1000-watt bulbs are long gone. However, you might need some extra lighting to get good shots during a wedding. The miniature 50-watt sight mounted on the top of the camera will illuminate the scene without getting blinded by guests or breaking your budget.
Make friends with other sellers
The videographer, DJ, cameraman and reception site coordinator all have a common goal: to make the day go smoothly for the bride and groom.
Introduce yourself as soon as possible to these people and find out what you can do to work together to do your jobs well. The cameraman should know where to house your camcorder at the party, in order not to stand in front of it. The DJ or site coordinator can tell you the schedule of reception events, and make sure you are in the room whenever anything important happens.
Take a Break
Shooting a wedding video means spending a long day on your feet and working hard. Make sure to take a break now and then for some rest and refreshment. I don’t recommend drinking water while at work, but coke or ice water can revive your spirits as they start to fade.
Also, taking a break can be good for guests who are camera shy. Some people will leave the dance floor the moment they see a video camera on their way. If you take a break and sit down to a few songs, you will give these people a chance to have fun without fear or embarrassment from the dance moves they throw onto a tape.
Try two cameras
If you have two video cameras, use both of them to make the wedding videos. This way you can set one up to capture a wide shot of the bride, groom and staff, and use the other for close-up shots and reaction shots.
With two cameras you know you’ll always have the wide shot to cut, which gives you more flexibility while editing and shooting.
Get the shots
Every wedding is unique, but most weddings have certain things in common. A wedding photography checklist should help you make sure you have the important shots the bride and groom expect to see in their wedding video.