This is a blog-post from us, the filmmakers of the industry, to you, the soon-to-be brides and grooms. I know you’re busy planning your big day right now, and the last thing you want to do is read yet another list (I’m sure you’re making enough of your own as it is). But honestly, what’s the point in all that planning and all that money if your wedding film doesn’t have any speeches because your videographer missed them? What’s the point in writing those custom vows if your faces aren’t visible in the ceremony? So please, take note of our advice, and give your videographer the best chance possible of making your Wedding Film amazing!
1) Tell us EVERYTHING
We’ve all heard the old adage: fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Well, I cannot stress this enough: a prepared videographer is a good videographer. There is nothing worse, from a videographer’s point of view, than somebody deciding to deliver an impromptu speech at a wedding – chances are, if we didn’t know about it, we didn’t put a microphone on them so they’re going to sound really bad in your film. Likewise, don’t surprise your partner with a gift or a spontaneous rendition of ‘your song’ without letting us know beforehand so that we can capture their reaction for you! The more we know, the better prepared we can be, and the better your film will be. The best rule to follow is: if in doubt, tell your filmmaker!
In addition, make sure you keep us informed throughout the day. I know quite often videographers are almost invisible – you don’t notice us capturing those intimate moments, and that’s the way it should be! But please don’t forget about us. When you’re going for your first dance, just give us a heads up so that we can get cameras ready. It’s likely we’ll want to have more than one camera rolling for these important moments, so that we can cut between different angles in your film, so tell the DJ to wait for our nod before cuing your Ed-Sheeran-first-dance-medley. Additionally, if you’re going off with the photographer for some shots, it would be great to let us know, too. Sometimes the photographer forgets because they’re so focussed on getting some beautiful photos of you, which is absolutely fine by us. But chances are, you’ll want some beautiful shots in your film too, so just give us a quick wave. Maybe the photographer wants 15 minutes alone with you – that’s cool! All we ask is that we get some time alone with you, too.
2) Get ready by a window
Whether you’re a bride or a groom, getting ready by a window is crucial. I’m sure your photographer will agree that this just gives us so much more to work with in terms of light. Artificial light is really yellow and makes the colour of your skin and EVERYTHING ELSE look weird and unappealing. Natural light, on the other hand, is both flattering and true to real-life colours.
If you’re having a make-up artist, chances are they’ll sit you by a window (after all, it makes sense for them to have loads of light too in order to work their magic). But if they don’t, maybe try and suggest moving. Some make-up artists will bring their own lights, and will prefer to work in front of them than in front of a window, and that’s okay! Any worthwhile wedding videographer will be able to work in artificially lit conditions – all we’re talking about here is how to foster the ideal conditions for the best Wedding Film your videographer can produce.
Men are much easier to film getting ready than women, simply because it doesn’t take as long for you to get ready, and there are only really a few shots we want to get. For example, a shot of you (or your father/best man) doing up your tie is always great, as is a shot of you putting on cufflinks and throwing on your jacket. Unfortunately, these can be relatively mundane shots when you’re in a dimly lit hotel room. But stand by a window and the shot instantly becomes more interesting and appealing. Plus, it means we can get some awesome silhouette shots, too!
3) Turn to face each other in the aisle
During your ceremony, the officiant will, at some point, ask you to turn and face each other. This is usually for the vows and the ring exchange. Please please PLEASE turn fully. A lot of videographers like to get a shot down the aisle (it’s a really beautiful shot because of the symmetry and because it captures both your faces at the same time). But if you don’t turn to face each other all the way, you’ll end up being kind of diagonal, and we’ll get more of the back of your head than your faces and miss the part where you start blubbering into your own veil/pocket square. So turn to face each other head-on, so that your officiant is on one side, and your guests on the other, gaze into each other’s eyes and let us capture the magic!
4) Have an unplugged ceremony
Bear in mind: just because you and I are doing everything right, that doesn’t mean your guests won’t get in the way still.
Whether it’s Uncle Trevor and his new Nikon, or Stacy the Serial Insta-Storyer, there will always be somebody watching your ceremony through a screen. And while that’s a shame for you because you invited them there to be present in the moment and enjoy your day, it’s an even bigger shame for us, the videographers, who have to try to shoot around the cameras and the iPhones (and iPads – looking at you, grandma!) leaning into the aisle. It’s for that reason that we always recommend an ‘unplugged’ ceremony. In essence, this is a ceremony where you ask people not to take photos or videos. I’ve been at quite a few unplugged ceremonies, and the effect is fascinating: people actually sit and watch your ceremony with their own eyes! And I can get a clean shot of your ring exchange without having to have a word with Uncle Trevor – win-win!
5) Don’t try and hold back your emotions
Speaking of blubbering, please don’t try to hold back your emotions. This one applies to men more than women; because of the whole ‘man up’ thing, we’ve found that men are generally reluctant to let their emotions show. When they see their significant other gliding down the aisle, radiating beauty, a lot of men do want to cry, but only a courageous few let that happen. The rest of you try to bottle it up, which results in some of the strangest faces you will ever pull (which isn’t ideal on what is potentially the only day you’ll ever have a professional camera pointing at your face). So don’t bottle it up… let it all out and cry like there’s nobody watching – it will make your Wedding Film ten times better. Plus, it’s a fact that the sight of a man crying is more likely to set somebody else off than the sight of a woman crying; so chances are that, once you start, someone else in that room will join in before long (it may well be me on the other side of the camera).
So there you have it – 5 ways you can help your Wedding Videographer to make your film the best that it can be. Again, these aren’t essential, and they won’t ruin your film if you neglect to follow them, but they will help to foster the ideal conditions for your filmmaker to work their magic and make you a fantastic Wedding Film that you’ll be proud to show family and friends for the rest of your lives.