The Considerations of a Wedding Videographer
In a society of avid movie watching, season marathoners, and die hard loyalists to their favorite series, most people watch without thinking too much into the process it took to make it… Ah, enter the filmmaker. We watch films not for only the entertainment of it, but we watch for the technical aspects as well. It’s a form of teaching, a means for conversing, and sometimes a source of regret for no longer being able to just get lost in the adventure as we once did.
So what are these things we look at when deciding if a film has met our standards? The elements of film come into play not only when we watch a film, but of course when we’re making a film. And that translates right into your film.
Story. What’s a film without the story? We need to get to know the characters, fall in love with them, and follow them on their journey. We want to be engrossed in the environment- the people that make it special, the ambiance of the rooms, the breeze that softly kissed the leaves on that warm summer day. And finally, we need the payoff! What’s the payoff? We want a resolve, we want the couple to finally tie the knot, to see our family cheer, to watch everyone dance in excitement! We want that story.
Editing. This is where the film is made. An editor takes all those amazing clips, hundreds of gigs of footage from the day, looks for all those beautiful moments, and makes a story. There’s a lot to consider when editing; should I start editing from the beginning, or should I start from the end? Do I want to lay the audio clips first and then overlay the video? Do I use an L cut, a jump cut, a whip pan, a segway? Or maybe some kind of sweet transition using filters, clip layers, or masks. There’s a ton of tricks to edit an awesome piece, but great editing begins with great shooting.
Cinematography. This one is a big one (I might be biased), and a lot of factors play into this. I think this subject in itself is a blog alone. We’ll keep it brief, and start with equipment. Is it worth the extra dough hiring a videographer with a DSLR? Or will it be fine to have your cousin record something cool from their iphone. Well, iphone footage looks great on an iphone. And that’s it. In short, yes, it’s worth the extra dough to get a high resolution, editable, transferable, media friendly video of one of the most momentous days of your life. There’s a reason pros use good cameras with good glass and spend the time knowing how to use it. Along with the quality your video is being shot on, lets talk about the way the picture looks, bringing me to composition. Ooh, I love a film with a cinematic look, well framed people, and great lighting techniques. A good cinematographer considers the shot they want, and they get it- using light, technical know how, intuition, and an eye for aesthetics.
Lighting. Great light makes great imagery. No light, well, no image. All cinematographers and photographers have their own style, and their own preferences. One thing we can all agree on, is it’s better to have the subject have light on them then none. Now, for the things we may disagree on ;) Personally, I like variations of light, but I’m not a fan of a back lit subject. The background gets blown out, and the faces wind up dark and kind of matted. I love love love window light. Window light is great as a key light (main light), a back light, or a fill light. It adds beautiful dynamics. I love shooting out in the sun, letting the sunlight be a moving part of the frame, and allowing it’s rays to cast an ambient glow. I’m not a huge fan of shooting in the shade on a bright sunny day. This is where I often disagree with photographers, and it’s typically because we are shooting with different lenses and exposing differently. But overexposed nature behind a properly exposed face doesn’t always translate well on film. This is another subject for further elaboration. We’ll skip on to indoor lighting. It can be beautiful, and the thing I love the best about it is room lighting always has a feeling on it’s own, like that’s a memory in and of itself. I like bringing in my own lights as well, it just adds that extra push of beauty to each shot. I will bring up a problem in recent years. LED lights can be a videographers arch nemesis. Some lights in some venues run at a frequency that is lower than the shutter of the camera and cause a flickering effect. Is there a workaround? Yes, shut off those lights, or bring in video friendly led’s.
Sound. Sound is a driving force in a film, it stirs up the emotion and really brings everything together. I love having a good music track with no dialogue just as much as I love having ambient tunes mixed with voice over of the day. Selection is what is important here. Music selection- Some things to consider is that the music fits the tone. Does it help you get lost in the visuals while complimenting them simultaneously? You may not even notice, it’s a perfect combination. When using dialogue it gets tricky, it’s a matter of sorting through everything said throughout the entire day, finding those really emotion driven, advice given, never want to forget words and syncing it up perfectly with a music overlay. Amazing!
Timing and placement. Consider what you want captured, if no one is there to capture it- it wont be captured. Whatever is captured, is what goes in the video. I believe a balance between enjoying yourself by being free and in the moment, and having those cinematic staged shots is necessary. Things may feel rushed, or they may feel really laxxed, its all good either way- just don’t forget to relax and be yourself.