His suit is ironed, her dress is flowing, the altar is waiting, love is in the air… and you’re there to document it! Wedding videos are one of the most common and lucrative types of work that up-and-coming videographers can get – after all, people are always getting married, and nearly all of them want a video to remember the big day.
But filming and distilling an entire wedding day into just a short video is a tall order… where do you even begin? Today, we’ll cover everything you need to consider when immortalizing your client’s matrimony.
Communicate with the Bride(s) and Groom(s)
Long before you arrive at the venue, you need to discuss your vision for the video with your client! You’ll need to iron out all the fine details, such as the video’s duration, the music used, notable guests that need extra screentime, familial traditions, and other factors that make every wedding unique! Now is the time that you want to learn that the bride is wearing special earrings passed down from her grandmother… not in the editing room after the fact!
This is also when you want to start coordinating with the wedding planner and other vendors to get a feel for how the wedding day will proceed. Make sure to grab an itinerary and do some research on the venue. You may also need to send the owner of the venue a COI, or Certificate of Insurance, to be allowed on the premises.
Communication is everything in wedding videos. You and your client need to be on the same page so the final wedding video is as beautiful and tear-jerking as it can be!
Never stop recording. Weddings can be nerve-wracking for videographers because everything happens fast and only once – if you miss the big kiss, you’re out of luck. That’s why you should record everything, whether you think you’ll need it or not. Film the rings, film the bride’s shoes, film the groom putting on his suit, film the guests interacting, film the ringbearer, film the best man’s goofy dancing… you never know what you can use in the edit. If you can, hire a second shooter and have them film alternate angles and cover more ground. It’s far better to have too much footage than too little.
Grab Soundbites for the Wedding Video
Approach the DJ and ask him to let you connect some audio equipment to his setup. This will allow you to capture incredible soundbites, such as the newlyweds giving their vows, speeches from the groomsmen and bridesmaids, and more! You can sprinkle these into the wedding video to give it an intimate feel. And if you’re filming the ceremony in its entirety, recording audio this way is an absolute necessity.
Light Up the Dance Floor (Literally)
The lighting at the reception might be poor, because later in the evening, venues typically opt for very dim, warm lights to illuminate the dance floor. Bring your own lights so you can capture the guests as they bust some moves! You’d do well to follow the bridge and groom as they interact with their favorite guests, hug their parents, cut the cake, and enjoy their new marriage together. Remember, you’re looking for smiles and happy tears!
Cutting Together the Wedding Video
Once you sit down to edit, you’ll have a mountain of footage to assemble into the perfect video. Start by sorting the footage, either by the camera(s) it was recorded on, or what “scene” it is (getting ready/ceremony/reception). Start scrubbing through and marking the very best shots, so you know where to grab from later. Then, slowly, you can start editing a rough chronological outline of the day. Once the skeleton of the video is in place, you can start making finer edits, trimming clips to the perfect length, adding effects and sound design, and bringing the video to life. A great edit will capture the emotion and meaning of the day, and maybe even bring your client to tears as they watch! Wedding videography is a monumental task, and just one of the many tools a videographer might have at their disposal. If you’d like to learn about other possible career paths videographers pursue, check out F.I.R.S.T. Institute’s Digital Filmmaking & Video Production Program.