Sometimes we are asked to go to the wedding rehearsal. Often this is a good idea especially for inexperienced videographers. Going to the rehearsal is not necessary to shoot a good wedding video, but some couples are reassured and if it is an unusual or complex venue forewarned is forearmed. Some couples want the wedding rehearsal filmed as part of the whole story and build up to the wedding day.
On the day of the wedding, we usually arrive at least a half-hour before the ceremony. Often we will have filmed the bride and bride’s party getting ready and the groom’s as well. By this stage, the wedding couple and immediate wedding party are usually relaxed around us and we think a little filming before the ceremony helps with nerves.
We wear semi-formal clothes that are practical yet smart with a shirt and tie for the gentlemen and very comfortable shoes as we are dashing around a lot. It is important a wedding videographer is smart and well turned out for the occasion. Not only does it look professional, it shows respect for the wedding couple – our clients. Although, there have been occasions where we’ve had to don our wellies!
On arriving at the wedding location, the first thing we do is find the wedding official or the wedding planner if there is one. We then go over the ceremony step by step and ensure we know exactly where to set up, which way the bride and groom will enter, best angles for capturing the bride and groom and we will identify different areas to be at different times during the ceremony. Naturally, we will be discrete in our movements.
It is important to get those “money” shots without being intrusive. Capturing the groom’s nervousness and interaction with the best man and ushers and ensuring some close ups and a wide shot too helps with the overall look of the wedding video and gives you frames to use in the final edit. If the bride is already at the venue perhaps in an ante-room, then we also take long, wide, and close-ups. We generally stay out of the way to avoid too much nervousness around the camera. We always want everything to be as natural as possible.
Before the wedding ceremony begins, we always make sure to get plenty of background shots and close up shots of wedding guests, flowers, decorations and the venue including the altar if it is a church ceremony. Anything unusual or a special feature of the building is always filmed. These background pieces can be used in the final editing to seamlessly move from one sequence to another or be part of a collage for the reception.
Once the ceremony begins, we try to stay hidden as much as possible. We often film the wedding party walking down the aisle from a tripod position behind the altar or celebrant. In this type of medium shot, we allow everyone to walk into the camera shot rather than following individuals. The money shot here is the bride’s entrance, the medium to wide shot will follow her down the aisle. When she arrives to greet the groom, we discretely step off to one side to film the ceremony. It is far more important to capture the bride so we set up on the side that shows her off the best. We then tend to stay in one place (unless someone moves in front of our shot!), and keep the camera rolling, holding each shot for several minutes, wide, medium and close up. We tend to keep the camera movements small with very slow zooms to catch every nuance of the special moment. It is vital to capture the bridal couple at this point before a quick dash to the other end of the wedding aisle to film the now married couple exiting the wedding venue.
Look out for the conclusion of our ‘Life as a Wedding Videographer‘ trilogy which will be coming next week.