10 Secrets to Shooting Great Wedding Videos
Have you wanted to use your camcorder and video equipment to make some money, or are you already shooting live events? Shooting and producing wedding videos is a great way to profit from your equipment and experience. Whether you’re just entering the videography field or looking to add wedding videography to your list of services, these 10 insider secrets will help you produce professional wedding videos, right from the start.
Excerpted from The Video Guide to Professional Wedding Videography
1. Choose the Right Gear.
Video equipment becomes obsolete very quickly because of the constant advancements in technology. You don’t need the highest-end gear to shoot great wedding videos; the basics will do just fine. The basic equipment that you’ll need to shoot wedding videos includes a fluid head tripod, remote microphone system and an audio mixer. Oh, and a digital format camcorder, of course.
2. Back up your audio.
Audio for wedding videos can be touchy. Remote microphones may pick up some voices better than others and last minute glitches could prevent you from getting any audio at all. This is why many wedding videographers are investing in Sony Mini-Disc recorders to back up their audio. The recorder allows you to back-up your audio from the ceremony and the reception. The MD recorder is easily carried in the groom’s pocket, with a lavaliere microphone.
3. Understand LUX Ratings.
LUX is a measurement of camera sensitivity that is important to consider when purchasing a video camera. Cameras with lower LUX ratings produce better video in low light situations than cameras with higher LUX ratings. For wedding videography, which most often takes place in low light situations; churches, synagogues, reception halls, it is necessary to use a camera with a low LUX rating. The more sensitive to light your video camera is, the better quality wedding shots you’ll get, and the more professional the finished wedding video will be.
4. Attend the rehearsal.
Unless you can attend the wedding rehearsal, you probably shouldn’t book the job. Attending the rehearsal and planning ahead can easily avoid problems with lighting, microphone placement, and blocked views. The rehearsal also gives you another chance to consult with the bride and groom. Any last minute requests for their wedding video that they, or you, may have can be discussed before the wedding day rush is on.
5. Get “B-roll” coverage.
“B-roll” coverage is of critical importance to the professional quality of your wedding video production. To get B-roll footage, simply use a tripod to take exterior shots of the building in which the event will take place, stained glass or other architectural features, the food and flower arrangements and any other special touches you notice.
In addition to these still shots, begin videotaping about 20 minutes before the wedding is to begin, in order to get shots of the guests being seated, and audio of the music played before the ceremony.
6. Test your audio.
Testing your audio before the ceremony is the best way to avoid common audio problems. To test your audio, make sure to arrive at the wedding location at least two hours early, in order to set up your equipment and check it out, and have time to fix any problems that you find. Another good tip is to monitor the audio with your headphones to be sure that it has a professional quality.
7. Concentrate on close-ups.
It is extremely important to get close-up shots at the wedding. Close-ups make your images look sharper and they allow you to capture emotion in your wedding video. Be sure to get close-up shots of the bride and groom, the wedding party, and the parents throughout the wedding and the reception, and use them frequently.
8. Anticipate and follow the action.
In order to shoot a professional wedding video, you must anticipate and follow the action throughout the wedding, especially if you’re doing a one-camera shoot. You only get once chance to capture the action at a wedding ceremony, be prepared for whatever is coming. Talking to the couple and attending the rehearsal ceremony will help you to know what’s happening next, and your camera moves will be more fluid. Anticipating and following the action is key to shooting a professional wedding video.
9. Focus on capturing the event, not creating a special effects film.
There are many opportunities and options for special effects when creating a wedding video. However, special effects such as slow motion, layering graphics, and editing backgrounds work well in wedding videos only to a point. It is very important to remember that shooting a wedding video is all about capturing an important event, not creating a video with the most special effects. Remember to keep your focus on the couple, the ceremony, and the emotion of the wedding, and use special effects wisely.
10. Finish the job on time.
After you’ve shot the wedding ceremony and the reception, it’s time to produce the finished video. Make sure to allow at least a week of postproduction to finish the job on time. A week should give you time to transfer footage to your system, catch up with other possible clients, editing the ceremony, the reception, and the pre-and-post ceremonies, as well as transferring to tape or DVD and preparing the packaging. Remember that the MOST important part of post-production is delivering the finished video ON TIME. The married couple will be anxious to see their wedding video, and are depending on you to deliver it on the date and time that you promised. Your reputation, and your future clientele, depends on your ability to finish like a pro by producing a professional wedding video on time and on budget.
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