A Filmmaker's Guide to Shooting Beautiful Wedding Ceremonies
How do you go about capturing one of the most important days in a couple's life?
Even if feature filmmaking is the big dream for you, wedding videography can be a major, even necessary stepping stone on the road to making it come true. Shooting such emotional, important, once-in-a-lifetime events, however, can be one of the most difficult and stressful things you ever do as a creative, but to help you be able to handle the chaos of your clients' big day, Parker Walbeck and Brenden Bytheway offer up a ton of pointers on how they anticipate and prepare for it all so they're not exchanging memory cards while the couple's exchanging rings—or something equally as horrifying.
Before we get to the takeaways from the video (and there are a lot), take a look at the final product from the couple's special day:
Now, here are the takeaways I thought would be most helpful for new wedding videographers:
- Use lavs, booms, and onboard external mics on your camera to pick up audio (One of these is bound to fail, and if you only have one, there go the vows.)
- Use covers to reduce the amount of noise the lav picks up from clothes
- Aim for levels between -18dB and -6dB
- Get as many different angles and shot sizes as you can
- Capture a master of the bride and groom throughout the entire ceremony (using a slider gets you extra points)
- Try to shoot a tight over-the-shoulder shot of both the bride and groom saying their vows
- As you move around during the ceremony, try to avoid crossing in front of the bride and groom
- But don't be too shy to move around (the couple is paying you big bucks to shoot their wedding...they want you to do your thing)
- Try to avoid clashing with the wedding photographer
- Try to avoid capturing the wedding photographer in your shots
- Wear dark colors...and honor the dress code
- Get plenty of b-roll of your bride and groom, even staged b-roll (this should be discussed and scheduled way before the ceremony)
- If you've only got one camera that's okay
- Write out a shot list
- Try to memorize all of the important shots you need to get
- Be nice. Say congratulations.
The difficult thing about giving advice on wedding videography is that it all depends on your setup and your clients' event. There's a pretty big difference between shooting solo with one camera, shooting solo with multiple cameras, and shooting with a crew. Furthermore, the wedding you're shooting will have a ton of variables that will require you to adjust, not to mention the random fateful occurrences that will force you to switch up your game plan at a moment's notice.
Being able to roll with the punches, adapt, and keep a level head is integral to making it out of the wedding alive. The same goes for the videographer, too.