December 9, 2014 at 2:49PM

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What Makes a Good Wedding Video?

Hey everyone!

I'm 16 years old and have been shooting weddings for about a year now. I've done six so far. I was wondering your thoughts on what makes a wedding video good. I feel that mine are quite good already, but I'm looking for some advice to make them even better and start a discussion on what you think is important to have in them.

Here are some that I've done
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXcnJwO-5MM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XjmKaj4F1w
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIrKxV7kteY

31 Comments

Hey Gareth,

Great job with starting young and diving into the industry, specifically event videos. Weddings are one of the hardest things to shoot well, you have to get your shots and there are no second takes. To get good at something you need to do it a lot, I think "they" say it take 10,000 hours to become an expert at something.

Here are 3 wedding videos that I really like and that I think are more emotional, fun and/or artful then the average wedding video. Please note that some of the tips/rules that I have below are broken in the name of story or feel in these videos. Also none of these videos are totally chronological, to different degrees that makes them more dynamic. check out shark pig's use of timelapse, split screen, and totally different cameras (Full frame DSLR and 8mm film cameras)

https://vimeo.com/108157342 - Birds must Fly (I shot and edited this one)

https://vimeo.com/61406507 - Sharkpig (I'm a big fan of how different this person/company shoots/edits their videos)

https://vimeo.com/79841203 - Forged in the North (I was B Camera Operator on this and I dig the way They edited and colored this video)

In terms of advice I would say there are two categories that say you should focus on, 1) story and 2)technical aspects I list them in that order because the story is the most important, if i see a video with good storytelling no matter what kind of video I can usually forgive the technical part of the video because the story is what has my attention. of course there are limits to this and making a video as technically sound is always important.

Story- A lot of this is in the editing, yes the footage matters, but the way you edit is the whole ball game in my opinion.

STORY

1. Use Less Shots - Never use 3 shots of the same thing if you can communicate it with 1 or 2, stuff gets boring very quickly even if it looks cool. As a viewer I don't need to see a bride getting her makeup put on in a macro, wide, medium, close up and reverse shot or worse 5 different shots at similar angles or fields of view.

2. Keep it Short - This goes hand and hand with the tip above, people can get board very quickly, a wedding highlight video should be about 2-5 minutes and 5 minutes is starting to push it. Viewers will get more enjoyment out of a short video that leaves them wanting more or feels just the right length rather than a video that seems even 20 seconds to long

3. Don't just document the event, find the story.

TECHNICAL

1. Match Camera Settings - Match Resolution, framerate, sharpness and color settings with all cameras being used. If different cameras are being used do tests ahead of time to get the looks as close to matching as possible. When light temperature changes make sure all cameras change to the appropriate white balance.

2. Keep Cameras Steady - Unless you are super steady handholding the camera use a tripod, monopod or some other stabilizer(shoulder rig, steadicam, slider, 3 axis gimbal) sometimes you can use footage that is not steady to good effect but this the exception not the rule. (also with steadicam or similar, try not to do shots that are to fast, they can make viewers feel vertigo)

3. Editing

A) don't have audio of a man speaking while the video has woman moving their lips, it will look weird and distract the viewer.

B) Be mindful of your coverage and B-Roll shots, don't show people yawning or frowning this will distract from the happy wedding your highlighting, try to show people in the best light.

C) no jump cuts in general

December 10, 2014 at 9:18PM

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Peter Staubs
Camera Assistant
467

"C) No Jump Cuts in General" - I think you mean 'no accidental Jump Cuts'.

December 13, 2014 at 4:44PM

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All good points, but in my experience shooting weddings(I've done about 100 these past two seasons), shorter hasn't always been better. I have made 5 minute wedding highlight films and almost 85% of the time, the client wants more in it. Sometimes almost a 10 minute highlight film, I think the couple just generally wants to see everything for the day. Might make the story drag on a bit but a lot of couples want that, I think they want to get caught up in everything, couples generally don't get to see everything you are filming and are more apt to want the footage in there. And side note, I shoot on the west coast so that might be a difference in what people want in their highlight films.

December 15, 2014 at 10:51AM

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Oops, sorry, don't know why it posted twice.

December 15, 2014 at 10:51AM

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All good points, but in my experience shooting weddings(I've done about 100 these past two seasons), shorter hasn't always been better. I have made 5 minute wedding highlight films and almost 85% of the time, the client wants more in it. Sometimes almost a 10 minute highlight film, I think the couple just generally wants to see everything for the day. Might make the story drag on a bit but a lot of couples want that, I think they want to get caught up in everything, couples generally don't get to see everything you are filming and are more apt to want the footage in there. And side note, I shoot on the west coast so that might be a difference in what people want in their highlight films.

December 15, 2014 at 10:51AM

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There is more basic editing tips but I got lazy there at the end... basically look at a lot of wedding videos, try to find ones that seem really great and try to figure out why and how they accomplished that

December 10, 2014 at 9:20PM

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Peter Staubs
Camera Assistant
467

Story, I find all the highlight films become boring very quickly.

Focus on emotion and not all the details. Details are fine, its great to show all the things the bride prepared for her big day, but too much of it gets boring very quickly. Try to match the B-roll with whats being said.

Good audio is important, use a good mic (I use laveliers) to record wedding vows and speeches.

Try to hook the viewers early on, so start with something great right away.

I agree with a lot wat Peter says by the way. I don't like the use of tripods though, they have their uses and place off course, but if everything is super steady and clean I feel more distance to the story/couple and day. Nothing wrong with a little shake sometimes, a shoulderig is required though since stabilisation in post isn't a great solution (I still have to use it sometimes though).

Anyway, one of my last films I did: https://vimeo.com/110508377
(its dutch though, I did my first USA wedding very recent, but its not finished yet)

To see more of our work check: www.inbeeldmetfloor.nl (also photography) or www.vimeo.com/zoutwater

December 11, 2014 at 4:03PM, Edited December 11, 4:03PM

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Gerbert Floor
DP / Director / Camera / Editor
311

Honestly if the bride cries when she sees it you have a winner.

December 12, 2014 at 1:41AM

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Paul B
310

Yes, this is true.

December 12, 2014 at 5:17PM

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Peter Staubs
Camera Assistant
467

Thanks for all the advice, everyone. For the brides I've worked with, they want as much footage of friends and family as possible, so I guess what's important to them is different than what is to us.

December 12, 2014 at 8:18PM

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Gareth Ng
Cinematographer
720

This. Couple want the day documented, there are certain things that are important to them. That goes for most brides. Their dress, immediate family (enjoying themselves), wedding party first dance, father daughter dance.
IMO a successful wedding video is one that captures the day in a beautiful and compelling way. Develop a style and stick to it.
Personally I love Steadicam/gimbal work, free flowing with flowing cuts.

December 12, 2014 at 8:35PM, Edited December 12, 8:35PM

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Josh Wilkinson
Music Video Director/DP
244

Lots of good answers here. I've found that the single most important thing to shooting a great wedding film is planning & teamwork. You need to build experience first, because you've got know how to handle all of the left field situations that can pop up, and you and your team need to be ready to handle them without panic.

Your shooting team must know their roles throughout the varying parts of the day, and they must understand how to shoot for the edit. (Shooting in sequences, building a scene, etc).

Your team is not limited to just your cinematography team, but also to every other vendor at the wedding. All of you are one big team, and need to work together and communicate to make the day better for the client, and to improve your product. The very best wedding professionals do this.

I agree above that shots of make-up, details etc are very much overused. They are important, but should serve as a transitional element to your edit, rather than a crutch. (Though when things are rough in a particular edit, go ahead and use it to save you).

I think the biggest overlooked point with wedding films is music and sound. It's a given in terms of capturing dialog at the ceremony/reception. I consider this entry level. What I'm referring to is the sound design, the mix, and the creative selections. I know that music is certainly a taste thing, but personally I'm am so sick and bored of the twangy "folk" indie love songs that get used over and over. There's no drama in them to me, but that's probably a taste thing I guess.

I think you should carefully select songs that build up and match the emotion on the screen, and then mix the dialog while avoiding the lyrics of the song as much as possible. Take a song, and cut and dice it to fit your films story arch. Then, make sure to finish with foley...yes, FOLEY! It fattens up the piece and adds a big element....try it!

I like to simplify. The glide cam and job stuff looks great, and I use it, but lately i've been using it less and less, so that I can cover one particular moment in finer detail. Sometimes focusing on the people is the most moving image.

Here are some of our recent films, we've been implementing these things the past year and our work as improved SO MUCH as a result!

"Take me to Valhalla" http://vimeo.com/107292214
"Love" http://vimeo.com/113493822
"Once in a Lifetime" http://vimeo.com/103195924

December 13, 2014 at 2:09PM

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Daniel Inzitari
Filmmaker
81

I'm not a wedding shooter but I think the same "rules" apply to any narrative structure. Make sure they make sense and feel right. Here's one that I shot for a friend of mine this past summer: https://vimeo.com/66694656 . Keep shooting and you'll find your voice. I'm sure you have a long and prosperous career ahead of you.

Harvey

December 13, 2014 at 4:17PM, Edited December 13, 4:17PM

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Harvey Robinson
Director of Photography. Director. Music Supervisor
81

I've done wedding videos, in which I have filmed the whole event. (1 to 3 days)
I then edit it down to like 2-3 hours. There are a lot of speeches and dancing. And the actual wedding. I use a lot of music between speeches and often end the video with a nice look-back at the wedding and past shots. I often don't use to much editing and music. In my case, I think they're more interested in the speeches.

1. keep an eye on the wedding photographer.

December 13, 2014 at 4:18PM, Edited December 13, 4:18PM

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Johannes Karpe
Director
148

2. keep some extra cameras with you.
3. Keep it steady.
4. good shoes.. (some want you to dress more classy, but I always use comfortable shoes. Like running shoes)

December 13, 2014 at 4:22PM

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Johannes Karpe
Director
148

hey guys i have found your advice very helpfull for me this is my first wedding video which i did for my friend can you give some feedback what was good what would you change? Sorry for polish language i know that it will be hard to understand but at begining i ask my friend to write a letter to his bride. Thank you!
https://vimeo.com/102395534

December 13, 2014 at 4:33PM

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great idea about the letter, nice vid :)

December 13, 2014 at 4:43PM, Edited December 13, 4:43PM

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Thank you!:)

December 13, 2014 at 5:27PM

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hey guys i have found your advice very helpfull for me this is my first wedding video which i did for my friend can you give some feedback what was good what would you change? Sorry for polish language i know that it will be hard to understand but at begining i ask my friend to write a letter to his bride. Thank you!
https://vimeo.com/102395534

December 13, 2014 at 4:33PM, Edited December 13, 4:33PM

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I recently completed my first wedding video filmed in stunning Aitutaki, Cook Islands.

It was a friend's daughter's wedding and I was expected to party and film at the same time!

As it was also a local wedding, there was a unique local tradition where the wedding party cruise around the small island on a truck (population approx 2000) and people come out of their homes to dance and put a local style blanket over the truck.

Would love any feed back, it was a steep learning curve and covering everything by myself was certainly hard at times, especially in a tropical climate.

https://vimeo.com/112559109

December 13, 2014 at 4:38PM, Edited December 13, 4:38PM

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1) Build a story
2) Use more than one camera
3) Shoot in cinematic style
4) Find good
5) 2-4 min for teaser 30-40min for the entire film(Gandhi's life was 191min how lond for a wedding)
6) dslr or better
7) Be there until everybody is drunk,then stay longer
8) Sychronized with your crew
9) Have strategy what to shoot
10)Be prepared for everything

My one and only wedding ....
http://vimeo.com/46084168

December 13, 2014 at 4:43PM, Edited December 13, 4:43PM

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Main advice ADD SOUND - we need to hear the applause as they enter, walk down the aisle, hear them giggle during the bridal prep etc.

And YES THEY NOTICE the difference...by miles. If you don't have natural sound then you're not giving them a much different product than the photographer.

December 13, 2014 at 5:04PM, Edited December 13, 5:04PM

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Gary Hanna
Videographer
180

Last one I did https://vimeo.com/102903110 (solo project)

www.andripeetso.com is my website, you can check out rest of the stuff in my portfolio.

I'd say just go with your gut feeling. You're 16, give it time and try new things.

December 13, 2014 at 5:11PM

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Andri Peetso
Cinematographer, Producer
74

Id agree with alot of what is said here so wont repeat. You need to be able to work quickly, but creatively. Like someone said there are no second takes.
The most important thing to me however is this-
Its vital to me that the couple enjoy their day. Remember they are getting married and its been planned for a long time and they are all loved up. Let them have fun, try and not intervene and fry them with getting in their face all day. I've seen photographers take it too far. Yes the shots are mind-blowing but they get back to their reception exhausted.

Remember this and your couples will love you.

I pride myself on letting their day flow how they want it to.

Good luck buddy. When I nail a wedding video, even just one phenominal shot, I find the satisfaction so very worthwhile!

December 13, 2014 at 5:12PM

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dale
81

Hey Gareth I did my first season last year and found Ray Roman's crash course to be a great way to go pro fast. Ray is said to be in the top 10 on the planet and generally what he teaches is pretty much what all the very successful wedding cinematographers do so you get some real stable info in his little course to model your own work on. Besides from details on how to shoot the different aspects of the wedding he also goes into how to do the edit. Best money I ever spent really at more than reasonable cost ($129):
https://www.creativelive.com/courses/wedding-cinematography-crash-course...

December 13, 2014 at 5:58PM, Edited December 13, 5:58PM

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a lot of interesting feedback here and I definitely agree with what the others said. Over the past three years, I think one important key is to get to know your couples and also the people you work with (like photographers, wedding planners, florists, location managers, other suppliers, etc.). It will gradually happen over time as long as you're open to meet and collaborate. You'll find that these people can be invaluable to you in building up your network and career as wedding videographer. Also don't forget to keep your feet on the ground. Yes, you are good and you can become great but that's no excuse to be a diva. Anyways, just keep on shooting, learn from your mistakes and see them as an opportunity to learn and improve your craft. All the best!

check out some of our works:

Collaboration video: https://vimeo.com/113151794
Actual Wedding from the Collaboration project: https://vimeo.com/110017824
Traditional Serbian Wedding: https://vimeo.com/101550840

December 13, 2014 at 6:09PM

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John E.
DP, Editor
88

Buddy, you're only 16 and making some fantastic videos. Kudos to you!
I'm not a wedding shooter, more commercials / film and I own a production company. I just got married I'm currently editing 2 of my favourite DOP's footage of our big day, so this post caught my eye. ( I cut my teeth shooting events for brands all over the world)
I'm not going to give you much advice, I just registered to say - keep up the good work! My general advice :
You have a great eye and any questions you have, will ultimately be answered through shooting/editing hours, watching what other producers are doing (bad and good), sometimes finding yourself in a shitty situation and learn from it (and laugh about it later), Don't be afraid to ask someone to do something again - you're the professional and they'll take your advice to get the best out of your service (as long as it doesn't disrupt the flow of the day), be aware of products that will better your trade, but don't get too obsessed with gear and buzz words (4k wedding video!(unless they'll pay for it)), it's not the tools but how you use them!
But dude, you're on the right track and you look super talented. PS Don't ever, ever let any negative comments/feedback get you down, If it's client side, they usually have no idea what is involved in film/editing, if someone in the industry is barking on your comments, they are probably somewhat insecure/jealous/generally sad.
Also, in my conclusion ; "dude you're doing awesome" ..... Keep up with all genres of music, your brain will be a music library, MOST importantly - when you feel like taking a break from every day filming, take a break, film new Projects, projects that are different from your day to day earnings, it keeps the mind fresh!
In conclusion...bridesmaids dig creative folks- get in there bro! Ha!
Hope this helps !
J

December 13, 2014 at 8:47PM

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Goodfella
DOP/Director
74

I don't think Im that great at doing weddings but a wedding is a dance, so the music is paramount to how it is edited in relation to the rhythm. Find that piece that nails it and the rest falls into place. Here is an example of a trailer I did for a friend

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhtRwGiEQHk

December 13, 2014 at 10:44PM, Edited December 13, 10:44PM

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Hey there! These are pretty good, I like what you've done with them. I've only shot 2 wedding videos (and only finished making one), but what I like to do with them is go around during the reception and get the guests (especially any family of the bride and groom (or bride/bride or groom/groom)) to say something to the newlyweds, like good wishes and things like that. My first wedding video ended up 20 minutes long because of that, and I think it makes it even a little bit more personal.

December 14, 2014 at 2:45AM

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Andie F
13

Lots of great info and feedback here. As an editor I find that what makes a great wedding video is .
A. capturing the wedding, this includes great audio, significant moments as well as the minuscule moments.
and then B. great editing. as with any documentary you can have hours of beautiful footage but if its not put together well then what do you really have?

December 16, 2014 at 4:51PM

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Seth Evans
Editor
349

It's all in the editing in my opinion! Just get a style and feel that fits you then stick to it! Good luck!

August 4, 2017 at 4:46PM, Edited August 4, 4:46PM

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Tom Mills
DOP
8

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