July 19, 2016 at 10:54PM

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I got my first gig making a wedding video in a week and I'm lost.

Hello No Film School,
I have been reading this site for almost a year now and I know this is just the type of problem the community here can help me with. Recently I decided I was ready to start making money off my filmmaking, and just today my brother's friend called and told me he'd love to have me film his wedding at the end of the month. Of course I was overjoyed to hear this news, but there's an unfortunate catch. I was interviewed for this job along with two other filmmakers, and even though the groom is my brother's friend, I apparently only got the job because I had more passion for the story than for the gear. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to film the "story" of the wedding. I know I will capture the important moments such as the main service, but how do I make a documentary-style movie out of more than just that? What extra scenes or moments should I include? (I may get invited to the bachelor party in a few weeks too, so should I incorporate that into the story as well?) Basically, how would you tell the story of the wedding? I'm supposed to present my ideas to both the bride and the groom this weekend and I'm really looking for as much advice as possible. Thank you for your time.
*As far as gear is concerned, I'm pretty well-off. I'll be bringing two Canon 60Ds along with the basic sound equipment (Rode videomics, etc.) and a DJI Phantom 4. Additionally, my 12 year-old cousin will be helping me the day of, and he can bring a Nikon d3300.

144 Comments

My wife and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary today, and we are going to be watching our wedding video together later today. We hired a "journalistic" wedding videographer to tell the "story" of our wedding. It came out great. The process was simple, but you may not be able to pull it off solo.

After hiring the crew, he interviewed us, asking us to tell him what we thought the story of the wedding was. We told him about who we were, who was coming, how we picked the venue, the catering, the processional and recessional music, special notes about the pastor, the vows, the honeymoon, etc. Basically, we told him everything. And as we told him about the who, what, when, where, how of our wedding, he began to ask other questions: "would you like us to do more detailed shots of X or Y?" or "would you like us to add some vineyard stock footage since you are having the wedding at a winery?" Etc.

The day of the wedding, three camera people showed up. Camera A was principal videography of the bride and groom. Camera B was wide shots and/or family reactions. Camera C was B-roll all day long (random behind-the-scenes actions which, if you catch the right moment at the right time, really makes the video great).

One special twist of our wedding was that we had a good friend who arranged my wife's favorite song--Dancing Queen by ABBA--for string quartet. That was our recessional. When the song started, it sounded initially like any other wedding march. The cameras captured the faces of everybody reacting to a wedding march. Then, row by row (the hippest friends happened to be closest to the front) the guests recognized the music and you could see their faces light up and smiles beam. Because we told the camera crew to watch for that, they got it. And it's fantastic.

A wedding videographer with years of experience has probably seen enough different things that they know what questions to ask, they know what to look for, they know how to shoot it, with how many cameras, they know how to edit it, they know how to get good sound (which is CRUCIAL!), etc. But if they don't ask the right questions and they don't prepare ahead of time, knowing all the shots they need to get, and why, to tell the story, it is doubtful that they will do a good job capturing the story of something that moves as quickly and as unpredictably as a wedding.

Good luck!

July 20, 2016 at 7:21AM

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I cannot thank you enough for this incredibly helpful and truly thoughtful reply. I am only responding to it today because I have spent that past two days since your reply following your advice!

I decided to hire four additional crew members to fulfill the roles of camera A, B, and C, along with a professional sound man. I'm pretty connected in my local film community so I received small discounts and feel confident in my ability to produce a technically-sound project.

As per your experience, I conducted a Skype interview with the wedding planner to better understand the structure of the event, and then I also had another more important Skype interview with the happy couple themselves. Both the bride and the groom told me the most important parts of the wedding for them, and I took plenty of notes so I know which moments I absolutely must capture. I asked plenty of questions as well, and now possess a comprehensive knowledge of the couple's history and the background information necessary to enter the day of the wedding well-educated.

Although this will indeed be my first wedding, the crew I hired have all done others before in some capacity, I was forward and made sure the bride and groom understood I am new to wedding videos, but they trust me to do a good enough job and know that I am taking this seriously. They are also happy to help me with my first major step in this shaky career.

I am preparing for the big day as we speak, (maybe even more than the groom himself), and thanks to your help I've decided to begin the "story" of the wedding with an intimate interview at our meeting this weekend. Hopefully things will get off to a smooth start!

A huge thanks again for your invaluable response. As for your wedding video, I hope you enjoyed watching it again. As a huge ABBA fan, your unique take on the wedding march put a smile on my face. Maybe one day I'll find a composer to transcribe Super Trouper for my wedding. Happy anniversary to you and your wife; I can only hope that I make a video my couple will treasure twenty years from now.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 22, 2016 at 6:35PM

Start watching a ton of wedding films if you haven't already!
Ask what is important to capture their "Story." Consider doing a short interview of them separately or together about how they met, how the proposal went, what they love about each other, etc.

Don't be afraid to shoot too much as this is your first wedding & you can find different ways to structure the story in post. Also try to get clean audio of the vows.

Here is one that I thought really told a story & did it well!
https://vimeo.com/117707867

Hope that helps!

July 21, 2016 at 9:38AM

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Derek Armitage
Filmmaker & Vlogger
535

Thank you for the insightful response!

I conducted an interview with the bride and groom and got a detailed overview of their ideas of the story, so I will go in to our meeting this weekend well-prepared. The idea of separate interviews is very good, (and might add some humorous elements to the final cut if their memories of a single event differ greatly from each other!)

My sound man is designing a setup for the venue as we speak, and I'll be meeting with him tomorrow as well for a comprehensive briefing. I will not slack on sound.

The video you linked was also extremely helpful, and it was one of the better examples of a wedding video I've seen in the past week as I've poured over countless other examples.

I promise to shoot more video than I'll ever need!

Lorenzo Ducai

July 22, 2016 at 6:42PM

Ouch...good luck. Wedding films are highly complex and require years of experience to be good. I would suggest second shooting at least 30 times before shooting a wedding alone. This is the biggest day of their life, if your camera turns off during the vows you have ruined it. If you zoom too much because you don't know what you're doing, you will ruin it. You need to have several audio recorders, mixers, lavaliers, audio cables and more to capture good audio for the video. If not you are relying on the terrible camera audio, and will ruin it.

I would suggest contacting a pro to handle that wedding for you, maybe they would let you assist. I would never risk someone's wedding like you are doing, the ceremony is the hardest part and you make it seem like the easiest. Let them know you don't know what you're doing, don't be like everyone else in this industry and mess up the video.

July 22, 2016 at 9:49AM

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I apologize for somehow misrepresenting myself in the original post. I am by no means an "amateur". You seem keen on portraying me as a mere child who will "zoom too much because I don't know what I'm doing", when in fact I am quite the opposite and actually possess several years' worth of experience behind cameras in production environment, (albeit this will be my first time in charge of such a large-scale project).

I also understand the confusion since I only listed Rode videomics under my audio gear. The "etc" implied all the other necessary equipment (recorders, lavaliers, cables, and even mixers), and my newly-acquired sound man will also bring extra goodies to enhance my current collection for the big day, but like I said, I understand the confusion.

I also apologize for somewhat muddying my question in the lengthy original post. I am not seeking advice as to whether I should follow through with the project or not, I merely wish to hear opinions on how to tell the "story" of a wedding. I am technically proficient behind a camera, and so are my crew. In fact, the reason I got this job was because I showed more interest in the story than the gear, and I came here to gather as much information from the community as possible. I did not ask if I should back out of the project, I only wanted advice to improve the experience. Quitting was never, and is not an option concerning this project, which I am firmly committed too.

That said, I thank you for taking the time to describe possible issues and for looking out for my clients. I assure you that when it comes to this video, no one is looking out for my clients more than myself.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 22, 2016 at 7:07PM

But you think you don't need experience in weddings before taking on this project? Why do you think your better than assisting like cameramen have done for the entire history of photography?

All the preparation in the world will never get you ready, you have no experience to know what to prepare for. Please tell them to get someone experienced before you destroy their big day. Don't be so selfish, you only want this for your reel and don't understand what's at stake.

NinjaMonkey

July 23, 2016 at 11:26AM

Once again, thanks for your concern for my clients. I definitely think I need experience, that's why I've decided to get some by filming this wedding. Due to my lack of current experience though, I've surrounded myself with a small team of professionals—each with the wedding experience you prioritize so much. They will ensure the video runs without a hitch, and for all intensive purposes I am merely the boss on this project. I'm coordinating the team and planning out the best way to tell the "story" of the wedding. Yes, you could say I'm a little over-eager, but I wish to dive in and not waste time helping others make money off my hard work. Instead, I'd like to venture out with my own business, as I am doing here. You continue to act like me and my professional team are mere children, with absolutely zero technical knowledge or skill. This is blatantly incorrect—and as I've said before—downright slanderous. This post isn't even supposed to be about "am I ready for shooting a wedding?" I asked myself that question months ago before I started this venture, and I am confident in my future. This board is merely to gather advice from other skilled filmmakers as to how best to tell the "story" of a wedding. Furthermore, I've been very forward about my lack of experience with the clients, both of whom told me they are happy to give me the freedom I need for a successful first accomplishment. Now I just need help with a story!

Lorenzo Ducai

July 24, 2016 at 2:27AM

Wow, good luck. You don't want to get experience while others make money? You are what's wrong with the industry today. You are skipping the correct way of doing things, for your own selfish reasons. You only care about being paid, art comes way down the line behind money and notoriety.

You don't know enough to be running professionals, you don't know what directions to give them because you have never shot a wedding. You are not ready, that is not possible because you have zero experience contrary to your misguided beliefs.

Please give them back their money, I'm sure yu overcharged from all the "professionals" you are hiring. This is wrong what you are doing, I know you don't see it because you are so clouded by your own ego, but it is wrong and slightly evil. You don't have any experience, and shouldn't be charging anyone anything. Most have to wait 5-10 years of assisting to charge, why do you think you are better? This is disgusting.

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 10:27AM

You should reconsider giving other people advice...like, EVER.

Luke Neumann

July 24, 2016 at 5:36PM

Thanks Luke, I love your ignorant hatred toward me.

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 11:00PM

Have you thought doing a highlight video strictly?

July 22, 2016 at 1:18PM

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I considered that in the beginning, but after getting this job I realized a highlight real will not cut it for this couple. With this in mind, I have beefed up my staff considerably, and feel more prepared to tackle a documentary-style wedding video than I did at the time of my original post.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 22, 2016 at 6:45PM, Edited July 22, 6:45PM

And here's NinjaMonkey with negative advice. As usual.

You got this man! I think the most important thing is to do your pre pro work and have it planned out to a T. But be flexible on the day so you can easily adjust to any unforeseen circumstances or great opportunities/moments that might come up.

I would suggest bringing an additional shooter besides your cousin. And if you can swing it have another person there exclusively operating the DJI. You don't want to be messing with that thing and be missing opportunities right in front of you.

You got this!

July 22, 2016 at 1:21PM

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Nick Rowland
Street Bum
587

Just because my advice is realistic does not mean I am negative. Being overlay positive could lead to him destroying the biggest day of their lives. A day that many pay for years, and the video and pictures are all they have at the end to show for it.

I have seen amateurs like this destroy weddings videos. They move when they aren't supposed to, miss the kiss, record no audio for the vows, don't point the right way, or a million other issues amateurs have in this fast moving format.

There's no amount of pre-production that can prepare you for this. Unless he is really lucky he will mess up most of the video, but he could probably have a nice 3 minute highlight set to 1 song. If they are expecting anything longer you will be trouble.

NinjaMonkey

July 22, 2016 at 2:08PM

Dude, nothing in your original comment or your above comment gave him any useful information. All you did was discourage him from doing anything.

The other comments have given him suggestions on how to pull this off and your over here being a Negative Nancy.

Nick Rowland

July 22, 2016 at 2:43PM

I suggested that he does not have the experience needed. Experience means a lot more than you think. You obviously discount that and think gear matter more from your statements.

He should gain some experience in weddings before charging someone or risking the biggest moment of their lives. You obviously don't think a wedding is very important and throwing gear at is will solve everything.

He is stealing from them because he does not know what he is doing.

Would you want a plumber coming to your house and paying him, to have him experiment on your plumbing? Good luck you will really need it.

NinjaMonkey

July 22, 2016 at 3:35PM

I love how you like to twist words and deflect what is said in comments to make everything about you. You like playing the victim. It's sad.

Instead of encouraging this guy and trying to give him some useful tips you come off as an elitist douche. But to be elite you would have to have something worth a shit. So really you're just a douche.

Nick Rowland

July 22, 2016 at 4:44PM

Thank you for your tips!

The planning process is currently well-underway and I will surely finish the work by the time the big day rolls around at the end of the month.

I'll assign one of my new extra crew members to the DJI, that way I'll be free to evolve with the moment and oversee everything.

My little cousin will now serve as my head assistant; he is so excited to work with professionals, (considering he sees himself as the next "Steven Spielberg").

Thanks again for the advice.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 22, 2016 at 6:52PM

Nick, I have shot over 300 weddings. All have been a success, I know what I'm talking about. You are the douche sir. Good luck with your attitude, it will get you nowhere.

NinjaMonkey

July 22, 2016 at 7:08PM

Thank you again Nick for going to bat for me. I find NinjaMonkey's comments that I am "stealing" from my clients downright slanderous. I may be an amateur when it comes to wedding videos, but not videos in general, and this project will be my transition piece--which I intend to be a solid transition piece. I've surrounded myself with the properly-skilled crew, and will hopefully produce a lengthy documentary-styled wedding video detailing the "story" of the wedding, rather than a simple highlight video set to a terse piece of music.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 22, 2016 at 7:12PM

You have no experience...you should have gained some before stealing money from someone on the biggest day of their lives. I don't know how someone could do that, I do things the traditional way of second shooting. But shit the camera and DJI gear will do it all anyway right? This industry is going downhill fast with ignorant fools like both of you.

NinjaMonkey

July 22, 2016 at 7:20PM

NinjaMonkey - it's funny how my attitude has landed me in Los Angeles working in the film industry. While yours has brought you to some bullshit town in Florida. Shooting 300 shitty wedding videos and half-assed music videos and "commercials" means nothing. I've seen your "work" and I'm not impressed. The fact you went to film school and that's the content you produce is embarrassing.

Lorenzo - best of luck dude - sounds like you're going to kill it!

Nick Rowland

July 22, 2016 at 7:38PM

Thanks for attacking me nick for preaching experience, while you preach gear prep.

I live in LA and thanks for attacking my work. I know I can improve, but my 3 features winning countless awards and distribution means I am on the track. Good luck with your hate and lack of experience, gear will never do the entire job for you. You have no work to show but you attack my quality work that got my into AFI. I have seen people pay over 200k to get in, but I guess the masters at AFI don't know shit right, not as much as a hater like you.

NinjaMonkey

July 22, 2016 at 7:42PM

Weird....Which Frank Hernandez is you on IMDb? None of them have any award winning features on their page.

I worked on some AFI student films when I first got out here. There's nothing special there. So again, you are unimpressive.

Nick Rowland

July 22, 2016 at 7:51PM

You are a hater nick, you will fail due to your lack of experience and never building on that lack.

NinjaMonkey

July 22, 2016 at 8:30PM

You say you have shot 300 weddings, and all have been a success. Well I must ask, was your first a success? If so, why? And why can I not also have similar success with my first wedding? What makes you so better than me?

Lorenzo Ducai

July 24, 2016 at 2:29AM

You also act like I care only about my gear. My gear is good, but my crew is better. The DJI will add marvels to the project, but it would be nothing without an equally-skilled operator. As I have reiterated before, I got this job because I showed more care for story than for gear. Other filmmakers with better gear lost to me because I had the guts to talk about the wedding's "story". Why you insist on bringing this conversation back to gear goes against the storytelling No Film School fosters.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 24, 2016 at 2:34AM

I assisted on over 100 weddings before I shot one alone. This is the way things have always been done, but you are too good for that right? Oh well I hope they can remember all the important moments missing from the video, the moments you don't even know you need to catch because you have never filmed a wedding but are charging like a pro.

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 10:33AM, Edited July 24, 10:33AM

21 comments...and all are rated 0.

If there are comments that you think are helpful, please give them an up-vote so that others can benefit from your editorial contribution.

July 22, 2016 at 10:39PM

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The fact that you care about this project is the most important thing. Be interested in it and be interested in them. I think some people over analyze weddings and throw the term "story" around without really thinking about it. When I shoot weddings I think more in terms of "personality". Who are these people? What makes them interesting? And how does their wedding reflect that? Weddings are usually a reflection of the couple's personality and its your job to capture the moments and details that reflect that. What are the emotions of the day? Amplify those. The hardest thing about filming a wedding is constantly being aware of what happens next. Then being able to very quickly figure out how to shoot that in an interesting and flattering way, preferably with nice lighting. My advise to you would be to watch a ton of videos and look out for things that you like. Love24fps.com is a good resource. Copy the links of videos you like and paste them into keepvid.com and download them. Then make a little 3 minute (or so) edit of your favourite bits. Put that video on your phone and have it has reference for your the day. Its a great way of having some ideas for great shots on hand as well as a quality bar reference for yourself. Its about as best as you can do for having storyboards for a shoot. It might sound like you're copying other's work, but thats OK. Just think of it like starting out in a band and doing covers until you start riffing on your own. Thats what I did when I started out (something I learned from doing commercial work by the way). I wouldn't worry about loads of equipment or having multiple people filming. You can totally shoot a wedding by yourself. Obviously having a 2nd pair of hands is very helpful. This is a wedding I shot a couple of years ago. By myself, one GH4, a 50mm and a 12mm lens, a monopod and a glide cam. And one lav mic with a zoom h1. You can see it here: https://vimeo.com/102902170.
As far as "story" goes. Most of this can come from audio that you record on the day. Make sure to get good audio from every part of the day. You can also do a little interview with the couple. I sometimes do this (not that often though). I stay away from the "how did you meet?" type question and instead try to explore emotions. "How did you feel when you met?" - thats a better question to ask. Make it more of an informal chat. And, as I said above, just be interested in them. Really really giving a shit is what will make you better than the other guys they spoke to.

July 24, 2016 at 2:53AM

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Mark Relf
Director, Editor
279

He had never even assisted a wedding, don't you think he needs some experience before charging like a pro?

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 10:34AM

I don't know how much he's charging. Or much about the conversation he's had with the clients so I can't pass judgement. But as long as he's being upfront with them I don't see a problem. He also said he's also not in-experienced. If he's honest with the clients and charging an appropriate amount based on his current experience as a videographer/film maker/editor then whats the issue? Many people start out filming friends weddings either for free or for a lesser amount. I know thats how I started, just doing a few every summer for a few years to earn some extra $. I always charged because I had already spent several years filming and editing broadcast packages professionally. Of course, you will improve more quickly by working with more experienced professionals (just with any job) but you can also take on your own projects yourself and develop your own style. I actually think having a fresh approach can be great because its very easy to pick up bad habits from long-serving videographers who make cliched wedding videos. In fact I make a point of hiring assistants with little or no wedding experience for that reason. There are always different approaches to developing a career. Each to their own I say. Be bold, try stuff out and operate with honesty and integrity.

Mark Relf

July 24, 2016 at 3:18PM

If he is charging more than 0-$150 he is charging too much. Judging by his statements, he is charging a significant amount. This should be illegal in my opinion, he risks ruining their biggest day. They are not family/friends from his comments, they are business clients.

The problem with this industry are people charging so much too quickly, it has created a market where no one will pay what is needed to continue business. Or they charge too little and undercut experienced professionals based strictly on price.

I personally would never hire assistant with zero wedding experience. I can't risk my clients biggest day on a whim. It is disgusting how this industry is headed, everyone with gear and no experience taking work from professionals.

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 4:00PM

Ninja, I am not charging an exorbitant price for this wedding. My crew members each gave me discounts cause I'm connected and a member of my local film community, thus I'm offering my services to this wedding at a discounted price as well. Having my cousin as an assistant also cuts back on costs, ensuring that the happy couple get a more than fair price. Additionally, the groom is my brother's best friend, and with this in mind, I do consider the happy couple to be family friends. They are more than happy to help me out with my first professional gig, and although I cannot ensure a perfect project (who can?), I know I will give them something special to cherish for years, especially with my prioritization of the story instead of the gear. My talents may not be suitable for your world-renowned wedding crew, but I'd appreciate it if you kept your elitist mindset out of the conversation regarding my up-and-coming wedding videography team. I've been to weddings before, in fact it seems like all of my friends are getting married right now, and being a videography enthusiast I always spend a majority of my time talking to the on-hand crew and watching them work. It was the interesting conversations I had at these events that encouraged me to try my own hand at filming a beautiful wedding!

Lorenzo Ducai

July 24, 2016 at 5:34PM

Ninja, people can charge what ever they want. Its between them and their client. You have no business suggesting otherwise. Its also his risk to take on a new type of project and the clients' risk to hire someone with little experience. Its sounds like both parties know the score so there's really no problem there.
As far as hiring people with little experience, I've found it to be a largely positive experience, and certainly not something I do on a "whim", what ever that is meant to mean. When I have someone who's new to the team I have them work as a 3rd shooter for half a day on a few weddings to get them up to speed. I do a few training sessions with them too to get them to shoot the way I want them to. Conversely I've hired people who are "experienced" and more often than not they give me the same old footage that they give every other videography company they work for, not matter what feedback I give them. Thats my experience and I now have a method that I've developed it for a few years now. You are more than welcome to do things your way all day long! Best of luck to you.

Mark Relf

July 24, 2016 at 6:48PM

You are connected to the film industry, you mean like every single one of us? Hahaha you are a joke

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 11:10PM

Ninja, I apologize, I never said that I was connected to the film industry—far from it in fact, ( I'm about as much of an outsider as you can get). I merely meant that I have a strong presence in my local film community (film clubs, stores, and the local directors). You are obviously the professional, but as someone who is working to gain a reputation as you claim to have, I would appreciate it if you would not call me a joke, as it is slanderous to both my name and hopeful brand. Mark, I appreciate your comment regarding hiring a wedding crew with fresh experience, that is definitely something I would like to experiment with once I establish my name more as a wedding videographer. Cheers!

Lorenzo Ducai

July 25, 2016 at 12:02AM

I would say just have fun with it. Be open to trying things out. If they wanted to hire an experienced wedding videographer, they would have. Just make sure they know that you have never done a wedding before but you will try your hardest to create something amazing. Try to get some lavs for the ceremony and an audio recorder (like a Tascam Dr-100 or Zoom H4n) for the speeches. During the ceremony I'd recommend locking everything off on tripods. I think the most important thing is to capture the important moments and other moments the couple would find very special. In the end, if the couple is happy with the result, you've done your job.

July 24, 2016 at 1:46PM

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Gareth Ng
Cinematographer
730

I have been very open with the clients, and I do possess access to enough audio recorders for the event (Zoom h4ns like you said). Additionally, my sound man will bring his own gear, so I'll get to check all of that during our meeting Monday. Tripods are a good idea too. I like your suggestion about focusing on the individual moments themselves. Thanks for your helpful advice!

Lorenzo Ducai

July 24, 2016 at 5:38PM

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leopoldleo110

November 8, 2017 at 2:59AM

Show up to the rehearsal and film it. That way you know what angles work and you will have a lot more confidence going into the wedding day. Delete the footage (unless there is something worth keeping). The wedding party uses the rehearsal as a practice run, you should get in there as well.

After that the wedding day is pretty simple with the "ceremony" being the most stressful, so that's why I suggest going to the rehearsal. Show up early on the wedding day, triple check your cameras and audio levels and make sure your assistants/helpers know what to do. Getting there early enough ensures that the most important part (ceremony) is ready so that you can then focus on getting B-Roll of people arriving and various decor etc.

July 24, 2016 at 4:22PM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2432

What about the introductions, first dances, speeches, cake cutting, performances, and other major events? Just because they are not important to you does not mean the bride and groom and willing to miss it on the video.

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 4:36PM

You have time to shoot that stuff. Usually that is where you can be kind of creative. None of it is as stressful as the ceremony.

Luke Neumann

July 24, 2016 at 4:40PM

Can you explain how you have time to shoot it? It all happens just once, not sure I see the difference. If you are adjusting a miss a part of the speech, it is just as bad as missing a part of the vows.

This is not a medium to be taking to carelessly.

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 4:55PM

This is such a revelation! I haven't yet thought of filming the rehearsal, (I did plan on attending, but not filming). I will make sure my entire crew will be present as well. I cannot thank you enough for this piece of advice. The venue will also be vacant and untouched in-between the rehearsal and ceremony, so I will be able to set up more permanent establishments for my crew. Thanks again.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 24, 2016 at 5:43PM

Also, for the party, my extensive crew will be more than capable of catching each of these moments—similarly to a reality tv show. I would not worry about missing something so rigorously-scheduled as the first dance. (I am working in strict cooperation with the wedding planner, who will keep me updated as to how things are moving and what's next—which I also have my notes for).

Lorenzo Ducai

July 24, 2016 at 5:46PM

PS...you do not need 100 weddings under your belt to do this. LOL.

You've been to weddings before? Then you know the basic timeline of things. Aisle, Bride, Stand, Minister, Vows, Kiss, Leave. It's not rocket science.

July 24, 2016 at 4:25PM, Edited July 24, 4:25PM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2432

Every wedding is different, mainly depends on the culture of the couple. An Indian ceremony is completely different than a Catholic ceremony. But hey it's easy right?

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 4:34PM

What did I say? I said...go to the rehearsal. If you've been to a wedding, you know the basics. Everything else can be figured out at the rehearsal. Not. Rocket. Science.

Luke Neumann

July 24, 2016 at 4:39PM

Good luck, I would never take someone wedding day so lightly. I know you don't understand but experience in his medium helps. I know you don't think it's a big deal, but there's a lot more to filming a wedding than you know. Your statements about how easy it is make you look foolish to anyone with experience in the wedding video industry. Skipping being an assistant is skipping the way things have always been done. You are not taking your work seriously. If that's okay with you fine, I will make sure to never work with you ever. I can't risk my projects to fools.

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 4:58PM, Edited July 24, 4:58PM

Mmm...yeah. I have experience with weddings. They aren't as difficult as you make them out to be. Go to the rehearsal.

Also, I'm so bummed that you won't work with me. Golly...what will I do with myself?

July 24, 2016 at 5:12PM

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Luke Neumann
Cinematographer/Composer/Editor
2432

You can do the wedding, but you can't do it as well as an experienced wedding videographer. Suggesting that you could implies that experience doesn't matter, and it really does. Doing weddings is an art form. Partly learned, a lot of raw talent. Some wedding videographers are just way better than others. Look around online and you'll see that. The problem right now is that you have no way of knowing if you'll be one of the good ones or not. So, you are taking a chance with someone's wedding. But, you gotta start somewhere, so Good Luck!

July 24, 2016 at 5:16PM

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Great advice Elliot. Thanks for being the voice of reason.

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 5:22PM

Yeah, this forum needs it after the garbage that NinjaMonkey spews 24/7.

Luke Neumann

July 24, 2016 at 5:32PM

Thank you for the healthy dose of unexaggerated realism. I never supposed I would be as good as an experienced wedding videographer. I'm no such virtuoso. I'm open with my clients, and they understand this will be my first wedding video, so they understand not to expect the same caliber of work like that of an experienced professional with over 300 perfect wedding videos under his belt—they aren't paying for that either. It may not be the Citizen Kane of wedding videos, but it'll get the job more than done. Thanks for your well-wishes, I assure you I am taking my job seriously.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 24, 2016 at 5:54PM

Sharing my experience is garbage? Arguing experience over gear is garbage? Luke you are a fool spitting ignorance. Experience matters more than you will ever know, raw talent will only get you so far.

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 11:03PM

Lorenzo, you take experience too lightly. You skipped steps in your career without experience to do so. You will ruin there video without a doubt, I know you cannot pull it off. I have edited videos for companies with shooters with zero experience like you and had to quit. It can't be edited because you don't know what you're doing. Please contact a real company and let the couple know you don't know anything about filmmaking.

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 11:05PM, Edited July 24, 11:05PM

Dude...Just stop talking. Nothing but garbage comes out. No one appreciates or likes your comments. Get a freakin clue.

Luke Neumann

July 24, 2016 at 11:12PM

Luke I know you think gear is all that matters, but you are wrong. You need to pick up a book and learn something please. Stop attacking me for preaching experience through assisting. If you take ruining someone biggest fay so lightly you are an evil person.

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 11:20PM

Self awareness. Try it out. K bye.

Luke Neumann

July 24, 2016 at 11:31PM

Update: I have indeed been invited to the bachelor party for filming, (but not the bachelorette party). How should I include this in the "story" of the wedding? Should I include it at all? We (about 10 guys) will be going out to a nice dinner at night and then we shall see where the evening takes us. Thanks again for all the helpful feedback everyone, I'm slowly feeling like I am gaining solid footing for my first professional wedding video!

July 24, 2016 at 6:01PM

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Lorenzo Ducai
Director/Cinematographer/Editor/Wedding Photographer
115

Definitely film it and decide when you get to the edit on how to use it (if at all)

Luke Neumann

July 24, 2016 at 6:05PM

I agree with Luke, definitely record it but don't necessarily expect to put it in the final piece. However, consider sending a short highlights of the party to the couple, separate from the wedding stuff.

Gareth Ng

July 24, 2016 at 8:13PM, Edited July 24, 8:13PM

Thanks for both of your suggestions. I will film the bachelor party, but not get too attached to the photo lest it fails to work with the rest of the project (or the groom decides he doesn't want his bride to see his final night of debauchery).

Lorenzo Ducai

July 25, 2016 at 12:07AM, Edited July 25, 12:07AM

Right...use discretion when filming. Don't have the camera out once the night gets rolling unless there is a clear opportunity. I would look at it as more of an opportunity for cinematic b-roll for the highlight reel etc.

Luke Neumann

July 25, 2016 at 1:36AM, Edited July 25, 1:36AM

One thing to consider is that some of the events will happen one after another. For example, often times there will be the entrance, followed by the first dance, followed by the speeches. Depending on the schedule, you might only have a few seconds to move between events. So maybe get ready for the next event while your assistant finishes up the current one. I've had to deal with this schedule as a solo shooter, so it shouldn't be hard if there's another set of hands.

It's a good idea to get shots of the guests interacting with each other/doing stuff instead of only focussing on the couple. Obviously make sure you have plenty content of them, but get a lot of shots of everything that's around you. I'm pretty sure you were going to do this already, but I thought I'd add this just in case.

Another thing to hopefully ease you, I shot my first wedding solo when I was 15 and it turned out very well. So you're actually better off than I was! Just follow your instincts and prepare to move/think fast if needed.

July 24, 2016 at 8:22PM, Edited July 24, 8:22PM

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Gareth Ng
Cinematographer
730

Turned out pretty well must be relative. Did you record feed audio? How many cameras did you use? The standard today is to use 3 cameras even when solo, did you do that?

NinjaMonkey

July 24, 2016 at 11:12PM

I wish I had the courage to start when I was 15! And I definitely intend to take plenty of shots of guest interactions. Thank you for your positive comment and advice, I will surely take these to heart!

Lorenzo Ducai

July 24, 2016 at 11:26PM

And don't listen to Ninja Gareth, your first wedding video sounds like it was a blast to make. I cannot wait to shoot mine! Also Ninja, I will be shooting with 5 cameras—each operated by a skilled technician (save for the one my little cousin controls, but he wants to be the next Steven Spielberg so maybe he'll get some surprise golden shots). But I think my crew more than meets the standard, especially with my extra pro sound man and all his high-tech goodies. I do admire your dedication to the advancement of wedding videography though.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 24, 2016 at 11:31PM

Wants to be the next Stephan Spielberg...yeah that's gonna turn out amazing no need for experience you're right.

NinjaMonkey

July 25, 2016 at 12:34AM

Ninja, come on man, my little cousin is just having fun. And who knows, he may surprise us! I am not relying on his footage in any way for my video, hence why I have hired a team of payed professionals—a point you somehow haven't been able to accept. I can handle your criticism but attacking my cousin is just a low blow. Who knows? He may just come up with enough happy accidents to transform the film from something a bit more special than your average wedding documentary.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 25, 2016 at 1:24AM

During my first wedding the couple specifically said they wanted someone who was just starting out. They were on a tight budget, so they wouldn't have hired a professional. Basically, it was someone like me or no video at all. I used two cameras for that but pretty much skimped on audio (which I don't do today) but the couple didn't care. Today I use three cameras even as a solo shooter. Yes, turned out well is very relative, I was 15 and had very little wedding experience and not a whole lot of film experience in general. Anyway, Ninja, I respect your opinions since you have the experience to back it up. The thing to keep in mind is that you're going down your own path (which has lead to some very impressive outcomes) and other people are going down their own. Why not try to encourage their efforts and risktaking in trying something new?

Gareth Ng

July 25, 2016 at 11:59AM

And to Lorenzo, I'm glad I could help! You've done a great job at ensuring the best chance at a successful shoot. Don't forget to show us the result!

Gareth Ng

July 25, 2016 at 12:23PM

I understand garret, you raise some sound and intelligent points. I just wish the generation coming up cared more about learning than making money right away.

NinjaMonkey

July 25, 2016 at 12:51PM

Ninja, making money is making money, there's no "right" way to do it as long as it's not illegal. My clients are paying for an amateur production crew to film their wedding. We know how to use our tools to tell a story, but we have little experience in the world of wedding videography and the particulars of said "story". That said, we all (save for my little cousin) have professional experience with video and sound in other areas of expertise. I'm not sure which generation you think I am of, but I do care about making money honestly, and that has translated to my honesty with my clients.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 25, 2016 at 3:12PM

Gareth, thanks once again for the well-wishes and positive personal anecdotes, they've made me feel much more prepared to tackle this big event. I can't wait to show everyone what I can accomplish! Thank you.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 25, 2016 at 3:14PM

Lorenzo my point is you care more about the money than the art. I know you don't see it, maybe you never will, but this is wrong. I personally would never hire anyone who wouldn't do the work for free if they had to, they need to have that hunger. The passion for the art will always seperate your work, seeking money never will.

NinjaMonkey

July 25, 2016 at 4:47PM

Ninja, I am not as greedy as you think. The whole point of me filming weddings is to start earning a living off my passion! I'm combining art with money—something inherent to cinema itself. I have the hunger to work for free, but why should I when people will pay me to do the same work? That's a waste of time. If the only reason to do so is to prove a point, then that's not art.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 25, 2016 at 7:38PM, Edited July 25, 7:38PM

Congrats on landing the job!
It seems you are a convincing salesman and that you know gear is just a tool to create stories.
Be aware you don't make it a habit to sell things you don't know how to create, ;-) otherwise you'll be reducing 'story' to just a buzzword and that would be to your own disadvantage.

Like someone else said before: go to the rehearsals.
Know the locations, know the schedule and think about what shots you really need.
Think ahead of what the wedding is really about: the couple. And the emotions around the wedding.
Did you already interview the couple to discover their 'story'? How did they meet, what personal elements will be there in the wedding?

Muse has a course on story in wedding videos at http://learnstory.org that is really geared towards your question.

Discussions about child labour aside, I'm not sure bringing a 12-year-old will look seriously professional. On the other hand the proof is in the eating of the pudding: if the results are great and he doesn't attract attention, I don't think anyone would care :-)
If he is still not tall: that is even an advantage as he can walk around without blocking anyone's view.

Don't be discouraged, but be prepared and be prepared to improvise.

Be aware: use the drone safely AND remember it creates a terrible noise that can be very distracting. You don't want to buzzzzzzz throught the vows or have shots where all visitors look up to the drone while they should watch the couple.

BTW, what are your other filmmaking experiences?
Documentary, reports, moodvideos, narrative?
Knowing that could help giving some pointers. :-)

July 25, 2016 at 7:32AM, Edited July 25, 7:33AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9111

Thank you Walter for taking the time to leave a helpful response. I must admit I did use the word "story" to get my foot in the door, but I intend to move past that with my future work in the field.

I appreciate your touching on the emotions of the wedding. A focus on the emotions will surely lead to an overall meaningful final result. Thank you for this comment, and for the website which I will surely investigate.

As for my cousin, he will stay out of everyone's hair—a mere fly on the wall—and possibly capture some solid production stills for my future sales pitches.

I will do my best to continue to prepare.

Also for the drone, the noise issue is a major concern. I plan on reserving it's use for far away shots of the venue and surroundings from above, as well as B-roll footage of the venue from out of ear-range. It will stay away from the main party, however I do intend to take the propellers off and glide it around the dance floor as a steadicam proxy to capture the smooth feel of the dancing. This will be a noiseless affair though, (as long as I don't trip!).

As for my experience, I did not attend film school in college, but my close friends did and I ended up helping them in many of their projects, as a cinematographer and sometimes even assistant director when things heated up. Every summer we'd film a feature together and I'd typically fulfill numerous roles on the crew. Basically all narrative. Since then, I have continued my narrative roles (although never fully directed) and have also edited a documentary about my local bakery and its storied owner. After this, I tried my hand at a series of short documentaries about a nearby band, but none of this has been as commercial as my upcoming wedding video.

Thanks again for such helpful feedback and I apologize for the jumbled mess of paragraphs, (I still cannot figure out how to separate them on this board's formatting).

Lorenzo Ducai

July 25, 2016 at 3:31PM

Do not handhold a drone on the dance floor. You will look foolish, like a little kid with a paper airplane. Don't cover it like a reality show, that is not the style you should be going for.

Why did you decide you didn't need film school?

NinjaMonkey

July 25, 2016 at 4:27PM

Dude...STFU with your nonsense. Get a clue, no one on these boards takes anything you say seriously. Do everyone a favor and go away. Stop littering the thread with your nonsensical ramblings.

Luke Neumann

July 25, 2016 at 5:00PM

Luke, please stop attacking me. I am giving him professional advice he desperately needs. Do you support handholding a drone while running around a crowded dance floor? Wow

NinjaMonkey

July 25, 2016 at 5:19PM

Ninja - you are not a professional. You're an amateur, playing the victim, acting like you are professional. You are fake.

Nick Rowland

July 25, 2016 at 5:27PM, Edited July 25, 5:27PM

www.ninjamonkeyweddings.com

We are the premiere wedding video provider for South Florida and Southern California. But I guess over 300 happy clients means nothing right? I really am just trying to help the community, but I don't appreciate the constant attacks. I only comment on threads I absolutely know I have experience to comment. But I am attacked anyway for preaching experience. Shame on all of you.

NinjaMonkey

July 25, 2016 at 6:00PM

As the saying goes:

If you're the smartest guy in the room then you're in the wrong room.

You're the turd in this punch bowl bro. Get out.

Nick Rowland

July 25, 2016 at 6:36PM

Ninja, I truly have great admiration and respect for you and the brand you established. More than that, I envy the amount of experience you've had the fortune to possess in the field. As someone with such great success, I'd appreciate it if you would use your extensive knowledge and experience to help advise someone like myself who only dreams of one day managing a brand as trusted as yours. We have established that experience would be good, but obviously I do not have the time to assist numerous weddings by the end of this week. With this in mind, what can you—an obviously-successful professional—offer me—a relative newcomer—in terms of advice to tell the best "story" of my happy couple's wedding. What is your procedure? How do you operate? I'm keen to learn how someone like you produces a proper wedding film. This information would be exponentially more useful than the "quit" advice you've so far given me. Thank you, and I must apologize for any attacks you have faced. God bless you.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 25, 2016 at 7:22PM

I also didn't go to film school because I never knew I had a passion for film until well-into my freshman year of college! By then, I still didn't have enough information or loose cash to transfer my business major to a film major. I wouldn't have even been able to tell you the difference between a close-up and a long shot until a few years ago! Thankfully though, I didn't switch, and now I have a business degree along with about the same amount of knowledge as a film-school graduate (so my film school friends say), so I feel like I got the best of both worlds. And here I am, combining my two areas of expertise (business and film) into what I hope will one day become a fruitful source of income for the duration of my life. Hopefully I can pass this brand along to my children, but it all starts this weekend with the big day itself. Wish me luck!

Lorenzo Ducai

July 25, 2016 at 7:45PM

Looks like total garbage...hahahahahahahahaha you should be ashamed of yourself. How much did you have to pay variety to write up that fluff piece? My current feature is www.highreliefmovie.com

But hey let me save you some time, it's a big piece of shit.

NinjaMonkey

July 27, 2016 at 12:51PM

Whatever you do, please don't use the drone during the ceremony! I can't imagine anything that could kill the mood more than a noisy drone hovering over the bride & groom while they say their vows, not to mention it'll mess up your audio as well. I've seen it done before, yikes...

July 25, 2016 at 2:51PM, Edited July 25, 2:50PM

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Peter Amodeo Gould
Producer / Editor / Cinematographer
17

I'm sorry for sharing my experience and trying to help bring the community up. I do it less and less because of these attacks.

July 25, 2016 at 7:00PM

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It's great that you share your experience and it can be very valuable, it's just that it comes off very negative at times. You probably don't mean it that way, but it's how it's being interpreted. The issue is that in most of your posts on this thread you're not really creating a better community but rather putting someone down for trying something new. Don't necessarily try to change something that can't be changed (in this case Lorenzo's decision to shoot his first wedding) but try to improve the situation that will be happening.

For example, Lorenzo wants to try using his drone (with the props. off) during the reception. Why not let him experiment and see what it's like? If it turns out awful, then he'll know not to do it again. However, if the results are amazing, he'll have discovered something he otherwise wouldn't have.

So the best way to help people is to try and put as much positivity in your posts as you can. If not, you'll likely continue to get all sorts of attacks, which doesn't help anyone. You've got the experience, you just have to word it in the right way.

Gareth Ng

July 25, 2016 at 7:25PM

Ninja, had I seen this comment earlier I would've left the one I posted under Walter's comment here instead. Please peruse my comment for you at your leisure. I respect your opinions, and wish to hear tangible advice you can offer from your successful experiences! Who knows? Maybe one day I can run a third NinjaMonkey wedding branch up here in Idaho! I see the beginnings of a fruitful relationship. I truly apologize for any attacks you have received at the expense of your honest opinions—another trait of yours I value. Kind wishes.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 25, 2016 at 7:27PM

I totally agree with you Gareth—couldn't have articulated it myself any better. Ninja, all I want is help understanding the "story" of a wedding along with advice concerning practical tips for my first wedding shoot. Your tips come off as negative cause you continually respond to every comment by saying I need to quit and that I'm a thief. Quitting is not an option, now what sort of information from your experiences can help me? That would be a much better use of our time rather than protest my entire business venture!

Lorenzo Ducai

July 25, 2016 at 7:31PM

Oh please. If you act like an add to other people do you usually find that they don't respond this way? As I said, it only takes an ounce of self awareness. Is this a common theme with you on these boards? (everyone shouts YES)

The problem isn't eveyone else...it's you and how you choose to talk towards other people. Completely disrespectful and elitist. Get over yourself. Stop whining and pretending to be the victim.

I have no sympathy for you because you give none to others. People like you need to conform...not us. Until you realize that you will continue to have kickback like you received here. With all of the "experience" you have, how does this somehow pass you by?

Luke Neumann

July 25, 2016 at 9:05PM

Thanks for constantly cursing me out and berating me Luke. You are a real class act.

NinjaMonkey

July 26, 2016 at 3:37AM, Edited July 26, 3:37AM

Ninja, why do you choose to continue the negativity by disregarding Luke's comments? I had some genuine sentiments for you and you blatantly ignored those. I'm sorry for the attacks you've received, and I look forward to hearing your opinions on my latest comments.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 26, 2016 at 10:56AM, Edited July 26, 10:56AM

Luke is attacking me personally for preaching experience over gear. But yet I am the negative one right? I get it you all love to attack me for giving advice. I won't be giving you any advice Lorenzo. You skipped assisting because you only care about making money and building your business, I am disgusted by the way you do things.

NinjaMonkey

July 26, 2016 at 11:06AM

Ninja, I cannot speak on behalf of Luke, but I can see how he got to the point where he feels as he does. I've taken the time to write three comments reaching out to you genuinely, asking for you—as an experienced and successful wedding videographer—to give me any advice or knowledge you most certainly can regarding your procedure and practical tips along the way. You ignored these comments and called me disgusting—something very rude to call a person who looks up to you as a teacher. That is why I think members of the community feel negativity toward you, because you repeat your same staunch comments without listening to new input. I just want to learn from you, but you keep telling me to quit! It's frustrating, but I wish you the best.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 26, 2016 at 11:21AM

If you actually would read my original comments, I told you to find an experienced wedding videographer and to give him the money so you could assist him.

You are not ready to film a wedding for pay, no amount of advice will help I'm sorry.

NinjaMonkey

July 26, 2016 at 11:32AM

Oh, man. NinjaMonkey, back at it again. Haha.

Did I seriously read "I'm preaching experience over gear," from NinjaMonkey? The guy that sprints to every camera thread to shit on 'amateurs' that don't shoot on a RED (or the like)? The guy that says Blackmagic Camera's explode in sunlight and shouldn't be fed footage after midnight or else they transform into frame-dropping, little green monsters? The guy that says, "You'll never work or be taken seriously if you shoot on a DSLR?"... or...

The guy that threatened to call the FBI and press criminal charges for hurting his feelers (by politely calling his jackassery out for being deep seeded self-esteem issues)? THAT guy?

To Lorenzo,
Did you assist 100 buddies get laid before you got laid yourself? Did you wipe 100 a$$es before wiping your own? Of course not! Everyone has a first time doing something, so pay no mind to the naysayers. And if "getting paid to do it when it's your first time" is criminal then someone wake Orson Welles' a$$ up, because although he made the best film ever made he shouldn't have been paid for it since it was his first time!

I wish I could provide you some advice on story, but I think Luke Neumann has dropped some great advice re: attending the rehearsal. If your price is fair (taking into account this is new for you but you have video experience, etc) and the client agrees then play ball! What's the worst that can happen? You miss the kiss and have to pull a still from the hundreds of family members taking pictures? NNOOOOOOO!!!! *WEDDING RINGS EXPLODE* *AUNT CATHY'S HAIR TURNS INTO SNAKES* *CTHULU AWAKENS FROM HIS ETERNAL SLUMBER* *BRIDE AND GROOM MIX INTO A SINGLE BODY IN GRUESOME HELLRAISER FASHION*

... no... Everyone will be okay. At worst you miss the kiss and take the Bride and Groom aside and say, "Hey, I messed up. Can we go do the kiss again?" Boom. Don't sweat it man. Hit up Vimeo, take a peak at the best wedding videos you can find. Share with the client. Agree on some direction and emulate!

And Luke Neumann -- kickass youtube channel. I've been subscribed for some time now and thoroughly enjoy your work. /tips hat/

Braden Croft

July 26, 2016 at 2:35PM

(tips hat back) :)

Luke Neumann

July 26, 2016 at 3:35PM

Braden, thank you for this. I got some good laughs, and I think that's the best and most eloquent way of explaining my issue with NinjaMonkey and the need for me to relax and just make a great video. What a confidence booster! Thank you sir.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 26, 2016 at 6:22PM

My pleasure, Lorenzo. Prepare the best you can (rehearsal, equipment, assistance, wedding video homework, discuss ideas/direction with the client), relax and remember 'it's only video.' Asshats like NinjaMonkey propagate fear to dissuade individuals like yourself -- driven young people whose optimism, enthusiasm and energy threaten the old, jaded, talentless and weak-minded that need what little work they can muster.

Godspeed, sir.

Braden Croft

July 27, 2016 at 10:23AM

Thanks for twisting me words and continuing to attack me Bradon. I really appreciate it, thank you. Have you shot your first video yet? Would love to see what it looked like. Have a great day and hopefully one day you'll be okay.

NinjaMonkey

July 27, 2016 at 11:06AM, Edited July 27, 11:06AM

It's Braden with an 'E,' remember? We covered this, man.

Have I shot my first video yet? Yeah. About 6 years ago. It's my first feature film (yes, I was foolhardy enough to make a feature before making a short) called 'Hemorrhage.' I shot it with a Canon 7D. If you were at Fantasia International Film Festival in 2012 you would have caught it. Don't worry though, I got your hookup:

iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/gd/movie/hemorrhage/id686601257
Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiMJYPIXThE

It also play on COX and other VOD outlets in the States, so I'm sure you can find it.

Here's a complimentary review by J. Anderson at Variety to entice you. He's a very kind man that writes for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, Film Comment, and is a member of the National Society of Film Critics, so his criticism will surely meet your discerning standards.
http://variety.com/2012/film/reviews/hemorrhage-1117947965/

Now that I've shown you mine, how about you show me yours. ;). What's your first video look like?

Braden Croft

July 27, 2016 at 12:27PM

First not to hijack the post but Luke N. I wanna see some more Witcher 3 shorts..

2nd what NM said in his first post isn't wrong completely. it was just worded in the worst way possible. I do agree that having some experience as a second shoot is a good Idea. I myself have even been a 3rd shooter and worked the day for free just to get learn. now from what said you say you know the technical side of things so what I would do if I were you is watch as many wedding videos as you can to try and see the nuances, Like with pre ceremony listen to the little things that are being said in the room. cause those things will bring emotion and action ( crying, smiles, laughter etc.) that way you can start to anticipate these things.

Michael Militscher

July 27, 2016 at 7:20PM

Probably never Michael. I couldn't stand getting into that makeup/costume again. :)

Luke Neumann

July 28, 2016 at 7:38PM

http://www.onefinedayproductions.com

watch some of this persons wedding videos and take out how they blocked the story and what audio is playing in the background. Many times I use their card reading/ speeches/ vows for the story and lay over b-roll. Now thats watering it down quite a bit, but the most important thing is to keep in mind is to capture audio. Without audio of the groom giving his vows or the best man telling his speech it'll be hard to create a wedding film with a strong story.

July 25, 2016 at 8:24PM

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Thank you so much Jayce. That website is full of great examples, I've been studying it for the past hour. Also, I agree with your advice regarding audio—I have a pro sound man prepared to capture the important key audio of speeches etc and the ambient noise at all times during the big event. Cheers!

Lorenzo Ducai

July 26, 2016 at 10:59AM

I've only shot one wedding in the past as a favour for my brother, and I'll admit, it was kind of tricky. Though I think that mainly came down to the situation I was in. I wouldn't advise being a guest at the wedding you're shooting - lots of aunts and uncles pulling you to the side telling you how much you've grown (Yes, I would have hoped I'd grown a bit over the past 20 years now please let me go and get a shot of the cake before they cut it).

Mine was very run and gun as it was a last minute thing. I had two cams for the ceremony but only one for the reception. Make sure you've got some stabilization you can move around quickly with as well (no-one likes jittery footage). Monopods are really great or a light tripod or some kind of steadicam if you've got it.

Your brothers friend will be well aware it's your first time shooting, and I'm guessing you're doing it for a significantly reduced rate so don't feel too pressured. Just keep calm, catch all the key moments, get lots of pretty B-roll, maybe even take the bride and groom aside for some real money shots and then you can really find and craft the story in the edit.

Oh - and get friendly with the photographer as well. If you get them onside you'll be able to work together finding decent shots and angles. Plus it's always nice to have someone to talk to.

Good luck!

July 26, 2016 at 8:54AM

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Daniel Coates
Filmmaker | Editor
122

Daniel, thank you for the insights—it's always great to hear the about similar experiences from a new person's perspective. I'm impressed by your courage to shoot alone. I ended hiring a small crew, but I'm sure I'll end up having just as much trouble as you!

I'll only know a handful of people there, and none of them will be my aunts so it looks like I lucked out in that department as well.

Camera stabilization is a must, and the monopod steadicam idea is a good one too.

As per your suggestions, I'll stay calm, and do my job to the best I can. You're right, I'm not charging anywhere close to the typical price, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't treat my clients with the same level of professionalism as professionals. I'll be sure to breathe and get friendly with the photographer!

Thanks for the well-wishes!

July 26, 2016 at 11:07AM

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Lorenzo Ducai
Director/Cinematographer/Editor/Wedding Photographer
115

Update: My happy couple (the clients) also inquired as to whether I felt the honeymoon would be an important part of the "story" of the wedding. They said that if I felt it was important they wouldn't mind me tagging along in the backseat as they drive to their mountain lodge honeymoon about an hour away. That way, I could capture b-roll footage of the car and journey from the wedding, and the happy couple crossing the threshold to their honeymoon! They offered to pay me a bit extra for these moments, but it does add another day to my schedule, but it's not like I have any other clients at the current moment. Does anyone think the honeymoon shots will be too good to leave out? Or that they are a necessary part of the story? I'm on the fence about this one. Thanks for your time.

July 26, 2016 at 11:13AM

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Lorenzo Ducai
Director/Cinematographer/Editor/Wedding Photographer
115

Filming the honeymoon ;) *wink, wink, wink*

In all seriousness though, if they want to pay you to film it I find no reason not to do it. It may or may not work for the story but at least you have it and you get paid for it.

Tony Adalbert

July 26, 2016 at 2:27PM

If it doesn't fit the story in the end, you'll have extra footage that can be a standalone video. Just like the bloopers and the uncut 1 hour speech by her dad. :-p

WalterBrokx

July 26, 2016 at 3:31PM

Get some audio of people wishing them well, taking about their bright future, etc. End the film with that dialogue over the b-roll of them heading to the honeymoon and entering the cabin. End with a shot of them looking at the mountains or whatever with audio of their vows or something like that; make it like a denouement.

In your shoes, I would advise getting as much audio from the couple, parents, best man, maid of honor, reception toasts, etc. And grab as much footage as possible.

Then listen to the audio and take notes to find common themes and build your story from there!

You seem to have gotten lots of good advice here from everybody.

Good luck and share the link when you're done!

B Bond

July 29, 2016 at 11:32AM, Edited July 29, 11:32AM

"How would you tell the story of the wedding?"

I don't think there's any 1 way to do it. I see lots of wedding pros that have very different styles when it comes to their final edit, specifically what they include or exclude, and they can all be amazing. My advice would be to capture lots of natural audio throughout the day, make sure you get great clean audio for ceremony & speeches, and then look for the "in-between" moments with your couple: the glances, smiles, hand holding etc. Then when you edit it later, pull out the parts of the ceremony & speeches that are personal, and layer it with those special moments you captured.
Watching lots of wedding films from top-level pros will also give you some great ideas.

July 26, 2016 at 2:16PM

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Sean Kenney
Event Cinematographer
186

Very true: there is not only 1 formula for a good story. But you'll need proper ingredients and some 'recipe' to combine it in a tasty manner :-)

WalterBrokx

July 26, 2016 at 3:33PM

Thank you for the advice! I'll keep my eyes peeled for those "in-between" moments—which sound like they can make or break the entire video. Every "story" needs nuance, so I'll have to be in the lookout.
Thanks again.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 30, 2016 at 11:07AM

Feel free to use the drone handheld.
Test it before the wedding.
It might look silly, but in the end the endresult matters. You can even mock yourself by wearing a children's cap with propellor :-p (This sounds stupid, but it might be something that sticks in people's mind and might give you great BTS pics ;-) )

So you have experience with narratives. That is good.
The big difference here is that there is no take 2.
That doesn't mean you can't prepare a shotlist.

If you'd ask me: wedding videos are a mix of moodfilm, documentary and narrative.
But I only shot 1 wedding :-p (and decided it's not the market I'm after.)
Getting to know the photographer is important: I had a photographer stepping into my shots all the time (I did choose nice angles :-p ).

So keep an eye open for details, fabrics, light, the bride's tears when grandparents congratulate the couple, that kind of stuff :-p

July 26, 2016 at 5:41PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9111

Thank you Walter.

I appreciate your comments regarding the details like fabrics and such. This is something I will most certainly keep a special eye out for today during the big event. (The happy couple spent so much time picking this stuff out, I might at least record a little of it!)

While I am a little nervous about no take 2, I feel confident with my small crew and all our cameras rolling.

We'll see how it goes. Thanks again.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 30, 2016 at 11:05AM

I'm by no means a wedding videographer (I hate shooting weddings). I've done a good 20 or so and I've done real documentary work.

My #1 recommendation is get as much audio as possible.
Get interviews or video messages with siblings/friends. Even the bride/groom if you can.
These people know the couple better than you, let them tell the story for you.

July 28, 2016 at 2:02AM

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Josh Wilkinson
Music Video Director/DP
247

Thank you Josh.

I feel as if I've been doing interviews all week! You're correct, they really provide the context and backstory necessary to flesh out a real story of the wedding. I've conducted a handful of interviews with the bride and groom (separately and together) too. As for audio, thanks to nofilmschool I've come to learn the importance of audio, and thus hired a pro sound man. I feel confident with him in my crew.

Thanks again.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 30, 2016 at 11:02AM

I've done a handful of weddings for friends. Never again... I hope you're being paid half-way respectably; I know how tough it is to get friends to actually pay you anywhere near what you're worth. I may be able to give you a bit of advice for how to make this work as a total one-man-band, though.

For the ceremony, I've usually set up 2 or 3 cameras on strategically-placed tripods then moved about with my best camera on a shoulder-rig to get a bunch of more cinematic insert shots. Instead of starting and stopping record as I re-position myself and my shoulder-mounted camera, I just keep it rolling the entire time as this makes syncing everything up in editing incredibly easy.

With 3 tripod-mounted cameras, I'll usually set up one central, wide master-shot of the ceremony, then set up the other two cameras as somewhat tighter mid-shots angled onto the action. If you have a 4K-capable camera, use it for your master-shot so that you can punch in 200% to 1080p levels for another angle on the ceremony. As I need to, I'll periodically move the two secondary tripod-mounted cameras. It's ideal to have zoom lenses on these cameras. As the vows and the kiss are coming up, I like to try to get them positioned so that you have a good two-shot from both the bride and groom's perspectives sort of like you'd want if you were filming a conversation in a narrative film. I always make sure that one of the cameras (preferably the un-moving master camera) has a decent mic mounted to it, and if it's a possibility with the wedding's sound system, I always try to hook up the sound system to record to one of the cameras. If you have an external audio recorder (I use a Zoom H4N), it wouldn't hurt to set that up somewhere on stage if you can't get decent audio from any of your cameras.

Before and after the ceremony, I pretty much just go all-handheld, though if there are going to be more than one or two short speeches I'll usually set up at least one additional camera on a tripod for that as well. If you have time, some slider shots from around the venue are an easy way to up your production value. As Josh Wilkinson said above, quick interviews and words of love and advice from the family and friends are always a good idea. I've never used a drone at a wedding, but if I did I'd probably just use it for establishing shots of the venue (people setting up, the wedding party taking photos, etc.). I definitely wouldn't use it during the actual ceremony.

Honestly, the best advice I can give you moving forward is that if your goal is to make money with your passion for filmmaking while simultaneously working towards a career in a non-wedding-videography field, don't do wedding videography. Unless you dedicate your life to wedding videography or live in an area where people will pay big bucks for wedding videos, I don't think you can make enough doing weddings as a periodic part-time gig to really justify the amount of time it takes. I make FAR more money with FAR less effort keeping tabs on OnlineVideoContests.com and entering a couple video contests per month (mostly commercial contests on dedicated crowdsourcing websites) than I ever could doing wedding videography, and I find the work to be vastly more enjoyable, as well as actually applicable to my narrative filmmaking dreams. But your mileage may vary.

Anyway, hope that helps!

July 28, 2016 at 7:41PM, Edited July 28, 8:03PM

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David West
Filmmaker
1261

What a great detailed setup plan! Thank you.

First off, I'm sorry weddings didn't work out for you—we'll see how they go for me. However, I am being paid decent enough for my first gig.

My setup will be fairly similar, the only difference being that I'll have an extra camera positioned toward the crowd so I can get immediate reactions.

My sound man will handle getting direct audio plug in, as per your excellent suggestion.

As for your career advice, I'm glad you showed me your perspective. I will try this wedding out and see how it goes. If it is not a good experience, I may try a new area such as those entertaining-sounding contests you enter, or I may try a few more weddings. But it's nice to know there are other options out there.

Thanks for your time.

Lorenzo Ducai

July 30, 2016 at 10:59AM

Glad I could help! And seriously, don't be sorry; I hate wedding videography with a passion. I've really only ever done it for close friends as a wedding present, but I find the work so miserable it sucks all the joy out of weddings. It was getting extremely frustrating having everyone I knew assume that I had the time or desire to film their wedding for them. I finally had to just start telling everyone an unequivocal "NO" even when they beg me to just set up one camera on a tripod and slap the footage on a DVD afterwards.

David West

July 31, 2016 at 4:25AM, Edited July 31, 4:25AM

Make sure the couple are aware of your experience and what they expect from you, have confidence in yourself but be realistic.

Practice shooting and editing at the venues if possible.

Take your girlfriend or similar with you, as well as your 12 year old cousin. You need someone to think about the next shot while you are concentrating on the shot at the time. Write a list of all the things you want to shot and make sure you get them, think in layers, macro, normal and wide.

Are you taking photos also, or is there a professional doing that, talk to them before and after, talk to the DJ or band about recording equipment.

I have just started filming last year and never done a real shoot, but I practice all the time and learn after each one the mistakes I made, each time I get better. Learn from your mistakes and practice practice practice and again.

Chris

July 30, 2016 at 3:48AM, Edited July 30, 3:48AM

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Chris
100

Thanks Chris!

I have a decent crew, so I don't think my girlfriend will be necessary for the shoot, but I will bring my cousin to be my personal assistant.

I've already been to the venue and documented the rehearsal, so I've been messing around with editing that footage and seeing how I can film it better. Good suggestion.

There will be a professional photographer separate from my team, and my pro sound man has gotten in touch with the DJ about their equipment and our setup, so I should be clear in that department.

Thanks again Chris, and I can't wait to see what you accomplish at your first real shoot!

Lorenzo Ducai

July 30, 2016 at 10:50AM

The wedding is today everyone! I cannot thank you all enough for your insightful tips (most of which I never would have thought up on my own). I feel pretty prepared, and will be periodically checking back in to see if you guys have any last minute tips for me! Thank you everyone. I'll report back tomorrow and tell you all how my first wedding video was. Wish me luck!

July 30, 2016 at 10:45AM, Edited July 30, 10:45AM

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Lorenzo Ducai
Director/Cinematographer/Editor/Wedding Photographer
115

Let us know how it went!

WalterBrokx

July 30, 2016 at 1:26PM

I wish you the best. Make sure to post your film when it's over! :)

Jonathan Bates

August 1, 2016 at 3:30PM

I hope it went well. I've shot more weddings than I care to count. Hated them all. I think you have to have a certain type of personality to do the work. I do remember my first (a long time ago) solo wedding. It was a nightmare because I was so uptight about not screwing it up. It came out terrible of course. :)

August 2, 2016 at 8:37AM

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Hello Lorenzo. Obviously am I late to party in the sense that I you have already filmed the wedding. Also, the advice others gave you was on point and probably better than anything I could have told you.

I mainly came here to say that I was incredibly impressed by how well you were able to deal with NinjaMonkey's attitude. Despite having to deal with him, you remained incredibly humble and calm the entire time. That's something I wish was more common around here.

Please let us know how your wedding movie went.

August 3, 2016 at 2:18PM

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Charles Duoto
Instructor & TV Production Crew
1085

Looks like he didn't want to lie and say things went fine. If things went great he wouldn't be taking this long to write. I hope he at least has something to show the couple. Yeah my "attitude" for amateurs acting like pros and robbing people is pretty strong. I don't like seeing it, I know how much a wedding means. Discounting that fact is what's wrong with this community.

NinjaMonkey

August 3, 2016 at 11:39PM

That or, ya know, he could be editing.

Luke Neumann

August 3, 2016 at 11:43PM

Thank you Charles!

I did find it unfortunate that Ninja and I got off in the wrong foot, and I wish our interactions could have been more productive, but I eventually just had to let his unflinching input go. It's nice to see someone supporting my course of action, for I hope to become a good contributor to this community which has helped me so much in my time of need.

Luke, thanks for the defense and you are correct. I have so much footage to organize—and audio. I've got a fairly good handle on it now, so hopefully I'll be reaching the fun part of editing in the next few days.

Ninja, I took time to respond to my post because (like you said) I know how much a wedding means, and I decided to prioritize my clients video over responding to this community. Additionally, I wanted to share my experiences here with a clear head, so that I could approach my newfound knowledge with a critical mind—not a sleep-deprived brain who was up 24 hours straight capturing memories. Also, once again, I find your insinuations that I am some sort of thief "robbing" newlyweds of their spare income slanderous, and harmful to my name. I'm sure you wouldn't appreciate someone attacking your brand in a similar fashion. That said, thank you for your comments and challenges, I appreciate hearing from different perspectives (including yours).

Thanks again everyone!

Lorenzo Ducai

August 4, 2016 at 1:54AM

Update: Thank you everyone for your kind responses. It's been a fairly busy week shuffling through all this footage. I'll leave a longer post later (most likely tomorrow) detailing my personal experiences with my first wedding video but I'll quickly say it was a great experience. Obviously, I still have a lot to learn and this weekend only cemented that in my mind, but I pulled off a solid first time video with no major crippling incidents and hopefully will do my crew's work justice in the edit. I just wanted to quickly lay the rumors that I had a terrible experience to rest, (I must have done something right, seeing as I already have another client!). Of course, none of this would have been possible without this great community here at nofilmschool, and I thank everyone who gave me advice (and even criticism...). I hope you all come back later so that I may repay you by sharing my personal insights and fresh lessons learned!

August 4, 2016 at 1:41AM

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Lorenzo Ducai
Director/Cinematographer/Editor/Wedding Photographer
115

Thanks for ruining the industry one video at a time, posing as a pro and charging like one. You should learn your craft before charging that much, but hey who cares right yu got your money. Whatever if the industry suffers because of idiots like you stealing clients from professionals because you are a liar.

NinjaMonkey

August 8, 2016 at 4:02PM

Ninja, I never lied. I told my clients this would be my first video, and I charged them accordingly. They found the arrangement more than fair. I never posed as a pro. If your professional work is so much superior than clients should have no trouble paying the higher price for it. But at least now they have options, and it forces me to be more creative and it pushes you to be even better. This competition is overall healthy for the consumer, and when you want a wedding videographer, you'll appreciate having more options than just the overbooked $2000 guy at the top.

Lorenzo Ducai

August 9, 2016 at 1:40PM

Mate you can do it. I videoed a friend's wedding a year or two ago and was terrified. I am a good editor but not a great cinematographer, but the video turned out lovely and made them cry. A few tips:

- Ask the couple to send you wedding videos they like the look of, so you have an idea of their taste and what you're aiming for -
- As you're shooting on-the-fly and often spontaneous expect to have to wade through a lot of crap footage
- Find out the lighting arrangements of the venue - our venue was very bright and well-lit until they closed all the blinds on the windows right before the service so the groom wouldn't see the bride - made it really dark, nightmare! Try and suss that sort of thing out beforehand
- Get a list of people who HAVE to be in the video - I knew the bride well but not the groom so much and knew exactly who to film on her side but forgot to get any shots of the groom's granny!
- Just shoot a ton of stuff and you'll find a lot of gold in the edit

August 6, 2016 at 6:36AM

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I think being a good wedding videographer is about all the footage you shoot being good, I usually don't have much unusable footage and can create 90 minute engaging films from each wedding I video.

You should focus more on quality shots that shooting like crazy, you should never shoot anything that is unusable. Think of the edit as you shoot, but don't have your shots be too short this is a very common mistake. Hold all shots for 5-10 seconds, most shooters only hold 1-2 and it's not usable. These are things you would learn assisting, but I know most people skip that step nowadays.

NinjaMonkey

August 8, 2016 at 10:56AM

Thank you Aideen for you reply, I particularly find your idea about listing the people who need to be in the video, I wish I had thought of that when I made the video, but I will surely use it in my future projects!

And Ninja, I completely agree with you, it's a waste of time to film unusable shots. Thankfully my crew was filled with pros and film school grads, and fortunately I was able to learn that 10-second or more lesson in my past working on narrative projects.

Lorenzo Ducai

August 9, 2016 at 2:24PM

Update: The video is complete and the clients now have it in their possession! I received a thank you phone call last night from the newly-minted husband, who said his new wife couldn't talk because she had just been crying over their video. I have received full payment for my video, and the whole venture is finally over. So I'd like to share my experiences.

I received this job roughly 2 weeks before the actual event. I turned to the nofilmschool community and received excellent advice. I spent my time until the big day watching wedding films, as well as interviewing the couple (both separately and together) and their close friends and family. I talked to the minister who would marry the happy couple and got a great dramatic monologue about what marriage means from a spiritual perspective which I used to open the narrative (he had a great voice too).

Me, my number 2 cameraman, and my sound man attended the dress rehearsal, and we made detailed notes of how to set up for the actual event. This was the most important part of the entire project, as I was able to map out unobtrusive locations for my crew as well as locations for all the various microphones and lighting setups. My advice: always plan copiously at the dress rehearsal.

On the big day, I arrived 3 hours early to set up. My little cousin took exterior shots of the venue with the drone, which served as great establishing shots. Due to my knowledge from the dress rehearsal, my crew managed to efficiently set up, and the ceremony went off without a hitch! We even captured the kiss from two different angles! Which the groom said was a nice touch.

The reception was quite straightforward, (aside from the groom's aunt flirting with me a bit). My sound man managed the microphones all night long, and we kept 3 cameras continuously rolling on the scene. I occasionally went outside to film partygoers in the surrounding field and forest, and I took a great couple of shots of the couple taking their first walk together as husband and wife by a quiet stream. Capturing these quiet moments surely added to the video, for they offered nice breaks from the party going on inside the big tent, and they grounded the story in the journey of the new couple. I made sure to not miss a moment of heartfelt speeches between my master shot camera and my B camera. Since I am more familiar with the attendees I also spent time capturing little bits of conversation here and there intimately, and there's even a humorous shot of me holding the drone around the couple during their first dance as a makeshift steadicam, (which also turned out great footage). These made the project.

Returning home, I spent several days syncing audio to the footage, and several more editing the entire project. It has taken a little over a week, but working sunrise to sunset got the job done!

In the end, I charged $1050 for my services, but the extra work I did brought my final income to $1550. I paid each of my crew members roughly $200 ($250 for my sound guy), which gave me a $700 profit in the end. Better than minimum wage! I already have two new clients, so it looks like my new business is booming!

I hope anyone dreaming of opening a wedding business can look to me and my success and gain inspiration to take action and go start their own. There are no prerequisites—only knowledge and passion! Good luck everyone, and thank you all so much for your insights throughout this process!

August 9, 2016 at 2:09PM

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Lorenzo Ducai
Director/Cinematographer/Editor/Wedding Photographer
115

Great to hear it was well recieved!

Now it is time for you to read about the cost of doing business:
http://blog.vincentlaforet.com/2013/08/01/how-to-succeed-as-a-creative-l...

Because the $700 isn't really the profit, but the turnover.
More than minimum wages is good, and it might help to build your portfolio, but it might not be enough to build a sustanable business as your gear will need to be replaced, you'll need insurrance and you will need to spend money and/or time on marketing.

WalterBrokx

August 13, 2016 at 1:18PM

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