In your humble beginnings, you are bound to get a lots of conflicing advice and information, and if you pay heed to too much, there is not doubt you’ll become a bit overwhelmed by all the information and even more so, a little nervous. But starting out as a wedding videographer in London can be both, challenging and exciting!
As you begin to learn the ropes of wedding cinematography you’ll quickly find yourself experimenting with different styles and different ways of filming things, and the nerves you once had towards taking on this new skill will very soon be a thing of the past.
The following are some of the things you should keep in mind when you are starting out:
Do a Recce
This is an important step, regardless 0f whether this is your first wedding video shoot or whether you have a lot of experience. It is always best to be prepared beforehand, so you should do a proper reece of the wedding venue beforehand. This allows you to plan some shots and you will not be caught by surprise. You can also get a good sense of what the light is like at the venue and what kind of equipment you will need to carry.
The recce also includes meeting the bride and the groom well in advance to ensure you are on the same page with their vision. Ask them for any suggestions or specific shots they might like. You should also get a list of who the most important guests are in the wedding so you are sure to get them on camera — this includes the bride and groom’s parents, their close family and friends.
Other than that, you need to get in touch with the decorators, the still photographer and any other technician or person at the wedding who could possibly impact the video. It would be good to reach the venue before time on the D-day so you can get some extra shots of the centre tables, flower arrangement, etc.
Carry Only What You Need
If you are the only wedding videographer, you may have to be at a few different places at the same time. Now, naturally, that is not physically or humanly possible. But what you can do to make the whole process more smooth is to be light on your feet. Ensure you are carrying only the equipment that you need so you can move around fast if required. If you are carrying your own light setup, either try to keep it as low hassle as possible or see if you can bring an assistant along who can help you carry the equipment around.
You should not miss crucial moments of the wedding simply because the equipment is holding you back. The wedding ceremony will carry on and will not wait for you. As the photographer, it is your job to be at the right place at the right time.
Do a Mix of Traditional and Experimental Shots
Sure, the same old traditional wedding shots can get boring. A shot of the couple exchanging rings, someone in their seats sniffling or of the couple posing happily in front of their guests. But sometimes, old is gold. No wedding video is complete without some of these essential shots.
At the same time, however, you do not want to continue repeating clichés. There are several different styles you can experiment with. In your shots, keep a good mix of the traditional angles, poses and moments while also mixing it up with the more experimental approaches. You may want to try out a different angle or take a unique frame that videographers refrain from doing in traditional wedding videos. This checks off all the boxes and ensures you do not miss the traditionally significant shots, nor does your video look unimaginative.
B-Roll Is Never Enough
When you are shooting a video, not only is it important to capture the main events but also get a sense of the ambience and take extra shots that you can use to overlay the visuals so it does not look repetitive. For example, if the main ceremony is 45 minutes long, you cannot simply keep the camera rolling for 45 minutes and have only that in the video. The people watching the video will get bored and lose interest. To hold their attention, you will need to put other visuals to break the monotony. Your main visuals or the primary footage is the A-roll and the B-roll is the secondary visuals you will overlay on these visuals so it does not become one-tone.
The B-roll includes everything else that is happening in the background. For example, if you are including a long chunk of the wedding ceremony, you can overlay it with cutaways of the officiant, closeups of the bride and groom looking happy and nervous and of the guests looking on. You can also take establishing shots of the decoration, of how the light is falling outside, the bride adjusting her veil, etc., to open the video. Always shoot extra footage in the B-roll. You may not end up using it but it is better than falling short of visuals.
Keep Backup for Audio
Audio is also really important. Though you may overlay a lot of the video with music and sound, you want to be present when the couple says ‘I do’ or when someone makes a speech. The audio should not falter when something important is being said. Ensure you carry out several checks for the audio and also keep backup ready.
It would be good to include the ambient sounds in the video to lend it a more natural essence, so ensure you capture the sounds clearly. This could be glass clinking, the guests laughing or something else.
Maintain a Good Vantage Point
This is very important. There is no point of having all your equipment ready and a list of shots in your packet if on the final day you realise something is blocking the camera’s view. Even if you do a recce, there is a good chance the guests become excited and stand in front of your line of vision or someone runs in front of the camera. So when the bride walks in, ensure your camera is placed somewhere the view will not get blocked. Feel free to cordon off the area around your camera so you get a clear shot (within a reasonable limit, of course!).
As a wedding videographer, you have a lot of responsibility. You will be capturing the special moments of a very significant day and you cannot take your job lightly. Of course, a lot of what you do will be learned on the job and you will pick up a lot of skills as you go along. The important thing is to treat every mistake as an opportunity to learn and not be hard on yourself. The beginning of your wedding videography career can be challenging but if you enjoy it, the work will not seem laborious.