The time when you could lock down a VHS camcorder to record a wedding are a thing of the past. When couples budget for videography, they expect a creative and cinematic video presentation. Creative video editors need to understand the expectations of modern wedding couples. Up your game with these 6 great tips if you want to create the best wedding videos that are engaging and cinematic.
If you’re a creative video editor or videographer, you must learn to develop your skills in videography and editing to create the kind of amazing wedding videos that will satisfy your clients. Here are some helpful tips that will help you set the stage to create amazing videos.
6 Expert Tips For Creating The Best Wedding Videos
1- Plan Your Shots
In a wedding there will be plenty of improvised opportunities. Besides the “mandatory” shots of the ceremony, there will be many spontaneous moments that you’ll want to capture.
You don’t want to go to the trouble of storyboarding your video. However, you need to be well prepared for the shoot. Create a list of the shots you’ll need to get, and if possible scout the location so you can take advantage of the location’s interesting characteristics.
2- Stay Light and Nimble
While you’ve planned your shots, an amazing wedding video will capture much more than the essentials. To be where the action is, you’ll need to stay light on your feet, and resist being tied down by an over-abundance of gear.
Creative video services companies keep their gear flexible. Practice shooting handheld shots, unless you’re shooting B-Roll shots or broadcasting the ceremony for example.
Consider using flexible gear, like monopods, or a handheld rig with stabilization, so you can be where you need to be to get the angles you want and really capture the magic of the moment.
3- Go For a Natural Look
For a cinematic documentary style wedding video, you’ll want to avoid shots that look overly staged or unnatural. You can achieve the natural look you want in a few different ways. Wedding videographers will typically choose camera and lens combinations that give them a shallow depth of field for natural looking shots.
Another trick for creating the best wedding videos is to use natural light as much as possible, so be sure that you have lenses available that can handle the lighting conditions at your venue.
4- Look For Unusual Angles
Many couples like to choose unusual or scenic venues for their weddings. As a videographer, you can use these locations to your advantage when creating the best wedding video. If at all possible, scout the venue ahead of time, either alone or with the couple. Then you’ll be able to plan ahead for camera placement to capture some unique shots.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Check out the work of your favorite directors and other wedding videos for inspiration. If necessary, practice some of the shots you’d like to do before the wedding. Take note of the lenses and settings you used.
5- Be Intimate To Capture Emotions
Weddings are emotional events. A dry look at just the events of the day won’t make a very engaging or interesting video. Use multiple camera setups so you’ll have a camera free to capture the reactions of the wedding party and guests. Cut these shots in when you’re doing your editing, and you’ll have a much more interesting story to tell.
If your client’s budget doesn’t allow 2 videographers, setup one video camera on a tripod to record the entire ceremony for example, and take the second camera on shoulder to take some interesting closeup/reaction shots and helpful cut-ins for your edit.
Don’t be shy. During the wedding you’re the director of how their wedding will look like on screen. Don’t leave the bride’s why and why-nots for when it’s too late. Shoot a lot and delete later. Ask the couple to pause and pose :) or stop and give you that look at an interesting moment. Don’t be too reserved but also not too obtrusive. Direct the parents as you need, or the procession couples to stop and go when you want them to. You’ll come across as a professional instead of someone that happens to be there with their camera.
6- Invest In Gear
Having the right gear is a prerequisite to getting the shots you want. Invest wisely in lightweight and versatile cameras and lenses so you can let your creative energies flow. In particular, drop heavy cameras for light weight DSLR camera bodies that you can pair with a variety of lenses.
The majority of modern DSLRs can shoot full HD and give you some pretty decent footage so don’t let the big brands sell you up on their cameras just for an extra setting or two that you’ll never use. Buy exactly what you need with a little window for future improvements and save yourself some money.
Invest in good lighting and audio. An attached video camera light might be enough for the look you’re after but for large weddings this might not be enough. You might need to install a few fixed lights on tripods overshooting the entire reception area to give that nice back light for every shot. A crappy audio means disaster in post. If you must record the priest’s sermon or the wedding party’s speeches, either get a couple of affordable wireless lapels or a good quality directional microphone on-camera. This will save your wedding videos from cheap audio. And cheap audio, you know, means cheap video.
These 6 expert tips for creating the best wedding videos just scratch the surface of what it really takes to create a professional wedding video but are hopefully enough to get you started in your wedding videography business. These also can help future couples understand the complexity behind creating awesome wedding videos.
To wrap it up, let’s remember these keys points we discussed above:
Always plan your shots. Keep a handy printed checklist to check off all the necessary shots you need. There’s little time for improvisation during a wedding.
Keep it light. Always go with light vs heavy. During a wedding you’ll be jumping from one place to another all the time for hours so keep those lenses in a holster belt and only carry what you need for that part of the wedding.
Go for a natural look. Staged and posed shots are a things of the past. If you want your videos to stand out and look current capture the genuine emotions as they happen instead of staging them.
Look for unusual angles. Be a detective when it comes to choosing your angles. Always keep editing in mind when you shoot. Frame the shot in your mind before it happens. Predict what will happen and keep your finger on the red button at all times.
Be intimate. Don’t be shy to direct your subjects. Follow your couple around as they greet their guests or hug their families. You’ll be surprised at how beautiful these moments are on screen, and they’ll thank you later.
Invest in the right gear. Every gear is not right for everybody. Scan your current and future projects and decide which gear is best for the couple and your budget. But stick with the basics: Tripods and steadicams, great lights, quality lenses and good audio.
Which one of these tips was most helpful to you? Let us know in the comments below!