If you spend any amount of time shooting and editing wedding videos, you’ll know that it can be a high-stress gig. Your goal is to make the couple’s day run as smoothly as possible, but we have a few tips to make your life easier filming wedding videos.
The key to wedding videography going smoothly is preparation. Each tip may be different, but they all fall under the umbrella of being prepared. Whether you shoot weddings regularly or have been asked as a one-off favor, here are our five tips to make filming wedding videos a whole lot easier for you.
Top Tips for Wedding Videography Jobs
1. Contact the Photographer Ahead of Time
Before you even hit the record button, standard practice is meeting with the happy couple a few weeks or months beforehand. You’ll have discussions about price, time, date, location, special requests, and all those details.
That’s not the only meeting that you should set up, though. Most, if not all, weddings have a stills photographer as well as a videographer. As a result, they’re going to be there on the day of your shoot too. Here’s why you should connect with them beforehand.
You’re Going To Get In Each Other’s Way
Throughout the ceremony, reception, and everything in between, there’s going to be a million opportunities to point your camera and capture a moment. A lot of those moments are going to be dictated by what’s happening at the wedding: giving vows, exchanging rings, toasts, and many more. You’re both going to be wanting to capture the same shots from the same angles a lot of the time.
Having a chat ahead of time about who’s going to where will help you keep out of each other’s line of sight and make sure you capture all the important moments. You both know that the other’s got a job to do just as you do, so work together to do it. Remember, you’re doing this for the couple, not for your portfolios!
The chat doesn’t even have to be that long or in person. Even just a quick phone call introducing yourself and expressing that you want to open communication ahead of time.
They’ll Give You Opportunities for B-Roll
Early communication with the photographer is not just about avoiding conflict. In fact, 99% of photographers are doing individual and group shots of the wedding party and guests. The photographer is going to be putting a lot of time, energy, and effort into getting their posed shots, and there will likely be groups of people milling around waiting for their turn.
This is your chance to take advantage of those moments, throw on a longer lens, and get some nice B-roll. If you’re snagging moments from behind them, it’s like you’re getting a professional director to set up shots for you, for free!
2. Slow Motion is Your Best Friend
Slow motion just looks amazing, and it’s also great for emotional scenes (of which there are many at weddings). Anywhere between 60-120FPS can elevate your shots to another level.
If you don’t have a camera that can do those sorts of frame rates, consider looking at renting a camera that does. Panasonic GH4 day rentals, for example, can be inexpensive and shoot up to 96fps. Take it out for a day and test it, and see if it’s your cup of tea. If you aren’t keen on renting and you’re planning on shooting a lot of weddings, it might be time to look at upgrading your camera!
Also, stabilizing slow motion footage is actually easier than stabilizing regular speed footage. Not only does it make your footage look better, but it also makes it easier for you to make it look like you were flying a fancy gimbal or a crane on the day, even if you weren’t.
This can be a great effect for special occasions such as weddings. Check out this tutorial on how to use Warp Stabilizer in Premiere Pro for some deliciously smooth handheld results!
3. Scout the Location Ahead of Time
You’re being paid to make a video for someone, and for a lot of the day, you’re only going to have one chance to capture each moment. It’s in your own best interest to take a little extra time, visit the location ahead of time, and scout out the potential best placements for your shots.
If you’re able to join and do some scouting on the rehearsal day, this would be the perfect time to check out good spots for camera placements. Use this opportunity to see ahead of time where you should place cameras, where certain events are going to take place, and maybe find a couple of secret spots that you can use for B-roll.
This tip may feel like a nuisance, but it’ll save your bacon if the location is different from the traditional wedding you might have expected. Never assume that you have an idea what a venue will be like! You might only be thankful for this tip once you’ve experienced a wedding where things go a little haywire!
4. Bring External Audio and Extra Cables
The best way to capture vocal moments like the vows, some of the most memorable speeches, and any pertinent moments that happen is to hook up an external audio device to the sound system being used for the event.
Being able to plug in an H4n, or whatever device you’re using is, one of the easiest ways to ensure your audio is going to be clean and exactly what the audience is hearing. This also gives you the added benefit of layering the audio underneath B-roll. You’ll avoid capturing people shuffling around in chairs and coughing in the audience as you would if you were to record sound from your camera.
But here’s the problem. It seems like every soundboard or system or set of speakers takes a different type of cable! Sometimes it’s XLR, other times it’s RCA cables, sometimes it looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. Whatever it uses, you need to be ready for any situation; otherwise, you’re not getting that great audio. The solution is to have as many different cables as possible with you. Here are some of the more common ones:
- 1/4″ phone
- 1/8″ audio plug
Finally, don’t forget the adapters and connectors between these different types of cables. You never know what you’re going to run into and it’s best to be prepared.
5. Hire an Assistant for the Day
Weddings are hard to do on your own! Even if you can do it all on your own, would you really want to? If you earn just a little bit less from the day but have a way more enjoyable, less stressful time, would you do it?
Everyone’s different, but if your answer is yes, then it’s totally worth hiring a second shooter for the day. There are tons of different ways that you can find one if you’re not sure where to start. An easy way is to put out a call on social media or to your family and friends, asking if there’s anyone wanting to get more into film. Chances are you’ll find someone who would love to help out just for the added experience and to job shadow someone for the day.
If that fails, there are Facebook groups and Craigslist you can post in to try and get a professional second shooter at a competitive rate. As a last resort, you can ask a buddy to help out even if they are inexperienced. It’s just a case of delegating the more static shots to them and spending a bit of time beforehand showing them how things work.
6. Bonus Tip – Break Out The Light Leaks!
If there’s ever a time to use them, wedding videos are the chance to make use of light leaks! It’s a professional and elegant look that can quickly help to wow your clients. If you’ve been creating videos for a long time, you get quite desensitized to the light leaks look. Show it to someone who doesn’t work with videos for a living, and it’s like they see magic!
Motion Array has free light leaks, paid light leaks, and new Luminous plugins for Premiere Pro. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out this video tutorial about how to create your own custom light leaks! Lastly, have a look at these fancy wedding titles to add to your next wedding project. They’ll be sure to add some class to the opening of your video!
Shooting weddings doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Preparation is key, and as long as you keep in mind these five tips to make your life easier when filming wedding videos, your experience should be far smoother and more enjoyable — both for you and for the couple getting married!