5 Tips To Make Your Life Easier Filming Wedding Videos


Before I started working at Motion Array, I used to actually freelance full time as my living.  And a good amount of those videos were Wedding Videos.  There were a lot of great moments that I captured during that time, and there were also a LOT of mistakes made.   So today we’re getting ready for that season by sharing our 5 tips to make your life easier filming your next wedding video! 

5 Tips To Make Your Life Easier Filming Wedding Videos

This text has been transcribed from the video for optimal reading

Tip 1 - Contact the photographer ahead of time

Before you even hit the record button, pretty standard practice is meeting with the couple weeks, if not months, beforehand.  You gotta determine price, time, date, location, special requests, all that good stuff. But that’s not the only meeting that you should set up.   There’s not a single wedding I have ever attended or shot for that hasn’t had a stills photographer. So, they’re going to be there on the day of YOUR shoot too, and here’s why you should connect with them beforehand.

You’re going to get in each other’s way a lot!   Throughout the ceremony, reception, and everything in between there’s going to be a million opportunities to point your camera and capture a moment. And a lot of those moments are going to be dictated by what’s happening in the wedding.  Giving vows, rings, toasts, you’re both going to be wanting to capture the same shots from the same angles a lot of the time. So clearing the air ahead of time will help both of you to keep out of each others line of sight, and if you ever do interfere with each other, it’s a lot easier to quickly deal with because they’re not just this unknown face that’s getting in your way.  You both know that each others got a job to do, so work together to do it.

The chat doesn’t even have to be long, or even in person.  Even just a quick phone call saying, hi, introducing yourself, and expressing that you just want to open communication ahead of time.  Nice and simple.

But it’s not just about avoiding conflict, it’s also getting the photographer to like you and be on your side, because, you as a wedding filmmaker have an extra opportunity to benefit and take advantage of their hard work.  99% of photographers are going to do a bunch of group shots of the wedding party and maybe even some family members. Regardless of whether or not you were there that day, the photographer is going to need to put a lot of time, energy, and effort into getting their posed shots. So take advantage of some of those moments, throw on a longer lens, and get some nice B-Roll.  If they’ve been doing this for awhile they probably have a couple ideas that they’re going to try out. And 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.

Tip 2 - Slow Motion Is Your Best Friend

I don’t think I have to sell you on the idea that slow motion just looks delicious.  Just take a look at this example, what would you prefer to see, this? Or this? I think I know what your answer is.    You don’t have to worry about getting ridiculous phantom-style slow motion either. Anywhere between 60-120FPS can really put your shots on 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 SUPER cheap and can shoot up to 96fps.  Take it out for a day and test it, and see if it’s your cup of tea. If not, if you plan to do a lot of weddings, I’d suggest that it’s time to start investigating if it’s time to upgrade your camera.

And the last piece that you might not realize is that stabilizing slow motion footage is actually easier than stabilizing regular speed footage.  So not only does it make your footage look better, it also makes it easier for you to make it look like you were flying some sort of fancy gimbal or a crane on the day, even if you weren't.  For more on that, check out this video we already did on using slow motion and warp stabilizer together for some deliciously smooth handheld results!

Tip 3 - Scout The Location Ahead Of Time

Common sense.  You’re being paid to make a video for someone.  And for a lot of the day you’re only going to have 1 chance to capture each moment.   So it’s in your own best interest to take a little extra time, visit the location ahead of time, and scout out what the potential best placements are for your shots.  

Try to make this line up with the rehearsal day, which if you are able to join, I highly suggest it.  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.

In the end this tip might feel like a nuisance, but it’ll save your bacon if the location is different than the “traditional” wedding you might have expected.  Like when the couple ends up doing the ceremony on a boat. You’d better be prepared.

Tip 4 - Bring An External Audio Recorder And A BOATLOAD Of Cables

This has been consistently one of the most annoying problems I’ve faced whenever I’ve done weddings.  personally. 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 without hearing people shuffling around in chairs and coughing in the audience like if you were to record sound from your camera.

But here’s the problem.   It seems like every time I’ve gone to do a Wedding, the sound board, or system, or speakers, or whatever! 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.  

And then even more frustrating is sometimes the soundboard looks like it takes one of these, but you Can’t get it to work no matter how much you try!

But regardless of what it uses, you need to be ready for any situation, otherwise you’re not getting that great audio.  So have as many possible cables at the ready in a bag as you can, I’ve listed a few different examples of great cables to have on hand at all times:


- RCA  

- 1/4" phone

- 1/8" audio plug

- And finally, as many adapters and connectors between these examples as possible. You never know what you're going to run into and it's best to be prepared.

Tip 5 - Get An Assistant For The Day.  

Every SINGLE wedding I have ever shot without an assistant, I’ve said to myself at the end of the day, "MAN I WISH I HAD AN ASSISTANT TODAY!"

It’s hard to do it on your own! Even if you CAN do it all on your own, the question is, do you want to?  I mean it’s a real question. If you can 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’s tonnes of different ways that you can find one if you’re not sure where to start.  My suggestion would be to put out a call on social media or to your family and friends asking if there’s anyone wanting to get more into filming. Chances are they’d love to help out just for the added experience and being able to job shadow someone.  

If that fails, there’s always facebook groups and craigslist to try and get a professional second shooter at a competitive rate.  But even if that all fails, I’ve found it’s still helpful to ask a buddy to help out even if they’re not the next Roger Dekens. Even to have a second person for capturing just the the ceremony can really take a load off of you personally.  And you’d be surprised how easy it is to convince some of your friends to help out.

And guys that’s 5 but we’re going to give you one last bonus tip to end things off.  If there’s ever a time to use it, Wedding videos are the chance to really break out the light leaks!  It’s a really professional and elegant look that can quickly help to wow your clients. You’d might surprised.  If you’ve been creating videos for a long time, you get really desensitized to the light leaks look. But as soon as you show it to someone who doesn’t work with videos for a living, it’s like their seeing MAGIC!

So if you were wanting to use any, we have both free light leaks and paid light leaks versions. BUT, if you wanted to create your own, we actually have a video tutorial all about how to create your own custom light leaks!   Lastly we have some fancy wedding titles for you to check out.  They'll be sure to add some class to the opening of your video!

Well, that concludes this tutorial. I hope you found it helpful, if you did, please give us a thumbs up and if you’d like to see more tutorials, we’ve got lots of other Premiere Pro TutorialsAfter Effects tutorials, and filmmaking tutorials for you to check out!

Thanks for watching and see you in the next video.

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