On this page, you'll get the chance to understand how we'll film your wedding day. From pre-ceremony activities, to the ceremony to your reception, get to know our approach and how we work with other vendors. And the rumors are true, you'll hardly know we were even there! We do our best to blend into the background as our professional video cameras (not SLR cameras), allow us to keep our distance and film from any angle. It allows us to be out of the way of your guests and, more importantly, your photographer. We always confer with any photo team to make sure we won't be in their way, and also work closely with your DJ, coordinator or MC to make sure everything goes smoothly during the reception.
Much of the information here mirrors our Preparation for Clients page, where you would visit after booking to fill out a form for your package that will provide us with all the information we'll need for filming your day.
If you're having Pre-Ceremony footage done, we're going to come to wherever the bride is getting ready about two hours before kick off. That time can vary from wedding to wedding depending on individual circumstances. Two hours before coming down the aisle is generally about the time the bride gets into her dress, but that time is ultimately up to the client to decide. Most like to capture footage of the tail end of that moment where the bridesmaids either button or zip up the back of the dress itself. From that point on, we're going to capture candid of the bridal party, detail shots of the facility and other wedding related items (flowers, shoes, jewelry), or whatever else that might go on, from formal photo shoots to last minute preparation. Whatever you want us to do, we'll film it. Especially if you plan on doing a first look (where the couple sees each other for the first time on the wedding day before the wedding).
If the guys are at the same location, we'll get a little bit of them too. If you have a second videographer as a part of your package, they'll get a dedicated videographer with them the entire time we're there filming pre.
For the ceremony, we'll show up about an hour ahead of time (if we're not already there for any pre-ceremony coverage) to meet with whoever's in charge at your venue. Usually a priest at a church or a coordinator at other sites. We'll find out what we can and can't do when it comes to filming at your venue, but our standard approach is typically just fine in most cases. We'll also meet with your photographer then as well (if we haven't done so already) and make sure he or she has the ground they need. You only get one chance to get a good shot as a photographer, so we like to work around them since we get continual footage from different angles.
When it comes to the actual filming, we'll set up our 'Main' camera on a tripod behind the last row of seats several feet off the aisle, or in a balcony if available (especially if you have two videographers). The camera itself is smaller than a football and everything is black, so it blends in very well. That camera will simply film the couple the entire time once the ceremony begins. We'll also put a microphone on the groom. It's an MP3/WAV recorder and does not have an over-the-air signal so it won't interfere with any house system. This one mic will pick up the vows clearly.
With a second 'Roaming' camera, we're going to film the processional from up front when possible. Either off to the side or from a knee at the center of the aisle. This may be the only time anyone even sees us there filming. Once the couple is up front, we'll retreat to the side aisles and the back of the venue and film from lots of different angles focusing on the couple, family, guests, bridal party, etc. We'd then tie together all of the footage we filmed between the two cameras in post production giving your wedding the appearance that it was filmed by a dozen different cameras. But in reality it was only one or two of us actually filming.
Did I mention you'll hardly notice we're there?
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING WIRELESS MICROPHONES:
Some venues will not allow the use of wireless microphones (the USNA Chapel comes to mind here). If this is the case at your facility, don't worry! We use MP3 recorders that film 'on-board' the very unit that has no wireless signal, allowing us to use our audio devices at locations like the USNA Chapel.
If you're having your ceremony outdoors, wind (over 15-20mph) can also reek havoc with any type of microphone platform. On windy days we request our clients to allow us to use a 'dead mouse', as it's professionally known in the video business (no kidding). It's a golf-ball sized fuzz ball, black in color, that we can put over our wireless microphone that will significantly cut down on wind noise (but not always eliminate it completely, but dramatically help with any wind issues). We'll likewise use a 'dead cat' on our shotgun microphones on the main camera which will also significantly cut down on wind noise as well.
Any type of environmental sounds are very hard to eliminate. If you're near a busy road, you'll likely hear some traffic. If it's a bit breezy, you'll hear some wind noise. Whatever the human ear can hear while your ceremony is taking place, our microphones will pick up the same sounds. By using wind-screens and what not we can cut down on wind noise quite a bit, however.
For the Reception, we'll get plenty of staging scenes of the facility, your guests during any cocktail hour (time permitting), your cake, gift table, food, floral arrangements, table setups and anything else that's unique to your wedding. We will typically focus on getting as many guests on film during the cocktail hour for posterity in your video. It's awkward to film folks by the time they're seated and eating so we typically avoid doing any 'table shots' during the reception. When the actual reception begins, we'll get all of the important events in the beginning from your introductions, first dance, toasts and so on with our camera mounted on a shoulder harness or monopod for fluid shots that allows us to be very mobile getting from one place to another quickly. If there's room, we'll have another camera set up on a tripod by the DJ or other area that makes sense for an alternate view of things. After initial Reception events (Introductions, toasts, special dances, etc.), we'll focus on the dance floor to capture your friends and family having a good time. A second camera person (if your package comes with one) can get secondary angles of important events for more dynamic footage. With the Gold package, the second person can also man an optional Video Message Station, where your friends and family can come over and toast, roast or wish you guys well on video. Such a station would have to be set up in a relatively quiet location, so we usually target areas away from the dance floor and loud music... preferably a 'high traffic' area near the bathrooms or bar. Please see more detailed information at the bottom of this page about the Video Message Station!
Also, we DO NOT use blinding, white hot lights! If you've been to a few receptions with other videographers or even some photographers, you probably know what I'm talking about here. If we have to use lights at all, they'll be very soft halogen bulbs that won't be too overwhelming. With the software and cameras we use, we can usually film in 'dim' lighting conditions without the use of a light.
Anyway, after the initial blast of important scenes, there's usually up to an hour-long down time during dinner. This is a great time to feed your vendors. It's even better to instruct your caterer or venue to feed your vendors right away and not wait until all the guests have been served. We have nothing to do for an extended period of time. If we get fed after all the guests, more often than not, we won't even get the chance to eat as important events are beginning again at that point. You're probably paying a fee for vendor meals... might as well make sure we get to have them!
After dinner, we'll capture candid shots of your guests having a good time on the dance floor and of course get all of the other important events of the night, including parent dances, bouquet/garter tosses, cake cuttings and so on. If you have a different vision for your reception coverage other than our typical approach, please mention your idea on the prep form in the 'Special Requests' area. We always will try to accommodate anything you have in mind!
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING LED LIGHTING:
An absorborant amount of LED lighting at your reception (or even ceremony) can give cameras fits in todays wedding world. LED lighting is bright, cool to the touch and have up to 256 color options. The problem? DJ's, bands and/or wedding designers can have LED lighting everywhere for effect and mood. LED lighting is not a bad thing, but if it's the primary light source it can make subject matter look that color in your video and even wash some subject matter out all together if they're being illuminated directly by LED lighting.
The issue lies in the fact that we see things differently than a video camera does. When we walk into a room that is lit with LED lights, our brains automatically correct what we are seeing to something that we perceive as looking natural. A video camera can't do that. If we walk into a room that has a purple color from LED lighting, our brains are going to even things out for us, but the video camera is going to see everything in purple.
Another issue with some LED lighting is that they flicker. Technically, LED lights pulse at a certain frequency per second and the video camera's shutter opens and closes a certain amount of times per second. If the LED pulse frequency is not a number that is a multiple of the video camera's shutter speed, then you can have flicker from the LEDs as well... although this is much less common as LED's and the cameras become more advanced.
We're not saying LED's are bad, we in fact offer LED lighting upgrades and think they're awesome! But a good mix of halogen lighting (normal ceiling or lamp type lighting) and LEDs will look both great to your eyes in person on the day of, and look great on film (as the halogen cancels out the 'washed out' effect LEDs can cause).
If you're okay with the effect the LEDs may give off if they're the primary light source, no problem! Ignore this issue. If you'd like the subject matter in your video to look more natural, ask your DJ/ band coordinator/ wedding coordinator or designer to make sure LED lighting will not be the primary light source and see if they can offer a good mix of regular halogen and LED lighting. It would be both beneficial to us as videographers, and to your photographer as well (although their flash compensates for the overuse of LED in most situations).
Below are some visual samples that we're talking about for your reference. Send your planner/DJ or whoever's in charge of your lighting to this page to see what we're talking about if you have any concerns about the overuse of LED lighting.
Here's a still example of 'washed out' video due to the overuse of LED lighting.
If your reception room is going to look like this (in any color), you'll probably encounter the 'LED Effect' (as we've dubbed it) because LED lighting is the primary light source.
Here's an example of a great blend of LED lighting and regular lighting that will make for the best lighting conditions for videographers and photographers alike. There's even more regular halogen lighting in this example than is really even needed. The goal for good lighting conditions is to have some halogen light to offset the LED lighting.
If you are getting a Video Message Station as part of your package to interview and get comments from guests at your reception, we'll typically set that up during the cocktail hour (when possible) near a high traffic area such as the bar or even the bathrooms. Ideally, we hope there's a lobby or someplace other than your reception space to leave the camera for the remainder of your reception. Since loud music is typically associated with any reception, it's best to have the camera in a quieter location.
In our experiences, omnidirectional shotgun microphones are best for audio capture as the mic will focus on any speaker right in front of the camera. In some cases we'll have no choice but to be in the reception area itself which can affect the sound quality of the interviews. No microphone, handheld or otherwise, can cancel out background noise and the louder that sound is (music from a DJ, for example), the more apparent that can and will be in the video.
If you or your planner would like to hand pick an area for your Video Message Station at your reception, please take this information into consideration! If not instructed otherwise, we'll put the camera in the best location that's conducive to getting the best possible sound given the environment we're in, as well as 'lure' guests into roasting or toasting you on camera! The Video Message Station will have a large sign on it explaining what it's for and we'll also ask your DJ or entertainment to make announcements asking folks to leave comments if they'd like to. Sometimes we'll get 50 interviews, other times, only 5. We unfortunately can't control if people will actually want to say anything but we're going to do our best to get as many as we can!
We want this to be an enjoyable process for you, and more importantly, we want you to cherish your video forever. With your help in the process, rest assured your wedding video will be the best investment you'll make on your big day! Of course, if you have any questions at any time, please email Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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