Wedding Video 101: Three Tips for Videographers When Filming Their First Wedding
Updated: Feb 21, 2022
When I started making WeddingVideos in 2015, I researched a ton on the subject. I watched YouTube videos, Behind-The-Scenes videos, talked to anyone I knew who had experience in the video field, wedding related or not, and watched others videographers work weddings I was attending as a guest.
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Creating wedding videos looked like a good challenge, and it sounded very rewarding as every married couple I talked to afterwards either wished they had hired a wedding videographer, or said it was the best decision they made to hire a wedding videographer. Wedding video it was!
Make Sure All of Your Tools Work Well Together
When I first started making wedding videos, (and what I still do to this day) was focus too much on my camera and lenses. Don't get me wrong, you need a good camera, and a good lens (or 5...) BUT, what is equally important is everything else that goes into the equation. Your video is only as good as the sum of your parts, not some of your parts!
If you have a computer that isn't fast enough to handle the footage you have captured, it will take you forever just to get anything resembling a highlight together. If you know you have a slow computer and have to stick that out for a while, shoot on lower bitrates. Shoot in 1080p instead of 4K. And if you really think you need to shoot in 8K when you are first starting out or if you are filming anything other than movies to be watched in an IMAX theatre, please just don't. If you have a memory card that isn't fast enough for your camera, you will not be able to record the footage. Your camera will actually just not record and basically say, "Tough Luck." If your camera cannot record for more than 30 minutes at a time, at 29 minutes and 59 seconds of recording your camera will say, "Tough Luck." There is a lot more that happens when shooting a wedding video then just pressing "stop" and "start". I suggest setting your camera on a tripod and letting is run for an hour and see what happens. Did your camera automatically shut off? Did your memory card run out of room before it said it would? When you load that card into your computer, do you even have anywhere to save that footage? When you play back that footage of your wedding video, is it even watchable or is it so choppy you want to snap your laptop into two pieces? Because, I don't think laptops are meant to do that.
Make Your Gear Cohesive
Tripod & Gimbal Plates
When you are filming weddings or run-n-gun style, you need cohesiveness. Make sure all of the plates (the small pieces you attach under your camera to hook onto your tripod, etc.) you have are all of the same brand and style. It works a lot like the charging ports on your phone. When I bought a new iPhone, my old charger plug did not fit into the new port (imagine that). When you have two different style of tripods, the plates have different lengths and have different ridges to slide in and out. One might be wider, one might be longer, one might be a completely different shape.
On a similar note, each camera and camera brand has a specific mount that will connect the correct lenses to the correct bodies, and each lens will have a different filter size, which is important once you start adding filters for unique looks. (I recommend 10% Cinebloom for a little extra blooming in your highlights for weddings.)
External Accessories of Parts You Already Have
This tip may not be for absolute, day one beginners, but I think this step can be taken much sooner than I did. Your camera (unless maybe bought used) should already come with a battery, some sort of visual monitor on it, and some type of microphone internally, though most people do not rely on those for their main audio source.
When I purchased my first Mirrorless camera, I immediately asked a friend to let me film him at a skatepark. It was perfect. I could work on filming fast moving objects, figure out the difference between filming something very close and very far away, and since I didn't have any lights yet, it would be a great time to film in the middle of a bright and sunny day. Only one problem: the video monitors on mirrorless cameras are designed cheap to keep the retail price down. I couldn't see a single thing I was filming, because the sun was so bright it over powered the monitor on the back of my mirrorless camera. The same thing will happen when you film a wedding. External monitors are designed to be much brighter, and specifically designed to be able to be viewed in direct sunlight. It's very similar with external batteries. Your camera already comes with a battery, why buy another? Manufacturers design cameras to be small, light-weight, and affordable. You simply will not find a camera that can do it all, and often one of those caveats is a weak battery. If you hook an external battery up to your camera, you can easily triple the amount of battery life your camera has, not to mention it can help with overheating problems many mirrorless cameras have. I use an external battery to keep my SonyA1 from overheating.