Category Archives: wisdom

Filming a Wedding Video – Top Tips

Because of the film-making I do from time to time, I have often been asked by friends to film their wedding day. If you’ve been asked by some friends to do the same, here are some practical tips to help make it all go as smoothly as possible:

1 – Manage Expectations – promise low, deliver high
Don’t get over excited at what you can do for the couple, or let them dictate what can be achieved. If you have agreed to do it, then make sure to say you’ll do the best you can but can’t promise anything.

2 – Chat with couple about the key things they want to capture
Again, manage expectations, but ask them if there are 3 main things they want in the video, you can try your best to achieve it.

3 – Get a detailed itinerary for the day
This is very useful as you know when things are going to happen and can get in position ready.

4 – Check with priest/vicar it’s okay to video ceremony & where you can film
This is very important as each vicar has a different view on what is allowed. At a recent wedding the priest let me go wherever I wanted and at the wedding before that the vicar said I could only film from one spot and not move about.

5 – Get to church early to get some establishing shots of church, church sign, guests arriving etc.
This is useful when it comes to editing the video itself. Also, it establishes you as the wedding video person to guests.

6 – Have at least one back up camera
Your camera should be fine, but have an extra one just in case. Assume the worst case scenario. Your back up camera should ideally record in the same video format to make editing easier and that the picture all looks the same. I once edited a wedding video from 4 different cameras (1 Mini-DV video camera, 2 digital cameras (one was 16:9 HD and the other standard 4:3) and an iPhone) and editing it all took ages and the screen resolution was not consistent.

7 – Have enough battery power to record for at least 6hrs (bring recharger if needed)
This is where a lot of people mess up. Your camera will be on a lot during the day and until they improve battery power, you will need replacement batteries ready to go. You will likely leave the camera on a lot of the time you are not actually filming.

8 – Look out for electrical power points you can use at church/reception
This is so you can do any re-charging where necessary.

9 – Make sure you have enough tape or memory for at least 4.5hrs
Remember using HQ video, which you’ll want to use, will eat up much more memory. You’ll probably shoot 2-3hrs of footage, but best to be prepared for a lot more than that.

10 – When filming speeches, alternate your position
This is to help the editing. Speeches are usually pretty dull anyway, so don’t make it even more dull by filming from the same spot all the time.

11 – Do guest interviews
Trust me, when you come to show the edited video, its the interviews that everyone loves. However, it is hard work to do and you will want to just relax and have a drink instead. Ask people the same 2 or 3 quick questions, nice ones like, have you enjoyed the day? Do you have a message for the couple? Plus one fun one which is personal/funny to the couple.

12 – Control your breathing and keep quiet when filming
Unless you are using professional equipment with a good microphone, anything you say or mumble will be picked up by the camera. A friend did a video and all you could hear throughout was his odd heavy breathing … not good and spoilt the whole video.

13 – Editing – it will take you at least 4 times longer than you think
Editing is a whole other article (and more), but allow yourself loads of time to do this and try not to promise a particular date to have it ready. After all, you’re a friend doing it, not a professional.

Growing Up Handbook

by Jake McMillan

I came across this earlier today, it is a little book I put together a few years ago as a present for my friend’s son. I thought I would share it here in case others may like it.

Wise Words #3: Annoying

On very rare occasions I utter something that like it could be wise, but may just be jibberish??

“Being annoying is an under-appreciated skill that takes years to master. In particular, only a few of us know how to balance the annoying to nice ratio to enable you to be annoying to the same person year after year after year.”

Jake McMillan

Are you a Drifter, a Sparky or a Normalton?

I met with a good pal of mine recently, SAPessi, who wanted to share with me his ill thought theory that some people are ‘drifters’ and they wander through life without aim or aspiration, following other people and moaning about their position. SAPessi really doesn’t like drifters and gave the example of a particular drifter he knows who is annoying and who we soon categorised as being a ‘cautious-drifter’.

Note: SAPessi is a serious blogger and so wanted me to publish his thoughts. I invited him to review this blog post and have included his comments below.

I remarked that coming up with the notion that some people are drifters is not that amazing or new. We discussed the concept further as he said that all non-drifters hate drifters and I didn’t think this was the case, that actually there were some people who didn’t mind drifters who were themselves not drifters.

SAPessi: That’s just not possible. We all hate drifters. They are miserable and annoying. To think that these people are just one species away from being human beings!

We further agreed there are 3 main categories of people (with many sub-divisions of each):

Drifters – As mentioned, these are people who wander aimlessly and annoy people like SAPessi. ‘Charming-drifters’ are the most annoying type of drifter.

SAPessi: that’s very misleading. True I hate drifters. But I hate everyone else equally.

Drifter (1)

Sparkys– These are people who have lots of ideas all of the time, are easily distracted and find it hard to focus on one thing for any length of time. SAPessi is an ‘OCD-Sparky’ and I am a ‘Laid-back-Sparky. SAPessi hates the term ‘sparky’ but has not been able to come up with anything better.

SAPessi: We don’t go through life on fire! That’s the only possible outcome of a spark. We really need to come up with a better term.

old-sparky (1)

Normaltons – People who are not Drifters or Sparkys.


There are sub-categories of people, e.g. Charmers, which can transcend across the three categories. Another type is ‘Dullards’ (very dull people) who can also be in each category. A dullard-drifter is probably the dullest of the dullards.

SAPessi: I really, really hate them

You also get in all 3 categories those who are ‘cautious’ and ‘cynical’.

SAPessi: [about cautious] you all know these people, health and safety officials in disguise whose only objective is to take the fun out of your life by being all sensible

So, which type and sub-category do you belong to? And do you think I need to get medical attention for SAPessi?

To LOL or not to LOL that is the question

Come on, how often do you actually laugh out loud in an IM chat? I know some are against the use of ‘lol’ completely, but I think it is okay to use if you are genuinely laughing, but what I hate is the liberal use of lol when no laughing has taken place at all.

stockton laughing

Many people use lol when someone has written something only mildly amusing and it’s just not right! Don’t even get me started on lmao (laughing my ass off) and the ridiculous rotfl (rolling on the floor laughing) … I mean, if you’re rolling on the floor laughing, how are you typing?!

The trouble has arisen because people are not aware of the alternatives that can be used instead of lol when you are not actually laughing out loud. If you’re not already aware, then this is what you should be using:

tsf – that’s so funny

tf – that’s funny

ss – slightly smiling

and their opposites:

nf – not funny

snf – so not funny

So please use them and only use lol when you are actually laughing otherwise the lol will become even more meaningless.

Jake McMillan

Wise Words #2: Friendships

On very rare occasions I utter something that sounds like it could be wise, but may just be jibberish?

“Maintaining friends is like juggling many balls at the same time, so don’t get too upset if you’re a ball that gets dropped from time to time”

Jake McMillan

Wise Words #1: Maturity

Maturity is just knowing when it is okay to be immature


Jake McMillan