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.