Whenever you can use nats. Natural sounds can really drive the story you are telling. Sound bites and nats go hand and hand. They both tell the story you are covering with video. Nats can be placed in the story before or after a sound bite to keep the story interesting. So when you are out on a shoot, not only should you be aware of the visuals…but listen for the natural sounds that can bring life to your video. Check this story I shot for Fresno Unified School District.
Testimonies for your business are crucial. I know if I am about to buy anything, I first look for a testimony or review. You want to hear what other people think about a product or service. If you have the time and client to get a testimony for your business DO IT….it can only be beneficial. I had a client of mine do a testimony for me. I told her to talk to the camera as if she were talking to a good friend. What do good friends do….they want to lead their friend to an exciting experience. Whether it be a product or a service, they want to talk to you about it. So if you have a client who really liked your work or product, ask them if they would be willing to talk on camera about it.
I recently looked back at my first wedding I recorded. Wow, have I changed the way I capture weddings. The video was good, but compared to my work of today, it was not of the same caliber. It is okay to go back to older material to see how you have developed over time. Actually, I encourage people to view their older work so that they can learn from it. You can see what worked and what didn’t work. I relate looking at older work to climbing a staircase; you have to start somewhere and climb up so that you can improve your art. It’s important to look back at times in order to move forward.
Natural light is key when it comes to bride preps. I try to emphasize to my brides that natural light always looks better than overhead lights. I try to convince them to get their hair and make-up done in front of a large window. This will allow for a great natural look. Overhead lights can give a bride a zombie look under their eyes…that is not flattering. So remember; to try to get in front of a window and leave room for your photographer and videographer to move around in front of you. Same thing goes when putting on your jewelry. Don’t put your earrings on in the bathroom…find a window with sun light and put them on near the window.
Before you even start recording, you have to plan. Planning the production will help you tremendously. During pre-production you can do a site survey and determine what shots you would like at that location. You can also select the location you would like to conduct the interview. This will enable you to get an idea on how and where to set up and what lights are needed.
You’re going to want to interview in a quiet setting. By scouting the location you can determine what room or area is best for interviews. Also, you can meet with the client and go over some of the questions he or she may have. There are many other factors that can play a part of pre preproduction, I am only listing a minimal amount. Be prepared for the unexpected.
In order to make a great wedding film you need a lot of content. Not only video footage, but great sound too. I always ask the bride and groom how many guest will be giving toasts, the more the better. You can never have too much sound, you can always prioritize which sound bites flow best for your film. It’s good to pull sound from preps as well. I try to always shoot with my Rode Video Mic Pro. You never know what, when or who will say the next best thing. During the toast at the reception I mic the guest who is giving the toast and plug into the Dj’s mixer. This past week the Dj’s mic failed…boy am I glad I used a lav mic on the speaker.
Passion, passion, passion we all have it. What we need to do is find what it is we are passionate about. I myself am passionate in telling peoples’ stories. Whether it be a small business and how they became successful or a nonprofit organization that is trying to get their message across. When I shoot a short film I first find out about the story. People have great and not so great stories to tell. If the story isn’t compelling than the video won’t be as successful if there was a strong story. So before you start your next video project ask yourself, “Is this story compelling.” Here is a PSA I shot with a great stories. Remember stories first.
What is a Mini Documentary? Many say they are short films and they would be correct. A mini documentary is a way to explore and get a message across. I have used this method of film making when I created a fundraiser film for Mighty Moms Foundation. You are able to pack in a lot of info in a short amount of time. Many of my mini documentaries are in the 4-6 minute zone. I in particular really like mini docs because you are able to focus on a subject for only a short amount of time. Let’s face it, we as viewers have a very short attention span. Check out my mini documentary on Dusty Buns.
If you have a chance to attend the wedding rehearsal do so. I have found that you can learn important details that you may possibly miss if you hadn’t attended. By attending the rehearsal it also gives you a chance to ask the bride and groom any questions that you may have or answer any questions they may have. Communication is key in weddings. Brides tend to book me more often than grooms do, so I get a chance to actually meet the groom the night before. I think by meeting with me, the groom becomes more comfortable with me and that allows me to get better footage. If the groom feels relaxed with me around he is going to be less camera shy.
Sometimes you can’t make the rehearsal due to distance and or time constraints. But if you do get a chance I strongly encourage it…especially if have never been at the church.
White balance is important when it comes to photos and videography. When you white balance, you are telling the camera what white should look like. Our brain does this automatically, but we need to tell cameras what true white is. By using an 18% gray card you can achieve white balance. You need to hold the gray card out in front of you and make sure the incident light and other lights you will be using fall on the card. Once you take a picture of the card you can manually select that image and tell your camera you want that to be your white balance. You should white balance any time you move to a different room that has different lights or intensity as well as when you go outside. Gray cards are great when you are under florescent lights too. Florescent lights give off a green tint. By utilizing the gray card you can get better results. If you are outside and you do not have a gray card, you can white balance off the sidewalk (as long as it is not one that is painted). Most gray cards can be bought inexpensively on Amazon.
Brides please be mindful while getting ready. Please be aware that videographers will be getting close- ups of you while you are getting ready…please do not chew gum during this time. We have a beautiful shot of you, and then notice you are chewing gum. We can not use these shots. So please be aware during your preps that gum chewing should be avoided for best results regarding your film.
I have been working in television and media for over 18 years. My experience includes news photojournalist, editor, producer and storyteller. Throughout the years, I have been honored to receive the Edward R. Murrow award, Five Telly Awards, and many more. My motto is “THERE'S AN OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME BETTER AT MY CRAFT EACH TIME I GET BEHIND THE CAMERA."