A cinematic wedding film, relies heavily on audio not just video. Vows from your ceremony, toast during the reception, you interacting with your family and friends will all have the potential to make it into the film. Background noise can hinder the moments of you talking. If you said something really heartfelt to your mother but the music was blasting in the background, I will not be able to use it because of how loud the music was. So please, turn down the music so in case something is said that is powerful I will have a chance to use it in the film.
Try not to get ready in such a small space. Remember there will be videographers and photographers who need space and if you have too many people and things in the room it can become very difficult to move around.
Please no gum chewing. I understand that it is a stressful day for you and others, but when I shoot video of you getting ready and see that you are chewing gum I can’t use it. I want to capture the moment as nicely as I can but if you’re chewing your gum it just won’t work. By chewing your gum, you limit the shots I can get, which leaves me with less footage. I try my hardest to get as much footage as I can to make the film as unique as possible.
Try to get your hair and make-up done in front of a large window that has natural sun light. Natural light always looks best. When you rely on overhead lights in the house, it can cast shadows on your face and eyes which in return make you look as if you have dark zombie eyes. So please, before you set up think about where the natural light is and set up there. Make sure there is plenty of room in front of you as well, so that I can get by and take video from right in front of you. Also, when putting on jewelry do it in front of a window. The glow from the sun looks so much better than room lights.
During the reception while you are getting photographed by the photographer allow me some time with you too. The film is about you, and if I do not have enough of you to make the film, the film will not serve its purpose. Usually I only need about 10 minutes with you. I can get some walking shots, candid shots, and some creative shots. PLEASE ALLOW ME TIME WITH YOU SO I CAN MAKE YOUR FILM LOOK AMAZING WITH YOU IN IT!
I like to use speeches to drive the film. If you choose to use your own vows for the wedding that is even better. If you decide to read letters from one another, that too is great audio for the film. As much as this art is about pictures, it relies heavily on audio.
I have been thinking about how technology has helped and crippled those of us in the video world. Technology such as auto focus lenses that track people in motion can be beneficial such as tracking a person walking. Some of these cameras that can do this are the Canon 70D, 80D and the new Canon 1DX Mark ll. I think technology can help in certain situations and I do believe that this track focusing technology can be useful in certain situations. I feel that since these cameras can do this, many people rely too heavily on it. If you cannot manually focus your camera you shouldn’t be holding it. Let’s say your auto focus tracking feature on your camera begins to malfunction. You have been relying on it for some time, could you pull focus manually, or have you forgotten how to? What good are you behind the camera if you can’t keep things in focus? Utilizing the focus technology can be really beneficial but let’s not forget how to manually focus. Keeping subjects in focus is a great skill and with this skill comes knowledge of your lenses as well. You may want to stay a little wide to make sure you can keep your subjects in focus so you reach for a 28mm lens instead of your 85mm. You know that the wider your lens is the easier things will stay in focus. This is just an example of how important it is to really understand your lenses capabilities, as well as knowing the basics of manual focusing.
Another technology that has caught on is the brushless stabilizer gimbals, such as the DJI Ronin. These stabilizers rely on software programs which help keep your camera balanced while flying. I myself use a Glidecam, which does not rely on software to keep it steady. With a Glidecam, you yourself need to know how much weight you need to add to the Glidecam sled in order to keep it balanced. Not only do you need to know how much weight you need to add, but you need to adjust the Glidecam in such a way that it does not sway left to right or front to back. Is it hard? Yes it is, and you need to practice quite a bit to get good. Practice makes you better whenever you try to get better at something. It’s doing the hard work of practicing that gives you the joy when you develop the skill. That skill could be hitting a baseball, playing a guitar, and in this case flying a camera on a stabilizer. Let’s say the software program on these brushless stabilizers fail, then what? You would not be able to fly, and the time it takes to set this software program can be long as well. After I balance my camera on my Glidecam I am ready to go. I can fly it, and I can set it down without a stand. The brushless gimbals need to be set on a stand whenever you are not holding it. What I do like about the brushless gimbals is that they work better when you are recording in windy conditions. When using the Glidecam in windy situations you will find it hard to keep it from swaying.
We as a society have come to rely on technology to make things easier. But in doing so, we cripple our ability to gain new skills. How important are you as a videographer if anyone could pick up a camera that does its focus and a stabilizer that can hold its balance? Whatever happened to practicing your gift, so that you could build your skill?
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First looks can really make a wedding film or wedding trailer stand out. If you shoot the first look with more than one camera you can really make it look great. With two different angles you can show two different points of view. My camera usually is pointed directly at the groom as he waits for his bride to come and tap him on his shoulder. I usually get him and her in focus at different times. The second camera is wide showing only the groom in the shot. Once the bride gets closer to the groom, she can be seen walking into the camera’s frame. You can add a lot of excitement when you cut back and forth from one camera to the other.
You may be asking yourself if, “Is first look is right for me?” Well, if your ceremony is late in the day where the sun is about to set and you are hoping to get photos after the ceremony, I would definitely say yes to a first look. There will not be enough light for pictures, so I would recommend taking many of your photos and video of you and the groom before the ceremony so that you do not miss that opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, you can get some really nice sunset shots after the ceremony, but there will not be enough time for family pictures.
Here is an example of a first look I did not too long ago.
I have been using Rokinon Cine lenses for about 2 years now. I bought a Tamron 24-70mm VC lens not too long ago. I wanted to see which lens was the sharpest. The video shows the Tamron at 35mm and 50mm on a Canon C100 mark1. I black balanced and set the iso to the native 850. Set the Fstop to 3.5 on both the Rokinon and Tamron lenses. See which one is sharper. I was surprised at the results. You can see a color change too, between the lenses. I never knew how good the Tarmon was since it was a zoom, but it held up, plus it has stabilization built into the lens. I did not color grade or add any sharpening to the videos. I focused on the banana stems.
I have been working in television and media for over 18 years. My experience includes news photojournalist, editor, producer and storyteller.