My good friend, Crystal Kelley of Capture Life Events Inc.
Let’s face it, weddings can be and become highly stressful. I think everyone at a wedding is stressed except for maybe some bridesmaids and grooms men. As a videographer, you need to capture the day as it unfolds. There are no do overs, and you can’t ask the bride and groom to walk back down the aisle because you were not ready, or ask them to kiss again because you were too busy shooting something else during the first kiss. If you are fortunate enough to be chosen to capture a couples’ wedding, it is necessary that you think two steps ahead. I like to think of back up plans just in case I need one. For instance, I use a great deal of speeches and other audio moments to tell the couple’s story in my wedding trailer film. It is important for me to bring several different types of audio cables so I can plug into the dj’s mixer. I do not expect the dj to have all the necessary cables for me. It is my job, my responsibility to have every type of audio cable. Depending on the dj and their mixer, I may need a ¼ inch cable, or xlr, or a rca audio cable. Enough of cables, the point is, it is up to me to provide the right equipment and it is my job to be prepared. So, for going off topic, but I feel very passionate about being prepared.
Yes, weddings can be nerve-racking, especially if you and the photographer are not seeing eye to eye. It is extremely important that both the photographer and the videographer have constant communication. Without the communication, you will both be getting in each other’s shots. Here is the thing; you were both chosen for your creative style by both the bride and groom. Communicating with one another can only help increase this creativity, and creativity is what you both desire.
Whenever a couple hires me to shoot their wedding I explain to them very clearly that it is important for me to get footage of them alone. I cannot create a wedding trailer film without having time alone with them. The film is about them, so they need to be in it. Do I need an hour…no, I just need a few minutes, maybe 5-10 minutes. Again, this is where planning comes in to play. I usually have checked the venue out and know where I would like to capture them. Instead of telling them, “Um how about over there, uh no over here would be better, never mind let’s go over there.” What a waste of time. I wouldn’t only be wasting my time, I would be wasting the couple’s time as well as the photographer’s time. Weddings have deadlines, and you need to be fast. Everyone wants to spend time with the bride and groom so you better know what you want to do once you do have the time with them. Many times, I will capture some video while the photographer is taking candid shots of the couple. I love to do candids, and I can do them while I am with the photographer, this is just another way to save on time. When I do have them alone, I like to do walking shots with my glidecam stabilizer.
I have had my share of working with some stellar photographers. One that comes to mind is my friend Crystal Kelley. Her work is amazing, she is friendly, and she directs the couple and groups very well. When a photographer is in charge of capturing the family portraits it can be a bear some times. I have witnessed Crystal in this environment and she is great every time.
We work so well together. I love the fact that Crystal understands my needs as a videographer. It is very important to me to give her time with the couple, and she knows my visual needs as well. We usually converse before the wedding and I tell her where I will be in the ceremony so that I or my wife do not end up in her shots. When we arrive at venue for the reception I take time to tell her my plans on how I would like to capture the bride and groom as they are introduced for the first time. I believe we work well with one another because of RESPECT. We respect one another’s craft, we respect one another’s vision, and most importantly we respect each other.
Communication is key, and when you have that and combine it with respect, you are on your way to creating wonderful artwork for the bride and groom. I had the opportunity today to ask Crystal Kelley what she thought was important when working side by side with a videographer. This is what Crystal said, “It is crucial to have a strong working relationship between photographer and videographer. Working in tandem, setting up the shot and creating boundaries is key. At the end of the day, we are both doing the best we can to capture memories and document one of the most important days in a couple's life.”
Her statement sums it up. We are there for the couple, and with respecting boundaries we can better perform our job. Crystal is a highly motivated photographer who loves to capture weddings, newborn photos, engagements, and more.
On a side note, Crystal Kelley owns Capture Life Events Inc. Her studio is located at 55 W. Alluvial in Fresno CA, 93650. You can connect with her online at the following address: www.CaptureLifeEvents.com
and #capturelifeevents on Instagram
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Below are some samples of Crystal's work
I am a storyteller and I am constantly recording peoples’ stories on camera and encouraging people to tell their stories online. So… it would only be right of me to tell you my story. My story is bizarre, and with the grace of God; my story is what shaped me to be the person I am today. I share my story not for people to feel empathy, but to explain where I come from emotionally. In telling my story, I hope to encourage others to not give up on their dreams, and to think about adoption as a saving grace. If it were not for my mother who adopted me who knows where I would be today. Since it is near Thanksgiving, I thought I would open up and give thanks to those who saved me.
Left in a play pin at the age of 3 months old, with only a diaper on. No one had bathed me for some time, I was filthy and hadn’t been feed for a while. This is what the adoption agency reported when they first saw me. The report stated that I was malnourished and neglected as an infant. Two cigarette burns, one on each of my knees. As troubling as this may seem, I can’t even remember the pain I must have endured during the moment my flesh began to burn. See, my parents were high on drugs when they did this. Later in life when I was advancing my education, I found out that people who are on meth tend to burn things symmetrically. This makes total sense due to both of my knees being burned.
I was told that CPS was involved taking me away from my biological parents and then handing me over to an adoption agency who then put me in foster care. I was an infant that had a condition called colic. This condition is a pain in the stomach caused by intestinal gas or obstruction in the intestines. When a baby has colic they cry, cry and cry. Maybe this was the reason why my parents burned me…. I wouldn’t shut up. Not too long ago I was thinking about this situation. And I feel that God allowed me to have colic so that I could cry. Cry myself out of the relationship I was in with my biological parents. A cry that would eventually land me in the arms of my new beginning…my adopted parents.
My adopted parents had been trying to conceive for a long time. They adopted me when I was six months old. During the time, I was in foster care, I was nursed back to health. I went from a very skinny infant to well nourished. My new mother was ecstatic to have me, she loved me, cared for me, saved me. She read to me, sang to me, loved me like I needed to be loved. I truly believe that if she hadn’t loved me the way she did while I was an infant I would be highly socially awkward. My biological parents left me alone for hours without interacting with me, so my new mother really saved me from being a recluse. I had a speech problem while growing up. Many of the doctors said it was caused by how malnourished I was as an infant. During those speechless years, I worked hard, harder than any of my classmates. Because I had difficulty with speech, I developed great study habits. These habits allowed me to conquer my speech therapy, and continued in my later years. Sometimes I think about what would have happened if I decided not to try so hard, if I just gave up. Never give up, no matter how much you want to. The finish line is never too far away.
About ten years ago, I went to the adoption agency that helped me get adopted. I asked them if they could tell me where my biological mother and father were. They told me that the adoption was a closed and would not give me any information of their whereabouts. The agency did recommend a person who could seek them out though. I wrote down the person’s info and called her. The only info I provided her with was my birth and where I was born. Three days later I received an email explaining that my parents were alive and where they lived. The first thing I did was write my mom. I sent a picture of me and my family first class mail and hoped for the best.
The following day I was busy traveling up north. I had received several phone calls throughout the day and I finally had a chance to check my voicemail. I will never forget the call, “Um this is your sister and I am calling you for our mom.” I couldn’t believe it, my family called me back. Long story short, I called them back that same night and found out that not only did I have a half-sister but I was had a full-blooded sister who was a few years younger than me. We decided to meet the following day.
It was very weird, strange and eye-opening all at the same time when I met my sisters and mother. We met at a restaurant and talked for a very long time. The conversation continued at my sister’s house. She too did not know our father. We contacted the lady who found my mother and sisters and asked her to find our father.
In about two days’ time we knew where he lived and his phone number. I called him up explained the situation and met him two weeks later. My adopted mother had some frequent flyer miles that she allowed him to use so that he could fly from Texas out to California. While my sister and I waited him to come of the plane we quickly discussed what he might look like. Passenger after passenger came off the plane and finally he came off. I started laughing because I looked just like him, except he wore a cowboy hat. It was odd meeting him. My sister and I both bought a watch for him and had a special saying engraved on the back of it. My biological father was bipolar so one minute he was all smiles and laughs and the next he was outside wanting to be alone. My mother suffered from illnesses as well, but bless her heart. She always greeted you with a smile no matter how hard her life was at the time. During the years, she was alive, we wrote one another and I asked her several personal questions.
So, we were all together under one roof, my biological parents, me and my sister. Surreal doesn’t even come close to how I felt. We decided to go to Sears to take a family photo. I never took part in a family photo so I thought it was only natural to take one with my biological parents. Natural it wasn’t. Later that night we all went dancing and my father said he could out dance me…wrong and he quickly found out.
Both of my biological parents have passed. I am very blessed that I had the opportunity to meet them both. Even though my adopted parents loved me, at times I felt very alone. Alone in a world that did not understand me, because I myself did not understand me at the time. I knew I was adopted, but not having your blood relatives or anyone who looks like you around can make you feel very isolated. However, the puzzle of my life is connected and I can move on.
I cannot imagine where I would be right now if I had stayed with my biological parents. Like I said before, I believe I had colic for a reason. That reason being there was a better life for me. A life where I could aspire who I wanted to be. My mother gave me so much inspiration and told me I could accomplish anything. It was her winning spirit and determination that helped me overcome the many obstacles in life. I am thankful for who I am. I am also thankful for those who helped me along the way. Thank, you mom.
I love telling stories.
My biological mother to the left and my adopted mother to the right
In today’s world, almost everything points to convenience. People cannot wait, attention spans are short, and we all want to share our special moments via our smartphones.
If you are considering a videographer for your wedding, you will be met with several choices. When brides reserve Jeffrey Cook Videography for their wedding, they have several packages to choose from. One of our most successful packages is our eight-hour coverage. With this package, you get a three to five-minute wedding trailer film which highlights the best parts of your wedding. We cover you getting ready, the full ceremony, toasts, and all the events at the reception. The wedding trailer film is usually completed within a 24-hour period so that you can share it with friends and family while it is still fresh in their minds. The film includes professional licensed music with the best images that were captured. I like to use toasts, card readings, and ceremony audio to help tell the story. There isn’t anything better than allowing your family and friends speak about you to tell your wedding story. Speeches, especially those that are heart-felt can truly make your video shine and stand out. While the toast is happening, I am not only recording but I am listening for great soundbites. I gained this skill as a photojournalist working for the news. We had to listen for soundbites, edit them, and then send them back to the station via a live truck. I believe working as a news photojournalist for fourteen years really prepared me for wedding videography. People want their videos the next day. I can deliver next day edits because of my editing experience in news…so thank you news.
We upload your longer wedding video into a Vimeo album that only you have access to. This album will have your full edited ceremony, all the toasts, reception introductions, garter and bouquet tosses, cake cutting, first dance and parent dances. These segments of your wedding will be broken up in shorter length videos. For instance, the first dance and parent dances will be one video. The toast will be one video. We break it up like this so you can easily stream the video, and you get to choose exactly what you want to watch. No longer do you have to scrub through a disc to find your best parts of your wedding video. Not only are you able to stream your videos, you can download them too! Maybe some of your family members were not able to make it to the wedding. You have the ability to send them the link to your album so that they can experience your wedding. Streaming your video means you can pretty much walk around with your smartphone and watch your wedding whenever you want. The next time you visit your friend you two can pull up your video online and watch you cousin’s speech. It is easier than trying to use a dvd or a bluray. Some discs are not compatible with certain players and then you’re out of luck. Streaming is so much easier, so much more continent, and so much now!
So, I believe we at Jeffrey Cook Videography offer the best of both worlds. If you choose our best value package (8-hour coverage, two videographers) you get the wedding trailer film and full edits of your ceremony and reception. All these will be uploaded so that you can stream them wherever you go. Play them on your tablet, smartphone or laptop. The wedding films are great to share with friends and family. The longer portion is great too. You want to share your memories with your children and other family members. By having both the wedding trailer film and full ceremony and reception you truly get to revisit and cherish your special day. We use two videographers for all our weddings with at least two camera angles. This gives you a variety of viewpoints when you watch your full ceremony and reception.
Thank you for reading this post. If you are interested in our services, you can contact us and view our work at www.jeffreycookvideography.com
We have won WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice Award for years 2015, and 2016. WeddingWire explains the award in this manner, “This annual award program recognizes the top 5% of WeddingWire professionals leading the industry in high quality reviews from newlywed couples. Recipients of the Couples’ Choice Award are determined based on their demonstration of excellence in quality, service, responsiveness, and professionalism each year.
If you are a videographer you probably have a ton of lenses for your dslr or cinema camera. Having a ton of glass can be nice, but it can also hold you back. On each shoot, you must think about which lens to take for the job. I have been a fan of prime lenses because they allow you to shoot in dark circumstances as well as being able to with a shallow depth of field (bokeh). However, with primes, you would need to zoom with your feet to the subject or change out the lens for a shorter of longer field of view (depending on the circumstances). Carrying a bunch of primes can get heavy, and slow you down.
The news I am about to share is not news at all, these two lenses have been out for a while now. I have had the opportunity to buy both and experiment with them. Sigma has really made a name for itself over the past few years. Their design and optical performances of their Art series lens have been off the charts. If you only had the chance to own two lenses for video I would highly recommend the Sigma Art 18-35mm and the Sigma Art 50-100mm. Both lenses are for crop sensors, that means they will not perform will on full frame cameras such as the Canon 5D Mark III. But if you have a crop sensor camera such as the Canon 80D or a Canon EOS Cinema camera such as the C100 they will work out just fine. The Canon C100 has a 35mm sensor which is about the same size as a Canon 80D sensor.
Both lenses have an aperture range: f/1.8 to f/16 which is stunning. They also have one SLD and three FLD elements. Shooting with the 50-100mm which if used on a Canon C100 would be the equivalent to 80-160mm can be great. Sometimes you do not need the 70-200mm lens, you only need half of that….and that is when the Sigma 50-100mm 1.8 comes in. For instance, I was shooting an interview the other day and all I had with me at work was a 70-200mm 2.8 lens. I was hoping to get more background in the shot, but I had to reframe it since I only had the 70-200mm lens. There was no room for me to back up, I just reframed the shot. However, if I had the Sigma 50-100mm 1.8 with me there would be no problem because of the short length. I also use this lens for most of my wedding videography. I shoot all the dances, toasts, cutting cake, garter and boutique tosses with it while my wife uses the other Sigma 18-35mm 1.8.
The Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 is great when you are getting close to your subject. In fact, this 18-35mm lens is more like a 28-56mm lens. The bokeh you get from these lenses is awesome. You can get close to the subject and still get focus when using the Sigma 18-35mm lens. I use this lens for intimate shots such as when a bride is getting ready, or if I am getting broll in a small room. Both lenses can be used at their maximum 1.8 aperture with the picture staying crisp and focused.
The 50-100mm lens is a tank. I have tried to run and gun with it on my monopod, but it is tough to do so due to its weight. I like to have a tripod when using this lens. The quality and durability is great, and you can own both of these lenses for under $2000. I was always concerned of the zooms and their 2.8 f stop and only wanted to use primes for their 1.4 or 1.8 f stop ability. But now with these two Sigma Art lenses I do not have to worry about the primes any longer. Stop buying tons of lens, and just choose these two, you will be happy you did.
Below is a video I shot using both lenses. The first shot is not from a Sigma lens, but all others are.
I have been capturing weddings for a few years now, and have been fortunate enough to record at some great venues here in the Valley. Some of the venues have been great and some not so great. I feel that I have had the opportunity to visit many wedding venues and can shed some light on one particular venue for those who are planning their wedding. Now, I have not received any money for my opinion of this venue, I am only mentioning this venue because I think it has a ton of great features that can benefit brides and grooms. The venue I am referring to is The Manor Estate located in Madera, Ca. I have had the pleasure of recording two weddings at The Manor Estate. One wedding ceremony was held in front of the mansion, and the reception in the back. The other wedding reception I captured was in the back of the mansion held in a large tent.
When you first arrive, you can see the wonders of the Antebellum Mansion. The mansion is a very beautiful and historic dwelling that is located in the center of the property. The ceremony I captured in the month of May of 2016 was held right in front of the mansion. Courtney, the bride, arrived with her father via a classic truck. The outside gates opened and the truck was able to make its way from the street into the venue. They rode in class from the street all the way to two wooden doors that were located at the beginning of the aisle. Guest were seated on the lawn as the two large wooden doors opened at the beginning of the aisle for Courtney and her father to walk through and continue down the aisle. The scene was spectacular to say the least.
Courtney’s wedding reception was held in the back portion of the mansion. There were many trees which were life savers. I can remember how hot it was that day, but once you were under the limbs of the trees you began to cool down. The trees were decorated with lights and a dance floor was in the middle. There was a large pool in the backyard as well. There was plenty of room for tables and chairs for the guest, and room to move around freely.
The second wedding I captured at The Manor Estate was this past weekend. I was fortunate enough to record Stephen and Nicole’s wedding. They decided to have their reception in a tent, which I believe is near or on a tennis court. The inside of the tent was decorated very nicely. There was a walkway from the front of the mansion that led the wedding guest to the tent. The path was decorated with white fabric and flowers. The dance floor was in the middle area of the tent, and there was ample room to move about.
As a videographer, you look forward to capturing weddings at great locations. Beautiful locations make the video stand out. I can shoot a great wedding video without having to rely on a venue’s beauty, but it is so much nicer when the venue is attractive. If you are looking for a venue that is near Fresno and has the capability to host your reception in a tent or outside of a tent, you should check out The Manor Estate. The front of the mansion where the weddings are held is breathtaking. Below are the two weddings I captured here.
Speaking in front of a camera can make many people feel very nervous. This blog post will suggest some ideas to achieve better interviews.
It is important to screen each person you want interviewed. Screening is a good practice because someone who you thought may give great responses to your questions really didn’t have much to say. Search for those individuals who will help tell your story with passion. Some folks really articulate well, and have a special ability to speak on camera…these are the people you need to seek out. How boring would it be if all you got where one word answers?
This brings me to the next tip, ask open ended questions. By asking open ended questions you will get more than a No or Yes answer. An open-ended question could be, “Tell me what you like best about your job and why?” Do not ask, “Do you like your work?”
If you do not plan on using your voice to refer to the questions that are being asked, I suggest you have your interviewee answer the question in a complete sentence. By doing this, you allow the viewer to know what the interviewee is answering.
Whenever I plan on interviewing someone I like to meet them prior to the interview. Many times, this is not possible and you meet them the day of the interview. If this is the case, let your interviewee know that you are only going to have a conversation. We all converse, right? The only thing different is that the camera will be recording their responses. Many people feel at ease after I explain that we are just two individuals talking. While I get a sound check, I will ask them about their day, or how their summer was, anything to get their mind off what they are about to do. You need to warm them up before you start asking your questions. You never see baseball pitcher go directly into the game without warming up, do you?
I tend to usually have someone next to me ask the questions. This will allow the interviewee speak directly to them and not the camera. If you cannot find someone to ask the questions you will have to do it. I usually move away from the camera just a tad, so that the interviewee can address me and not the camera. Make sure you keep eye contact so they feel more comfortable. There is nothing worse than someone behind the camera looking down at their notes. It can feel weird talking to a camera and I tell all my interviewees that to look at me and not the camera. You only want them to look at the camera if they are addressing the audience.
Have some questions in mind but it’s important to listen what is being said. You may find yourself wanting to ask a question about one of the answers that was given. Having a guide line is good practice, but you can always ask questions that may come up during the interview. Interviews can progress, and when they progress they lead you to different territories that you may want to know more about.
Sometimes you may not get the answer you want, or the interviewee didn’t expand on a topic. When this happens, ask the question again later. It may be that the interviewee wasn’t quite comfortable and now after a few questions they have warmed up to you and feel much better about the interview.
Once the questions have been asked, I like to ask if the talent has anything else they want to say. Sometimes you can get great responses and sometimes they just want to be done with the interview.
Check out this video down below. These students gave great responses about their school FCCA. I had the principal screen her students prior to conducting the interviews. You can hear their excitement and because you hear the passion they tell a better story about why they love their school.
I have been a videographer for over 16 years now, and I am constantly learning. In fact, today I learned how to use the barn doors to add a slash of light on a boring white background for interview purposes. Today I want to suggest some ideas for young aspiring videographers to enhance their craft of filmmaking. As a bonus, I asked my son who is an aspiring videographer the same question. We will get back to his answers in a bit.
You need to study. Study films, commercials, sitcoms, anything that has to do with video or film. Watch how the camera moves in each shot. Is the camera moving for a reason, and if so what is the reason? Sometimes you will see the camera move from a medium shot to a close-up, which may indicate that the story is becoming more personable. There could be many meanings behind the shot, it all depends on which story is being told. Look at the lighting of the film. Is the lighting very bright or is it low key? Low key lighting usually is used in dramas. The more you watch the more you can pick up on certain things. Read books that help illustrate the art of filmmaking.
Grab your video camera and practice. Test certain shots out, practice your lighting setup for an interview, or practice mic placement. I cannot stress practice enough. Pick a certain topic and create a short film about that topic. Use your passion to drive your storytelling. Believe it or not, muscle memory is a big part of getting the shot or not. What do I mean? Knowing each button on your camera like the back of your hand will help you to get quick shots that you need in stressed times. Your muscles get used to certain movements and the way you handle your camera. If your struggling to find the iris to iris down on a bright shot and the subject is no longer in your shot you just missed an opportunity. Get used to all the buttons and dials of all your devices, this will help you tremendously.
Top areas where your video can improve drastically
My son’s suggestions to young aspiring videographers is to make sure your shot is steady, and to concentrate on your story.
Go out there and start creating!
Have you ever watched a television show or a video clip online that had bad audio? The visuals may have been superb, but the audio was lacking and it bothered you so much you had to change the channel or exit the video. Sometimes the audio isn’t clear or loud enough, and at times it can sound full of reverb and distant. If you (the storyteller) do not take charge of your audio, you too will have this problem. It’s important not to rely on your camera’s built in microphone. In order for your sound to sound great you either need to place a mic on your talent or near your talent (like a boom from above) so you can achieve the best signal to noise ratio. The stronger the signal is, whether it be a person’s voice, guitar, etc. the better the sound will be. If your talent is talking into a microphone that is supplied by the venue or dj, you can plug a field recorder into the dj’s mixer to get the best possible sound.
Whenever I am shooting an event and I can’t be close to my subject at all times, I plug my field recorder into a mixer. Now if the event does not have a mixer I mic up the individual with a small field recorder called a Zoom H1. You can plug a lavalier microphone into the Zoom and tuck the cord under the shirt or jacket of your talent. The Zoom is small enough to place into a pants pocket or jacket. Now, this sound is being recorded separately from the camera. You will need to sync both audio tracks up in post, I talk about this later in the article.
Sound is just as important as audio. Audio tells the story just as much as visuals do. Imagine if you were not able to hear all the great sound effects in movie like Star Wars? Half the film is built around sound design. I mean, audio is such an important part of filmmaking that they have Academy awards dedicated to it. Therefore, it is important to capture the best sound possible. We live in a day where field recorders, and good ones at that are not too expensive. It is up to you as the storyteller to give your audience the best sound you can. You owe it to your client, the audience and yourself. Here is an example of some audio I captured. In this clip I have toggled back and forth from audio from the camera and my field recorder that was plugged into the dj’s mixer. Listen to how hollow the sound is, how empty it is, how distant it is from my camera’s mic, and then you can hear the difference once the audio field recorder is used.
One reason to plug your field recorder into a dj’s mixer is that it gives you flexibility to move around the room if need be. You can get several shots from different angles and not have to worry about being close to your subject. Being able to capture sound from the camera’s microphone and the field recorder that is plugged into the dj’s mixer is called dual recording. Dual recording is an audio process that needs to be synced. See, your camera is recording the sound which is used as a scratch track, and the field recorder is the sound you’ll want to use for your film. The sound coming from the camera’s mic is just a reference. Audio software such as Pluraleyes work wonders for people who choose to work with dual audio. Once you have recorded your sound you import your camera’s sound and the sound captured by the field recorder and sync them up by using Pluraleyes. Pluraleyes looks at both audio tracks and uses the camera’s audio as a reference track. It looks at both audio tracks sound waves and then aligns them. If you are doing a simple interview where you will not need to stop recording and then start recording you can just clap loud before the interview starts and use the clap as the reference point to line up your audio. This method does not need Pluraleyes to work, but if you are shooting an event you can’t constantly be clapping. If you are hiring a videographer for an event, please do yourself a favor and ask them how they plan on capturing the sound.
This video is an audio test between the Sennheiser MKH 8060 which is a Supercardiod Lobar pickup pattern mic, meant to be used outdoors vs a Audix SCX1 - HC Sudtio Condenser Mic meant to be used indoors. Some people can only choose one mic and this is a test that I have conducted for those who are interested in the Sennheiser to be used as an indoor and outdoor mic. I prefer to use an indoor mic for indoors and a outdoor mic for outdoors, but someone who are starting off cannot afford it. So here is a test for your ears.
I like to visit locations that I have not seen before. There is nothing worse than not knowing your surroundings. So, for this wedding I met the bride and groom at the location a few weeks before their wedding. If I have time, I like to visit the wedding site around the same time of day as the ceremony. This will inform me where the sun will be at that time of day. When I arrive at a location I first ask the couple where their ceremony will take place. I will also enquire where they will be walking from for the precession. The more info I know the better prepared I will be for the date. Preparation is key, and it does not all fall on the bride and groom, the videographer needs to know how they plan on executing the ceremony shoot.
Wedding films/trailers seem to work out better if there is ample audio to capture. Toasts, readings of cards, and vows make for great sound to tell the story of the bride and groom. For this wedding, the bride and groom planned on giving one another cards.
As you can see in the photo I have the groom in the shade reading the card. This keeps him cool, and the lighting is better. The sun hits his right side of his face and the camera is opposite of the sun, this is exactly where the camera should be. You never want to shoot from the side of the sun. When looking at the groom you see most of his face that is softly lit, which is the most pleasing side.
I took her out of the dark room where she was getting ready and placed her next to a window. Setting the bride next to the window allowed soft light to hit her face, and I did not have to use an external light. There is nothing better than soft sun light when lighting a face. Led lights are great but can cast undesirable color cast, usually green. This can be fixed in post-production by color correction, but why do that when you have sun which has a 100% color render index.
The couple decided to do a first look. So, I used three cameras for this. One on the groom, one wide shot that shows the bride walking into frame next to the groom, and another on a glidecam showing her walking towards her groom. We shot the scene with the first two cameras one on him and one wide and got their reaction. The groom already had a lav mic on, so we were able to capture the sound of his reaction. Once they were finished admiring one another, I had the bride walk toward the groom while I captured it with a smooth moving camera. When I edit this portion of the film I will have three camera angels to work with.
Toast at a wedding can make or break your film. If no one says anything, you do not have content to use to tell the story. When the guest give great heart felt speeches the film begins to blossom. My ears are constantly listening for soundbites during the speeches. The more content the better. In the past, I have had to rely on songs that had lyrics, but I try not to. Your trailer is best told by the bride and groom, and those who speak about them.
When I capture the toast, I use two cameras. One is on the speaker giving the toast, and the other is on a wide shot that has the speaker and the bride and groom. Shooting the toasts this way gives me the advantage of two angles and the ability to show the bride and groom’s reaction to what the speaker says.
When I position my cameras for the first dance I want the focus to be on the bride and groom. I try and stay away from showing the dj in the background or better yet, a reflective surface that may show me in the shot such as a mirror.
Once my time is up at the wedding I go home and start uploading all the footage. This means all the video and audio is uploaded from all my devices. The next morning I sync up all my audio to all the video. Once I sync, I start listening to the reading of the cards, ceremony, and toasts. I pick out certain parts of each and bring them together on to the edit timeline. For this wedding, I had already picked out 2-3 songs. The first song I originally thought was going to work did not. The songs may sound great before the wedding, but the sounds and sights of the video need to come together as one. You never want to force anything, you allow them to come together. The second song I researched for this wedding trailer had the right mood and it interconnected very well with the video and soundbites I captured. I moved the soundbites in different places throughout the song and finally found where they all needed to stand. Choosing where to place these soundbites is crucial. I like to spread them out so that they tell a story of the couple. The last soundbite of my films usually tugs at the heart. Since it is the last soundbite it needs to be good, it needs to be that wow moment. I spent more time than I expected for this trailer, but it was worth it. I may go for lunch or a short walk, but always come back to the edit room. Once I am in a zone I do not want to leave it for too long.
Once the soundbites have been chosen and the broll for the film has been laid, it is time for color correction if need be and then for color grading to set the mood. Adjusting audio levels is also very important. What is the point of featuring a guest give a toast if you can’t hear what they are saying? Finally, I view it several times before I send it off to the couple. I am looking for anything that obstructs my view. Even if I see the camera shake a bit I will stop and fix the shot. I comb through until I am satisfied with the outcome.
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."