The Essential Moments of a Wedding
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One important observation we've made is that going into a wedding, a couple may be so caught up with the moment that they forget to specify to their videographer the moments that they want to capture for posterity.
Even if your Uncle Henry is using a camcorder from 1980, these are the moments you need to capture to make any wedding video complete.
Some wedding parties are huge. Don't sweat every person in the party unless they are very young, very old or very hungover!: ) The main people you always want to get is THE PARENTS, THE BRIDE, & THE GROOM.
Now the last one may sound silly but don't forget, he's usually the first person at the altar after the officiant! Try to get the Parents, or Grandparents (remember VERY OLD!) as they are entering. This day is just as important to them as their children. Plus, they are usually the one paying the bill! FLOWER GIRLS, RING BEARERS AND JR. BRIDES AND GROOMS are cute, adorable, and BEST OF ALL, unpredictable. And they are also VERY YOUNG. These moments often set their wedding video apart from everyone else's. They are not part of the ESSENTIALS, but they add alot of character, fun and tender family moments.
Noone would miss THE BRIDE; she is the centerpiece of the video AND THE ENTIRE DAY. Keep in mind at this point, the seats are filled with family friends straining to get a glimpse of the beautiful bride. Please be respectful and try to stay out of the way. And if the bride and groom paid for a PROFESSIONAL VIDEO, you should be mindful of the videographer. The soon-to-be newlyweds didn't pay to see the back of your head twenty years from now.
Whether a low key affair or a traditional wedding, the officiant can take the ceremony in many directions. If it is at all possible, try to have a word with the officiant first, to get an idea what he/she will be doing and it's helpful to them to know who you are. These officiants are professional men and women with a lot of experience. I think you'll find most of them easy to work with if you keep your distance. I find it best to lay back and enjoy the services.
A STATIONARY CAMERA set up at a distance is an ideal set-up. And a good microphone should pick up all of the couple's words. You can get an OMNIDIRECTIONAL MICROPHONE from many sites on the web. The couple could have written their own vows, there could be a special religious portion of the ceremony or perhaps there is a remembrance of a loved one who is no longer with us, the Stationary camera will capture it all. There is, however, one moment you must capture--
This one is a tough shot to get. My advice to you non-professionals out there is to arrive early and find out where the couple will be standing, maybe bring a friend to stand in the spot where you believe the two will exchange rings. Pick a spot where you have a clear shot and wait for the moment to happen!
I know I'm stressing how important this shot is. If you can't get it, it's not the end of the world. That doesn't mean if the Bride's back is to you and Aunt Fanny stood up with her disposable camera and blocked your view, it is NEVER, EVER OK to jump on the altar, run into the aisle or push kids out of the way to get the shot. Remember, everyone is there to see the ceremony, not you jumping around and distracting everyone. Be discreet. Can't stress that enough. If you miss the ring, you can get a shot during the recessional or later at the Reception? Did someone say Reception??
Don't put down your camera yet, Uncle Henry! You and Aunt Fanny are going to the reception where there are a few more ESSENTIAL MOMENTS to capture to make your wedding video complete!
Now is the time to loosen up. Now is the time people will expect you to run on the dance floor with your camera rolling, especially if it's a high energy, fun party. Some weddings won't have a PROFESSIONAL MASTER OF CEREMONIES introducing the wedding party; some may have a banquet manager of family member introducing the party. Either way, this is a great opportunity to see everyone in their dresses and tuxedos in a more casual climate. Trust me, it's better when everyone is relaxed walking in. Try to hype them up before they enter the room! Tell them to play to the crowd. It's not everyday everyone is together and dressed to the nines! Show them off!
This typically happens right after the introduction but sometimes will come after dinner. It's the first time the couple will dance with each other in public as HUSBAND AND WIFE! It's a nice touch of romance and music for you wedding video! Remember, don't get up to close. That's why there is a zoom button. Let them have their moment but capture it from a distance! This is also a GREAT TIME to turn the camera on the crowd, get people's reactions, especially family members and close friends. Often they are feeling emotional due to the joy of the occasion and their reactions will add heart to your video! Also, keep rolling if there are any dances involving the COUPLE AND THEIR PARENTS!
When someone grabs a microphone and starts talking about their best buddy finally settling down or their sister growing up into a beautiful woman on her wedding day, the toasts can be humorous, touching and sentimental or down right disastrous! Not every BEST MAN or MATRON OF HONOR is typically a public speaker and standing in front of a big crowd of family and friends can be a bit overwhelming. It's a good idea to let them know to speak directly to the BRIDE AND GROOM and speak directly from their hearts, and that helps to ease the process. Don't get in their face. You want a shot of the person giving the speech as well as the BRIDE and GROOM'S reaction to the toast.
This time honored tradition can be a sweet as the cake they are cutting or resemble the food fight scene from "Animal House". Either way, beware of flying pastry!
Another tradition of weddings is the tossing of the BOUQUET to an eager bachelorette or the throwing of the GARTER to an eligible BACHELOR. This is often preceded by the GROOM removing the Garter from the Bride's leg. Here at BIG POP PRODUCTIONS, we break it down this way!
THE GROOM REMOVES THE GARTER (PLAY SOMETHING SLOW AND SEXY)
THE BACHELORETTES HIT THE FLOOR ("GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN")
THE BRIDE TOSSES THE BOUQUET
THE BACHELORS HIT THE FLOOR ("WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?")
THE GROOM THROWS THE GARTER
We end with the Bachelorette who caught the bouquet getting the Garter placed on her leg by the Bachelor who caught the Garter. I personally like to "U Can't Touch This" and I add a little bit of a comic twist which really gets the crowd involved! This is video gold and you should mine it for all the fun and good memories this moment will create.
Some receptions end with the BRIDE AND GROOM leaving amidst a flurry of rice, bird seed or bubbles. A good spot to stand back and record is near the limousine or car the COUPLE will be driving off in. Again, you want to steer clear from being an obstacle for any of the wedding party or the drivers and especially any PHOTOGRAPHERS trying to get any last minute shots of the happy couple.
If there are any decorating plans of the vehicle before the COUPLE exits, some footage of that can be really funny, capturing the culprits and they write, draw and hang things off the car! There's a nice way to send off our Newlyweds into the rest of their lives!
One bit of video I enjoy shooting is the well wishes from FAMILY & FRIENDS. This can be done throughout the evening during dinner, outside the ballroom or outside of the venue. A simple request to people to wish the COUPLE well in their lives is a nice touch, allows the family and friends to participate in the video and will provide years of good feelings as the COUPLE watches their videos and remembers the sentiments and good feelings generated by their loved ones on their most special of days!
This may be just a brief outline for what you want to capture to make your video the BEST AND MOST PROFESSIONAL, and can be used as a guideline for what you need to shoot. Remember, if you are going to shoot the video yourself, stay discreet, get your shots and remember extra batteries and microphones!
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