we will make sure you look and feel your best
"Lights! .... Camera! .... Action!" Is a classic quote, because it truly defines motion pictures. (although "Roll Audio" is equally as important, but not as catchy.
As wedding film makers, we rely heavily on the rest of your vendors' talents, expertise, and cooperation to provide the best quality films that we can.
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Please share this page with relevant vendors and guests such as - your venue , officiant or priest / church, hair stylist, photographer, DJ or band, maid of honor, best man, and anyone giving a toast, prayer, or speech - it goes a long way if they are not familiar or comfortable with video production, what we do, and why we need their help and cooperation.
We are happy to hear feedback from your guests or vendors as well - they can message us at the bottom of the page with any questions of concerns. We are planning to condense and shorten this page as much as possible, and hoping to get feedback from actual brides, grooms, and family members on their thoughts and what is most important to them. Being a video nerd and passionate about making the best possible films, we can drone on a bit about the technical details sometimes! In any case, you will take away some value in reading below to apply to any photos or videos you take on your cell phone camera.
Any camera - professional or not, needs the right amount and quality of light to make people look their best!
Shaping and controlling the light is crucial for beautiful imagery and proper exposure. Not to mention how much better people will look with decent lighting! Nine times out of ten, soft daylight is preferred, or one type of light (EG - all the same type of light bulb so that the light temperature is the same, and not a mixture of warm and cool lighting) Here's the best situations to aim for:
-GETTING READY / FIRST LOOK / LETTER READING-
Hotel room , living room, bridal suite, etc:
a large open space with large enough windows to let in plenty of light so you don't have to use any additional lights. For getting ready photos, use a high chair, facing out the window. The daylight is much more flattering to all skin tones. (by using a high chair, it looks nicer and your hair stylist doesn't have to bend and strain their back as much.)
Have a back up location in mind if your getting ready location is small or doesn't have many windows / natural daylight. All photos and videos , across the board will look better with plenty of soft day light and no artificial lighting. (at least for key moments like letter readings, and finishing touches of hair and wardrobe.)
If your first look is around high noon - the sun light will be pretty harsh outdoors. A spot with shade or soft window lighting will make sure you look your best. It's usually best to trust the photographer on where they want to set up the first look.
(side note - first looks and letter readings are so great for wedding film audio and powerful imagery - but some people don't like having a first look or reading aloud. So "NO-LOOKS" are also a thing. A "No - Look" is where you talk to one another around the corner or back to back, without actually seeing each other before the wedding ceremony. See the trailer films below for some epic and heartfelt first looks) The more time you allow for a first look , the more creative we can be. In Sam and Chris's film below, we had over an hour to kill in this beautiful open field that Sam had planned to stop by for photos on the way to the venue. It was a pretend first look , but still gave us beautiful imagery.
RECAP OF LIGHTS:
The quality of light at each location either makes or breaks the scene and more importantly - is either flattering or unflattering to the people in the shot. Lighting in general - is most flattering to people's faces when it is indirect and diffused. Harsh direct or dim lighting can create ugly shadows or look like some strange dungeon scene, create "raccoon eye shadows", or bring the mood down.
We want to showcase your beauty or rugged handsomeness. To do that, 95% of the time, natural diffused sun light is the way to go. For hair and make up , we think having the bride sit on a tall stool, facing the window , with minimal clutter in the background - is a surefire path to success. Our favorite shot to use is the bride getting her eye make up done at the very end of make up application - we usually re enact this right by the window so we can get really cool shots and if the make up artist has a lot of clutter in their workflow, we can make this more visually appealing by limiting distractions - EG Let's have you get ready where you need to, then apply "finishing touches" by the window with minimal visual distractions.
The bride actually got ready in the middle of the room where the lighting sucked, but we re-enacted the finishing touches by the window with the purdy natural lighting and turned off the distracting artificial "orange" tungsten lighting
CEREMONIES: Consider lighting conditions, when choosing your ceremony location and time of day.
Diffused Natural Sun Light, or indirect lighting, especially through a large window is beautiful and flattering and the best bet for everyone to look best. Partly cloudy days have nice diffused light, or shady areas on a bright day are about the only option for an outdoor wedding at high noon. "Golden Hour" is warmer or more orange and even lighting that makes almost any subject or scene look friggin' magical, but lasts only about an hour, sometimes less depending on location, time of year, and weather. Usually your photographer will plan out time to bring you outside for magic hour photos if the conditions are ideal.
Artificial Lighting - usually mixing artificial lighting and natural lighting is a bad combination for general wedding film making. We usually don't like to change or add lighting to ceremonies - but some situations, if allowed - added artificial lighting will make a great difference for the better, and make the subjects "pop" a little more if we have the room / space to position the lights for a bit of "twinkle" in the eyes. One thing to consider is hot spots in a church. We had a situation with the bride being underneath a hot spot, where the light was brighter and a different color temperature than everywhere else on the altar.
Once the sun sets, we need to rely on artificial lighting. You can expect our lights to sometimes be the brightest during the toasts / speeches / prayers. This is to see the "twinkle" in the eyes and the emotion of the face - most of acting and emotion takes place in the eyes - it is common for films and TV to have eye lights for this very reason and a hair light to subtly back light the subject - this is a must for people with dark hair- otherwise the dark hair blends into the background.-- on that note - for brides and bridesmaids, updos are preferred because the hair can hang and cover the face during important moments like vows or toasts. (unless you really really want to hide your face, which is okay too)
string lighting or subtle background lighting is awesome for helping us get exposure in camera and add ambience. Uplighting can usually make for poor video with flickering led lights that the human eye doesn't notice until recorded in video, or unnatural skin tones, such as green, purple, blue, orange, or deep reds. Consider the possibility of having uplighting dimmed or turned off if the video is un natural looking - this is of course partly subjective - and depends the situation and lighting equipment - but for the most part, you will look like an alien if there is green light shining on you during your first dances - for open dance floor it doesn't matter, we want more interesting colors , especially changing colors during open dancing.
So in a rather large sized nutshell - Try to have DIFFUSED natural lighting when selecting locations. Expect the possibility of video lights during key moments such as , intros / bridal party entrance , toasts, first dances, bouquet toss, etc. We do our best to blend in our lights during dancing to not take away from the ambience.
Nerdy Stuff: Why do I need video lights at my wedding?
If you request to have no video lighting during the reception - frankly, the footage will just look like crap. For the most part, video or film making needs about 3-4 times the amount of light , when compared to still photography - we can be filming anywhere between 24 - 240 frames per second and want each one to look great! Modern cameras are always getting better at low light performance , but this comes at a cost of reduced dynamic range, blown highlights, color science, and a bunch of other nerdy stuff that you don't have time for! The added bonus of having video lighting, is that guests who take photos during these lit up events will have a better chance of taking decent photos (especially video) instead of just awful and underexposed or grainy cell phone photos that they tag you in on Facebook.
Creative Control Compromise
On a personal note, we feel that bad (poorly exposed or blurry) photos, even when taken by a guest, vendor, etc on a cell phone - can cheapen the day that you've put so much effort and thought into making the day look beautiful. Consider having an unplugged or no photo policy for your guests and non photographer vendors - We are happy to provide our videos to the other vendors upon request, within reason - especially if they are helpful, courteous, and easy to work with. We cannot speak on behalf of the photographers, but we've always seen photographers who are happy to share their photos with vendors , especially venues.
Often photographers and videographers or film makers will be battling for the same shots, especially during the couple's creative photo session. We do need time to work our magic during creative photo sessions where the photographer will take a back seat to our creativity. 90% of the time, the photographer will be directing, and you will look at their cameras and not ours, and give us time to get our shots after they get theirs without rushing us - we do not rush the photographer's art, and expect the same level of respect. As a professional courtesy , your photographer should understand this and work with us - as there needs to be some type of compromise - we will confront you about this privately if it becomes an issue. If you sense any friction between your photo and video team, squash it immediately! 90% of the time everything is great ! We simply stress that you communicate to your photographer and vendors that video is a priority that you've invested in - your wedding day is not the photographer's day, the Dj's day, or the videographer's day - it belongs to you, as a couple - you ultimately call the shots. We want your day to be beautiful and flow the way it should. Wedding film making is still a brand new concept to most people, especially the high end quality we strive to produce for our clients - our particular shooting style is quick and often we are in the background , trying to minimize any distractions. There is a stigma out there that videographers ruin everything or have done things in the past that vendors do not like- We are simply trying to educate our peers and clients on what sets us up for success.
Unplugged weddings are great for the professional photo and video team - and guests can live in the moment instead of through the camera, but ultimately that choice is up to you - it is your special day, you've worked hard and deserve a beautiful day that you can always look back upon and remember your loved ones, by great looking photo and video.
Large bridal parties
Efficiency is key for when you have a large bridal party. Simple things like getting ready can throw off the schedule for the day, and especially formal photos with the bridal party and extended family.
Coordinate with your photographer and a VIP guest in advance ; who can have people lined up and ready on deck to knock out formals quickly and efficiently. Especially if there are jokesters or party animals involved.
We like to use our microphones for recording and supplement this with any audio mixer or PA feeds that we can plug into form venues or DJ's / bands. Please let these vendors know you want the best audio and to help work with us on this. We unfortunately receive a lot of pushback when vendors do not understand event film making requirements or do not work with quality videographers and film makers on a regular basis.
Toasts and speeches preparatoins: SHARE THIS WITH GUEST SPEAKERS
Tell guests not to read off of a paper, but to plan out a general idea of what they want to say and say it LOUD and with confidence - think of a presidential address - they speak loud with confidence , direct , and make eye contact. They do not shuffle back and forth or pace - or hold a crumbled up paper , a microphone, and a cocktail at the same time , this makes for a truly awkward and uncomfroable / nervous looking toast. If they are nervous about public speaking - have them plan like a 30 second speech - as events are unfolding so they are not breaking the "silence" in the middle of salads or dinner , eg. intros, crowd cheers, adrenaline pumps, cake cutting, speeches, and its over quickly for them- almost always they will wind up taking for a good minute or two and feel fine afterwards.
A big no no, is reading from a cell phone or screen - this makes it seem like they are checking Facebook while they are talking to an audience and can cast an ugly blue color on their faces from the device - please share this page and the video below with your speaking guests.
Amplification: Usually we've found that microphone and PA / ceiling loudspeaker rental or usage is usually low quality and we can not access the audio output of the sound system for recording. Churches usually have good audio amplification but access to audio boards can be an issue. Have them reach out to us with someone who will be in charge of audio that day or who will give us access to the audio board outputs (unfortunately ; the churches almost never return our calls when we reach out in advance or have no idea about audio, a handful of places actually have a line out readily available for recording their microphone feed)
We are hunting for natural movement, emotion, and responses, this means you and your spouse or guests moving around. Kissing, snuggling, Laughing is a great starting point for the couple's interacting. We usually don't want you to look at our camera - just the photographers if they are posing you that way. Let your bridal party, photographer , father of the bride (they usually do what they want anyways, which is okay with us!). and Dj / band know that you want them to listen to your videographer and follow through on their recommendations - if the videographer needs something particular - it's for good reason - simply better footage and audio.
Not everyone is used to working with a wedding film maker - if your wedding film is important to you, please let your bridal party and vendors know that the film , not video - is important to you - We call it a film because we are striving to create the highest quality - you are not paying good money for us to simply show up and slap a camera on a tripod.
We ask you to do this because YOUR opinion matters more to them than ours. We do our due diligence to work with fellow vendors and bridal parties, but please give them a heads up that we will be there to create awesome work that you will love and we will need their help to do so. Film making is a collaborative effort.
Dynamic story telling and film making usually needs some type of movement in the scene, whether subtle or intense. This can mean the camera has to move around while filming to give your brain a sense of environment as the foreground or background shifts.