When it comes to the wedding day, every wedding filmmaker knows there’s a lot of ground to cover. When we first started, we tried our best to figure out what was the most efficient way to film each wedding. There are many secrets we’ve learned over the years about how to plan our wedding shoots so we get the best shots and minimize stress. Here’s a look at how we manage our day between two people and make sure we never skip a beat.
One to Two weeks before each wedding, we’ll touch base with our clients with a questionnaire about the wedding day. This will provide us with an itinerary for the day, contact info, and any special activities or surprises that the wedding party may have planned. If you’re working with a planner, we often get a lot of the info we need directly from them, or from our bride/groom in our first meeting. Once we have an idea of how the day will run, we can start to make a plan for the video and our team.
For most weddings, we film with two people. Going over the itinerary before hand we’ll be able to determine if we need an extra person, so we can plan accordingly. The first step towards planning our day is making an effort to attend the rehearsal dinner. This makes the wedding day much more straight forward for us. It allows us to get a feel for the room, lighting, and the people we will be filming the next day. We also can collect the remainder owing for the video and that’s nice because who wants to deal with money on their wedding day, what a drag…
For the wedding day, the most important thing for us is to get there early. We never want to be caught in a situation where we are behind or feeling rushed. This gives us time to meet anyone we haven’t met yet, and set-up sound on anyone who needs a mic for the day. Allowing ourselves the time to settle in and talk to people before we get started always keeps us ahead of the game, and that’s how we like it.
Once we arrive, the first activity we always like to film is the bride and groom getting ready. It’s an emotional moment, full of excitement and anticipation. At this point, our team will split up and one of us will film with the bride, while the other films with the groom.
As you can imagine, the bride’s prep generally takes much longer than the groom’s. The cinematographer who is with the bride will stay with her as long as they can. Whoever is filming with the groom will hang with the guys as long as they need, but will also have the time to catch some of the ceremony set-up too.
THE CEREMONY SET-UP
Having one person arrive early to the ceremony set-up is important because we need to make sure our gear is ready to go and every one is sound checked. We love being able to film some of the set-up and capture details of the venue. It’s not always a key component to the story for every couple, but it’s fun to visualize everything coming together.
When both filmmakers have arrived at the ceremony, one person will focus on sound and lights while the other will figure out the best angles to shoot from. That way, once all the guest have settled in and the ceremony is ready to begin, we have already dealt with the technical details and can focus on what we do best, filming.
After the ceremony, the next big part of the wedding day is the photoshoot. Typically, we don’t go to the photoshoot. For us, that’s the photographer’s time. We’re probably one of the only teams in town that doesn’t go to the photo shoot. Sometimes it has a place but for the most part it doesn’t fit the vibe of the rest of the video. We don’t generally like to shoot staged moments. We always try to plan and not film things we don’t need to so we can make the rest of the our day filming more efficient. Not going to the photoshoot gives us time to do the other things, like properly prepare for the reception. We always take advantage of the time we have.
THE RECEPTION SET-UP
Getting to the reception before everyone else is key. Having time to check sound, equipment, and lights before the speeches means we’ll have a chance to adjust for any challenges that the venue and the space might present us.
It’s not as simple as just showing up and hitting record when someone gives a speech. Sometimes there’s stuff in the way, and sometimes the venue is super backlit. Speeches are a huge part of the video for us and give a strong narrative for expressing who the couple is. We want those speeches to look and sound as good as possible.
THE AFTER PARTY
After the speeches, the most important part of our work is done. We generally will be around for about an hour after the speeches are over, making sure we catch some of the afterparty. We stick around to get some fun moments and meanwhile the other team member will start to pack up and call it a wrap.
Having a rock solid plan for your video team on the wedding day is imperative for capturing the best footage, and making sure your work day as a filmmaker runs smoothly. We like to have fun when we’re at work too, so knowing we are prepared means we can focus on our shots and be confident that we are delivering great videos to our couples. As a couple, you can help us come prepared by providing us with as much information as possible so we have a clear flow of the day with no unexpected surprises.