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Wedding Videography
  • My wife and I have set up our Wedding Videography business in the North-East of Scotland for just over 2 1/2 years now. Although we still have a lot to learn, we believe we have managed to bring to our area a much more filmic approach to Wedding Films and have had the pleasure of working with wonderful couples who have been quick to recommend us to others. We also have won a recognised Wedding Industry award for Scotland which was certainly unexpected this year.

    Thats the credentials out the way..... I wanted to start a topic that could act as a powerful resource tool for anybody wishing to enter into Wedding Videography. A collective center of useful tips, past experiences and success stories by way of sharing inspiring films from other members. This could be useful then for someone perhaps wishing to start filming weddings, or perhaps someoe who has been given that difficult challenge of filming their friend's wedding and doesn't know where to start. Useful also to those that have been doing it for years and are looking for some inspiration and a fresh set of eyes that newcomer's bring to the table.

    With this in mind, I wanted to share the trials and tribulations we have encountered over the last year or so, the bad decisions with equipment we made and the ones where we got it right. Of course I add the caveat of everything I write being my own opinion and may of course not work for you. Every area in the world has accepted styles of what a Wedding Film should be, and what maybe works here doesnt necessarily work elsewhere. My focus in the business is the Techinal side, therefore I will only share my experiences and opinions with the equipment. As for the running of the business and interfacing with customers, maybe someone else will go into that.

    We started in the business because we saw a growing demand for Wedding Films in our area, and yet not enough people to meet that demand. In our local area exists some guys who had been doing it for many years, and were able to provide a very traditional approach to filming a wedding, but there were not a lot of companies that would cover the day with a more cinematic flare. This need combined with my wife's insatiable appetite for watching wedding videos created our business.

    We filmed our first wedding with a Panasonic SD-700 and a Panasonic SD-900. Fantastic camcorders for our first time. (We have changed cameras quite a few time before we ended up with GH3s.) We filmed a lot, maybe a lot more than we needed but we made sure we got everything we needed. We arrived early and left much later than we had planned for, but overall we are still delighted with our first film we put out. We used a RODE Videomic for the sound and generally this worked well. Where it was not so good, was when we used it directionally over one of the guests tables during the speeches. Had one of the children at the table sat somewhere else we might have picked up more of the Grooms' speech but the lesson learned was that always get your mics as close to your subjects as possible. Buy a Zoom H1, a little stand, and place it in front of your people on the top table. Sync later on and now you are free to focus on the shot and not worry about the sound. Want to be even more professional, get a wireless mic set up like the sennheiser G3 wireless kit. Mic your groom and feed the sound direct to the camera. Now you can monitor the sound through the camera.

    One of the other lessons we learned at our first few weddings was how important it is to be FAST. Using tripods all day for every shot is going to make you slow. If you are not slow, then you will be squint (not level). We quickly learned that a Monopod with the added stability of some little feet was going to be our solution. Have a look at this topic....

    This allowed us to be quick but not at the expense of stability. In my opinion there is no excuse for going handheld all day, unless you are going for that specifically "documentary" type style. We still use tripods, but only for the Live stuff. Ceremony, Speeches and the evening dance. However we have other cameras that we use on monopods during these times and the tripod stuff is mostly used as a fall back shot (a shot to cut away to when you don't have anything else). Don't try to save money on tripods, a £35 Hama job is going to be a struggle and just bite the bullet and go for the well-known names. We use Manfrotto, not to say that they are the best, but it happened more organically. We bought a manfrotto tripod and then when we got quick plates for all our cameras we then wanted to make sure all the other tripods had the same quick release mechanism. You need to be able to go from tripod, to monopod and then back to tripod fast. So if you do buy lots of different brands of tripods or monopods, you are going to have to buy lots of quick release adaptors. Such as this one.....

    You will need Lights, whether you go for the fill the room with light tactic, or maybe the more subtle approach, a good light is going to give your footage the added clarity it needs. Handycams and low-light are a disaster without good light. Just search for video LED light and make sure it has at least 160 LEDs or above for a reasonable amount of light. Watch out for size though, if you want it mounted to your camera hotshoe, dont go too big. If you intend to put it on its own stand, then think about how you are going to connect it, power it and operate it.

    Backups, backups, backups. Always think, what if this doesnt work? Have another camera running, use one more sound recorder. Take plenty of batteries, cards and more cameras if you can afford to. Dont go small with cards, if you can afford it, save yourself a lot of hassle by buying big (64gb) and trusting a good name like Sandisk. Brandless types make me very nervous.

    Putting equipment aside, there is only one bit of advice I can offer that is more interpersonal related. No matter what happens on the day, try your best to stay calm and in control. Nobody wants to see the video guy getting stressed while he screams at the guests to just hold still for one more second. Things will break, shots will go wrong, photographers will get in the way, but through it all you need to be relaxed and able to deal with whatever is presented to you. (I'm still practicsing this bit :S)

    Well, im going to leave it at that just now and see what other contributions we get. I joined this forum about a year ago and it has been my one stop shop for help, advice, information and inspiration. I hope that maybe I can pass this on in some way to someone else who was in my same position.

  • 299 Replies sorted by
  • Color balance looks orange and red on my calibrated monitor in the indoor shots.

  • @Drdave Indoor ceremony or indoor during photos? Or both?

    We did apply some red in grading

  • I wouldn’t use wireless mics i go for a little Tascam in the brooms pocket and for best man and woman too. Wireless isn't always working and you can not always listen in what is recorded. For a very good tutorial I can recommend

    One question I have how do you start your business how do you got your first couples before you even had some wedding videos as a example?

  • We always have backup recorders there in case there is issues with wireless. But I agree with your comments, I just like how it marrys up the audio with the video without any post work.

    We started by filming local proms and balls for schools and then our first wedding was a friend so she was totally on board.

  • I started shooting weddings in 2012, and its a lot of fun and a lot of work, and I've learned a lot of hard lessons...

    I don't go wireless for audio... if the groom is micd up in the house system wirelessly i'll tap the house audio feed, but then i'll also mic the groom and officiant with some tascam pr-10's (little tiny recorders that seem to work well for my uses).

    Don't shoot alone! I shot 7 weddings alone my first year doing them, and there were so many things I missed because I had to change lenses or switch batteries or SD cards... I now shoot with 2 other guys that I pay, and my life is so much easier! I was able to get a lot more footage together to build a more cohesive wedding film.

    Don't think that a GF2 is an acceptable b-cam to a GH2... it's not. it looks like shit and I returned it right away and thankfully the bride wasn't concerned about the quality (it was a freebie I did for a friend just to get my chops up).

    And, for every 5 weddings you do with an amazing bride and groom that absolutely love your work, you'll get 1 that is a textbook bridezilla who will be pissed off that you didn't get a shot of her uncle's best friend's sister's neighbor who sat in the corner alone during the entire reception... cover yourself with a good contract, and explicitly state that not everything can, nor should, be covered. You as the videographer are hired for your talent and interpretation of their wedding. If they haven't viewed your past work and don't have trust in you to give them the best quality wedding film of your ability, then come to the agreement that you may not be the best videographer for them.

    I know I still have a lot more to learn and to get better practice... the Rob and Vanessa tutorial that @jambo posted was great to watch, definitely helped open my eyes to some ways of doing things.

    This is one I shot in February. I would have liked to have gotten some more footage of a few other things, but in the end, the bride and groom were very happy with this.

  • oh... and license your music! always :) I use,,,, and permission of friends who write amazing music.

  • Totally agree with the 2nd shooter comments. There are some weddings though where it really isn't needed, specifically more intimate affairs with not a great deal happening.

  • Going to be following this thread with interest :-) As got this month my first paid booking to do one this wedding season.

  • First Wedding using new lenses. Olympus 45mm MFT and Pansonic 14-140 (original)

    For well lit shots the 14-140 was excellent and the stabilisation worked well at even 140.

    The Olympus 45mm is razor sharp, quite scary how much detail that tiny lens allows into the camera.

  • gee this thread died a quick death.

    I've been shooting weddings in my own right for 5 years now - always have a 2nd shooter and use 4 GH2's - 2 manned, 1 static wide and 1 on a glidecam + an FZ200 to pick up quick shots (I have shot entire groom prep on a FZ200 and it turned out nice).

    no wireless mikes - I use 3 zoom H1's and Olympus voice recorders on the groom and celebrant (sometimes) my biggest problem with soulnd is getting a good feed from the DJ, I have to keep a constant eye on the levels during the night. I've recently got a Tascam DR60D which records dual channels at different levels but it suck up batteries like nothing.

    I use Lumix Lenses during the day and Canon FD at night.

    I've clocked over a 100 weddings now and still enjoying it - mostly. I could only count a couple of bridezillas in that number, most are great. I do struggle to get the edit out on time though, I tell them 12 weeks and I'm late half the time. multiple cameras make for an edit nightmare but I really worry about coverage.

  • There is a lot of helpful info here guys! Many thanks! Don't let the thread die!

  • @tired - I know exactly what you mean about the sound at night. We use a Tascam DR-40 at night for the sound and when you hit that sweet spot with the levels it sounds fantastic. Problem is when the DJ or the band decide to ramp it up a gear and you dont adjust the levels it can create a lot of distortion.

    What we ended up doing was not only recording to the Tascam DR 40 but also run a cable from the line out of it and straight into the camera. This helps big time with syncing, it doesnt solve the issue of getting the levelss right but at least we dont have to spend ages syncing the sound like we did.

    Here is the cable

  • Latest Highlights film we made. Introduction and Confetti shot with the Samyang 85mm. It is a fantastic lens and really allows you to get tight in without getting in the way.

  • I have to sync 3 cameras & 2 or 3 audio sources - I never found it a big problem but with pluraleyes it's a dream - I can toddle off and make a cup of tea and it's done.

    I do notice that I still have to adjust sometimes - it's not perfect but it's a huge time saver!

  • I dont understand enough about audio but neither to the DJ's who frequent weddings - what in need is a line out that doesn't increase in volume when the DJ cranks up the volume.there are so many different desks out there with different features

    I think the headphones out might be the answer and I got a double adaptor to try it but haven't gotten around to it yet.

  • Hi, this is my first post on this wonderfull forum :) but I've been reading it for quite a while.

    I have a question, several actually :)

    What lenses do you mostly use for weddings? Are manual primes usable or is AF a necessity? How about Panasonic 20mm f1.7, any experience due to slow and noisy AF? Any experience with a Kiron 28mm f2 or similar?

    I curently have G6 & GH3 with Panasonic 14-140mm 3.5-5.6, MF Pentax 50mm 1.7, MF Fujinon 50mm 1.4 + adapters. I'm thinking of adding aditional lenses for filming weddings and other events.Must point out that I have limited budget. Any thoughts?

    Thanks everybody in advance.

  • Great medium-wide budget lens 20 1.7 for low light. But think about that, each lens you will buy before Nokton 25 0.95 just prevents and delays you purchase of Nokton. So, think smart.

  • My go to lens is the 12-35 Panasonic Lens. The 20mm for low light is excellent, but for when good accurate AF is required it will leave you in a bad situation. We film in AFS mode which allows us to change the focus when required and the 12-35 is extremely fast at making adjustments when needed. We also use a lot of manual lenses but these tend to be used for the more static situations (speeches, Dance). Don't forget the Olympus 45mm M43 lens, it is brilliant.

  • Was thinking about 20mm f1.7 especially when I can get it used in excellent condition for a great price. I know AF is't very good in low light and I have read that MF adjustment isn't great when needed (if it is like on 14-140 I am satisfied with that)

    I have read about Nokton and have seen video samples, it's fantastic but to expensive for now. Also have tried Panasonic 12-35 2.8 in a shop one afternoon, it's blazing fast and silent with excellent stabilisation but also very expensive. And yes olympus 45mm 1.8,I'm thinking about it.

    How about these 3 primes for a start. Panasonic 14mm 2.5 (160€ used), Panasonic 20mm 1.7 (210€ used) and Olympus 45mm 1.8 (200€ used) TOT 570€. Any Thoughts?

    To save money I could only buy Kiron 28mm f2 with adapter and continue using Pentax 50mm 1.7 and Fujifilm 50mm 1.4.

    I must admit I don't not have much experience in filming weddings, only did 2 weddings for my friends this year, and that went good considering my total lack of knowledge in filming weddings and filming generaly, did it for free of course but I must admit it was really stressfull, because I was alone and the weddings were Big with lots of people. I never would have said yes but it was me or no one. They never planned on hiring a videographer.

    Did everything with Panasonic LX7, Sony RX100 (from a friend) and one consumer samsung camcorder (from another friend) , Sturdy chinese tripod, good vanguard monopod and Zoom H2n sound recorder, couple of 32GB cards and batteries. Did everything in 1080p 50p. Graded and mounted in premiere CS6 as 1080p 25p for a more filmic look. I Must admit that having 3 cameras (one allways in a fixed position) saved me when things whent down the hill.

    But in the end I liked it, and can picture myself doing it in the future with a proper gear and knowledge. Also after those 2 weddings I came to a conclusion that using compacts is hard and camcorder style video isn't to my liking. Simply cannot picture myself doing documentary style weddings, it doesn't matter how good do you cut it and grade it.

    Now Have G6 and Gh3 and asking advices :)


  • Okay....... you've got your 50mm 1.4 for close-ups, so unless AF is a big deal for you, you don't need the 45mm Olympus. I wouldn't get the 14mm unless you specifically want a wide static shot in low-light (usually unmanned). Your 14-140mm witht the right light will work just fine for most of the day. Pulling focus on the 20mm is not the same as doing it on the 14-140mm. The 14-140mm is much easier the 20mm is way too fiddly and you will be left disappointed when you miss "The shot".

    I would use your G6 for the wide fall back kind of shots, and work everything else with the GH3. Having a second cam for ceremony and speeches allows you to make changes and have something reliable to fall back on.

    I think ultimately you will struggle to work solo without the 12-35. It is expensive but certainly well worth it.

  • You want something with excellent focus tracking and IS, basically. Skin tones a must. The rest is planning. Planning, staging and lighting, all working in sync. You can certainly mix in some GH2s or other m4/3, especially like the 14mm for framing the whole scene and getting everyone in focus in the audience using hyperfocal DOF, but for most shots but then you lose the focus tracking and the skin tones are on the GH2 are good but not great.

    @MikeLinn great reel.

  • Wow, Noa's really good at this... EA50, 550D and CX740s if I'm not mistaken.