Words by Emma Langman
DO GO PROFESSIONAL
You look like a screen goddess in your fabulous gown and he looks like a Hollywood hunk in his suit or kilt – and there’s a full supporting cast waiting in the wings: no wonder so many couples feel as if they’re starring in a movie on their wedding day.
But just as Spielberg would struggle to shoot his next blockbuster on a camera phone, it makes sense to call in the experts to produce a film your audience will want to watch. Yes, it’s great to see the little moments your friends capture on their iPhones, but to gain a true picture of a day that’s been months in the planning, you can’t beat a professional service.
“Experience is crucial,” says Robert MacDonald of MacDonald Studio. “If I wanted my walls painted, I’d hire a decorator. If I wanted my teeth whitened, I’d go to the dentist. Yes, there are DIY options for most things, but the finish will rarely match the quality you get from a seasoned professional.”
Gregg Houston of CineMate Films (cinematefilms.co.uk) agrees: “It’s such a great feeling to watch your wedding day back, and it’s such a gift, influencing and inspiring your family with your love for generations – so why would you not entrust a professional to do this for you?”
With so many wedding videographers out there fighting for a slice of your budget, it can be a daunting task trying to find the right one for you. Like everything else, plenty of research is the only way to work out who’s worth your money. Take your time, look at wedding magazines and online, and ask around for word-of-mouth recommendations.
Check out potential suppliers’ websites and look at samples of their work. If anything particularly appeals, don’t be afraid to ask to see more. “Ask to see examples of complete works, not just highlights, so you know what sort of quality you’re getting,” advises Scott Mackenzie of Mackenzie Wedding Films (mackenzieweddingfilms.co.uk).
It’s such a gift, influencing and inspiring your family with your love for generations – so why would you not entrust a professional to do this for you?
DON’T WAIT TOO LONG
While booking a venue and hiring a caterer might top of your to-do list, don’t leave booking your videographer until the last minute. Good ones get snapped up very quickly, especially in the summer months. If your date is a Saturday in August, you’ll need to be quick off the mark.
With many couples planning their celebrations a year or two in advance, the quicker you book your first choice the better. “Most people start to organise their wedding roughly a year ahead of time – that means the majority of good wedding videographers take bookings a year in advance, so there’s no excuse not to start enquiring. Leave your booking until the last minute and you might be setting yourself up for disappointment,” warns Robert MacDonald.
DO CHOOSE WISELY
Some couples are reluctant to consider a video because they’re afraid they’ll spend their wedding day like celebs being hounded by the paparazzi. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Just like photographers, a skilful videographer will capture all the day’s special moments without you feeling as if there’s always a camera thrust in your face. In fact, most videographers are experts at working discreetly and can film your celebration without you even being aware of it. “You should expect your videographer to be highly professional,” Scott Mackenzie explains. “They will be everywhere but subtle in every way, letting the day flow and not getting in the way while capturing all the documentary footage.”
Gregg Houston agrees: “Earlier this year, a couple who wrote to us thanking us for filming their wedding called us ‘invisible ninjas’. We loved that because it’s exactly what any good wedding videographer should aim for. And that’s what couples should expect – to be able to forget they’re being filmed and trust the professionals to do their job.”
DO CONSIDER STYLES
Different videographers use different techniques and styles of filming, so consider these when making your decision too – you want to make sure your video is in keeping with the rest of your day. For example, if your celebration has a retro look to it, a vintage-style video might work better for you than a traditional one.
Most videographers will combine a journalistic approach, documenting the main events of the day, and cinematic shooting, where special tools can be used to creative effect. Gregg Houston explains how the team at CineMate Films employ a third style for a different approach: “The narrative style is what makes our films stand out from other people’s,” he says. “On the day, we’ll work with our couples for 15 minutes after the photographers for the ‘film shoot’. Sometimes we’ll take a basic set-up at this point; at others times we’ll create a scene, perhaps a mock first look or picnic scene. Sometimes couples ask us to use specific props which reflect their personality – that’s always fun! We’ve ridden in the back of an old sports car, incorporated a vintage bike, used a double-decker bus and even an old ship.”
For the best results, look for a videographer who is competent in a variety of techniques and can combine them for a video that suits your style.
DON’T FORGET TO CHECK THE EXTRAS
There are a few additional points to tick off the list before going ahead and making a booking. First off, ask your supplier how they feel about special effects in their work. If they’re keen, beware! Most special effects can look really dated. “These should be kept to a minimum or they’ll look old and cheesy,” says Scott Mackenzie. “But some effects are good, such as adding some colour grading. Enhancing colour and contrast is a must, and a bit of black-and-white footage can add a touch of class.”
Besides artistic skill, having the technical ability to colour grade and audio tune your film so it looks and sounds brilliant should be high on the priority list.
Don’t forget to have a read over the small print too, and ask your videographer if they’re insured just in case, for whatever reason, they can’t make it on the day. “Always read the terms and conditions of the contract before you sign – and make sure they’re insured,” says Robert MacDonald.
DO FEEL COMFORTABLE
Above all, you should feel comfortable and relaxed with your videographer. “Hire good people you get along with!” recommends Scott Mackenzie. You’ll see them popping up a lot during your special day, so be absolutely certain they tick all your boxes.
Scott Johnson of Weddings by Mallard talks us through the latest innovations in digital technology and how they could affect your wedding video…
There’s a huge difference between the image quality you get with DVDs and Blu Ray. If you have a big TV screen at home, you’ll be able to see just how much better your wedding video looks on Blu Ray.
Gone are the days when every wedding video was ruined by muffled audio. The sound quality you get with top-of-the-range wireless microphones is fantastic, and they are so discreet you won’t even realise you’re wearing one.
Low light is always a problem at weddings, but cameras have really started to improve how they handle it. This means you can get much better footage in candle-light or when the lights dim for your first dance.
RECORDING TO CARDS
Most videographers now record onto SD cards instead of tapes. This means we can access the footage faster and even produce same-day edits if you’re desperate to see some footage at the reception.
Most wedding video companies include a DVD menu so you can select whichever part of your film you want to watch.
Advances in technology have made cameras smaller and more powerful. This means the equipment will easily blend into the background and not be noticed.