DIY Video your wedding or special event

Post date: Oct 26, 2015 11:6:11 AM

Professional videographers can cost you a lot of money but there's no doubt that they earn it. They usually work in pairs and start work early in the day and barely get any rest until the party is in full swing. Then, once back at their studio, they have hours of editing, DVD burning and checking. They have a lot of very expensive gear and other overheads like insurance to worry about. Wedding photographers might disagree but it is far more stressful. A photographer can take a bit of a breather, whilst a videographer has to capture all of the action from start to finish. So, if the budget allows it, then hire a professional company and you should be guaranteed a video memory of your special day, that is akin to a Hollywood movie.

But what if you feel you cannot justify a photographer and a videographer? My advice would be to go for the photographer and get some stunning stills. A good photographer knows the ropes and will organise the wedding party, making sure all of the guests are included in the right order and nobody is left out. They usually know the venue and the spots for that ultra-special shot of the happy couple.

As for the video, "Uncle Pete" has got a camcorder and his efforts can be mixed with clips from guests' phones and even some still photos. With skillful editing and some suitable background music, a very watchable video reminder of the occasion can be achieved. There are some things to look out for though.

Talk to the Vicar or Registrar first, they may have special conditions on when and where you can film. Some Organists not only get paid for doing the ceremony, they also want more if they are going to be on the video. I have my own views on this and mutter "Matthew 21:12". Also, ask the photographer for advice on where to stand. Assure them you won't get in their way, it's fine for the photographer to be in your video but not the other way, unless they want a photo of you.

Make sure you know your camera controls and that the batteries are fully charged and you have enough memory/tape to record the event. Practice using the kids as models.

Record in the highest resolution possible. Apart from getting the best video quality, it also offers more flexibility in the editing.

Set the white balance whenever possible, this is part of knowing your camera.

Get as close to the subjects as possible. Less zoom means less shake and the sound will be a lot better.

Hold the camera still and let the subjects provide the motion. There's nothing worse than a video where the camera has been waved around like a hosepipe. If you want to pan around a larger group, then do it slowly and smoothly. Plan your shot and then stand comfortably facing the direction that the clip will end. Now, keeping your feet where they are, twist your body round to the start position. Unwind slowly as you film and you will find it a lot smoother. Practice this beforehand.

Whilst you are waiting for the bride to appear, take some shots of the location and guests. These will not only provide additional interest to the video, they can also be used to cover any mistakes or problems.

Avoid zooming in and out. Use the zoom to frame the shot but not when you are filming, unless you are looking for a special effect. In which case, slow and smooth, you're not filming "Jaws".

If you are filming on a phone, put it into flight mode. Getting a call or text might or might be funny or it might be an irritation.

Think about your composition. Imagine you are taking a photo and allow at least 5 seconds at the beginning and end for the editor. It's very difficult to work with something like a speech, if the video starts at the same time as the speaker.

Avoid recording embarrassing conversations, the last thing you want when filming the photograph session is to hear Auntie Ada talking about her operation.

Now this is a tricky one. A noisy baby/child will take over the sound and there is nothing that can be done once it has been recorded. Getting close to the subjects helps, as does asking guests with little ones, to sit at the back. It's also handy for the door. But it is a delicate one. I've known brides say "No kids" or "if they cry take them out please". Others are cross if you take them out. Professionals will put a wireless microphone on the groom. You could try getting the groom to put his phone on record and slip it into his top pocket. Make sure it's in flight mode. Quite often the vicar will have a microphone but projecting their voice is part of the job. Something else I've noticed when editing the vows is the constant click of the photographer's camera but I guess that's all part of the ceremony.

Make sure everyone is happy for you to film them. Some people find it embarrassing. When I'm editing these things, if someone turns away or holds their hand to their face, I will usually take it out.

When it comes to the speeches, you really need to get close if the voices are going to be picked up. Alternatively, you could put a phone on the table and let that run recording the sound and video. The audio can then be put on top.

Chances are, the lights will be down low for the last dance and the video won't look very good. Have a word with the DJ, he may be able to light the scene up a bit. Again, you want to try and get in close, mainly so that the guests stand out less.

And finally, when the show is over, you need to get the video from "Uncle Pete" either the tape or memory card. If it's recorded to internal memory, then we need to go to Plan B, whatever that is. Don't forget to thank him for his efforts and reassure him that it really is not a big deal if there are some duff shots. That's what the Editor is for. If you want to incorporate any footage from other guests' phones or still photos, then they can be transferred to a memory device or an online storage site like Dropbox. Don't simply post them to Facebook because the resolution will be reduced dramatically.

Have a think about the format of the video. What I normally do is have a still image of the location and put the opening titles there. This is usually something like "The Marriage of" "Bride and Groom" "Location" "Date" but it can be anything you want. Likewise have a think about credits. Some people like the close family mentioned and if you do this, then it's nice to add people who have helped out with flowers etc. and not forgetting Uncle Pete.

Oh and tell Uncle Pete not to concentrate so much on the video that he misses out on the ceremony. Who knows, a couple of drinks might help his creativity.

The cost of the editing really boils down to how much work is involved but a relatively simple edit, taking out unwanted bits, glossing over dodgy bits and adding titles and some music, would be in the region of just £20.00, which would include a custom-printed DVD.

If you would like further information please email me