Like any industry wedding videography is not alone in having complex terminology. What you thought may have started out as an easy process in choosing what type of wedding video you wanted can actually get a bit complicated (if you talk to the wrong people). To choose your wedding video, you don’t really need to know exactly how to describe what it is you want. There’s a reason wedding videographers put samples their HD wedding videos online, and that is so you can see their style. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with finding a film style you like and asking a videographer to replicate it; but if you had a vision you wanted to explain to your film maker, or just wanted a better understanding of what’s involved this article should help shed a little light on the industry.
OK so let’s have a look at some of the terminology and styles of wedding videos out there, and hopefully help you decide what type of wedding video you would like and therefore what to ask and expect of you videographer. I suppose one of the draw backs of a wedding video is that you (hopefully) only ever get one once, therefore you won’t ever have personal previous experience on the subject. At best you may have a friend or family member on whose experience you can draw from. Now please note I’m going to try and put the following in layman’s terms, so I guess if you want exact and technical definitions there’s always our friend Google.
Cinematic – this refers to the style, being filmed like a movie. For a wedding video to be considered cinematic, it should be produced to a high quality, colour graded, set to music and adopt a range of shots and shooting techniques.
Wedding Cinematographers often use the following equipment;
Slider – A small track or rail that the camera is mounted to allow for tracking (sideways motion) shots.
Glide cam (sometimes generically referred as the brand Steady Cam) – This is a device that allows hand held and fluid footage to come out smooth and not shaky or bumpy.
Crane or Jib – A counter balanced device (can range from a few feet long to over a storey high) used for getting dramatic and sweeping shots.
Depth of field – is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear in focus. But often used as a loose term to describe the lovely effect of having items in perfect clarity whilst everything else around them is blurred and out of focus.
Time lapse – mainly refers to sped up footage often used to great effects filming the setting up of events or clouds passing over head.
Grades, Colour grading or Colour correction is the term used to describe the essential changes made in post production (editing) that change the look and feel from a home video, to that cinematic movie look. These grades can heavily impact the mood of the film, making it feel bright, or atmospheric. Some of the more traditional style and grades are:
Retro – makes footage look older, often with a warm summery haze to the screen. Gives a rustic and relaxed feeling to the footage. Great for outdoor and summer weddings.
Cool Blue – As the names suggests give the footage a cooling blue tint. It extenuates shadows and can add a make footage feel epic and grand. Works well in winter, or when there is very bright crisp light that you often get in churches.
Super 8– Referring to the older type of Film, this like retro makes the footage look older but takes it a step further, giving the impression this was recorded on actual film rather than digitally.
Now let’s have a look at some of the styles of wedding video available:
The contemporary cinematic wedding video is from our experience the most popular style, and results in a stunning film of your wedding day, smoothly and professionally edited. This is blend of live action usually involving the ceremony speeches and first dance, along with montages of footage set to music. To get some of the impactful shots there is a certain level of direction (setting up and staging of shots). It involves the subjects posing and holding position whilst the camera operators get their shot. Therefore there is a fine balance of having that perfect movie style film, with beautiful close ups and every magical moment caught in intricate detail, and having a videographer who is practically a stranger following you around everywhere you go on your wedding day!
Those shots you see of the couple kissing with the camera smoothly sweeping around them, giving a 360 degree perspective and the extreme close ups look fantastic, but just appreciate that will require your videographer getting up close and personal and directing you how to stand and kiss etc. I’m not saying this is wrong at all, I think the end result looks amazing; I just think it’s important to understand this beforehand. When filming with Filmmakers of London, I really try to be as unobtrusive as possible, saving the creative close ups of and tracking shots of your venue, and decorations leaving you to enjoy your day. I tend not to stage any shots unless specifically asked (I leave that to the photographers).
Film it yourself weddings, on the other hand are the complete opposite. No fancy equipment or grand cinematic shots, but just you and your friends having fun with a camera. There’s two ways you can do this, get friends or family to film using their own camera, and then download a simple piece of editing software and piece it together yourself... or you can now pay companies who will rent you basic but decent camcorders, and you then you send back the cameras and footage and this is then professionally edited together for you. The results are often mixed. By having a friend or family filming the camera subjects tend to be more relaxed on film, and you get great intimate shots. On the other hand however the quality of the footage is obviously nowhere near what you would get with a professional videographer and all their equipment. Filmmakers of London will be launching this feature in 2015 so watch this space.
Documentary style weddings are an alternative to the traditional wedding video. Taking a fly on the wall approach, and tend to involve interviews with the bride and groom before hand, interviews with the guests on the day and behind the scenes footage. Done well it can be very entertaining, especially if you have funny friends, the problem is it can end up like an episode of don’t tell the bride! What does work well however it mixing elements of the documentary, like the interviews, and the build up of a story throughout the day mixed with the cinematic movie style, taking the best of both.
So when you are choosing your wedding video to have there are a few things to bear in mind, so that 1, you chose the right type of video for you, and 2, once you’ve chosen the style you like you get the best out of your videographer. If you want that crisp professional wedding video, which has stunning clarity of both picture and sound and a full range of creative shots, then a cinematic style video is unparalleled. Understand what you want from your final video and how much time you are willing to spend with your videographer on the day. An unobtrusive approach to the cinematic film is in our opinion the perfect blend of a creative, visually stunning film, without cramping your style on the day. If however you want a more relaxed approach and are happy to sacrifice the quality than a film it you self wedding may be best for you.
Article by Filmmakers of London – wedding videographer
Wedding videography and Photography Blog
Director at Filmmakers of London
We have just watched our video and could not be happier with the finished product. On your wedding day everything is such a whirlwind and you forget so much, Filmmakers captured all the best bits and helped us treasure our special memories with the people we love, I could not recommend them enough, thank you so much- Tanyel and Martin
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