Filming a wedding where you are a contractor and have never communicated with the couple directly is a unique experience. You show up at the hotel (today it was the Renaissance Downtown Cleveland) and knock on the door, walk-in and everyone stares. After exchanging a few sentences, you realize it’s all good, the bride and her bridesmaid’s seem extremely low-key, nice and energetic. It’s gonna be a good day.
Preparation is critical
A wedding day is a once in a lifetime experience for the couple and their guests. I have the privilege of capturing it and with that, I’m expected to have everything filmed to the best of my capabilities. I only get one shot at this. If something goes wrong, I need to be prepared, think on my feet, because my couple deserves a top notch final product.
The day before, I prepare all of my gear: batteries need charged, cards formatted, and firmware updated. I also run through camera settings, clean lenses, test my audio equipment. Lastly, the schedule, the last thing you can afford is to be at the wrong place or at the wrong time.
On the morning of, I double check my gear, make sure I have a snack and water packed and try and arrive 15 minutes early to my destination.
Balancing all of the day's moving parts
Once you arrive you get in the zone. The biggest thing about video is that it’s moving, I’ve been trying over the years to use less posed moments and less slow motion than I used to. I want to tell the story of the day and also of the couple. I want to make sure it feels real and authentic.
Between that, you could be driving to multiple locations, from Downtown Cleveland to the Art Museum on the East side. Then it’s over to the Gordon Green for the ceremony and reception. With three different locations, being indoors and outside, lighting conditions and maintaining accurate exposure is key.
Finally, I have to worry about audio. Mic up the groom and officiant, make sure I can get sound of the other speakers. Also for the reception, communicate with the band or DJ on getting sound for the toasts. All the while coordinating with the photographers is critical: to not walk into their shots, and for them to make sure they get what they need and that I do as well. We all have a job to do and have to work together to do it.
Is filming a wedding fun or hardwork?
Filming a wedding gets me outside of my comfort zone. My filming style is to stay in the background, not to get too involved with posing and planning. I always thought a great wedding video is almost like a documentary of the wedding day. I’m not a naturally outgoing person so I will let the party come to me instead of bring the party myself.
You want to capture stunning images but also tell a story. A story of the couple but also of the day itself. And that’s the fun part, capturing fun interactions or new angles and putting them all together in the editing process.