When it comes to selecting your video package every couple is going to have a different wedding and, of course, slightly different needs at their wedding. Basically each wedding can be broken down in five sections. The “getting ready” segment is right before the ceremony and usually the bride, bridesmaids and moms are separated from the groom, groomsmen and dads. For this part, you will most likely want two cameras. One camera with the groom and one camera with the bride, so that neither of them miss out on what is going on with each group. This is usually our favorite part to film because there is so much anticipation and excitement in the air right before the ceremony. We really do notice that the bride and groom are always wondering what each other is doing right before the ceremony.
Then, there is usually a “portrait segment.” This is when the photographer takes some formal shots of the bridal party and family before the ceremony, when everyone is very fresh and just made up. This can be done separately or together. You will also need two cameras for this sequence, especially if the portraits are done separately. If they are not done separately you will still want two cameras at this time because while one camera is finishing up with portraits the other camera can be over at the ceremony site, getting ready for the ceremony, filming the set up of the ceremony location and capturing the guests arriving, signing the guest book and greeting each other. For the most part, the bride and groom (especially the bride) miss all of this activity. The bride doesn’t even see the bridal party come down the aisle until she gets to see the video!
For the “ceremony” segment, you will want to have two cameras, especially if you want to capture the entire ceremony from beginning to end with “live audio” and have it done cleanly and professionally. One camera is usually placed in the back getting the overview of the entire ceremony while one camera can be in the front getting all of the close up shots. Including the faces of the bride and groom, parents and bridal party, the ring being slipped onto the finger, the unity candle being lit, etc. These two camera’s can then be woven together to create it into something truly wonderful and visually interesting to watch.
After the ceremony, usually there is another portrait section and the “cocktail hour” segment where the now married couple, their immediate family and bridal party do some more formal and informal pictures. The rest of the guests attend a cocktail hour. Once again, it is good to have two cameras at this point so that one camera can get the portraits and the other camera can film the cocktail sequence. Often, the couple spend most of this cocktail hour doing pictures. (You might not get to see those stuffed shrimp you picked out with your caterer or the joyous mingling happening with all of your cherished guests).
Finally, the “reception” segment. As always, we recommend two cameras for the best coverage, especially if you want “live audio” sequences, done in a similar format as the ceremony. In the reception portion, these live sequences can be your grand entrance, first dance, toasts and father/daughter dance. Although at this point in the evening, a gifted videographer can film the reception sequence as a single camera. You will miss out on some of the details of the evening, for example the crowds reaction during the toasts. At least at this moment, you the newly married couple are not separated from each other or from your guests.
As a final note, we recommend, for the best coverage, that the package includes about seven hours of coverage with two camera’s or one that includes two cameras for four hours (getting ready, ceremony and cocktail hour) and one camera at your reception. This second choice may be an area where you can cut costs and it might be more appropriate if you are having a small wedding, fewer that 75 guests.
There are many other questions you might want to consider asking your videographer. What kind of equipment they are using? Digital 3-chip cameras are the best and they are broadcast quality, which makes the footage extremely clear. Usually theses cameras are good in low light situations, like wedding receptions. Another question is whether weddings are that video companies main source of business? Many video companies concentrate on corporate and commercial work or movies and do weddings on the side for added income; they may not be as experienced in weddings, nor as passionate about them. And finally, ask to see a preview copy of your wedding video before all of your copies are created. This allows you to have some input on your wedding video as well as make some editing choices. This is the perfect opportunity to make sure that you really like all of the song selections in your video. This is your wedding video and you will be watching it with all of your friends and family. It should be just the way you want.
Opening photograph by Shawna Herring