Friday, June 25, 2010

Jamaican Wedding Video

Jamaican Wedding video. I'm trying out a new video share service. Please take a look at one of our videos.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Excelling at Wedding Videography Part 2

Now that you think you have the technical competence to videotape your first wedding you need to think about equipment. In my humble opinion a basic kit would include the following:

1. A good camera. (the latest trend is using a DSLR to shoot video. I am old school on that; I use a DSLR to shoot stills and a video camera to shoot video, but its up to you). Be sure to check the low light performance of the camera you are considering buying, as the days of roasting your clients with 300 and 500 watt lights are long gone.( or so I thought; I recently saw a videographer with a 300 watt light on his camera standing 2 feet from the couple. Needless to say, they were all sweating profusely) Modern cameras give remarkable images with minimal light. I often use no additional light for my ceremony coverage and if I do need light I use a 10 watt cool light on my camera. This ensures no discomfort for the couple.

2. A firm tripod. Ensure that the tripod you use is made to hold the weight of the particular camera you are putting on it. I use commercial grade Manfrotto tripods with fluid heads as they are fully adjustable and give no camera shake even with heavy cameras.

3. Lights. Your use of lighting at the ceremony should be minimal, however at the reception venue it is OK and usually necessary to use brighter lights. Get professional lights mounted on a light stand. If you use a very bright light mounted on your camera you will likely make it very uncomfortable for anyone to whom you direct your camera. If you have a light on a stand, raise it above eye level and point the light slightly downward. If you keep it a practical distance from your subjects they will be able to see comfortably even when the light is directed toward them.

4. Microphones. Your audio capture is as important as your video. Get a wireless lavaliere microphone for the groom to wear so that you can capture the vows without the external noise at the venue(sneezing guests, crying babies etc.). At the reception you can use either wired or wireless microphones for the toasts if they will all speak from a podium. I do not ususally plug into the DJs mixing board for audio as most of them will introduce unacceptable levels of hiss and distortion into the feed.

5. Miscellaneous Stuff. Extra tapes(unless you use a tapeless camera), Gaffer's tape(to tape over your cables to avoid a trip hazzard), a surge protector, batteries, microphone cables etc.

I started out renting my equipment from another videographer and you may be able to do the same. (sorry, currently I do not rent equipment)

You will also need an appropriate outfit (a good suit is prefered), clean and comfortable shoes, decent bags/protective cases for your equipment and a pleasant demeanour.

Next we will look a bit at your actual coverage on the wedding day.

I have posted a shot of myself in the very early days.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Excelling at Wedding Videography Part 1

Greetings to all! Now that I have a bit more time on my hands (I thought someone told me this was a recession-proof business...ah well) I am turning my attention to a project which I have wanted to work on for some time, helping aspiring wedding and corporate videographers and photographers benefit from my experience.

I will speak mainly to those aspiring to the lofty calling of covering weddings, capturing the actions and emotions of what may well be the couple's most important event. Let's start with videography(I can hear the collective sigh from the photographers. Don't worry, we will get to photography eventually)

Before you even buy your first camera you should have fixed in your mind why you want to do this and what you wish to accomplish ie, how great do you really want to be. It may be just to earn a few extra dollars, as was the case when I started out as an apprentice, rolling up wires and carrying tripods and lights many years ago, or it may be to create beautiful wedding movies, family heirlooms to be enjoyed and treasured by your clients, my current motivation. As you can see, it is OK for your motivation and goals to change over time, but if you are not passionate about your craft, you will never excell at it.

Learn the basics. When I started out the internet was nothing like it is now, a global resourse for knowledge and training. I was actually the first wedding videographer in Jamaica to have a website, and I paid dearly to have that privilege. Now there are tons of websites with tips and advice for videographers. Make use of these. In Jamaica there are courses at CPTC and Carimac which didn't exist in my earlier days, to train videographers in the art of shooting and editing. I had to do it the old fashioned way, learning first by experience, being called fool and slow and stupid by my boss.

I have found training videos and going to seminars in the USA a great help in honing my skills and I strongly recommend these avenues of learning.(be careful, accept information from those actually making a living at wedding videography)

After learning the theory, what next? Try to tag along with an experienced professional on a couple of jobs. Offer to work for free, just to get the experience. For the wedding videographer our job can be one of the most stressful experiences. Commercial shooters of advertisments get numerous re-takes, sometimes doing one 10-second shot ten times. We do not have that luxury. If we miss the vows when they are said, we are sunk! Observe how the professional moves through the wedding day and learn from him or her.

My next post will go into what to do when you think you are ready to shoot your first wedding.