Wedding videos and the like tips & advice sought

5 replies [Last post]
Neon Films
Joined: Aug 23 2000

Hi all,
I'm looking to start a small part-time side-line business making wedding, sports, training videos etc. I've got the gear (NLE system, camera), and I've done a HND in Media Production. So I'm pretty clued up on the production side of things, but I know you don't really learn something until you've actually done it. Obviously I want all my productions to look as professional as possible.
So, can anyone offer me any useful tips or advice. This won't be a half-hearted attempt. I have the enthusiasm and commitment to make this work.


Mark Smith - Neon Films

Mark Smith

Leeds Media Services
Video Production in Leeds and Yorkshire

Joined: Mar 31 1999

I wouldn't advise doing a wedding on one camera, even if you will be working on your own. Have a backup camera (on a tripod) running all the time during the critical times (the ceremony and the reception speeches).

To avoid tape changes during the critical times, avoid mini-DV for your main camera. DV will give over 4.5 hours recording on one tape.

Use the best tripod you can afford and have a wheeled dolly standing by for use on any half-decent flooring.

Always thank the vicar.

Ray Liffen

chris thomas
Joined: Apr 23 1999

Ye Gods!

Please forgive me for that outburst, but I and a friend filmed a friend's wedding a couple of weeks ago, using four cameras. Two TRV900s at the front of the church, and two at the back on tripods (one TRV9, and one Video8) getting a wide angle shot and close up of the 'action area' where the main ceremony will be.

It's probably been the single most stressful yet enjoyable situation I've ever been in! I planned that shoot to the hilt. I almost storyboarded it! I was in the lucky position to have volunteered to edit a friend's (who shall remain nameless) attempt at videoing a wedding. He managed to make all the correct mistakes, for me to learn from.

I visited the church before hand, attended the rehersal with the bride and groom, and chatted to the priest (mainly to discuss the order of service). It was a long ceremony (over 1h20m) but we changed tapes correctly (not at the same time!), and the whole shoot went flawlessly. We even managed to beat the couple to the reception, and film their arrival!

Here's an excellent resource too look at:
John Beale's "So you want to be a wedding videographer"
There's also a couple of links there to other sites which are really good too. Read and absorb!

If you don't get through all that and feel a knot in your stomach, you've got a nasty shock in store for when you do the edit!

If you really want a good video: Plan everything. Have at least three cameras, and camera operators. Make sure you get there before everyone else does, and get plenty of cutaways of stuff (statues, icons, stained glass windows, etc) you'll thank your lucky stars you did!

Oh, and don't forget your AUDIO!!! Your brain does a remarkable job of filtering barely audible speech from a church full of echoey reverberations, and by comparison your camera will have a hard time recording a cannon at five paces! Go and spend whatever you can afford on a quality microphone, stand, and lead. Minidiscs are great audio storage devices (though limited to about 74 minutes, and expensive), and remains surprisingly in sync with your DV camera. I've found that if I plug a mic in to the TRV900, it can generate a lot of electrical noise if the plug moves round in the socket (obviously, some sort of adhesive tape is in order!), so an out of the way minidisc is a good alternative.

Even though I've done a surprisingly good job of covering a wedding, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, I'm afraid that if anyone else asks me, the reply will be "never again"!


Chris Thomas.

[This message has been edited by chris thomas (edited 24 August 2000).]

Chris Thomas. - over 30 minutes of streaming video to bore yourself with!

jimmy the jock
Joined: Aug 14 2000

Ha ha why not go one better and do what I did.......a live vision mix using 4 cams.I simply ran the cables the night before and done a live mix using an AVE 55 and 2 monitors......I left a small dcc taperecorder with a good stereo mic on the alter near where they would be standing and ran a lead back to the vision mixer.....I left tapes running in all cameras as backup but they were not camera unplugged from the system to follow them into the signing of the registar without PAUSING the camera so it was no problem to sync up after.......the vision mix was 95% perfect so the back safe cam was used for any slight they emerged from signing the reg the camera which had unplugged and another cameraman went out side to do a 2 cam shoot STILL WITHOUT PAUSING the cams and the whole thing needed very little the reception we done a 3 cam shoot(back safe and left/right of table) but not vision mixed this time.....I do it this way all the time now as the editing it saves is tremendous and the look as you can imagine is very pro!!!!

Mark Dicker
Joined: Aug 31 2000

Hi Mark,

Take a portable MiniDisc recorder and get a mike as close to the wedding party as possible. Portables are so small the groom could have it in his pocket with a lavalier or tie-clip connected. Record the whole ceremony on MD. This works as a backup.

Even with 2 cameras or more the sound levels at each will vary, by having a master sound track means you can insert video from other sources.

Also if the unthinkable happens and you get no useable footage from the ceremony you can do a montage of photos with the master sound track in the background. Baby pictures upto modern day are always good, cut between Bride and Groom photos alternately. This is also useful if you cannot film during the ceremony.

Finally get Insurance. Public Liabillity is a must and Public Imdemnity is also good. It's tempting to miss it out, but the first time someone trips over a mike cable and brings the whole lot crashing down, you'll be grateful.

Best wishes with your venture.

Mark Dicker

Mark Dicker

Joined: Sep 1 2000

I must be the antipathy of all the previous guys.
I did my niece's wedding a week ago.
It was great fun but yes it was real stressful, there is no second chance.
I used i camera- a Sony PC100E, it was superb in the church picked up all the words from 30 foot, service was an hour all recoded on one battery and a high grade tape on Long play. The families have all seen it un-edited and are over the moon.- It didnt cost them a penny so I guess thats the difference.
I found editing the service difficult as I have to keep all the sound
Anyway Have fun and dont charge too much at first otherwise I think they will expect the moon.
PS my daughter filmed the moon and its made a supperb ending as the car drives out at 11:00 pm i fad the tail lights into the moon
Good luck