Planning is an essential part of being a good wedding videographer because unlike many other forms of film making, there is no second take on a wedding video. You have to get it right first time, every time. There are so many elements to a wedding day and therefore so many elements to a wedding video. Making sure you are in the right place, at the right time, and set up so that you can shoot stunning video is a massive challenge. By planning as much as you can, you can restrict the amount of things that can go wrong on the day.
When a couple book with us we fill out the basic details to our booking form, so that we have a rough idea of where and how everything is going to happen on the day. We do not go into too much detail at this stage because the bride and groom may not know all the details yet, and because things often change and evolve as the wedding day edges ever closer.
About two weeks before the wedding we do final prep. Final prep is the process of us asking certain questions in order to pull as much relevant information as we can from the bride and groom. We then use this information in order to produce a plan of the day. We work through precise timings, and by doing so we are able to block out in our minds the flow of the day. This gives us the chance to raise any objections, that we might have.
For example, often the hotel does not allocate enough time to the photographs between the ceremony and the meal. This is quite a common thing as the hotel wants to get the meal over and done with as soon as possible, in order to let the staff go home. By doing this the photographer will be rushed and the photographs will not be at their best. We often try to get the bride and groom to tell the hotel that they want the meal put back half an hour, so that we can do the best work we can for them on the day. Some times the bride and groom do not want to do this, but at least we have raised the issue and given them the benefit of our experience.
It is not just a matter of timings but also a matter of understanding the movements and the positions of people that is important in this crucial planning stage. A good example of this would be the speeches. We always ask how many speeches there are likely to be and where the people making the speeches are going to be. Most of the time, the speech makers are on the head table, but sometime they are scattered around the room. If we are shooting with one camera, it is essential that we are able to position ourselves in a place, where we can tilt or pan the camera in order to see every one who is making a speech. It will look really un professional if the video camera is being carried around in a jerky fashion as various people begin making their speech. Sometimes it is not always possible to video all the speech makers with out picking the camera up and moving. When we do final prep we can raise this issue with the bride and groom and often they make the decision to have everyone making a speech at the head table.
Another good example is the cutting of the cake. In the vast majority of cases the cake is cut just before the first dance, but every now and again it is cut during the meal. By asking the question we are made aware of this deviation from the norm and are able to get around it and make sure we are there to video it.
Another thing we always ask is whether or not the bride and groom will be doing a routine for the first dance. We ask this so that we can set the correct zoom speed for the camera. If the bride and groom are just doing a close embrace for the first dance, then a nice slow zoom setting will be fine, how ever if they are going to be doing massive movements within a routine, then we will set the camera to a faster zoom, so that we can zoom out quick enough to keep them in the frame.
We also ask if they are having any special entertainment. If they have, then they will have spent quite a bit of money on it, and will therefore probably want a bit of it on the video. The bride and groom may have not thought to ask about adding it to the video but would still be disappointed after the wedding not to have it on. By asking the question we are making ourselves aware and we are giving them the chance to think before hand as to whether or not they want to include it on the video of their special day.
The final prep planning takes about thirty minutes and as we have progressed through out the years, has got long and longer, but this is to be expected as we experience and therefore become aware of more issues and variables within the wedding day. We can never guarantee that we can plan for very eventuality, but we can at least make sure we plan to the best of our abilities using the vast experience we have attained over the years.