Having attended and filmed several weddings, I know now, more than ever, that when I get married, I want to hire the best videographer there is out there to film my wedding. An experienced wedding videographer knows how to tell a story, capture important moments, despite stressful situations ranging from poor lighting to tight wedding schedules.
Most people think that the wedding ceremony is the most important part about a wedding. I would have to disagree. I feel that the most important part about the wedding is the overall experience, from getting ready, to watching the nervous groom see his bride for the first time, to the first dance, to the cutting of the cake, and the list goes on. Though photography does a fairly good job capturing brief hints of these moments, I believe that nothing can compare to a well-done video, in terms of conveying the bigger story, the overall experience.
In the end, what constitutes a good wedding film varies with people’s personal tastes; however, I think a few factors stand out to me. Many people’s first reaction to a Moth to Flame wedding film is “Wow! It looks like a movie!” There is a reason for this. For us, we approach filming a wedding as we would a cinematic feature film — great acting, solid storytelling, and high production value. How does that translate into wedding terms?
First, to have “great acting,” the director has to allow the actors on screen to feel as comfortable as possible. We do this through the crew we choose. Specifically, for traditional weddings, we require one female and one male videographer at each event. Though this may seem like a minor, unimportant detail, we feel that it makes our films stand apart from many other films. We are able to capture both the bride and groom’s experiences in a way that is as unobtrusive and comfortable as possible. The more comfortable the actor, the better the performance. This is exactly the same for weddings. A comfortable bride means for a much more relaxed and natural wedding video. As a female, I know I would NOT feel comfortable having another man, besides my future husband, watch me through a big camera while I am getting dressed for my wedding. It is already awkward enough having a bunch of people taking pictures of you.
Second, solid storylines require that we capture not only the people in the story, but the elements in the environment as well, something I find many traditional wedding videographers fail to do. What do I mean by this? When we watch a good movie, the director helps the audience feel like they are living the experience by paying close attention to objects and other details separate from the main characters. To put this into perspective, some videographers may capture only limited tripod still shots of a couple cutting a cake. When my team films, we make sure to capture the crowd’s reaction to the couple, close ups of the bride and groom’s face, close ups of the cake details. Think about it, when you go to a wedding, you never watch everything from one stagnant angle! At least I hope not. You get close to the cake to look at the intricate designs, you walk up to the bride to talk to her, and more, so there should be movement, there should be all these little details in a wedding film.
Finally, high production value helps to bring a wedding film from good to spectacular. With camera technology improving and becoming much more affordable, it is so easy for people to assume that simply owning high quality film equipment will translate to high production quality. This is very wrong. Though having good equipment is crucial, how you use it is even more important. Moth to Flame, for example, brings in sliders and steadicam equipment to get smooth cinematic movements. We know how to adjust for strange lighting situations, or how to properly frame a shot to get the most artistic and beautiful effect. Not only do we choose our shots carefully, but also do an even better job putting it all together into the final story.
People underestimate how important the post-production process is for a film. Getting the right shots is only 30% of the work, the rest is editing. We can magically remove ums from sentences, improve the brightness and contrast of the picture, and cut out all of the fat. For every one-hour of footage, we can easily spend 4-5 hours scrutinizing everything. Have you ever wondered why you rarely rewatch old footage that you yourself have filmed? Think about it. Who wants to sit through 5 hours of shaky camera, with an occasional 1-2 minute glimpse of a few good shots?
The point is, spend the time and budget for a good wedding videographer. You are going to be so flustered about helping your guests have fun, that by the end of the entire event, you will not even remember half of the events that transpired. What is the point of having the most beautiful wedding in the world, when you cannot remember it or if you have a wedding video that does not match the quality of your wedding? Find a wedding production team that treats your wedding with as much care and consideration as he/she would a Hollywood film set. It shows!
When someone tells us that our Moth to Flame wedding video “looks like a movie!” we are not surprised. We are not just videographers; we are filmmakers.