10 Tips to Shoot a Cinematic Wedding Video

1. Don’t shoot too much footage
I shot this wedding film just by myself which is challenging but also cuts down a lot of the work time for me in post. When I first started shooting weddings I shot way too much footage. Because we specialise in these 3-5 minute wedding “trailer” videos at Heart Visuals I really didn’t need a ton of footage.

2. Will you use this shot in the video?
But what you do need are the right shots. After some practice now I shoot with much more intention, I’m constantly trying to edit in my head and ask myself the question “would I use this shot or angle in the video?” and if it’s a no then I don’t waste my time shooting it and save time looking through bad clips in post.

3. Be light and fast
My strategy for weddings is usually to be light with gear and make it as easy as possible to switch lenses and stabilisation gear.
I never shoot with a tripod at weddings but the monopod is perfect for getting a static shot and being able to quickly move from shot to shot, angle to angle. I keep the same base plate on the glidecam so I can easily switch back and forth when I need to.
The majority of the film is shot on the Sigma 18-35mm with a handful of shots on the 85mm.

4. Keep it natural
For weddings I try to shoot a cinematic documentary style film avoiding shots that look overly forced or staged. I try to keep it natural and get those candid shots. A cinematic camera like the Sony with a cinematic picture profile and lenses that give me a shallow depth of field will help to get lots of natural, great looking shots. More on that later.

5. Take care of the “must have” shots
There are certain shots that are must have’s for example the kiss. With these shots I try to do a safe angle that I know I’ll get because its just me shooting and there’s no redo’s on moments like those.
Other cinematic wedding video articles talk about attending rehearsals and practicing the shots. I never do rehearsals. I get to the spaces and check out what it’s like, where the light is coming from and then I just go with the flow.
Usually while getting shots of the bride or groom getting ready I will ask what the flow of the ceremony is, cause yea that’s really the only hard parts. Really I just need to know when the kiss comes because I don’t want to be caught off guard.

6. Get creative & beautiful shots
Other than those “must have’s” I’m always trying to experiment with new angles and camera moves to make the film as beautiful as I can. I do this in the “free time” between the must have shots.

7. Getting emotions
I think the biggest secret though is to get the emotions of the people into the film. Weddings are such an emotional time that if you don’t capture the smiles, tears and laughs of both the couple and the guests then I think you’re missing the essence of the day.
People often get camera shy and won’t show their emotions so it’s really important they don’t see you filming them. A little trick I use sometimes is to have the settings and focus set, but point the camera in another direction and then, when I know they are about to react to the speech or situation I quickly get the shot.
That way I get real reactions and not the toned down “there’s a camera in my face” reaction.

8. Practice
Of course all of this takes practice and the more you shoot weddings the more you know exactly where you should be and which shots will be your best shots that you don’t want to miss out on.

9. Pretend you’re a Ninja
For me the most challenging part of the day is the ceremony. Usually you can’t really influence or change the lighting (full sun light in this case) and the challenge is to get all the shots you need without being a huge distraction to the actual ceremony. Sometimes I see wedding videographers with a huge rig, big matte box and all standing right beside the couple while the ceremony is going on and I think that’s just a bit disrespectful and not smart.
Pretend you’re a Ninja or something if that helps.

10. Gear that works in any light condition
Weddings can be very challenging shooting environments, not only in terms of the event itself, but also in terms of lighting. So it’s a good idea to be prepared and have a camera and lenses that work well in low light conditions.

Foto/avots: cinema5D