Need to Know: 3 Things to Discuss with Your Videographer

NathanArticles, Weddings

When sitting down with a videographer about your wedding, you may be tempted to believe they already know all there is to know expect where and when to show up at your wedding… But knowing a few things about what matters to them will help ensure both you, and your videographer will be able to provide the absolute best service possible.  While the following list isn’t exactly all inclusive, it provides a few technical questions that need to be addressed by you or your wedding planner early in the planning process of your wedding.

Where Can I Setup My Gear?

This is important for both the videographer and the photographer.  When they show up at the wedding, they need to know exactly where they’re allowed to be during the ceremony and which places are off limits.  Some locations, like traditional churches, require the videographer to stay in a single place near the back of the room. Some churches allow for more freedom to place cameras, while other churches allow both the videographer and the photographer to roam about.

Personally, I’m not a fan of roaming… it’s distracting. But I really like the freedom to position my gear where I need it to get the very best angles available.

Technically speaking, video shot from the back of the room will look much different than a shot from the front-right of the room.  Specifically, video from the back of the room will normally only get a profile view of the bride and groom during the vows.  That’s not exactly a problem, but a better shot would be from the front of the room facing the bride.  That angle would fully show the bride’s face and an opposite camera would fully show the groom’s face… Both of which would be far better than a single camera in the back of the room.  That’s why it’s important to discuss those details with your wedding planner and videographer earlier than later.

Perhaps your wedding will be outside. In those cases, camera placement is rarely a problem.  But what I’ve found is the lack of boundaries can allow for chaos and ultimately affect the overall quality of the video – especially when paid photographers, guest photographers and others feel the freedom to move where they please.

For instance, I recently ran into a problem where the photographer stepped fully into the frame of my center camera while the bride and father walked down the aisle.  The photographer stayed in that position for several minutes blocking my main center camera for that entire time. Later in that same wedding, a guest with a fancy camera stepped behind the wedding party to take photos of the bride and groom.  You see, when people don’t feel like they’re in a building, they often forget they’re at a wedding.  Outside weddings are fun, but the lack of boundaries can often create multiple problems.

What Types of Audio Should I Plan For?

Another thing you (and your planner, if you have one) should discuss with your videographer is who will be speaking during the ceremony and if they’ll have a mic. This is important because a last minute addition of a speaker could mean their audio isn’t recorded on video – even if they had a mic for live sound.

From a technical standpoint, I typically record audio separately from any audio that’s run through a sound system because each system is different and may not have an audio feed available to me.  Many times, the person operating the sound system is only trained for live sound in that room and lacks the technical knowledge or authority to provide the audio feed from the board to a me for video purposes… That’s why I always plan to record audio through my own mics.  And that’s why it’s important for you to discuss the possibility of speakers at your wedding.  Otherwise, they may not get a mic!

Sometimes I meet with a bride early in the planning stages of her wedding and many of the details are not developed fully.  That’s understandable.  But providing details to each person involved with your wedding will ultimately help ensure the highest quality end product!

What About Lighting?

Finally, very few brides I speak with even mention lighting at their wedding.  That’s okay, because not everyone thinks about all the boring stuff.  But the little details like lighting make a BIG difference in the way your wedding video will turn out.

If your wedding is in a well lit sanctuary or outside during the day, lighting isn’t going to matter that much.  But if you’re planning your wedding outside near dusk, or inside with mood lighting that’s really low, those things are going to affect the overall quality of your wedding video.  But with good communication early in the planning stages, your videographer will be able to plan accordingly and make adjustments as necessary.

On a similar note, lighting at the reception is normally low… That’s okay, but remember – video needs some light.  The more the better.  On-camera lights help a little.  But if all the lights are out, no amount of editing can fix it.  Here’s a saying that’s true: “Garbage in. Garbage out.”  The quality of the image coming into the camera will determine the quality of the end result.  Be sure to discuss those details with your videographer.  You hire your videographer for these types of things. Good communication goes a long way.

All of these things are technical in nature and pretty boring… but ABSOLUTELY worth discussing. My advice to you: if your budget allows, hire a planner to help oversee these technical aspects so you don’t have to be bothered with all of the boring stuff.  But if that’s not an option, plan to provide updates to your videographer throughout the planning process.  Ultimately, you’ll be glad you did.