As a professional photographer said to me recently ‘just because you have a good camera does not mean that you can automatically take a good picture’ and the same applies to the video. As technology advances and our phones can pretty much do everything bar the washing up, it would appear that the world of the professional photographer and videographer is being threatened but we certainly do not feel that way.
As professionals, we are trained in our craft and we have learnt the hard way by our mistakes, constructive criticism and experience. When you hire a professional photographer or videographer you are doing just that, hiring a professional and not an amateur.
Filming a wedding
The video is not simply a case of ‘point & shoot’, although there are now some companies who offer the bride and groom the opportunity to ‘shoot it for themselves’ and this fills me with dread. Filming weddings is one of the toughest yet most rewarding jobs that I do, you have to be on the ball for every minute of the day that you’re there. You need to ascertain the key characters immediately and that is not always straightforward when you have three dads, step children, step grannies, ex-mums in law, but you do get a feel for it after so many years.
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Our cameras are professional broadcast quality cameras and I approach each wedding as though I’m on a television production, paying attention to all the ‘reality’ detail that unfurls on the day. The dad congratulating his son and quietly crying in the corner afterwards, the young bridesmaids smiling after their photo has been taken, the mother proudly looking on the wings, our eyes and ears are everywhere.
Sound as a professional soundman once bitterly said to me, is never noticed unless it is bad. During the vows and the speeches, the sound that you want to hear on the video can constantly be drowned out by shifting chairs, children screeching, and air conditioning can create a continuous hum. This is why we use professional broadcast quality radio mics as well as the directional gun mics on top of the camera. Bad sound cannot be corrected but good sound recorded on multi-track tape can be a godsend. Recently we filmed a wedding using four tracks of sound during the ceremony and only used one clear track in the end where we could crisply hear the bride, groom & registrar. Sound can also be distorted when people boom into the microphone or the DJ cranks up the speakers, this is where we adjust our cameras according to make sure that the final sound is useable and not distorted.
As a wedding videographer you are constantly battling against the elements – low lighting, artificial energy saving light bulbs (a nightmare), noise, people walking in front of the camera, you name it we’ve dealt with it. Therefore the phrase ‘leave it to the professionals’ could have rightly been said about the wedding industry, with every wedding you only have one chance to get it right and that is why you need to employ a professional.
By Vanessa Williams at Wedding Productions
Visit Wedding Productions for details on organising your wedding videography