How Many Cameras Should I Have At My Wedding Ceremony?
by Timothy Scott
Let's all face it. The bride is the story. When that changes, we all need to go home. Do not pass go, do not collect two-hundred dollars.
Now brides in general don't feel as if video story telling is important when they are in the process of planning their wedding. After all, they have every facet of their special day to plan, and everyone always asks, "Did you find a good photographer?" Well, the digital realm is upon us, and photographers only catch the in-between action, or stage it themselves to make a beautiful slide show or wedding book of memories on expensive paper that will hopefully not fade in the years to come. I'm not down on wedding photographers, not at all. They are a must. But their work has its place. Want to flip a page or push play? Hopefully both.
Now the bride, she sees budget and usually it's Daddy's budget, and she sees her dress, and wonders how it is going to look with her hair and the poofy dresses in lime green that she squeezes her lovely, "I'll do it for you" bridesmaids into. The word chagrin comes to mind. I digress. So now the bride seems to have her thoughts all pieced together, flowers at the ready, clergy assigned, when someone else mentions video. Remember, brides don't much care about video at this point. Uncle Mike has a camcorder and an orange extension cord and even though he's a little nervous at the trigger is willing, she's almost sure, to "film" the wedding on VHS.
Anyone but me wincing at this point? Back to the bride. She hasn't thought about video, especially not DVD, and certainly not a story with music and live action and reception highlights, and advice from Aunt Smoochy who just came to the realization that she was actually at the wedding and not at her... well... whatever. We've established that the bride's head just isn't in the right game at this point. She's off... and she's just not coming back any time soon. She needs to be eased into the idea.
However, the bride will change her mind about not caring about the DVD story when fresh off of the honeymoon the DVD arrives in it's new case, and the excitement builds as it is placed for the first time into the DVD player... for a hands intertwined viewing by the new bride and groom. At that time the bride realizes the value of the video. The value of the time spent searching out the best production company to tell her most important story is now worth all the trouble. It is the beginning of a new generation. It is money very well spent.
When viewing samples of work the couple should look for a few basic tell-tale signs of good production while watching an entire wedding from beginning to end. No highlight reels accepted here. How many cameras? Two camera ceremonies stand out from the crowd of single camera weddings because they allow for a variety of angles in the edit bay. From the moment the bride and groom first connect their hands, known as "The Hand-off" of the bride's father and his new son-in-law, to the first kiss and first introduction as husband and wife, the close-up and medium shots combine and interplay to tell a story of the couple's first journey together... one they will pass down to their kids, and their kids' kids... One camera does not allow for smooth transitions and movement. If the camera gets jarred or bumped, and that does happen, two camera shoots allow the editor to hide the problem, never letting it be seen. (Ever heard of the cutting room floor?)
With single camera coverage, "You get what you get, and you don't throw a fit!", as my kids are fond of saying! Dissolves between two cameras at precisely the right moment take the viewer comfortably through time. Cuts should be strategically placed with the subjects movements, as a carry-through in the action. The transitions are then pleasing to the eye. Bad transitions placed for no other reason than to show off fancy effects or multiple camera angles are discouraged, as is the "zoom happy" videographer's footage. A good story-telling editor realizes that simplicity is the key. Having a minimum of simple effects tends not to be distracting to the story. Quick movements of the camera should be avoided unless it is called for in the moment, usually reserved for the reception coverage, if ever.
The couple should remember that the professional videographer, like the still photographer, has years of experience, and heeding just a little advice from them can go a long way to insuring a successful wedding video. These professionals shoot weddings every weekend, sometimes on weekdays too. Ask them many questions and don't feel silly about it. It is your money, your day, and you have final say at this stage in the game. Delegate well to the professional you have chosen, and you won't need to think twice come wedding day.
What a relief! Now, why is mother-in-law moving the flowers around the stage? Go get her!