The Wedding Videographer Manifesto? What is that? Has he lost his mind? What is he going on about this time?
Today’s blog is my thoughts on developing a holistic mode of practice and intent of purpose when shooting wedding films.
Can we as wedding videographers, provide stunning wedding films that are emotional and engaging without disturbing the flow of the wedding day?
Well, I think we can!
Getting the intent right in your mind before you shoot the wedding is paramount in creating wedding cinema with purpose. This is a clarity of thought on your purpose for the wedding film, rather than running around shooting anything that moves. The wedding day script is already written and will be played out scene by scene over the day, all one has to do, is to be ready to film the action with intent and purpose. A purpose unhampered by equipment selection decisions shot lists or team leading activities.
You can zero in on your own personal wedding film-making intent, by defining ones shooting boundaries. If you don’t have any boundaries then you will have too many options. Too many options will lead to a myriad of ideas being thrown into the mix, ideas that may not gel in the edit or lack substance and continuity. Setting out without a clear set goal in mind is inefficient and counter-productive. Hoping that the day will provide the conditions to capture great footage is effectively shooting in the dark and hoping to hit a bullseye.
It is a difficult task indeed to create a cohesive, narrative-driven wedding film, with a jumble of unrelated eye candy shots. Don’t be the wedding video shooter, who’s films are solely made up from a collection of slider, drone and shallow depth of field shots. Wedding videos like this lack the basic implementation of the cinematic language, and due to this lack of cinematic communication, they become nothing more than a wedding-themed music video. The genre is capable of so much more. With a little forward planning and the implementation of cinematic conventions, a wedding film of substance can be created.
In the crowded wedding videography market one needs to stand out to be noticed, so why not dare to be different? Defining your boundaries and modus operandi of work will help create conditions that will lead to a unique filmmaking style. An individual wedding film style that will raise your market value above the majority of wedding videographers.
So how does setting limits and rules of work, create conditions for greater individualism? What boundaries need to be set to unleash greater creativity?
You can accomplish the above by setting a manifesto to work to. A Wedding Videographers Manifesto of working practice.
I have set myself a working practice schedule that outlines my intent in the wedding filmmakers idiom. These working practices have helped me define and hone my vision in what I want to create in my wedding films.
So my wedding film vision is based on these core principles:
1. The best footage is natural footage, so I will not interrupt the natural action or direct the subjects.
2. Natural action is captured best when unnoticed, so I will remain discreet at all times.
3. Use the minimum amount of equipment to complement the shoot and to abide by the first two principles.
These principles, when followed, allow me to create unique and special wedding films, films that will truly capture the uniqueness of the wedding day. So my style of wedding film production and the equipment I use is directed by my stated principles.
So how do the principles affect my working practice? Well, I personally don’t use equipment that draws attention to me or slows me down. So I limit myself to lightweight camera systems and small footprint carbon fibre tripods. I also prefer to shoot alone to keep things super mobile and low key.
So setting boundaries and limits will create conditions for a more individual wedding film to be created. You are forced to think more creatively by the limitations, but you are also freed from the encumbrance of the equipment you choose not to use. On the busy wedding day shoot, you are better off with less equipment. Less is more when it comes to filming weddings, as this allows you to concentrate on capturing the story. A wedding is not a film set.
No ship will ever make it to its destination without a captain at the helm. The director of a film always has a vision of the finished film in mind from the start of the process. So by setting limits to how you work, you will solidify a defining vision in creating your wedding films. Having a vision of the final film in one’s mind before you set out to shoot, will gain a better-finished product.
Good luck with your future weddings and feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line.