Wedding films

A wedding is one of the most significant events in people’s lives – and deserves to be recorded as such.

I don’t make traditional “wedding videos” – I try to create something with a lot more impact, that’s more interesting and involving to watch, and that’s less predictable. While naturally I don’t work with the kind of budget that a Hollywood movie has, I do try to create a movie that is as close as possible to that in its visual quality, sound, and cinematic style. That’s why the name over the door is “Lumière Films” and not “Lumière Video” – what I offer is “not your average wedding video”.

Why “wedding films”?

I prefer to talk about “wedding films” rather than “wedding videos”, because the phrase “wedding video” has acquired such negative connotations over the years. And often the typical wedding video is too long, too boring, unimaginatively shot and poorly edited.

Of course we want to record the story of the day, but in a way that highlights telling moments along the way, and that reveals something of the personalities of the bride and groom, and of their families and friends.

These days we are all used to watching TV shows and cinema movies with high production values, good camerawork and slick editing – so a wedding video can have a hard time competing with that! But it is possible – it just takes some creative shooting techniques and editing skills! In particular I spend a lot of time after the wedding creating the edit – the post-production always takes more time than the shooting.

How long is the finished film?

The final edited piece is usually under fifteen minutes – but of course you get the full version of the ceremony, and of reception speeches if those are covered, as “extras” on your DVD.

The edited piece is kept deliberately short and highly edited so that it will withstand repeated viewing – we’ve all sat through wedding videos that are too long and too loosely edited. I also provide an online version of the film, which is really easy to share with family and friends, plus if you like I can supply an iPod or iPhone version too, with my compliments.

So keeping it as concise and concentrated as as possible makes sense for those reasons.

How long is the coverage on the day?

The standard package includes coverage of the bride getting ready, the groom at the ceremony location, through the ceremony and up to the beginning of the reception, including the cake cutting. In co-operation with your photographer I would also take five or ten minutes to get some footage of the two of you alone, usually just before the reception starts. If you’d like me to include coverage of the speeches and first dance at the reception, that can be added as an option.

If possible, I’d like to get together with both of you sometime prior to the wedding, to film what I call “the wedding chat”. You’ll see some examples of this in my sample movies. What I do is spend maybe half an hour with each of you just chatting informally, on-camera, to record your thoughts and feelings about the wedding, hear how you met each other, any special people who are going to be attending, and so on. If you’ve got any funny stories that you want to tell then that’s cool too! It adds an extra dimension to hear the couple talking in their own words about their special day, and what they mean to each other. We film it in a very relaxed way and of course I edit out any “ums” and “ers”!! Most people are surprised how relaxed and confident they sound in the final product!

How is the finished film and extras delivered?

On DVD – with the main film accompanied by the full version of the ceremony, and the full version of reception speeches if you chose reception coverage as an add-on.

I shoot using high-definition cameras, but make a regular DVD since that is normally the most convenient way for people to view their film. If you’d like a high-definition QuickTime file as well as (or instead of) the DVD just let me know. The online version is normally in 720p high-definition format.

Do you direct or pose us?

No – I don’t normally direct or pose you – most of my clients are not professional actors, so that really isn’t going to work! And the last thing I want you to do is feel self-conscious and aware of my camera.

I may suggest you take a walk in the gardens, or sit on a bench and chat, but my style is much more about creating a natural record of the day and the emotions of those involved, and not about setting up staged “moments”.

How obtrusive is the filming? Do you use tripods or lights?

I try to be as inconspicuous as possible, most of the time! I use very small cameras – a far cry from the hulking shoulder-mounted monsters that used to be common. I do use tripods (I set up a couple of static cameras for the ceremony, as well as a mobile one) but whenever possible I position them so they are not in direct line of sight. A lot of the time I’ll be shooting hand-held, or with a Steadicam.

As for lighting, 90% of the time I use natural light – generally the only time I use a video light is for the speeches and first dance, since reception room lighting is usually too dim for decent results, and for nighttime shooting outdoors. I certainly don’t use lights for the wedding ceremony, unless it happens to take place at night!