Tips to ensure a great Wedding Video

Panache Video Productions records Wedding Videos/DVDs mostly in Gauteng but also elsewhere – although long distances can really add to the cost Panache Video Productions

A wedding is a wonderful occasion!  So much planning and preparation goes into this special day that a video of the event, that allows you to relive your special day – even decades from now – is a great idea.

A friend who happens to have a video camera is not the ideal person to entrust with recording your Wedding Video!  Producing a Wedding DVD that will afford you lasting joy, requires costly equipment as well as a significant amount of skill and experience – particularly because everything happens only once and there are no chances for retakes. A word of warning: Editing badly recorded video will almost always cost more than it would have cost had the whole production been done professionally in the first place -- and it still won't be anywhere near as viewable as a professional product.

Please bear the following in mind:

  • The better the quality of the equipment used, the better your video will be.
  • Good light makes for good picture quality:   If the proceedings are shot in dimly lit conditions, the picture quality will be grainy, no matter what camera is used. Unless sunlight literally streams into the church, speak to your minister about allowing a camera light.  Generally one very good video light is all that is required.
  • The experience of the camera operator is of cardinal importance.  Since the essence of video is the close-up, ensure that your video crew is experienced enough to know this and understands that you want to see close-up detail of flowers, rings, stain-glass windows, hair decorations, candles, table settings, and faces!
  • Cameras and lights need electricity; inspect the locations where video will be recorded and ensure than there are electrical outlets available – and tell the production team where these are. As batteries, especially for lights, do not last long, the bulk of video recording will require access to a power outlet.

  • Avoid "sun problems": During daylight, in church and at the reception, make sure than the important people (the couple, speakers, singers, etc.) do not stand with their backs toward windows.  Unless filtering screens are used on windows, the camera operator cannot successfully counter the effect of harsh sunlight. 
  • At the reception, place the main videographer fairly close to the main table (one table away), closest to the wall and on the side where there are power outlets.  This way, the videographer can sit close to where the light stands so that it is easy to turn on/off and can be 'guarded' to ensure that people do not trip over the cables/light stand.  It is not a good idea to have electrical cables running along the floor where people walk -  it also does nothing to enhance your dιcor!
  • Do not turn your special day into something that looks more like a studio recording than a wonderful, festive and romantic wedding. Limit the video paraphernalia to the minimum. Two experienced camera operators, with a feel for and an awareness of detail, can do an excellent job.
  •  In order to have a professional product that will always be a pleasure to view, the video must be edited.  One cannot but get some bad shots at weddings -- just when you have focused on a person, he or she walks out of screen, guests bump against the camera operator and/or walk into the shot and fill it with their backs.  Such shots need to be edited out of the video.  During editing, harsh audio cuts can be mixed out and titles, graphics and music added and, of course, the best shots from the various cameras are selected.

  • The opening and closing sequences of your Wedding DVD will require music. You can usually provide the music of your choice on CD.  Do this before the wedding, so that the video company can edit the video while you are on honeymoon.  Bear in mind that the music should probably be instrumental -- otherwise you will lose all the 'wild sound' (the sound recorded with the picture) of the people arriving; furthermore, the whole song probably won't be played and it is preferable to edit an instrumental to the desired length.
  • Titles of your choice are added at the beginning and end of the video  (usually the names of the couple, date and venue) and if the wedding invitation records/scans well, it can also be included on the video. Even if the invitation does not record well, it can be used as a background for the opening titles. Generally it is a better idea to use titles -- the invitation is seldom the correct aspect ratio for video and usually contains too much information in too small a space to be clearly legible on video. You could also include your family crest -- or whatever else you wish -- in the opening sequence.  If you would like the video to use the same font as the invitation, please get the font (unless it is common to all computers) from your printer and provide it to the video producer.
  • The guests are important. When watching your Wedding DVD decades from now, it will be delightful to see who the guests where and what they looked like.  The videographers should attempt to get at least one good  close up shot of every guest attending the wedding. The best time to record such shots is while the guests arrive at church  – which means the crew should be at the church before any of the guests arrive -- early enough to set up the lights, etc. in the church before any guests arrive.
  • Meticulous prior arrangements are very important.  The video crew MUST know exactly what is going to happen during the wedding and the reception.  Discuss the events with the camera operator beforehand, i.e. is someone going to sing in church and/or is a little ring bearer going to make an appearance, when will it happen and where will this person come from/stand?  Provide the crew with a programme for the reception (and also with maps on how to get to the church, reception venue and the venue where the photographs will be taken!)

  • Decide beforehand whether you wish video footage of the bride's (and groom's) preparations to be recorded.  This would normally be included in the Wedding Video package. Generally, approximately 7 hours recording is required when preparations are included.  This generally yields a final video of  90  - 180 minutes  -- depending on how long the sermon and speeches were. If the crew is required to be present for longer than 7 hours, you will probably be charged an additional hourly fee.
  • To make doubly sure that the video is a success, ask a good friend or family member to keep tabs on the video crew during the whole day; this person should introduce themselves to the crew at the church, before the Wedding ceremony commences. The idea behind this precautionary measure is that the crew then has someone to turn to in case assistance of some kind is required. It is also most useful if special guests that are attending, are pointed out to the crew.
  • A video company will generally have your completed Wedding Video ready for you by time your return from honeymoon. (Editing a Wedding Video takes approximately six times longer than the eventual duration of the completed video.)
  • Wedding DVDs are usually chaptered or authored, i.e. the DVD has a chapter list included on the back of the box insert or contains a menu with various chapters (preparation, ceremony, speakers, first dance, etc.)
  • Video companies generally ask for a 50% deposit when you make your booking and the balance upon completion of the video.  Remember to make your booking well in advance!
A well-produced Wedding Video/DVD will become a family heirloom

Ensure that you receive a delightful, custom-made Wedding DVD that will be well worth your money and afford you much pleasure over many years.

Happy planning !