We all know how challenging it can be to choose the right videographer for our big day, someone who can capture every moment of your once-in-a-lifetime experience, have you look back and remember how beautiful each moment was. Producer and director of AllureWeddings, Han, shares with us tips to choosing the right videographer for your wedding day, the current trends in wedding videography, and just what it takes to be a wedding videographer.
Videography is such a creative field, how did you get into it?
I was born into it. When my dad started videography 36 years ago, he would bring me along to watch and help out. First, tripods and batteries. Then cameras and lights. I also prefer watching movies than studying.
What training or professional qualifications did you need?
I studied visual communications back in school and we were thrown from typography classes, to charcoal drawing, and web design. It did allow me to have an idea of how things work, but I don’t think it was necessary.
Technology is constantly improving. Do you feel the need to constantly refresh your skills or do you just learn on the job?
Fortunately, technology these days are designed for the masses. Picking up a new skill is not difficult, such as the recent drone cinematography hype, and the camera-to-web wireless photo transfers. It requires you to be more subject oriented than technologically capable. New trends of technology is always going to surface, and I feel the need to put the distraction it brings aside. Constantly understanding and learning different styles of work is very important.
Tell us about an average day in a videographer’s life.
I watch videos all the time, whether it's Youtube, Facebook or Instagram. I repeat good movie trailers a thousand times, to scrutinise and study every cut, scene, audio effect, and editing trick the editor uses. I would try to understand the mechanisms of story telling, why the editor picked that scene, and how it fits into a certain part of the soundtrack.
I would also repeat a good music video many times, to understand the body language, camera movements, and how the music and images stir emotions. Listening to all kinds of music helps as well, because in my opinion, music and motion pictures drive emotions, and I enjoy the feeling it gives off. I usually like my music loud, and that is why bad speakers are illegal to me. Oh, and I can't leave for the bathroom without my phone.
What three things would you say make a good videographer?
Being able to understand the music, motion pictures, body language and storytelling is imperative. He has to understand that what he wants might be different from what the music wants. He also needs to be attentive and patient. Beautiful moments are captured because the videographer is ready for it, not because they saw it happen. With experience, the videographer will eventually learn how to be at the right place at the right time. Discipline is a must, especially for weddings. No late nights or drinking before a wedding. Ensuring that you're in good health is also being a responsible videographer.
Do you have any tips for non-professionals on how to create a good home video?
When you’re filming it, try to talk about the scenario, place and event. Go as close as possible to the subject if you can, to ensure the best audio quality. Interact with the subject to capture any change in perceptions. Stabilisers or cameras with stabilisers are definitely good investments. As long as it has age, it will be a good home video. Most importantly, remember to keep the home video safe, be it burning onto a DVD or uploading onto a harddrive. After all, nobody wants to lose a good home video filled with precious memories right?
Moving on to wedding videography, what kinds of videos do you think work best?
I make it compulsory for couples to write their own vows. Only about 1 in 50 cases when a church says “no” to customised vows. Once you have your own vows (promises, apologies and appreciations), look into each other’s eyes and say it out slowly. Even the coldest heart will melt.
What are the trends in wedding videography, and which is the most popular at the moment?
Keeping it simple and realistic. Mix it with a casual pre-wedding shoot of the couple’s daily activities, and then overlay it with their vows and thank you speeches. With a good soundtrack that reflects both their characters, the video would be the most realistic. I think couples are tired of watching dramatised storylines, spoofs and “music videos”. Be it casual and light-hearted, or self-indulging and hopelessly romantic, they would want to hear what others think. Whether it’s a congratulatory speech, words of blessings or the occasional dirty jokes, couples like to keep it real.
What advice do you have for couples when it comes to choosing a wedding videographer?
Most importantly, the groom needs to know what the bride wants. Some couples would leave it up to us [videographers], some would like to direct it themselves, and the others might have an idea, but are still in need of professional advice. Know which category you belong in, and choose objectively.
Compared to photography, set aside 40 per cent more budget for cinematography. Cinematography equipment is more expensive than photography equipment. It requires faster and higher capacity memory cards, bigger hard disks, faster laptops, and multiple rigs for different kinds of shots. On average, a wedding video takes up to 120GB worth of memory, and it might not even be in Ultra High Definition.
Find out if he or she is able to adapt to [different] styles easily. Styles and trends are constantly changing, and a few months down the road if you change your mind, he must be able to adapt perfectly to what you want.
When shooting weddings, what has been your favourite moment so far?
Once a bride told me her dad is a very strong man—head of the house, no-nonsense, no excuses. During the wedding, as he handed his only daughter over to the groom and requested for him to take well care of her, he did so in tears. Even though the words spoken were so few, it took him a long time. It was so moving, even the priest was in tears.
And what about disasters?
I have so many protocols in place, such as triple back-ups two days after a shoot, no multiple jobs on one memory card, no formatting a card that’s not backed up by you, and no formatting cards outside the studio. With 36 years of experience, there is hardly anything we don’t look out for. It all takes time.