TAILOR MADE FILMS
If there is one thing I refuse when to do filming weddings is to shoot and edit based on templates. Granted, over the years the experience I have gained has taught me what to shoot and what not. However, each wedding has its own dynamic and ultimately its own visual message. You and your planner worked hard to get all the details and the styling together to make your day special. As a cinematographer, use all those elements along with the environment and the candid movement of the day to create something special. I aim films to be timeless but also modern; solemn but witty; emotional but funny.
YOUR WEDDING DAY IS NOT A FILMSET
As counterintuitive as it might sound, in wedding cinematography less equipment actually leads to better footage. Because I work in a stealth and discrete manner, to get the most natural, spontaneous moments of the day less equipment is the key. I also limit the use of certain kinds of kit such as cranes, tripods or other stuff you would find in a film set. While it can give endless possibilities, in a wedding it can actually hinder and jeopardise the feel of the day.
This is when the cinematic magic happen. Editing a film is as much about what you put in as what you leave out. I use every bit of footage of the day deliberately in order to create a witty, funny and interesting narrative of the day. Along with the narrative power of the vows or the speeches or even the interviews to drive the film. I cut the Full Wedding Film in a more complex storyline with several custom licensed music and then some Highlights (literally the very best footage) great to share with your friends over Facebook or Twitter.
I use small, compact cameras and lenses for a reason. Not because they are cheap (clue: they are not), but because they fit extremely well the way I work. I get to work with them all day in the tinniest spaces. As they require a small footprint, it's also very photographer friendly as they can walk around them. It also makes it easier to work alone, which (except for very large weddings) is extremely important. For most weddings two videographer teams are an overkill and it defeats the purpose of documentary filming. Filming alone allows for a smaller, leaner setup with a smaller footprint.
Saying the sound is extremely important is an understatement. A wedding film without ambient sound or dialogue is a music video. The human voice is extremely rich and personal. It enables the narrative to be both very intimate and also works as a driving force for the story. During key moments of the day, I capture sound of speeches and vows using lapel microphones and minuscule sound recorders to make sure you get the best sound you can imagine.
I take up to about only 25 wedding commissions per year to make sure I give my best attention to each one of them. Sure, I could take 40 or 50, but I wouldn't be able to meet every single one of my clients as I currently do. Whether over Skype or FaceTime, I meet always like to go through the schedule and listen to your concerns and what you like or not. That way, I feel we already know each other on the day and that enables me to personalise the film as much as I can - besides the inherent benefit of getting to know new, exciting people!