Ever watched all the way through the credits at the end of a film? The number of people involved in making a Hollywood production is quite staggering. From producers to directors and assistant directors to sound editors to cameramen to lighting technicians to the location scouts to the cinematographers and colourists to the guys that carry the equipment, it takes an enormous crew behind the scenes to put together a top quality production.
Now imagine you turn up on day one of filming, the action has already started without the director’s say-so, you have a film crew of maybe one or two people and the script hasn’t even been written yet…
Wedding videographers often describe their style as ‘cinematic’ and it’s Hollywood standards that most strive towards in their work, but the lack of a full-blown film crew isn’t the only problem to overcome in attaining a cinematic film. The fact is that when it comes to weddings there’s no rehearsal and no-one to yell “CUT” and take that last scene from the top. You can’t pause for a lighting adjustment or try out a different angle, you get one chance and if you miss it the producer’s (who also happen to be your stars, the eventual audience and also your film critics) are unlikely to be forgiving.
Now don’t get me wrong, we’re not saying that capturing a wedding film is as complex and demanding as a full-blown hollywood production, but there are an awful lot of elements that go into making a good film which all have to come together in one overall vision of the day. Generally the team behind a wedding video is rarely bigger than four and may be as small as just one, yet this small group of professionals will be aiming to capture all the best angles, capture top quality live sound, often operate additional equipment such as steadicams, cranes and timelapse cameras and not miss a moment of what is the most important day of two people’s lives. Afterwards they will have to filter through hours of footage and single-handedly create a comprehensive story of the day, creating a perfectly fitting soundtrack, incorporating live recordings and colour balancing the finished cut ready for the producers who paid for the film (aka the client) to view it.
The producers, of course will always have certain aims for any film and certain scenes that are particularly important to them which the director will always do their best to accommodate, but when your director is also the cinematographer, primary cameraman, editor and sound designer it’s even more important to have complete faith in their vision. Just as in Hollywood each director has their own individual style – they will prefer a certain style of framing the shot, they will have a particular way of telling a story. Whilst every film is different and will clearly demand a slightly different approach, that trademark overarching vision of the director will still be a major influence on the way the film is put together and so it’s important to make sure you have enlisted the right director before filming begins and trust them to complete the film the way they envision it.
The odd note from the producers is rarely a problem for the creative film-maker but the backlots of Hollywood are littered with failed studio interventions. The 1982 classic Blade Runner is a classic example – a film which received mix response upon its initial release by the studio but went on to become an absolute cult classic when the director’s cut finally hit DVD’s in Ridley Scott’s original glorious vision. It may be the producer that facilitate the making of the film but it should always be the director who actually makes the movie.
So think long and hard before choosing your wedding videographer, make sure you fully understand their style and be absolutely positive that you’re not looking to change it once filming has started. Film-makers can capture any different types of content you’d like but their style will always shine through. All you need to do is put away that producer’s hat and re-cast yourselves as the stars of the film. Then and only then are you likely to have a classic on your hands.