Tools & Tips for Video Coverage of Your Wedding Day

By West McDonald
Tracker Productions

Everything is perfect: Your family and friends are seated comfortably, the flowers look divine, the music is being played in key, and you know the caterers are busy making sure the food for the reception afterwards is scrumptious. The only thing left to do now is walk down the isle and wed the person of your dreams. Off you go!

Nightmare of all nightmares! You are sitting at the head table and the only reason you know you actually got married is because there is a gold band on your finger! You were so nervous and excited all at once that your mind is drawing a complete blank. All the effort, the planning, the endless sacrifices all year long and you don't have a single recollection of how things went. Yikes.

There is insurance against this all-to-common wedding amnesia: A wedding video! It will bring you, your family and friends, countless evenings of enjoyment and recollection simply at the flick of your remote control. The cost will be nominal and a professional video will bring you countless years of enjoyment.

The best person to entrust with capturing your special day is a professional Wedding-Videographer. The old saying that "A hammer does not a carpenter make" is good to remember when hiring a professional to film your wedding. The best person to ask for advice on this is your Wedding Planner. They will have a Videographer that they trust enough to put their name to so that you will have one less thing to worry about. It's It is after all, their job. If you are planning your own wedding, here are ten questions you should ask to ensure that you pick the best Videographer for the big day:

1. Video cameras are not all the same. Hi8 or DV provide a higher quality than the standard camcorder. Some of the best digital units include the Sony VX 2000 and the Canon XL1.

2. 3-chip CCD cameras will have the best Digital quality. You don't need to know what it means other than "the best possible chipset for the best possible image."

3. Ask to view a "wedding video sample" tape. This will give you an idea of what the quality will be like when you get yours.

4. Do they use wireless microphones? If they do, great, if they don't ask them to get one.

5. Is the Videographer unobtrusive? They should be.

6. What do they dress while filming? Make sure they dress neat and tidy. Blue jeans are NOT acceptable wedding-wear.

7. What back up equipment do they have? It should be comparable in quality to the original.

8. Price?? Most Videographers have several packages. Choose the one that fits within your budget and captures what you desire.

9. Do they use 1 camera or 2?. If 2 cameras is the second operator an extra charge?

10. Bookings? Make sure you give them specific instructions for time, place. Also, be sure to check with the church, Priest, hall, etc., to find out if they have any rules regarding filming of weddings.

Once these questions have been answered to your complete satisfaction you'll be well on your way to hiring the best possible professional to film the big day.

If you decide that a Videographer is simply not within your wedding budget you can still take some action to ensure that you get an acceptable "home video" of your Wedding. Everybody and their Uncle has a home video camera nowadays (we've all had to suffer through their personal movies at one time or another). As you know, having a camera is not enough to make a movie. If that was the case Hollywood would be out of business by now. Here are some tips to help your Uncle Jim or your Cousin Sally to film a video that will bring you tears of joy instead of making you cringe every time your throw it in the VCR:

1. Try to use a Digital or Hi-8 camera. The quality will be drastically improved when transferring or copying for friends and family.

2. Make sure they have a Tripod. This will reduce unwanted motion and save you and your friends from being queasy when you watch the finished product on TV.

3. Do not "zoom" in or out while filming. Do all "zooming" while the camera is NOT recording. If they want to switch from a wide shot to a close up, stop the camera from filming between transitions. All the professionals do this.

4. Be sure to scope out the best possible spot for the camera ahead of time. It should be in a spot that is unobtrusive but can also capture the bride's walk down the isle and ceremony without having to move the tripod & camera.

5. Practice, practice, practice. Be sure to film some "practice" runs before the actual ceremony. This will ensure that the person doing the filming will be ready to capture things in the heat of the moment without any worries or mistakes.

Again, I cannot recommend enough that the best way to capture your wedding on Video is to hire a professional. That being said, the tips above should give you a quality home video that you and yours will enjoy again and again. Professionally shot or captured by a reliable friend or relative, a Wedding Video will bring back all the feelings and wonder that you were too busy to remember on the special day itself!

By West McDonald
Tracker Productions

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