Photography courtesy of Tim Chin Photography + Design
Your wedding day will be one of the most compelling, introspective and expensive days of your life. Surrounded by friends and family from the moment you wake, you will find yourself journeying through a climactic experience carefully designed to portray the beauty and magic you and yours are celebrating in each other. Alongside the day's amplified participation, you’re sure to find yourself with an unexplained absence when looking back on what transpired. This is many brides choose to hire a wedding cinematographer -- to capture all of the precious moments that happen throughout the day.
Knowing the importance of commissioning a cinema team is only the first step. Finding the right company is something else entirely, so Weddingbells appealed to Toronto-based wedding cinematographers Elle & Be for some advice on what to look for before making a booking.
1. Experience Finding an experienced wedding cinematographer is vital. Technical troubleshooting is a regular part of the wedding day and it’s imperative your cinema team is experienced in handling any situation that may arise. Do your research and get to know the vendors you're considering. Ask around, and compare online portfolios.
2. Personality You’re going to be spending a 15-hour day with the team you hire, therefore it’s a good idea to select people you enjoy being around. Be sure to spend some good face-time with your prospective cinematographers. If it's not possible to meet in person (booking for international weddings), try Skype, or at least a good phone call.
3. Direction/Style Ultimately your cinema team’s unique style will end up surfacing in your edited footage, so why not spend some time viewing previous work to really get a feel of what they’re all about? Everyone will promise you the best, but it’s a general rule that ‘you’re only as good a your last film’. If your looking for more than a montage to music, go with a company who has shown the ability to tell a story.
4. Equipment Companies who truly want to create a memorable wedding film will have invested time and money into properly building their kits. Ask about the video and audio equipment they’re using, and if you don’t have the technical knowledge, ask a friend who does. Audio is often overlooked, and it’s 50 percent of the film. What’s a wedding without all the amazing words shared from friends and family? Look for a cinema crew armed with LAV and shotgun mics.
5. Organization Listening to your prospective cinema team offers you insight into how well they will execute their ‘master plan’ on your wedding day. Every wedding is unique, and provides presentations which will need to be understood and prepared for in advance. If your sister is planning a surprise vocal performance, for example, your vendors should know this beforehand so they can get in place to capture it.
6. Editing The real work begins after the cameras are packed away, in the editing suite. An editor must have the capacity to properly gather your wedding footage, and creatively organize it into an enjoyable cinematic presentation. You’ll be able to gauge an editor’s sense of timing and artistic potential by viewing his or her previous work. It’s generally more successful having an editor who was present during the wedding shoot.
7. Engagement Shoots Enjoying your wedding day is always the intention, so naturally you’ll want to spend a little extra effort to ensure you’re surrounded by a comforting bunch. A wonderful way to break-the-ice with your cinema team is to get together days prior to the wedding, and get some shooting in! There are many different exciting ways to approach this often labelled 'Love Story', or 'Concept Shoot'. It’s your opportunity to create any shoot you’ve ever wanted to do! Maybe you’d like footage of you both yachting on the Great Lakes, or perhaps shopping for antiques at a local market? The possibilities are endless.
8. Soundtrack It’s a common misunderstanding that choosing your favorite songs will ensure the perfect video. What’s important to realize is that a film's soundtrack is selected to enhance the mood and feelings being visually portrayed. A good cinema team will rarely use your favorite iPod songs, but rather take the suggestions as guidance when selecting appropriate music for the film. These tracks may not end up in your Jiggy Disco Ball playlist on iTunes, but in the film, they will be perfect.
9. Destination Weddings Every wedding cinematographer will openly embrace an opportunity to film your destination wedding. You may find a great team with many excellent examples of work, but very little experience in travel gigs. Don’t let your wedding be a trial run. Experienced cinematographers will have all the appropriate travel gear, documents, adapters, and an apt ability to execute their craft in foreign situations. Newcomers may not even be able to charge their batteries.
10. The Bottom Line Once you’ve carefully selected the perfect wedding cinematographers, it’s time for you to move focus back to your wedding! Enjoy the day, enjoy the moments, and don’t concentrate on anything more than your friends, family, and true love.
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