As you may have noticed, this month we’re all about weddings here at OLYMPUS… but we’re not just thinking about stills – oh no.
Modern photographers absolutely have to be able to turn their hand to video, and while classic photography might still rule the roost, being able to shoot a few snips of video to compile into a short, minute-or-so-long package will hugely endear you to your clients.
Thinking about jumping in? Our beginners’ guide should start you off nicely.
Hear begins the lesson
Hear that? That’s the sound of your clumsy camera handling proving a gigantic distraction to anyone who watches your video. If you’re creating a short video with music over the top, fine; if you’re creating a video where it’s actually important to be able to hear what’s being said, hold your horses. The simple fact is that your built-in microphone isn’t going to do as professional a job as a specialised bit of kit would.
If you’re shooting the ceremony itself it’s safe to say you’ll be fairly far away, and running a hundred-foot microphone wire down the aisle is a surefire way to trip up the bride. Allow us to recommend something like the OLYMPUS LS-100, a top-quality, multi-track audio recorder that you could park unobtrusively near the front and which will do a great job picking up voices.
B-roll is B-etter
Obviously, you want to nail the showpiece moments of a wedding. The bride’s arrival, the vows, the bouquet and whatever the best man’s dirtiest joke happens to be. But with all that rushing around there are guaranteed to be some downright clumsy camera movements, abrupt zooms and so on.
B-roll does the job of masking these clumsy little ticks: short, seconds-long, bokeh-rich snippets of, say, the flowers, which you can run over the top of that part where you bumped into a chair or got distracted by a delicious-looking cake. You absolutely cannot ever have too much B-roll. Which means:
Your kit needs to be sorted
Among other things, this means fully charged batteries – and a couple of them at that. It’s unavoidable that capturing HD video exerts a toll on batteries and if you start shooting at the beginning of the day it’s very likely you’ll be looking at a flashing warning battery symbol by the time the cake comes out. Take out an insurance policy in the shape of a couple of spares.
The same goes for memory cards. Expect to shoot an enormous amount of footage, so make sure your memory cards are to hand. A laptop might be useful for offloading footage at the end of the day, but don’t bank on being able to find the time to use it to unload a memory card so you can re-use it.
Don’t forget the light
You know how strength, colour and directionality of light are all really important aspects of stills photography? The same is absolutely true of videography. If you’re recording people speaking to you, make sure the light is catching them nicely, and beware of pointing your camera into shadow.
Going from a light area to a dark area (heading into a church from outdoors is the classic) will result, if your camera is exposing automatically, in a giant leap of either shutter speed or ISO, which looks amateurish.
Or, if you’re setting your exposure yourself, plunging the camera into darkness will simply result in unintelligible footage. This also looks amateurish. Taking care to shoot in good light will allow you to work in the sweet spot of your camera in terms of aperture and ISO performance.
Keep it short
What most people want from a wedding video is a short, watchable reel of highlights, which you’ll be able to put together by filming as much as possible and then selecting the absolute best bits. What people don’t want is a two-hour epic that sees you using every last bit of footage you grabbed.
You’re the director here, so as much as it hurts – be brutal when it comes to discarding footage. The happy couple already experienced every detail of their wedding once, after all – and their relatives will thank you.
If you’re an OLYMPUS-using wedding professional, get in touch! We’d love to see your work – especially if you’re creating videos of your clients’ celebrations…