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8 Tips for Making a Quality DIY Wedding Video

Updated on September 15, 2016

You're Having a Wedding? How Wonderful!

Weddings are remarkable events, no matter the type or theme you choose to have.

The fact that two people have found in each other someone with whom to spend and share a lifetime is amazing in and of itself. That these lucky people have chosen to take the time and expense to honour this union with a wedding ceremony so family and friends can celebrate as well makes it just that much more special.

Few other events can bring together such a wonderful mix of loved ones like a wedding does, so naturally everyone will want to have photos and video of the event to remember it with. And now, with modern technology and the magic of the internet, you can share and remember this amazing gathering until the Sun explodes.

Technology: Recording Your Special Day, And Then Some.

Thanks to the miracle of technology, today’s cell phones and camcorders can record images good enough to make even the most amateur video footage look like it was shot with professional-quality lenses. What's more, with the right angles and techniques anyone can make their wedding video look like something Steven Spielberg did as a side gig.

Yet while it’s tempting to take the DIY approach to your wedding video, the truth is that there’s already more than enough to worry about when planning a wedding. This is why people hire a wedding videographer – for a certain price you can just get someone to take (hopefully) beautiful footage of your big day.

Professional videographers will even edit and format these videos so you don’t have to worry about your drunk sister’s video confessional making it to the finished product.

However, weddings also tend to be pricey events and wedding videographers do not come cheap. Even though the hassle of shooting your own wedding videos can be intimidating, the prospect of adding an extra $1000+ to your bill might be even scarier.

It is for these people that this article is written – people with more gumption than greenbacks. People willing to gamble on DIY wedding videography for the sake of not selling a kidney to fund their nuptials... The brave and thrifty brides and grooms.

DIY wedding video? Ka-CHING!
DIY wedding video? Ka-CHING!

Some Professional Advice, Free of Charge...

The following 8 tips & tricks come from the extremely talented Calgary wedding video gurus at Ring Tail Films, an intrepid gang of veteran video producers with the combined experience of over 2 decades. If anyone has mastered the art and science of creating top-quality wedding videos, it’s these people.

Here’s what these savvy wedding movie wizards advise:

1. Make sure your devices have enough memory and battery power.

An obvious thing that even seasoned pros can forget.

Whether you’re shooting this wedding movie on an iPhone 4 or the snazziest camcorder available, making sure you have fully-charged batteries and lots of unused available memory should be whatever the step before step #1 is.

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2. Make sure you have more than one camera.

Technical difficulties happen at the best moments… As in, the best and most magical moment that you really want to get a shot of is also the exact moment when your main camera will go on the fritz.

Make sure you have a back-up device to quickly turn to, and make sure this back-up is fully charged with a clear memory card.

It's also a good idea to buy a few extra memory cards for your devices too, just in case.

3. Move slowly and use an extendable tripod.

Remember the Blair Witch Project? I do. I remember watching it in theatres and running out to hurl in the public washrooms from motion sickness.
Don’t incorporate this filming technique into your wedding video.

The only nausea your audience should feel is from how sickeningly cute the married couple is, not the shaky footage Aunty Hilda’s arthritic hands caused. Slow, steady hands with a tripod that can extend up to 5’ are the ideal combination.

4. Learn a bit about camera LUX ratings.

Basically, the lower the LUX rating on your camera(s) the better. LUX means how well a camera captures images in low-light settings, such as those found in churches, synagogues and banquet halls.

But beware – LUX is a semi-subjective measurement. Even if a manufacturer says their camera will capture images in low-light conditions (such as 0.5-LUX), what they consider an acceptably good quality image may not be the same as you. Test whatever cameras you choose before using them.

5. Got some B-roll shots.

B is for background, or at least that’s how the guys at Ring Tail described it to me.

When you watch a feature news report, the clip will almost always have some background footage – of the neighbourhood where a crime occurred, of the bike lane where the nude cyclist got his speeding ticket, whatever. These shots are pure filler and good for passively transitioning between parts of a story.

For your wedding video, you might want to take some passive video footage of the bridal party’s dresses hanging elegantly from hangers in front of a window, guests young & old dancing, the wedding rings in their boxes side-by-side, or the shot of whiskey as it sits waiting for the bride’s father to slam it before sauntering down the isle. B-roll footage is the thread that binds your wedding movie together.

6. Video editing software.

Your video editing software doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be functional. And with all the free trials out there, it can also be frugal! The wedding video editing experts at Ring Tail Films suggest reading consumer reviews of any video editing software that you’re considering, but say even something as basic as iMovie could do the trick (depending on how crazy you want to get with it).

Most popular video editing software will also have a plethora of online tutorials available, either on the company’s website or YouTube or even on videography enthusiast blogs. These resources make figuring out this software easy, even for the most technologically-challenged of us.

Fun Wedding Video Sample (notice all the great B-roll footage!)

7. Can you hear me now?

Good images are just ½ the battle when it comes to making a professional-quality wedding video. Good sound is what determines whether your footage becomes a true wedding movie or the graphics for a slide-show presentation.

There are 2 ways of ensuring you get good sound:

A. Get a wireless microphone and headphone set

B. Stand awkwardly close whenever & wherever the magic happens

I’d say option A is preferable, but maybe you like being in the thick of it and don’t mind huddling up with the groomsmen.

However, if you’d prefer to keep a respectfully appropriate distance then you can easily find quality, affordable lapel/lavalier microphones either online or in most reputable electronics stores.

8. A reliable buddy or 2.

Without this person/these people, the previous 7 items in this list are pretty much useless.

One very useful tip that Ewen at Ring Tail gave is to make it absolutely clear to everyone involved who the person is that’s taking the video of your big day. Make an announcement, give them a nametag, even get a lanyard with photo ID made (if that’s what you’re into), but be sure that everyone else is sure on who’s taking the video.

Furthermore, by clearly designating your videographer(s) you not only make them feel empowered and valued, but you also help make sure your guests and wedding members don’t get in the way. Everyone will be much more likely to be mindful of the camera and videographer when they know who to watch out for.

Happily Ever After?

These tips cover the technical side of DIY wedding videos (which is exactly where you want to start), but not the camera techniques for making it look Spielberg-esque. After tackling these technical necessities, a good place to start learning some pro camera angles is to look at some professional wedding videos – like the sample above. And a good place to look for professional wedding videos is on the websites of professional videographers!

Either way, and regardless of what you choose to do for your wedding video or however much you care to spend on it, these tricks and tips are universally relevant so be sure to spread the word... Because there are enough sub-pay DIY wedding videos out there already.

SOURCES:

- Those Calgary wedding videos gurus at http://ringtailfilms.com
- My good man Mark at http://apracticalwedding.com/2015/03/diy-wedding-videography-tips/
- This awesome 3-part wedding video tutorial from http://learn.corel.com/blog/diy-wedding-videography-part1/

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