A Philosophy of Event Videography

Two mental tools really motivate me in my work. The first is a strong philosophy of wedding videography (see the last point) and a good system that I believe in. I find that I have to believe strongly in these things to do a good job. It’s not a religion, but if it were, some of my points of doctrine would be that…

  • Creating beautiful art is a side effect. Events are about the people involved, and they are what matters. Pretty shots are great, but what really counts is that I capture as many of those natural special moments as possible. I do want to produce beautiful art, but I never want to forget the reason I’m there in the first place.
  • Everything I need as a videographer should fit in one bag. So that I can move quickly, and capture the maximum amount of great footage in a day, it’s important to pack light and have tools which are effective and compact. Typically my suitcase includes sound-recording equipment, two cameras, lenses, shoulder mount, a tripod, camera slider, memory cards batteries and chargers, and a lot of extras. The only time I would break this rule is for the reception, when I might take the time to set up a couple of lights, which don’t fit in my suitcase.
  • Technical expertise is really important. It’s important that white balance and picture profiles are correct, shots are stable, exposed properly, well composed and in focus. not to mention creative choices about shutter speed and frame rate. Being able to pay attention to all these things at the same time and still be aware of what is going on around is what makes every shot count.
  • Recording good sound is key. Because D.J.s change, and every church/synagogue/hall is different, it’s always a challenge to get good quality audio, but it makes the finished product so much better. I always try to record good audio on camera, directly from the audio system in-house, and if possible use a small lapel mic and recorder on the groom or rabbi.
  • Always have a backup. Whether it’s audio or video. It’s important to have two cameras rolling during the ceremony, one on a tripod and one on my shoulder. Usually you can’t ask clients to re-do something, and someone is bound to stand in front, bump me, or I may have to move to a better angle. It’s better to be safe, and it offers peace of mind. As mentioned above, it’s good to record audio from at least three sources using good equipment. I’ve never had a memory card fail, but it is good to remember that it could happen, and you should have a backup angle, change cards often, and back up to a laptop or iPad as soon as you can.
  • Serve the client. Remember that as a videographer, we are responsible for capturing the essence of an event so that clients can enjoy it for years to come. Most clients will watch your movie long after they have forgotten who was up for an Academy Award in 2015. They will look back on their kids as they were when they were young, and kids will remember their parents as they looked before they were gone. Filming an event is like taking a slice of the best moments of someone’s life, and letting them re-live it forever. At least, that’s how I think it should be.