As a Wedding Videographer, there is one word that I hear a lot.... and I mean a lot! And that word is, ‘Cinematic’
Loads of videographers band this word around with great pride!
‘My films are always very cinematic’
‘I always shoot in a cinematic style’
‘Anything other than the classic cinematic look will not date well’
It’s mentioned a lot believe me! But hang on......Your wedding videographer is a creative no? And creative people should be, well …..creative! And that, means not following the crowd.
Cinematic wedding films done properly are great, and I have created a few. But should a wedding film not be defined by the couple rather than the videographer?
Hell yes it should!
So in this blog I’ll be looking at what really should define a great wedding film, what its style and vibe should be, and how that is determined.
What is a cinematic wedding film?
Wedding videos go through many trends. When I first started creating them back in the mid 90’s they should have been called ‘cheesy wedding films’ They were very slushy and dreamy. Video effects were fairly new and therefore massively overused and the films were far too long and boring.
Wedding films actually went out of fashion completely about 15 years ago (probably because they were so damn cheesy) but over the last few years have made a comeback with a vengence.
Their comeback was, in part, due to a few creative people coming up with the idea of making a wedding film shorter and much more engaging, actually telling a story and almost resembling a mini feature film.
The rise of DSLR cameras capable of shooting very high quality video was fuelled by the desire to create these mini films due to the fact that the lenses could be changed, giving far more flexibility over the type of shots possible. One of the main trends in this instance has been the ‘shallow depth of field’.
Depth of field is used loads in films, it guides the viewers eye to the important part of the screen, kind of leaving everything else out of focus. If you haven't already seen it, try and watch the Netflix series ‘You’ The director here, loves a shallow depth of field, but it works because it is a tense, thriller and the viewer needs to be directed to the micro facial expressions of the actors, almost as if to tell you what they are thinking!
When I last checked though, weddings were not tense thrillers! nor are they feature films, and unfortunately, much ‘following like sheep’ has occurred in the wedding videography industry and, much like the dodgy cheesy wipes that were used back in the 90’s, overly cinematic and dramatic wedding films have started to pop up a little bit too often.
So, in a nutshell, a cinematic wedding film is usually a short (6-10 minutes) film, set to music, using natural light (from a window for example) to dramatically light the subjects as much as possible & combining that with extreme close ups and very shallow depth of field shots, centred around the couple. Like I said earlier, great if it's done properly, but if overused due to a lack of creative vision, the result unfortunately can all too often resemble a horror film with just a bride and groom having the starring roles!
So what is the right style?
Your style is the right style! After all its your wedding film right?
You may be romantic or not, you may be funny, you may not take life too seriously, you may take life very seriously, you may want your film centred on you, you may want it centred on your guests, you may want your kids to have starring roles, you may want a slow pace, or a fast pace, you may want it like a music video or you may want it like a documentary, you may of course want it cinematic!
Or, as is often the case, you may not be sure how you want your video to actually look, which is understandable. Because that is for your videographer to get to understand and interpret in the correct way.
As a wedding videographer, I place great importance on telling the story of the day for the couple and preserving the wedding day’s ‘personality’ if that makes sense.
For example, If it was a really upbeat wedding, with the couple laughing and joking and really enjoying it, but was edited all in slow motion with dreary music, then the day and the couples personalities will have been stripped away by a videographer who has ‘looked but not seen’ the day.
How to choose the right wedding videographer
So with all this in mind, how do you go about making sure that you choose the right videographer to film your wedding?
My suggestions would be to start by looking at thier work, do you like how it looks?, the style? The music etc? Do you like the type of shots that they have used?
If all that is a resounding yes, then that’s the time to get in touch with them and have a chat, fire questions at them, make sure that you feel that you get on ok with them and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
Check also what their process is for after you have booked. For example, I have a good chat with my couples when they book then I let them know that I will be in touch a couple of months before the wedding to run through the finer points. I send them a detailed set of questions to complete, so that I know exactly what will happen on the day and am prepared.
Once all in place, just enjoy your day, safe in the knowledge that you have chosen a professional videographer who will capture the very essence of both you, and your wedding day!