Chatting to a Videographer
28 June 2017
This blog originally appeared on sister company Sternberg Clarke's website, but we felt readers of TG Weddings would be just as interested to hear from a wedding videographer so we're reposting it here. Many thanks to Callum Toms for answering the questions. Photography by wedding photographer Jake Baggaley. Together they work as Pretlove & Co., based in Bournemouth, Dorset.
What is a wedding videographer?
They can come in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes but in it’s most basic sense, it’s someone who captures your special day using film. They record everything a photographer would cover but they have the benefit of moving images and also sound to convey what happened on one of the biggest days of your life.
Why did you become a wedding videographer?
By accident! I studied Television Production at University and went on to work as a Videographer for a charity called Help for Heroes as well as working in the crew of big budget commercials. So I’ve always been on the film/video path but the weddings started when a friend wanted a cheap wedding gift for his sister and her fiancé! Weddings were something I’d been wanting to try out and without any experience I felt guilty asking anyone to pay me and this couple couldn’t afford photos and video, so it was a win-win situation for both parties.
That wedding went really well and seeing them enjoy their film lead to me doing the same for another friend and then once videos started going up on Facebook and more of my own peers starting getting married, word quickly got out that I was doing this work and now without ever really trying I’ve just finished my 12th wedding!
I should say however, you don’t get this far into this industry if you don’t enjoy it. I really have a passion for capturing special moments in people’s lives as well as my own. It’s always a privilege to live the day with a couple as you get to witness and document the big and little moments of a wedding and the feeling you get when you see a couple laugh or cry (or both) when watching their film is one you don’t get doing other video jobs.
What should an engaged couple be looking for in a videographer?
Obviously it should be someone whose films you enjoy and whose style matches you as a couple but if you really want it to go well, someone you have chemistry with. I’ve not done many weddings compared to a seasoned pro but even so I’ve consistently seen that photos and video are unfortunately what many couples can get most stressed about on the day and that’s a real shame.
One of the most important and most over-looked parts of the photographer’s and videographer’s jobs is keeping the couple calm and happy. You’re actually with them for more of the day than most people, sometimes more than the maid of honour and best man so you have ample time and opportunity to help them relax and be a good influence on their day. There’s not going to be any good photos or video if people aren’t relaxed and having fun so in my opinion you want someone that seems flexible about how they work, someone you feel some chemistry with and that you don’t mind being around you for a large chunk of the biggest day of your life.
How do you prepare for shooting a wedding video?
All of my films are montages set to the song the couple uses for their first dance so the main thing I do is listen to that song on repeat for a little while in the car on the way to the venue. Just to feel the pace of the song, see if there is any significance or meaning in the song for the couple and imagine what shots I might look for when the day starts and everything is moving at the speed of light. Apart from that, check my gear, remind myself of what the couple said they were looking for when we first spoke and make myself presentable! Ha.
How would you describe your style of video?
They are documentary-style montages focusing on small details and the in-between, candid and real moments of a wedding that make people truly feel. I like everything to feel intimate and not too polished or professional. Almost in-between a home-video and a professional music video. By using their first dance song and focussing on the these raw moments and small details I try to capture the essence of a couple and the flavour and feel of their day so they can relive it every time they watch.
Can you describe a little about how your day goes
I always start filming during the bride’s preparations and I call it a day just after the first dance. Normally I’ll arrive early, speak to the venue, film a little of the preparations that go on in the building and generally get the lay of the land so there’s no nasty surprises later. Then I'll move between the bride and groom as I feel appropriate until they come together at the ceremony and after that I’m with the couple or at least close by for the rest of the day. Apart from dinner - nobody wants to be filmed eating.
Which part of a wedding do you most look forward to filming?
Easy question, definitely the photoshoot after the ceremony is finished when the bride and groom are alone together. It’s always the best footage for me and I’m pretty sure it’s one of the best moments for the couple too. After all the getting ready, rushing around, nerves, vows and the inevitable stream of relatives congratulating them, there’s always a really nice moment when you get the couple somewhere quiet and picturesque and even though they’ve been stood next to each other for about an hour they always seem to calm down and get a chance to just say “Hi! How are you?” to each other. It’s the best moment I capture, the moment when they realise they're husband and wife, what they’ve achieved and how happy they are feeling. It’s a really genuine, exciting and private moment I get to document for people.
Do you have any tips for people planning their wedding?
With regards to video and photos, my advice to the groom would be to prep your best man and your ushers! These guys need to be ready to pluck your parents away from tipsy conversations, hold glasses of champagne for anyone in a photo, carry bridesmaids over wet grass and then some. If the boys can nail this part of the day with military precision they can get more time for everyone to have fun, get back to socialising and enjoying the day.
What’s the best wedding you’ve ever attended?
Tough call. I’ve loved different elements of all the weddings I’ve filmed. Some have had fantastic games for the guests to play, I’ve had some really wonderful speeches and seriously beautiful venues. This might be a bit of a cop-out answer but I watched one of my oldest friends get married to another good friend of mine a couple of weeks ago and although I wasn’t filming myself, I had a friend do it for me and I’ll be editing their film. The weddings I enjoy most are the ones where I’m most attached to the couple and obviously I was heavily invested this wedding!
Having been to so many weddings, which sort of entertainment stands out?
It absolutely has to be singing waiters. They’re amazing. I’ve only just had my first singing waiter experience but it’s easily the best entertainment I’ve seen at a wedding. It serves as such a good segway from dining to partying. Normally everyone finishes their food, you have the speeches and the best man is normally left until last to say “…Now let’s go have a great night!!” Everyone whoops and cheers with enthusiasm before quickly slumping back into their chair to let their dessert go down. At this wedding however, only the bride’s parents, myself and the photographer knew what was coming after the speeches. Two waiters, who had been serving food and drink all evening, broke into a 5-song setlist much to the surprise of the bride and everyone else in the room. By the end of their set they (and some enthusiastic guests) were standing on chairs, they had the whole room waving their napkins from side to side and singing Tom Jones’ Delilah at the top of their lungs. The party was in full flow after that!
How long does it take for the wedding video to be ready?
This can really vary but normally it takes me a week to edit rough, finalise, colour grade and burn all DVDs before posting everything off. It can take longer because I always send the couple a version I am happy with to check I’ve included all the right people, not missed anything they might have wanted in the film and just generally make sure they like it! Normally I get it right first time and everyone is really happy but occasionally the odd shot gets changed and that kind of tweaking can take more time than you’d think.
Charlotte & Daniel | Pretlove & Co | Wedding Film from Pretlove & Co on Vimeo.