Wedding Video is DEAD!
Yes, you read that correct, and yes, we are a company that makes wedding films. So why the click bait headline. Well I suppose it did get you intrigued enough to have clicked through, so read what I have to say, because; and especially if you are a couple planning to get married, it could be valuable decision making information.
What do I mean by dead?
Well, it’s perhaps more about semantics. You see, as far my perspective on the subject is, wedding ‘video’ is different to wedding ‘filmmaking’. Whilst they generally mean the same, their definitions mean something different and that is why you will see the term ‘filmmaking’ used (and mis-used). If you happen to be a couple looking for a videographer for an upcoming wedding, you may well have done a search on Google, Bing etal and used the phrase ‘wedding video’. If you have keen eyes, you may have noticed that some videographers web pages have opted to detail themselves as ‘wedding filmmakers’. But why?
‘Video’ as a term has been around for a long while and when associated historically with professional wedding recording, it often conjures up some large, cumbersome camcorder type device, often wielded by a middle-aged bloke. In the early days of wedding video, camcorders were pretty big, and were operated either shoulder mounted or on a large video tripod. To enable editing took dedication, equipment and a big financial outlay. They were often the reserve for Ex-television types as a means of kicking back after leaving the television industry. The cameraman pointed the camera at people with a medium or wide field of view and hit record. Sound was whatever was recorded via the on-camera microphone - with all its surrounding noises.
The equipment was a technical dinosaur by todays camera standards and those operators, whilst being professional, were not cinematographers. Camera-operators, by-and-large zoom, frame and focus a camera, based on receiving instructions from a Director or Producer in the Gallery and seldom make creative decisions.
As an aside here, my (our) wedding was actually filmed by my wife’s Aunt. It was a large shoulder mount type camcorder, no, she was not experienced and looking back it brings back many feelings, the awkwardness of her lack of skill; thrusting it in our faces, coupled with the pleasure of actually having a visual record. In this day and age, I would NOT recommend just having a family member haphazardly film your day, as there are far too many things about our day that are missing - lots, but all the same, for the time (1990), it was a rarity to have a wedding filmed and one we are glad and embarrassed to watch occasionally.
So where are we today and why the ‘filmmaker’ moniker?
The technology has made huge leaps and bounds and so too have the skills of many companies and individuals who film/video weddings. Sure there are still a few old school types about with camcorders, but if you were to ask most wedding videographers, they will be using some variant of a digital stills camera; DSLR, Mirrorless or perhaps a camera based upon that platform but designed specifically for film work. These small devices have the ability to produce images that are much higher resolution, sharper and with more dynamic range (levels of colour in the image), than ever before. But we must also remember that the operator and editor is what makes or breaks a great film/video. There is a wonderful quote:
The most important part of a camera is the 12 inches behind it.
Simply put, the result is dependent on the skill and ability of those involved filming and editing. You cannot buy the best camera and just expect to produce compelling films if you do not know your craft.
You may have noticed that there is a new buzz word: ‘cinematic’, which means:
of, relating to, suggestive of, or suitable for motion pictures or the filming of motion pictures and/or using the principles and techniques.
The term, in its broadest sense implies that the film is ‘movie like’. Sadly, however, the term can get misused and over used, so it can boil down to personal interpretation if you think it looks like a movie, or not.
What do we define as ‘Cinematic’?
As its definition implies, there is nothing specific about what is, or is not cinematic. It’s more about if it looks and or feels like a cinematic movie. If we consider that when making a movie for the Cinema, there is a Director of Photography (D.P.) also referred to as the Cinematographer. Their responsibility is to define the style and tone decisions, the camera and lens choices, lighting and to direct the lighting crews on all shots and using their creative eye, carefully consider the framing of each and every camera shot and finally, to sit in on the editing to ensure his vision is played out to the finished product.
That is not a lot different to how we as wedding filmmakers operate, except for the obvious fact we are doing it with one or two persons. But applying the same carefully considerd stages to a wedding, we need to ensure our shots are lit and framed to look beautiful or amazing and well thought out. Great quality of dialogue and music. It needs to be perfectly exposed and coloured to produce a wedding film that looks to be worth every penny you spent on hiring the 'Cinematic, Wedding Filmmakers.
Booking a wedding videographer is much like making any creative choice, it's quite subjective. Our advice is to look around, as with all the decisions for your wedding, don’t just take the first company that comes along, compare. There is more to the decision than ‘do they make great wedding films’, like how the company comes across in communication, how they will work and blend into your day, how well they communicate, how fast they deliver their work and the list goes on.
So what about that term Wedding ‘Filmmaker’? Well by encompassing those aspects that a DP would hold true in the production of a movie, and utilising them in the making of a wedding film, then the new standard phrase is a 'wedding film'. Sure it's not actually on ‘film’, but that’s just another term that has been adopted to cover digital moving images. Using the word allows us to detach from all the outdated aspects that the term ‘video’ has and embrace a fresh and exciting new world of wedding cinema. To provide our customers with an experience that truly takes their breath away; both visually and audibly. To consider how we shoot and frame our shots, how we develop your story and how we make it look truly stunning in its finished colour.
So, Wedding Video is dead, well, yes, it's more that Wedding Filmmaking is the new term (buzz word even!), either as a general used term or by its true definition. Many of us will infrequently use the term 'video', either by accident or for the benefit of our couples in finding us.