The constant drive for perfection in our wedding films
As a creative type, my whole life has been one of striving to improve what I produce. From sketching and drawing as a child, through my years as a Graphic Designer and onto producing wedding and commercial video work in recent years.
Like any creative person, I constantly look for sources of input, to see what and where I (Red Lime) can improve. To ensure we are aware of any trends; creative or other, and to keep a close eye on what the top players in the World of wedding film making, as well as what local competition are producing.
The names that are familiar to me and who attract Worldwide acclaim in the field of wedding videos are names few outside of the arena would know, but to me offer a chance to see what they do for their notoriety. Their skill and experience that has enabled them to command many thousands of pounds/dollars to travel the World and film incredible weddings.
Most it seems have a style that means every film can sit aside the next and seen as coming from the same hand – their signature style. This applies to anyone who makes the same type of product over and over. Being fortunate enough to film at the best locations, the most beautiful couples it is often a little odd to see many have a style that is quite dark; playing with heavy shadows and desaturating the colour. Whilst the visuals sit elegantly aside beautiful audio and sound design, I am often left wondering if all their locations in such sunny places are truly that dark and colourless or if the style of the creator is overly controlling the final result.
Of course you could argue that a couple booking the wedding film maker has seen their style and wants that style, but I still reserve a little uncertainty as to its choice of use every time. Yes, its a trend, and it may well change or develop over the coming years, but its still what the 'best' are doing right now and have been for a year or two.
Conversely, at the other end of the spectrum, the cheap end of the wedding film market has its own 'style' or lack thereof. The cameraperson not really sure where to point the lens or when to stop recording, so we endure great long sections of nothing moving our story forward. I remember one particular example that provided a camera pointing up some stairs and filmed just about every guest coming down, or another that filmed everyone leaving the Ceremony. Sure we may want to see some nice reactions, or key characters in our story and its nice to include as many or all of the guests in some fashion in our film, but a locked off shot is the film equivalent to watching.. well.. filming paint dry!.
We are likly to also see the finished colour as it comes off the camera, no 'grading', no emotion and generally it feels like a cameraperson was haphazardly observing the day rather that carefully looking at the events for the best light and angles to tell the story. I often feel there is no storyline, moreover, just a series of long clips in a chronological timeline. It’s not what you could call beautiful, moreover just reporting in a News style the wedding day.
A wedding film should be treated much like any movie - you need to introduce the characters, learn about them, warm to them, and enjoy their journey until the credits roll.
So what is our approach?
Every wedding has a series of things happening, these are known before we start the day. Their times; however approximate are known too. So really its more about being where the action or moment is, finding the best angle, composing the most pleasing framing, focus and exposure and you have the shots.
We use lots of audio and often additional sounds to embellish the film too. We aim to deliver a film that if it were to be watched by someone not knowing the people involved, could enjoy. Much like a film is a journey from start to finish, you have to introduce the characters, learn about them, to warm to them and to enjoy their journey up to the credits.
We look to ensure the result is a true and beautiful reflection of the people and the day. It is quite remarkable how altering just a few things about a shots angle, exposure and where the light falls, lens choice can make a brides complexion look worlds apart – and every Bride wants to look her best, right!
Our music and audio is chosen based on discussions with our couples. Whilst we retain creative control, it is always work remembering that what we are doing is for the couple, so its not a good idea to use a style they will not like. We choose music that helps steer the film, building and falling as needed.
The final ‘look’ of the film - called grading or colouring of the wedding video is also important. Whilst most couples may not pay it much notice, the difference between carefully adjusted and coloured footage, over ungraded when placed side by side is clearly noticed. Much like when you watch a movie, the amount of time in carefully selecting the colour grade and colour adjustment is huge, but the Director does not expect you to notice. It all about creating a mood and tone for the film.
Mood and tone are things we hold with great importance. When we film say a wedding in a field, with marque, the tone would likely be bright, airy, lots of light, green trees and any colours the couple had within their day. Conversely a wedding set in a hotel in a City would be in complete contrast; less greens, darker most likely – you get the picture. The top players in the wedding film market, seem often ignore this difference and instead keep to their usual colour palette. At the low end for the market, typically I see that they have paid little to no attention to any mood and only the colours they film are what is seem on the finished film.
So, in conclusion, our approach is to paint a story of the couple’s day, using colours, sounds and embellishments that reflect the unique day the couple created, how the day felt to us and in part how the weather played a part too. Sure, we have a style, it’s just a lot less about how we want to present your day, but more about how we can show it in the best and true way we can.
We care about each and every shot, its composition, the light and exposure to deliver great moving images.
Motion with Emotion
You can watch the video here: Yorkshire Wedding Film - Crab and Lobster near Thirsk