How Many Cameras Do I Need for My Wedding Video?
As you compare videographers for your wedding, you'll notice that one of the differences between them is the number of video cameras they use. Isn't one enough?
I would say no, actually. Take a look at any film or TV programme - how long does the camera stay on each shot? It's usually a matter of seconds, rather than minutes. Action scenes often cut between many camera angles, but even in dialogue scenes there are shots of both actors together, then individual shots, over the shoulder shots and more, and editing them together keeps it interesting to watch and helps to maintain pace and emotion.
Now think about your wedding ceremony - it might go on for 30 minutes or even longer. Will anyone want to watch the same static shot for half an hour? Also, if the videographer tries to make it more interesting by reframing the shot, or going in for a close-up as you place the ring on your partner's finger, the camera movement, the zoom, the refocusing will all be on camera - and it's not pretty. A second camera, even if it's just fixed on a tripod at the back of the church, allows for a far greater variety of shots, and therefore a far better looking wedding video.
Even better than a fixed second camera is a second camera operator. With both cameras able to focus in on the important shots, your video really starts to fly. One can capture the first kiss while the other camera films the cheers from your friends and family, or your Mum wiping away a tear. As well as the ceremony, the speeches and the dancing really benefit from a second skilled camera operator, and it allows simultaneous filming of the bridal preparations and guests arriving at the church.
Some people worry that two people wandering around with cameras will be a bit obtrusive, but in actual fact it's reasonably easy to stay in the background when the centre of attention is so firmly on the bride and groom!
The next step up is, rather obviously, a fixed third camera. This can be a nice addition, especially if your wedding venue has a gallery or balcony where the camera can get a high wide shot of the whole proceedings. Again, since this offers another option in the edit it allows the cameramen to be a bit freer with their shot choices. However, if getting a third camera means stretching the budget then it's probably not worth it.
A third camera operator is really quite unusual unless you're having a very large wedding - say 300 guests or more. If that's the case then it's probably a good idea, as three cameramen will easily blend in with that number of guests, and will make it easier to catch all the action.
It's not impossible to film a wedding with one camera, but if you want a video you'll be proud to show to friends and family, I would strongly suggest having a second manned camera.
Article by Hertfordshire Wedding Videographer Jim Cliff
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