It’s Royal Wedding weekend. It’s unclear which members of the Royal family will be taking their Best Buy camcorders along to record the event, but here we round up our top five tips for shooting wedding video.
1) Don’t forget your memory and make sure you have enough juice
Make sure you have enough tapes, memory cards, internal memory or whatever you’re recording on. High Definition video especially can use up a lot of space. Count on 2GB being enough from anything between 9 and 25 minutes of recording at the highest quality level, depending on your camcorder.
Ensure you have enough space before you start recording the scene – when the bride is asked whether she’ll take this man, you’ll want to record “I do”, not get the “memory card full” message pop up.
Similarly, ensure you have enough battery power for your day’s recording. Some ceremonies can be (agonisingly) long, then there’s the confetti, speeches, and Auntie Maude dancing (hopefully in that order). There are a lot of priceless and timeless memories to record, so count on a couple of spare batteries for the big day. Our tests show that the average camcorder battery lasts 104 minutes before needing a recharge.
Check out our advice on how to buy the best camcorder for you.
2) Shooting angles
Most guests view the wedding ceremony from the back and relatively far away. While that perspective would make an OK video, a more close-up view is far more interesting. It will give the viewer later a real sense of the action and hopefully the emotion too.
That said, don’t shove your lens where it’s not wanted – rather, see if you can get a good front row seat at least. Even better, try to get permission from all the important people beforehand in order to shoot some footage looking from the front, face-on to the couple. Some footage from the side may look good too.
Alternatively, think about setting up the camcorder on a tripod in the best possible position, making sure the focus is on the right spot, hitting record, and letting the camcorder do the work (remembering tip 1).
Also, don’t forget the cardinal rule of not zooming in and out too much – it can make a good video look amateurish straight away. If you do have to zoom, keep the pressure on the zoom control light so you zoom very slowly.
3) Looking at the viewfinder or through the screen
As the official videographer in a hopefully happy atmosphere, try to stay cool, calm and collected. Try to view the recording as it happens through the viewfinder or on the screen and keep your focus on taking the best possible video. Hold back the tears and anything else that will distract you or make you shake the camcorder. You’ll reap the benefits when you come to view your masterpiece afterwards.
4) Sound and video image quality
Achieving excellent image quality with your video can be quite a challenge indoors, especially in places like a church where there’s sometimes a lack of natural light.
Often it’s a good idea to brighten up your camcorder’s video quality manually using the menu settings. Aim to ensure the main focus of the video (the bride and groom in most scenes) look good, so keep them in mind when you’re tinkering with settings. Exposure compensation is an easy way to brighten (or darken) an image.
Sound quality is another challenge. You might be filming the best man’s speech from 15 metres away and end up recording the voice of someone nearby who’s criticising the mother-of-the-bride’s dress. If possible, get close to the sound you want to record, especially when you’re recording voices. Remember also, the noise you make, whether it’s speaking, sobbing (hopefully not again) or accidentally tapping your finger on the camcorder, is the noise mostly strongly picked up by the camcorder.
Most camcorders have zoom microphones – the more you zoom in the lens, the further away the microphone concentrates the sound recording. This has limitations though, not least the fact that zooming in often compromises video image quality, especially if you’re not using a tripod.
A few camcorders also have an external microphone attachment. External microphones, bought separately, make recording good sound easier. Find out more about camcorder accessories.
5) Plan, and enjoy
Before all this, it’s a good idea to plan with the bride and groom the bits of the wedding they’d like recorded (preferably do this before they start the walk up the aisle). After all, it’s (probably) their video, and despite having a thousand other things to think about, they might actually have some good ideas
On the day, and before you press record, think whether you are in the best possible position – perhaps crouching down, or moving to another other corner of the room would give a better vantage point for the viewer.
With transferring video to a computer and editing much easier than it used to be, you can afford to take lots of footage and then cut it down to the most interesting bits afterwards. In other words, it’s better to record too much footage than too little.
See more tips on getting the most from your camcorder.
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