Wedding Video: The Complete DIY Guide
8 minute read
Each couple has a unique story to tell. And while a picture is worth a thousand words, you need video to truly relive those once in a lifetime moments. Despite this widely held belief, videographers are the first line item cut from tight wedding budgets – and couple’s biggest regret!
So why not DIY your own wedding video?
- Shot list
- Mistakes to avoid
- Collecting media from your guest
- Editing your wedding video
Gone are the days of the 10lb VHS camcorders. With the explosion of technology, any person with a smartphone, GoPro or modern DSLR, has the ability to capture moments quickly and the relatively small file size of the recorded video makes it easy to upload.
So why aren’t more couples filming their own weddings at a fraction of the cost of a videographer?
This guide is intended to help you understand key considerations when filming your big day and capturing all the moments. We’ll provide you with the tips, tricks, and techniques to DIY your wedding video like a pro!
The minimum requirement is a smartphone with at least 32 GB of free space. The phone should be set to record at 1080 @ 30 fps (video setting instructions for iPhone and Galaxy) and when combined with the storage space, will provide ~3 hours worth of digital film per camera. This would allow for:
- 30 minutes pre-ceremony filming,
- 30 minutes for the ceremony,
- 30 minutes for the cocktail hour,
- 60 minutes for reception activities (first dance, cutting of cake, etc) and
- 30 minutes of extra recording time to use as a buffer throughout the event.
Want additional storage space? Android phone’s internal memory can be expanded by purchasing 32 GB micro SD cards for less than $15 (memory card on Amazon). iPhone users can purchase the Kingston Bolt 32 GB expandable external memory stick for around $60 a piece (Bolt on Amazon).
Worried about your camera crew’s phone dying as you walk down the aisle? Pick up a portable charger for $25 or less and provide your phone with mobile power all day (battery on Amazon).
Other useful equipment
Using a tripod with a smartphone holder will improve the quality of film taking by your guest and can be purchased for under $15 each (tripod on Amazon). Dedicated filming equipment, like a GoPro, handheld, or DSLR video camera will also improve the video quality as well as be an investment in capturing more of life’s events – i.e. honeymoon, kids, etc. We suggest adding a GoPro Hero 6 ($400 on Amazon), Canon Vixia handheld ($220 on Amazon), and/or a Nikon DSLR ($600 on Amazon) to your gift registry but purchasing the cameras ahead of time so you can use them for your wedding.
You can never have too much footage! This is especially true if you don’t know the exact style of wedding video you want. Check out our collection of unique DIY video ideas to gain some inspiration and visualize what you want for your big day.
Our shot list suggestions below can be used as a starting point. You can also provide your film crew with this condensed shot list on the big day to help ensure they capture your must-haves.
Before your ceremony
- Cuff links
- Attire (bridal gown and suit)
- Flowers (bouquet and boutonnière)
- First look (if applicable)
*PRO TIP: Instruct your crew to follow the photographer and film what they are photographing. A clip of the cuff links doesn’t have to be 30 seconds long but 5 seconds of each special item with a little panning of the camera will provide great material later in the editing stage.
We recommend capturing your ceremony from various angles by filming from four camera positions:
- Stationary, behind the altar facing towards your guests/up the aisle
- Active filming, facing the bride from the right-side audience point of view
- Active filming, facing the groom from the left-side audience point of view
- Stationary, behind the last row of guest seating facing towards the ceremony site
*PRO TIP: Invite your film crew to the rehearsal and build in time for them to fine-tune their filming location for the ceremony in addition orienting themselves with the overall layout for your big day. Plus, rehearsal footage might be a nice keepsake to include as bloopers. Also, don’t forget to reserve seats for your film crew in various locations to ensure they have the best angles.
The social or cocktail hour refers to the time gap that occurs after the ceremony and before the reception begins. Some newlyweds use this time to take pictures with their spouse, the wedding party and close family, while other couples join their guests and mingle during the hour. Either way, have your crew record the fun!
*PRO TIP: This is a special opportunity to capture the joy of two families coming together so encourage your crew to capture candid conversations and selfie testimonials from your guests.
- Wedding party and newlywed entrances
- Newlywed’s first toast
- First dance
- Father-Daughter dance
- Mother-Son dance
- Cutting of wedding cake
- Maid of Honor speech/toast
- Best Man speech/toast
We recommend using two cameras throughout the reception to capture your celebrations!
- Camera 1 – Positioned at the end of the entrance
- Camera 2 – Positioned halfway between the beginning of the entrance and end of the entrance
*PRO TIP: Have your crew pan with the cameras following each person as they are announced and enter.
Toasts, Speeches and Prayers
- Camera 1 – film the speaker or individual talking
- Camera 2 – film your reactions as the guests of honor
*PRO TIP: Have your crew position themselves so they are directly front facing the people being filmed.
- Camera 1 – stationed at one edge of the dance floor (ie. top right corner)
- Camera 1 – stationed at the opposite edge of the dance floor (ie. Bottom left corner)
If possible, have your crew film with one camera from the ground floor and one from a second story balcony. When only a single story exist, record the dances from at least 90 degrees separation between the cameras.
Station the camera’s to record from your guest’s perspective but in a position that is not blocking anyone’s view of the moment. If your crew doesn’t have a seat as close as they need to be, scout filming locations that are between tables or next to pillars. The goal is for them to blend into the crowd but be as close to the action as possible.
- Camera 1 – fixed position overlooking the dance floor; try to elevate this camera as high as possible with a downward view
- Camera 2 – active filmer on the dance floor to capture you, your guests and the DJ or live band
Your send off
Your sendoff should be filmed similar to your entrance into your reception with one camera stationed at the end and another in the middle. Both cameras should be focused on you, the newlyweds, and follow you as you leave the reception venue.
Our experience has taught us the bride and groom are busy on their wedding day so it is best to enlist the help of others. There is no limit to the number of videographers you can recruit and we recommend crowd sourcing all the moments of your big day. Encourage your guests to take pictures and videos because you’ll never know what funny memories you missed unless someone was recording. It’s also OK to ask your guests to refrain from recording during certain parts of your wedding, like the ceremony, and to capture all the candid moments during others.
Now for the shot list we provided, we suggest at a minimum, you ask two people to be in the film crew. Choose guests you believe are responsible and reliable and it helps if they have a little experience and passion for cinematography. However, don’t worry they are amateur videographers because as long as the camera is rolling you’ll be happy to have captured this once in a lifetime event.
*PRO TIP: Thank your dedicated guest film crew with a gift card to show your appreciation for their service in capturing your big day.
Mistakes to avoid
Throughout this guide we have provided pro-tips to help you capture your moments at their best. Here is a list of mistakes to avoid when filming on your big day:
- Do not go into filming a wedding cold, practice with the equipment ahead of time. Record 20 minutes of video on your cellphone and see if your phone has any video length restrictions or overheats. Note the distance you like yourself in the frame of the video so you are captured at the right size… not too far away and not too close.
- Record yourself talking at the distance you like and judge the video camera’s sound quality. If you don’t like how loud you sound then use a microphone ($12 on Amazon) to better capture the ceremony and speeches.
- Have a charger or extra batteries ready. Recording video uses a lot of juice so be prepared to have to plug-in your cell phones or video camera throughout the day.
- When recording with a cellphone, record in the horizontal orientation not the vertical. Recording horizontally captures the moments from the same perspective from which you will watch them later on a TV or computer.
- Do not use the zoom on your cellphone for two reasons. One, cellphone zoom is digital meaning you lose quality when you zoom in. It is better to zoom during the editing process, if necessary, rather than use the camera zoom on a cell phone. Two, good recording can be ruined if you are zooming in and out during a scene. It is best to just set-it-and-forget-it.
- When recording for a long duration, like during the ceremony, place the cellphone in airplane mode. It will save on battery as well as not interrupt the moment or the recording.
- Lastly, plan for mistakes and have back-up film takers. We recommended at least 2 camera people throughout this guide but you can never have too many. Things happen in the moment and sometimes your most reliable person forgets to hit record, blocks the lens with their finger, or accidentally deletes the footage by mistake.
Collecting your media from your guest
After your big day has come and gone, the next thing to do is collect all the footage from everyone who has something. If you provided memory cards to your guest and film crew then ask they mail you the cards.
Other options to gather pictures and videos from all of your guests can be a hassle especially if you attempt to download all the images from social media. To help, Timepiece built a free tool called WedUploader to make collecting media from friends and family so much easier. You link your Google DriveTM and WedUploader provides a unique URL you give to your guests. Your guests then upload all their pictures and videos from your big day and they are sent directly to your Google Drive! Plus it is all done through web browsers so you do not have to ask your guest to download any bothersome apps.
Editing your wedding video
When you record your own wedding, you will always have the raw footage to revisit and cherish forever. However, in its unedited form, you might have to set aside 5-10 hours to watch it all. Editing your wedding video allows you to relive your big day in a more reasonable amount of time. It can be as simple as taking your favorite clips and stitching them together to tell an entertaining story. Add a little music and transitions to the beat and you’ll have something worth sharing with friends, family, and generations to come.
Editing video can be a complicated and tedious process but it doesn’t have to be. If you would like to have your wedding video edited by professionals, go to www.timepiece.studio and find a video editor that matches your style. The editor will be able to take all of your raw footage and craft an entertaining story for you to revisit for a lifetime.
For those with the time and skill to edit their own video, any Mac or PC comes standard with video editing software. On the PC, Windows Live Movie Maker is easy to use and on the Mac, iMovie is simple and straight forward. The staff at Vimeo has made two really great tutorials on how to edit with Movie Maker and iMovie so choose the video editing software you have.
The music you choose for your wedding video affects the mood of your story. You are the best person to make choices for the soundtrack, we just want to recommend you use legal music. For free songs, check out Free Music Archive and for paid licensed songs visit Freedom Beat and Song Freedom.
Our unique DIY wedding video ideas article and www.timepiece.studio both have videos for you to watch and gain inspiration for your big day. Also checkout WedUploader to help make collecting all the pictures and videos from guests at your wedding simple, easy, and free!
If you have any questions about DIY wedding video please do not hesitate to contact us – firstname.lastname@example.org. Best of luck!