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Weddings vs. Wedding Videography

“You? A wedding? I thought you didn’t like weddings? Why would you do a wedding?”…that’s been the kind of response I’ve gotten from people when they learned I was filming a wedding this past weekend for some friends at work – as a favor no less. It’s not surprising I guess, considering the topic is usually met with some negative or disparaging remark from fellow videophiles. For me though, it’s the “wedding videography” part that doesn’t appeal to me, not the “weddings” bit per se.

Telling the same story over and over, in the same exact way, feels very constraining and boring for me personally, but that’s the nature of wedding videography when you’re doing it as a full-time gig. You can’t afford to spend weeks on end editing just 1 video, looking for a unique and creative way to tell the story that’s different from the previous video you made. You have to crank them out quickly. Forget color correcting, grading, effects, etc., there’s just no time. What you usually end up with is a cookie-cutter video, ranging anywhere from 5 minutes to 3 hours of agonizing material for anyone other than the couple and their relatives. This isn’t the videographer’s fault, and it’s not necessarily a reflection of their skills, it’s what “the customer” wants – they have a pretty big say in deciding/influencing what music to use, how long it should be, what sequences to include, etc. It isn’t as creative as I would like. It feels like work, but that’s the nature of “wedding videography”, not “weddings”.

See for me, it’s all about the story-telling process. There’s this quote I read from Sidney Lumet once, who said “making a movie is about telling a story, leaving you with a feeling, giving you an idea, and revealing something about yourself and others.” Whether it be Easy Rider, Shrek, or someone’s wedding, it’s all about the story, connecting with the viewer, provoking thought, and reflection. And as with any story, it’s likely been told before, but the fun part is telling it in some way that is unique to you.

That was the opportunity I saw when Christina and Brendan approached me about doing this. My goal was to make something wonderful for them that conveyed the story of their day, but also to experience and learn from yet another fun but stressful “production environment”, to internalize the operation of my equipment and gear some more, and to nurture my story telling skills. I had/have many ideas – some weren’t possible due to scheduling conflicts, others I missed capturing the day of, and others I am incredibly excited to put together for Christina, Brendan, and their family.

This is why I filmed a wedding this weekend.

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