01 Apr Multi-cam weddings shoots
Part of our ”Becoming a wedding videographer” series we explain multi-cam weddings shoots. The craft of shooting and editing with multiple cameras.
DSLR Multi-Cam Weddings: The Craft of Shooting and Editing
At a meeting with a couple recently I was asked to illustrate the benefits shooting multi-cam weddings. So here’s a few things I explained to them it’s more personal, it’s more creative and its more practical.
In large venues it is perhaps more obvious to see the benefit of editing between cameras with easy, and yet also in more intimate venues a well positioned extra camera can be the saving grace for a filmmaker, making the difference between a balanced film, or a patchwork of shots that hangs together badly. Its all very well cutting a short highlights film with best bits, but making an hour ceremony feel interesting and highly watchable is another craft altogether.
Weddings are unpredictable. You don’t know exactly where people will choose to stand at the last minute – the bride and groom might not even stand at the top of the central aisle or the bride might come down the aisle on the left-hand side. You don’t know if the lighting conditions will quickly change. You don’t know if your CF card will suddenly and unexpected fail. All of these have happened to me and each time our contingency has meant there was a straight-forward solution.
A multi-Cam wedding requires planning and camera operators familiar with each other. TV camera operators receive direction via earpieces, videographers typically don’t, so we have to be in tune with each other in other ways, and the most important part of that is deciding what each of these cameras will be covering at each moment.
A more personal edit
Stories aren’t just told with action, but reaction, and for that you need a camera with an operator to really capture these emotional reactions. During other fast paced scenarios having two camera operators (one with a long telephoto lens, one with a short telephoto lens) you can craft sequences that contains the action and the reaction.
A more creative edit
Creating a dynamic wedding film means crafting a film with a changing rhythm and pace. Using multiple cameras for set pieces like the ceremony allows us to choosing what angle to cut to at any given time allows us to shift emphasis during the ceremony between the celebrant, the couple and the congregation. During the speeches we can go one further and include the speechmaker, our bride and groom as well as the top table and individual audience reactions. Even for other traditional wedding rituals like a photoshoot multi camera shooting means being able to edit between telephoto lenses and wide angle lenses to include large groups while also being able to focus on individuals.
A more practical edit
The first point I’d say is focus. Having a camera with a wide field of view will mean being able to cut back to as the camera operator checks or refocuses. A crucial factor for DSLR shooters, or those with a shallow depth of field as people move in and out of focus. In many cases we will condense time seamlessly, to make for a faster paced film. Awkward moments can be shortened or removed, such as taking an age to light the candles, ministers loosing the thread or grooms standing on brides dresses! As many filmmakers will know some angles just don’t cut with others. There’s a few rules to keep the viewer orientated and not draw the attention to the editing process. Sometimes similar angles don’t cut well together so you need to go by-way of another shot or cut away. On a practical level we can also edit out children and relatives travelling in the central aisle (which happens quite frequently) while the service is ongoing.