What is a wedding video?

As a film and video teacher, I’ve asked dozens of videographers over the years what they strive for in a wedding video. The most common answer is they tailor the video as a story. I’ve even been told, ”yes with a begining, a middle and an end.” Fancy that!  I’ve also been told “that the biggest thing is to make it entertaining.” Well, I agree; that’s super important. And I’ve been told, “to capture the emotion,” like it’s a rodent on the run, bagged and tagged. Look, every videographer loves it when the bride or groom cries, especially during personal heartfelt vows.  Emotion gushes, camera is rolling. Captured!  But to be truthful, none of this is story-telling.  It doesn’t come from a blueprint, it’s not pre-imagined and executed.  Put a home camera in front of a wedding ceremony at the beach, you’ll have a wedding video. Set up  2 or 3 cameras, one on a Steadicam, another with a wireless lavalier recording clean audio, and then edit with titles, “Julia and Mark” over Hawaiian music or a song, you’ll have an elaborate wedding video. And to be candid,  most couples don’t want more—as long as it’s well shot, reveals their wedding day and the dramatic location—Hanalei Bay! And they can show it to family and friends back home and say, “ see our wedding.”  But for the few who want more, and want to know about pre-imagined and drafted and real digital cinematography for weddings, well, the first step is a shot list. It might look something like this:   

1. A wave crashing ashore on a deserted beach

2. Man’s foot - close up, on that deserted beach—not deserted after all.  

3. Sand ripples blowing across the beach - the sound of the breeze.

4. Palm tree fronds high up, with sun glints, almost blinding.

5. Man’s foot again - pacing. 

6. A sand crab runs into the water. 

7. Bride’s feet. She’s walking. She pauses, hesitates…after all, it’s a big decision.  

8. Bride’s veil - close up, blowing in the breeze. We have yet to see her face. 

9. Groom's hand. Nervous fingers. 

10. Close up: his eyes, pan down his chest. We HEAR his heartbeat, thumping loudly. 

11. Full shot of bride; she’s made up her mind; her eyes are bright, she resumes walking, her expression full of hope and excitement,  

12. Groom looks up, sees her, and beams. 


Below are three wedding video samples. The first, traditional video, nicely shot and edited, I think you’ll agree; under a thousand dollars. The other two are “designer-crafted.” However in video #3 we used artificial lights, reflectors and modifiers. Technically, it is digital cinematography.  


contact me: kauaivideo@icloud.com