Friday, 5 April 2019

Tip #6 : The First Dance

The First Dance is another main part of your wedding day, so it's worth putting a bit of thought (and practice?) into it to make it all it can be.

All First Dances are special and should be treasured, but out of the hundred or more weddings I've filmed over the years some stick in the memory more than others, and those are usually the ones which have been choreographed and performed in natural summer light.

Not everyone can get married in the summer, but those who do can really enjoy the benefits of all that natural light which will make your photos and videos really come to life.

But anyone can put in a bit of practice :)

The First Dance of Melissa & Anthony,  Dunglass Estate, 8th August 2018

Above is a great example of a really nice First Dance. The summer wedding of Melissa & Anthony at Dunglass Estate, Scotland on 8/8/18, held in a marquee at a fantastic venue, with a friend - Leanne Adams - singing the song to a backing track. Have a look and see what you think :) Leanne, Melissa and Anthony all did a fantastic job, and not only that, they faced me (the videographer) during the best bits!

Now I don't know anything about dancing (I'm a rubbish dancer) but I'm pretty sure you can find a teacher online who might be able to give you a few lessons to charge up your normal First Dance into a really memorable one.

If you're having a wedding during the winter months or in a darker venue, how about this idea? Get the DJ or singer to ask all your friends and family to switch on the lights on their phones and wave them to the music while you dance, as if it's a concert. This will form an amazing video backdrop and probably look great in the photos as well.

One last idea. Got a band to play for the night, but they're only going to play a CD for your first dance? At least ask them to mime to the CD - it'll make your video much much better, I promise!

But remember: don't worry about everyone else, don't stress at the bridal party members who missed their cue to come on. This is your one and only First Dance with the one you love, so above all, enjoy it :)

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Monday, 17 December 2018

Tip #5 - Videographers vs Photographers

While there are some overlaps, I've come to the opinion that videography and photography are completely different forms of media.

Although in both a camera is used, light is important, and the optimum angle is desired by both parties, they are two completely different animals. In one, an instant is captured forever, and everything depends on that one moment. All the efforts of the photographer are focussed (pun not intended) on that 500th of a second or however long the shutter is open. Photos can be quite breathtaking and I have great admiration for photographers who are able to attain perfection in this regard. In the other, sound and movement come in to play, sequential editing decisions are important, music can be added, speech recorded. You can hang wedding photos on a wall or place them on the sideboard, whereas a wedding film is put away and taken out to be enjoyed for years to come. 

Photography is the traditional way weddings have been recorded for generations. Getting your photos taken has become an important part of the ritual all over the world, and many photographers are very skilful at coordinating crowds, keeping people entertained, navigating the venue, the weather, the backgrounds, different poses, the light etc.

By comparison, videography is still considered the troublesome infant at weddings. The unnecessary fifth wheel, with his or her cumbersome VHS camera* pointing invasively in peoples' faces, making them nervous and generally getting in the way up at the top of the already crowded ceremony room. After all, if you already have a photographer, why a videographer as well? Isn't it a bit overkill?

Here are some of the aspects of a wedding though that, unless you have an amazing memory, are lost forever if you only have a photographer present and no videographer:

  • Your spoken vows
  • Any readings given at the ceremony
  • Any poignant advice given by the minster, celebrant or priest
  • The father of the bride's speech
  • The groom's speech
  • The best man's speech
  • Any speeches made by the bridesmaids
  • Video messages from guests
  • Any other funny or nice things that happen out of the photographer's line of sight, or too fast for them to capture
  • Music that means a lot to you

Wouldn't you much rather have all of that in addition to the photos to remember?

There's something about video cameras that cause people to tense up, to become stiff and unnatural. Decades of watching All Right On The Night and You've Been Framed have made the general public suspicious of camera operators, convinced that we'll take clips of them making fools of themselves and share them on social media or worse - sell them to TV or post on Youtube and go viral. 
More so with microphones. Grooms often seem to think they will somehow incriminate themselves or say something embarrassing that will be held against them at some point in the future, perhaps played at a murder trial as evidence.

Photographers do not face such suspicion. They are respected professionals who must uphold the generally accepted ethics of all photographers and are trusted unconditionally with high shots down guests' dresses or saucy shots of wedding garters, while videographers are banished from the room like villains who are always a hair's breadth from cracking the already shaky videographers' code and uploading the clip to Redtube.

Please let me take this opportunity to quell peoples' fears. It would not, in any way, be in the videographer's interests to make fools of or otherwise embarrass brides or grooms, their families or guests, by sharing footage publicly without your consent. Photographers hold the copyright for their photos, but videographers in my opinion are very much held by the consent of those in the footage. It would be business suicide to break the trust of the wedding couple by doing such a thing. And for what? A few likes on Facebook? A couple of views on Youtube? We would much rather get likes and views on social media for the high quality videos we can produce. Honestly, it's a joy to shoot and edit a great highlights video and see this take off online, because it not only shows how great your wedding day was - it also shows off what we can do. And any wedding videographer worth his salt is as proud of his work as a photographer is of theirs.

That said, there are sometimes moments when things do not go according to plan. At a wedding, never having worked before and suddenly finding themselves thrust together on a very important one-off event that could make or break their business, a photographer and videographer must work together to ensure that the day runs without friction. They must be able to produce the best result possible while being civil about it, respecting each other's professionalism, integrity and end-goals.

It's generally accepted for the photographer to be in the wedding video, because as I said, they have been embedded in the wedding ritual for generations and are expected. So I have absolutely no qualms about a photographer being visible - in fact it would be strange if they weren't. On the other hand it would be very odd indeed if the opposite was true.

Imagine your Auntie Morag comes round for tea and you're flicking through the wedding album, and she stops you and says, "Ooh, that's a lovely one. It must have been very difficult to hold that pose on the pier, but the light is lovely and the venue is dramatic and you both look so happy and in love. But who's that guy in the background with the big VHS camera*, boom mic and headphonesª?"

I'm positive that in my enthusiasm in getting the best shots for my wedding clients I may have got in the way of what may have been some great photos, and I'm very sorry about thisº. However, the opposite is also true. Photographers, in their enthusiasm, have often got in the way of my shot. But it's just one of those things. Because we don't see ourselves in our own work we sometimes think we're invisible at the event. But we just apologise, try not to do it again, and strive to find the common ground, because at the end of the day, it's not about business competition - it's about your special day. One of, if not the most important of your lives.

* We don't use VHS cameras. We use High Definition and 4K cameras with a Merlin Steadicam for smooth motion shots and export to DVD, Blu Ray, HD mp4 file on USB or online streaming.

ª We don't use a boom pole and headphones. We place audio recorders at strategic locations around the room, and a lapel mic on the groom or best man for maximum quality and discretion.

º If any photographers I've worked with have any amusing photos of me in their shots, please email them to me at

You can find us on Facebook here .

© Chris Young 2018

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Tip #4 - The Speeches

Giving a speech isn't easy. Public speaking has been known to be one of the scariest things to do, even scarier than a fear of death with some people, so having watched a few in our time here are a couple of pointers to help calm the nerves and ensure good delivery of your speech on the big day.

1. Find out in advance if you'll be holding a hand-held microphone. This is important on the day because if you only have one hand free to hold your speech it's better to use A4 typed on one page if possible. If there's no mic or if it's on the table, we'd recommend writing your speech down on numbered cards and dropping each one on the table after you've read it. This not only looks professional, they fit in the sporran better than A4 paper and won't get crumpled.

2. Write your speech at least a few days in advance. Practice it as many times as possible up to the night before, video yourself if you can, to get an idea of what looks and sounds good and what doesn't. Try your best to memorise it. It may seem impossible to memorise the whole speech, but the more you can look up and smile at the audience while speaking, the better. A good night's sleep between memorising and delivering the speech will help it sink in. Brush up again the morning of the big day. Memorising also frees your hands up for gesturing (!) and making your speech more animated, and allowing you to look up, smile and gain eye contact with your audience or the bride and groom.

3. Search online to find out who it's traditionally your duty to thank, but try to steer clear of internet speech jokes as there's a good chance many people will already have heard them. 

4. When writing your speech, a good balance of heartfelt sincerity with striking humour seems to go down well. Not too soppy, not too jokey, but try to aim right down the middle - like bowling. EG "Tom's a great guy, we've known each other all our lives, and I'd do anything for him. I'd take a bullet for him. Not in the head or chest, but maybe in the leg."

5. Delivery. If you don't have a mic you'll have to keep your head up and try to project your voice to the back of the room or they won't hear you. Also if the mic has problems you may need to dispense with it altogether.

6. Keep your speech original and personal - funny stories and anecdotes are great. Try to keep it 15 rated for the sake of the happy couple and the DVD so they can watch it with their family and friends. We can bleep out the occasional F bomb, but there's a limit 

7. Traditionally it's the father of the bride, followed by the groom, and then the best man, but nowadays it's refreshing to hear something from the bridesmaids, mums or family friends.

8. Don't worry if you make a mistake - just pause and start the sentence again. If we are filming with two cameras we can edit it out easily and seamlessly.

9. Slideshows work well, if the venue is amenable, to talk through the bride or groom's early days.

10. The length depends on what you want to say and how important and/or entertaining it is, but remember your guests are probably getting hungry and looking forward to dinner.

That's all that springs to mind - the rest is up to you! 

Photo Credit :

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Tip #3 - Why choose a videographer?

Now and again I receive enquiries from brides asking me to film their wedding, and after I send them a quote, they tell me it's difficult to persuade their fiancés that a wedding video is worth it. So I thought I'd sit down and write an article about that.

As with everything there are pros and cons to making this decision, and both should be weighed up and compared. Let's have a look at some that spring to mind below.

First the Bad News

As discussed in my last post, decent wedding videos can cost anything from £500 to £2000. With all other expenses at a wedding, adding this on top is quite tough to justify. 

Yes, weddings are expensive, but there are videographers out there who will be happy to film your day without costing the earth. (We're one of them :))

Who wants a guy you don't know standing around pointing a camera in peoples' faces? He adds nothing to the actual event and just makes the bride and groom, the bridal party, and the guests feel nervous. Who needs that extra stress? 

True enough, but a good videographer should show enough tact and discretion at a wedding. It is a live event, and in order to end up with a great result, it really helps if we have footage of people naturally having a good time. The best way to do this is to film from afar, zoomed in for close ups. Half the time you won't notice were there.

Takes time
You have to go to meet them to talk things over, that's an hour plus travel. You have to think of songs you like and make even more decisions. You need to wait for months for them to be completed, open the wrapping and watch the whole thing again. 

A preliminary meeting before the big day is a great way to get to know your videographer, build a rapport, and gives them a chance to find out a little about you and your plans for the day, with timings etc. It makes everything go much more smoothly, and is well worth the time. If geographical distances are a problem, a Skype call or even just a phone call can make all the difference.

Aren't Photos Enough?
We're already forking out a tonne of money for the photographer – why do we have to have a videographer as well? How many media formats do we need to record our wedding in? 

Yes, photos are the more traditional way to capture a wedding, and can look fantastic. I have absolute respect for all the great wedding photographers I've worked with in the past. But video is slightly different, which we'll be looking at below.

Now The Good News

Moving Pictures
In 1892 Edison and Dickson invented a motion picture camera and a peephole viewing device called the Kinetoscope. They were first shown publicly in 1893 and the following year the first Edison films were exhibited commercially. Since then the technology used to capture moving pictures has advanced greatly, with many videographers now offering 4k HD.

One of the great things about having your wedding videoed is that the audio gets recorded too, which means that all the special, meaningful words spoken at your ceremony by the celebrant, minister, priest or registrar - all the advice they give you - is recorded forever. As will your vows be, and any readings given. Then there's the speeches - nervous undertaking, but well worth it! If you have your wedding videoed you'll have them there to look back on and enjoy again and again for years to come. 

Our job to make you look good
You don't have to worry that your videographer might catch you at an embarrassing moment, or send a clip of you falling into your wedding cake to 'You've Been Framed'. It's our job to make you look good, which you will do, you'll look great.

Family and Friends
One of the best things about your wedding day is having all your family and friends in one place to give you a good send off. It's usually quite a rare occasion, with everyone all dressed up and looking so grand, so isn't it worth capturing it as much as possible for posterity? And while you're at one end chatting with one group of friends, your videographer is at the other, videoing messages from the another group.

The Day Rushes By
The day will go by in a flash, trust me. There will be so many people to try to catch up with, so many faces, and once the alcohol starts flowing and the dancing kicks off that's it :) Woosh. But if you've got videographic evidence to fall back on any time you want to relive it, theres nothing to worry about.

One of the cool things about using more than one camera is that your videographer can cut out any little slips during the vows or the speeches seamlessly, just by jumping from one camera to the other. So that's one more safety net if you're nervous about getting the speeches filmed. If the words don't come out right (but they will because you'll have practised a lot the night before) just take a breath and start again and let us take care of the rest.

Your Wedding to Music
Many wedding videographers edit your wedding video to music of your choice. They ask you for a dozen songs that are important to you and cut together music video montages from the footage to create a specially custom made music video just for you.

Photography Vs Videography
I've often thought about this - what is the difference between photography and videography? And this is what I've come up with. Photos capture moments, video captures the day. They're both good, and there are some overlaps, but at the end of the day they are two separate forms of media, created by two different people who work best when working together.

So that's it. It's make your mind up time. If you can find a videographer you can trust and get along with, why not have a chat with them and see if you can come to some arrangement.

But whether you have your wedding videoed or not, the most important thing is to enjoy your special day.

Read #Tip 1 : Support
Read #Tip 2 : Price

© Chris Young 2018

Wedding videographer image credits:

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Tip #2 : Price

It's not all about finding the cheapest deal. It's about finding the best quality, the best value, the right videographer, with a character and style you like, who you can trust to do the best job they can. Some couples have a family member or friend video it for them for free for a wedding present. If your friend or family member's job is videographer with many years' experience then relax! You've aced it. Read no more.

The Wedding of Ruth & Alastair, The George Hotel, 1st Dec 2013

Consumer cameras are getting better and cheaper all the time, but there are some things that can only be learned from experience in the field. For example, did you know that most cameras, when trained on two people, autofocus on the central background between them? That's not good when filming vows. Also, will your family member or friend be using lapel mics to get good clear audio? Or know what an active smartphone can do to a microphone's signal? Do they know what to do if the bride and groom are silhouetted against a bright window and the camera can't make out their faces? Will they be using two cameras in case one is shaky or blurred or they need to edit something out? Just some things to think about.

The Cheapest Deal? 

One day when I lived in Japan it started to rain and was quite windy, so I went in to a 100 yen shop (like a pound shop) and bought the cheapest umbrella I could find. Then, while I was walking home the damn thing broke in half and I ended up throwing it in the nearest bin. And then I thought to myself, well, it was only a pound, what did I expect? And I walked home soaking wet. So I would have been better off not buying anything – I would at least have still had the 100 yen. From that moment I decided never to buy the cheapest option of anything. Usually I aim for the second cheapest, or middle of the range, or even better, a known and trusted brand name that have their image to worry about and so build things to last.

Another story. Before Christmas 2017 a young bride sent me a message. She was in tears because her videographer had made a hash of her video. I said I'd see what I could do. She sent me the link and I downloaded it and I felt a sinking feeling almost straight away. Because much of what her videographer had done wrong could not be fixed. When something is out of focus, it's out of focus forever. As far as I know there is no software that can put something in focus once it's been captured that way. I felt really bad for her. I could cut out those parts or cover them over, but apart from becoming the first person to invent an app to focus a blurry image there wasn't much else I could do.

How Much Does It Actually Cost?

A lot of people think wedding videography is generally over-priced. So did I. The trouble is, to make a good wedding video does actually take quite a lot of work (at least £8.50 per hour living wage) and needs quite pricey equipment that has to be upgraded every five years. A new Macbook pro + software costs about £2000. A good camera, £2500. Let's say hard drives & SD cards cost £500. That's £5000 every 5 years, or £1000 per year on average just maintaining equipment. (Say a videographer does 24 weddings a year. That's £42 for equipment per wedding.)

On top of this is £420 for insurance (£18 insurance per wedding) and £330 for accounting fees (£14 accounting per wedding).

Next let's say it takes 30 hours non stop to edit a wedding flat out + 10 to shoot it (+20 if there are two camera operators) @ £8.50/hr = £340 for labour.

And what about pension (10%), website (£5), admin (£10) and marketing (£10)?

Summary of Estimated Minimum Costs per Wedding
(assuming 24 weddings per year, one operator, £8.50/hr in 2017)

Equipment £42
Insurance £18
Accounting £14
Website £5
Admin £10
Marketing £10
Labour £340

Total £439

Pension(10%) £44

Grand total £483

So after all this £500 per wedding might not seem so expensive.

This is the minimum a videographer might expect to budget for costs for a wedding. Anything less than this and either they aren't using good equipment, or they aren't insured, they're doing a rush job, or they haven't thought things through properly.

The Raptor Filmz / White Orchid 2017 Wedding Compilation 

Top End Wedding Videos

Well, what about the most expensive deal? £2000 for a wedding video? Okay, if you really like their style, talent, hard work they put in, etc. Have they won awards? Do they have great reviews and an infallible reputation? How many people are they employing? Are they all really necessary? Are they going to use your money efficiently? How many cameras are they using? Are they filming from Bridal Prep until Midnight? Are they using great stabilisation like motorised sliders? (on my wish list :)) How many years' experience do they have? How many years' training? Do they have a fast turnaround? What support do they have in place (See Tip #1)? What resolution end result do they provide?

If a videographer asked for £2,000 to film my wedding I would genuinely be quite interested to see a breakdown of their budget.

On a side note, studies have suggested that the more money a couple spends on their wedding, the smaller the chance their marriage will last.


Ask yourself : what would Buddha do? Well, he probably wouldn't get married. But if he did, he would choose the middle way. £500 as standard, up to £600 if they have good references, you like their style, you have a good rapport, etc. And I'm not just saying that because that's how much we usually ask for, from Guests Arriving until First Dance. This is honestly what I would recommend to a niece or nephew if they asked me how much would be a good ball park figure to spend on a wedding video in Scotland in 2018. 

If you would like to add something to the discussion, please let me know in the comments below.

Read Tip #1 : Support
Read Tip #3 : Why Choose a Videographer

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© Chris Young 2018

Monday, 19 February 2018

Tip #1 : Support

Over the next few months we will be giving you a few tips on how to ensure a great wedding video and a worry-free wedding day. With over six years' experience in the wedding video business, we've picked up a few pointers that we'd like to share with you.

The Wedding of Ruth & Alastair, Edinburgh 1st Dec 2013

Tip #1 : Support

When choosing a wedding videographer it's usually a good idea to find out about how they will support you, not only on your big day, but before, during and after.


Will they meet with you to get to know each other, build a rapport and iron out any details? In my experience this always helps. Even if things change later it's always a good idea (travel time allowing) to physically meet and have a chat and a coffee. It could be at a location like a cafe halfway between you both. The preliminary meeting helps both parties to ask and answer questions, and to fully understand what is expected from the other. It's much easier to discuss the plan for your big day at a meeting on a different day than on the morning of the wedding itself when everyone is rushed and sometimes stressed. It's also a good idea just to touch base the week of the wedding to make sure everything is still all good and there haven't been any last minute changes. It might also be an idea to ask the videographer to send you a text when they arrive at the venue to let you know everything's on track.

There is also the small possibility that your videographer might be sick or their transport breaks down on your wedding day. (Sorry to mention this! It's never happened to me, touch wood, but it could and I'm usually prepared just in case, with AA membership and a network of other videographers to contact in such an eventuality.) Has your videographer got failsafes in place? Do they leave in plenty of time to account for roadblocks etc?


Your videographer's priorities should be twofold. First, to capture the best video possible in the circumstances, and second to ensure the best day of your life runs as smoothly as it can. In practice this means :

  • Being helpful, careful, safe and considerate to everyone
  • Not competing, but co-operating with the photographer to ensure the best shots for both
  • Lending a hand whenever necessary
  • Remembering that it is a live event and that even though they shouldn't be visible in their own shots, they are still very much visible to all the guests and bridal party on the day
  • Being as discrete as possible


So it's all done and dusted. The day is over and everything went well. What's next? The videographer has to first of all duplicate all the footage in the event that a hard drive fails. Ideally they should do this the very next day, and have two copies stored at different locations in the event of a fire or burglary. It takes many hours of work to first whittle all of the 360GB or so  down to all the best stuff in a 90 minute video. Then there's the stabilisation, sound adjustment and colour correction. But an email every month or so to let you know how things are going might be nice. Your videographer should keep the master version of your wedding day backed up in duplicate (24GB) for as long as possible, just in case you lose your DVD, USB or there's some other technical problem, or even if you want copies. Probably in twenty years DVDs (720 x 576) will become obselete in much the same way as VHS has. What will the next format be? Rather than transfer from DVD to the next big thing, hopefully you can just contact your videographer and get it done from the master, which will be much better quality (1920 x 1080 HD). We actually back up your wedding film master in triplicate: twice in full 1080 HD and once as a hard copy on DVD.

So that's it. I hope this has given you an insight into what things to look for from your wedding videographer regarding support, before, during and after your big day.

The Highlights of the Wedding of Ruth & Alastair

Photographers/ videographers - have I forgotten anything?

Brides & Grooms - do you have any interesting stories to tell us?

Feel free to leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading! If you'd like to reach us, you can find us on Facebook here.

Read Tip #2 : Price
Read Tip #3 : Why Choose a Videographer?

© Chris Young 2018