Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

Ever wondered about booking a videographer for your wedding but not sure whether to go ahead? Below are some Frequently Asked Questions and our answers.

Q. Our budget is already stretched to breaking point and we don’t think we can afford a videographer. Most of them are very expensive. How much do you charge?

A. Yes, there are a wide variety of videographers out there covering the full spectrum of costs. We charge from the ground up rather than the max down and our prices begin at £515 for our Silver Package. In contrast to other videographers who might ask for the full balance before your wedding day, we help you spread the cost by asking for a 20% deposit to secure the date with the remainder spread out over three more payments before and after your big day, like this: 30% before wedding, 30% after wedding, final 20% once your DVDs are ready.

Q. We are a little shy and/or so are our guests. We’d rather not have another stranger there with a big VHS camera into people’s faces making them self conscious.

A. A lot has changed since the videoing of weddings of yesteryear. And I personally am quite pleased with my ability to get awesome footage while staying relatively discreet. At the preliminary meeting I always check to find out how much of a presence you’d like me to have and to get an idea about you and your guests’ feelings while being in front of a camera. I can blend right into the background if you like, and even offered to pose as long lost uncle from Australia at a wedding in order to bring the visibility factor right down. At the end of the day if we give you a video where everyone looks stressed and annoyed this reflects badly on us, so what I like to do is get as many candid shots as possible, by zooming in on people at the opposite side of the room. That way everyone looks natural and relaxed. Also, cameras have changed a lot. Some of my cameras are tiny Go Pros, that stick onto windows or attach to light fittings and you probably won’t even notice them! I get many comments from clients saying they hardly even saw me. Have a look at our five star reviews and see for yourself :) 

Q. It’s going to be a small venue with lots of people, and the last thing we want is a bunch of cables everywhere. Heath and safety?

A. Yes, we take health and safety extremely seriously. We are fully insured (certificate available on request) and use batteries for our cameras and lights almost all the time. We may charge them up at an out of the way wall socket, but everything would be tucked away safely and out of sight if possible.

Q. What if there’s friction between the photographer and videographer?

A. As with everyone in the wedding industry I’m sure we all want you to have the best day possible, and I think most people realise the optimum way of doing that is to work together in a friendly manner as a team. I’ve worked with and learned from great photographers over the years. I usually let them do their directing and get their shots and follow them around just recording everything quietly. It’s acceptable to have the photographer in the video, but not the other way round :)

Q. What happens if there is a second wave of Covid-19 and we have to postpone our wedding to another date. Isn’t this just another wedding supplier we’d have to juggle and perhaps even lose our deposit?

A. If you book us and wish to change the date to one that we have available in the future due to Covid-19 related problems, we’d be very happy to accommodate at no extra charge. Please ask us for our available dates before re-booking your wedding. If, however, we are unavailable for your new date, we will refund 75% of your deposit.

Q. I saw a wedding video once and the guests had to leave a message and they were uncomfortable and embarrassed. We don’t want video messages.

A. That’s fine. What I usually do is just ask people in passing if they’d like to leave a message and if they say no, just smile and say, “thanks anyway.” Or I ask the DJ to mention it. But if you’d rather not have video messages I’d be more than happy to remove this from your package as this saves me going outside my comfort zone :)

Q. Do we have to provide a meal for the videographer as well as the photographer?

A. Not at all. Some people have it in their contracts but I’m as happy to have soup and a sandwich at the bar as in my car :)

Q. Oh god, not another meeting!

A. One phone call or Zoom chat sometime before your big day – 40 minuntes tops – that’s all I ask :) But if you’re too busy and trust me to do the best job I can, we can even forego the meeting and I’ll go over everything with the venue or wedding planner on the day.

Q. Can we see the video to suggest edits before it’s all finalised?

A. Sure. Once you’re all paid up I can send you links to preview your wedding chapters online and even share with friends. Let me know if you’d like to alter anything and I’d be happy to oblige.

Q. Do we get the full film as well as a highlights version?

A. Yes, that’s right. We edit together a full film of your wedding day lasting between 50 and 90 minutes, and we also cut together a short music video of all the best clips from your day. This will be in high definition and uploaded to be shared online with friends and family as you like. This is actually one of my favourite parts of the wedding video process.

Q. Can we hear the vows and the speeches or is it music all the way through?

A. Some of the chapters will be music only, for example, arrival of the guests, the photos, the first dance etc., but the ceremony and the speeches will of course have audio from the three microphones I’ll have dotted about the place. For the ceremony I usually clip a lapel mic on the groom – an internal mp3 recorder which fits snugly in an inside pocket, and this will pick up both your vows nice and clearly. For the speeches I place three mics down on the table in front of the speakers. 

So that's it! I hope that's answered a few questions you may have. If you'd like an more information about us filming your wedding in Scotland, please contact Chris by phone or text on 07899 718775 or email me at info@whiteorchidweddingfilms.com . You can also message our Facebook page :)

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Coronavirus & Weddings

The effects of the coronavirus on weddings, as with almost all other industries, has been pretty much catastrophic, I'm sure you'll agree.

From 23rd March onwards large gatherings of people have been banned and weddings have been postponed to future dates. This must be very stressful and in some cases expensive and frustrating for brides, grooms, their families and their wedding suppliers, causing a knock-on effect all down the line from venues to caterers to florists. The whole wedding industry has been rocked from March to - who knows when?

Small outdoor ceremonies might be the way forward this summer.

To be honest I had no weddings booked between February and July this year anyway, so I've been lucky, but not everyone has been so fortunate.

According to Metro.co.uk, in Northern Ireland measures seem to be relaxing slightly with weddings being permitted where one partner is terminally ill. Also in NI, outdoor weddings of no more than ten people may be allowed from 10th June. Inspired by this the UK government is looking into the possibility of allowing small weddings to take place from the end of this month. As long, presumably, as there is no second wave.

So what does this mean? Several of my clients who booked me to film their big day this year have asked if I'm available in 2021 and 2022, and happily, I've been able to accommodate their rescheduling with a minimum (actually zero) of fuss and/or expense. I can only imagine how agonising something like this can be and am very happy to help where possible.

However, if you're really keen to have a 2020 wedding later in the year it may be necessary to look at small, outdoor ceremonies. How would that work? One solution might be to have two events : the legal/spiritual one with just your closest family and friends in a garden this year (with live video links?), followed by a larger friend and family reception with speeches, dancing etc next year or beyond.

My wife and I got married in Japan in 2008. Our son was already on the way, so we had to kind of speed things up a bit because it's not so easy to register children born out of wedlock in Japan yet, and there are still stigma involved compared to the UK and other western countries. My father and sisters could attend in person, but unfortunately my mother had a bad back and couldn't fly over from Scotland, so I attempted to live-stream the ceremony using my laptop and Skype over a wireless internet connection. 

Good idea? No. 

Just watch out for hay fever!

On paper this might sound like a plan, but unfortunately, as old Murphy was fond of saying, "What can go wrong will go wrong," and in this case did. Tip #7: Never try to film your own wedding.

The internet connection was intermittent at best on the lead up to the ceremony. We did see each other on the screen for a brief while, but then the inevitable happened. Mum had her hopes up and all her friends with her in the middle of the night, only to have them dashed when the connection crashed almost immediately, and I wasn't able to tinker with it because - ahem - I was otherwise engaged. I couldn't really stop the priest and say, "Sorry, just a sec. Mum! Can you hear me now? How about now? Damn, where can I plug this in? Do we have an ethernet here in this lovely rooftop venue? Oh dear, my wife-to-be's water just broke. Let's get on, shall we?"

Joking aside, nowadays live-streaming has become much more achievable and commonplace. Just don't do it yourself. Please. Ask your videographer. What would it take? A strong dependable ethernet connection, an encoder, and a youtube or Vimeo channel would probably do it. It might cost a little extra to get it done properly, but with all the uncertainty in the world today - technical gremlins notwithstanding - it must be well worth it.

Anyway, our wedding went without further mishap (apart from a few tears on my mum's side) and happily our son was born a couple of months later. Then we set up a reception back in Scotland for all our UK friends which you can see a video of here.

Our family wedding reception in 2010

We were able to enjoy seeing all our family and friends at this second gathering without the stress of the ceremony, had a few speeches, and made some nice memories. It was actually pretty great and I'd recommend it.

Anyway, whatever happens, I hope your wedding takes place with a minimum of fuss and that you can enjoy it as the wonderful, love-filled, friend and family involved, food and drink laden, humorous speech entailed day and night it should be - whether spent over one day or two :)

If you'd like to enquire about our availability to film your wedding please email Chris at info@whiteorchidweddingfilms.co.uk or call/text 0789  9718 775.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Enterkine House Hotel - 5 Stars

On Saturday 30th November 2019 I had the pleasure of filming a wedding at Enterkine House Hotel in South Ayrshire (B742, Annbank, Ayr KA6 5AL). 

Enterkine previously from the air. The front entrance has been removed to make way for the new oak framed glass barn which was completed in October 2019 and stretches out to the left.

The only slight downside is it's a bit tricky to find in the middle of the wonderful Ayrshire countryside. I basically drove down the A71 all the way past Darvel (where a friend of mine and I took part in a bike race 30 or so years ago as kids) and turned off at Galston where I had to stop and ask for directions as my Google Maps print-out wasn't quite detailed enough. Then it was just a 'wee hurl' down the A719 to Fail, a left down the B730 to Tarbolton, after which take a right onto the B744 then a sharp left back towards Stair before Annbank and you'll see the sign for the drive. So be sure to give your guests plenty of directions.

Including a map in your invitations might be helpful

The long single-track drive up to the house is lovely and when you come to a fork you can either take the right up to the house itself or take the left for the car park, from which it's a short walk up a winding path to the venue.

The New Entrance

Until now they'd used their marquee for weddings (in which I may have filmed before) but now they have opened up their brand new wedding space attached onto their main building. With large windows offering a panoramic view onto the rolling hills and valleys as a backdrop to your wedding and the gentle light streaming in reflecting off all the new glass and oak, everything you need for a great day and night is all self-contained. 

The original Marquee - still in use?

The main hall is split into three spaces : the ceremony was held in the central area, the speeches and wedding breakfast were all at the far end, and the bar and plenty of space for mingling and more tables were at the near side closer to the house proper. The benefits of this are that there is no rushed turnaround or rolling tables, red carpets etc out the way when you and your guests are enjoying the wedding afterglow. When I arrived everything was all set up and ready to go. The new flower-filled foyer also provides additional mingling space.

The New Oak Framed Glass Barn

There are even many little places for a videographer or photographer to sit down, plug in and begin importing footage, which is always good, and even though I was just the humble videographer I was offered several canap├ęs. (Major brownie points for that.) The staff are all friendly, enthusiastic and helpful, and the food in the restaurant in the main building is delicious as well. (I had the scampi and sticky toffee pudding, followed by a cafe latte to wash it down. Very nice.) 

Congratulations again to Gillian & Quentin who invited me down to Enterkine to film their big day

In short, one of the better and more friendly and helpful wedding venues I've been to. Much recommended! I love driving into Burns country to film weddings and hope to continue to do so for many years ahead.

To visit Enterkine House Hotel's website, click here.

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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