How To Capture Weddings
With A Drone
12 Tips To Filming Weddings
Tip 1: Add value with your shots
There are many different kinds of wedding cinematography but irrespective of your chosen style, your job is to tell the story of a couple’s day so every shot that you create should in some way enhance that story. Whether it’s an establishing shot or a shot the couple during a couple’s shoot, make sure that it adds to the end product. Don’t fall into the trap of creating a drone promo. You’re creating a wedding film.
Tip 2: Plan your shoot
Being a wedding filmmaker comes with lots of time constraints and pressure, so preparation is key. Before each wedding, check out Google Maps or Google Earth so you know exactly what to expect when arriving on location. Just this simple step can give you a rough idea if you’ll need one minute just to get an establishing shot of a building or if there’s an opportunity to spend 10 minutes getting fantastic location shots out in the wilderness.
Tip 3: Shoot smart
Mindful of the time pressure, think about how many shots you actually need. Overshooting is common, but you don’t want to sort through fifteen hundred angles of the same building when in reality, only two of those might make it to the edit. Save yourself some time, use that time elsewhere and shoot smart.
Tip 4: Practice, practice, practice
An actual wedding is not the place to start experimenting with your shots. You need to have a plan of action. Especially if you are planning on doing any shots with the couple, you are going to have a matter of minutes to pull off those shots. The bad thing is that it’s extremely stressful and difficult - the good thing is this is where you can differentiate yourself with your piloting skills and confidence. So get out there and practice before the job and come up with a plan of action that’s sure to result in some great shots.
Tip 5: Fly with editing in mind
Again, depending on your style of wedding filmmaking, in all likelihood you’re not going to have a place for 20-second drone shots, tempting though that is, so unless you have an editing technique in mind (e.g., speeding up the middle of it) you’re going to want to keep those shots short and punchy so you can actually use them.
Tip 6: Always expose for the dress
This is a problem that is particularly unique to weddings, so it’s good to be well aware of it in advance. Dresses are (almost) always VERY white, which means you need to be aware of your exposure level at all times when capturing the bride in frame. There is nothing worse than getting your footage back into the editing suite and dealing with those overexposed highlights on a white dress on a sunny day.
Tip 7: Be ready
If you are doing a couple’s shoot and you want to film them walking up and down the grounds of the estate, there is nothing more ridiculous than the sight of you doing a compass calibration while the couple and the photographer stand there watching, so get everything ready in advance so when the couple are ready, you are ready.
Tip 8: Timetable the shoot
If you are planning on doing a drone couple’s shoot with your clients then insist that they allocate 5-10 minutes on the day exclusively for that. Keep in mind that although you many have filmed 500 couple’s shoots, this is probably the first couple’s shoot that the couple have been involved in, so they might not realize that you need that little bit of extra time to make sure you get the results that they are expecting.
Tip 9: Check in to make sure
To make sure that everything runs smoothly on the wedding day, email the photographer in advance to let them know what has been agreed between you and the client. Simple things like this can go a long way to making the shoot as seamless and enjoyable as possible.
Tip 10: Fly safe
Given the importance of a wedding to the people concerned, it is the last place you want to have an incident with your drone. If you’re doing a couple’s shoot, for example, do not take any risks - you do not need to take your drone within two feet of the couple at any point. It’s just not worth the risk. Take it easy, you can still get some great shots but fly safely at all times.
Tip 11: Be licensed and insured
Almost everywhere in the world, you need to be licensed to fly commercially. And in some places, like the UK, for example, you need that license to get your public liability insurance. If you have an incident at a wedding without public liability insurance, then it’s game over. Breaking the drone is going to be the least of your worries if that happens. Don’t take the risk.
Tip 12: Use the right drone
Much as the Inspire might give you the best possible picture, it’s not the most practical drone for a wedding environment. Given the high-pressure nature of wedding filmmaking, the incredible battery life of the Mavic 3 is a huge asset. Not to mention the power that drone has to deal with unfavorable weather conditions. Combine this with the peace of mind that comes from having omnidirectional obstacle avoidance and, of course, the incredible picture from the 4/3 Hasselblad camera and the Mavic 3 is certainly a great choice for wedding filmmakers.
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