March 2, 2020 1:40 pm Published by Randy
This is something I teach to me videographers. It is something that I see many videographers only shoot with their eyes. When I say “video with your ears as well as your eyes”, I mean be listening to what is happening around you. This can apply to photography as well but even more so to video because video is by nature is candid and if you miss something, you miss it, no re-enacting.
I listen to the bride, not just the words she might be telling me, but her conversations with other people, even the things she is reacting too, the happenings she is making a comment about. If I hear her reacting to something in the background, I make sure to film that very thing that she is reacting too. While the video is for not only the bride and groom, it is also for family members, I know the primary audience I want to make happy watching this video is the bride, therefore, if something happens that the bride notices or makes a comment about, I want to document that on film, so that she has a visual of it.
This is one of the reasons why I like working alone and not with a 2nd videographer. Having another videographer there, diverts my attention, and I may be talking to him or listening to him, instead of being completely focused on all the little things that happen in a brides wedding day. I pride myself on capturing things that, even 3 Photographers (who may have been on that wedding) all missed.
To film with your ears is not just listening to Bride or Groom but also listening other people in the wedding. I often will hear a conversation to the side, maybe between 2 groomsmen, who are talking about something they will be doing during the reception. This tips me off of something that might be of interest on the video that maybe wasn’t on the schedule. Therefore I know what to look for. Also during the dancing, I’m listening to the people on the dance floor. If I start to hear cheering on another part of the floor, I know, I better get my butt over there quickly, because something is about to happen.”
I was in a discussion a year ago with a videographer of mine that I was training about the amount of footage to shoot during the reception. He asked me “How much footage do you want for the dancing?”. I responded, that is not the question to ask. “It is not about a set quota for a certain amount of footage.” It really depends on the reception and what is happening, but “you always have to keep your focus on the floor and be in a position to move when a moment starts to happen.” While I was DJing on one wedding I caught him, off to the side talking with the photographer when it seemed like nothing was happening on the dance floor. Yet I could see there was a ringbearer and flower girl doing something cute on the opposite side of the floor. His attention was divided because he was talking to the photographer and was missing an important moment. This is not to say I never talk to the Photographers. It is good to be friendly and to have good communication with the photographers and other vendors, especially if they are from another company; However, do not let that conversation take your focus off what is happening. If you are talking, you are not listening. There will be so many things that you will hear, when nothing may be appear to be happening. What you hear may clue you into a special moment, so always film with your ears as well as your eyes. There are some Photographers out there who always have 3 Photographers (overkill). It seems everytime, I capture a moment they all missed because they were oblivious to what was happening because they were talking to each other. I think to myself what a shame, the bride has paid extra money for these 2 extra photographers (usually not very skilled photographers…clueless), and here they all missed this shot. I regularly have a bride that we only did video for ask me “can you take a picture of the video of this shot, because my photographers didn’t capture it.” One of the reasons why I say in regards to videographers or photographers 2 (or definately 3) is not always better than 1. The more vendors, the less likely they will be shooting with their ears!