Wedding Films

Wedding Tip: Ask About Audio

Earlier this year, we received a message from a wedding planner looking for a videographer for a wedding.  This couple originally had someone lined up for wedding video, but there was a misunderstanding, so they needed a last minute replacement.  We happened to be available, and are always happy to help out in a pinch, so we skipped a good portion of our get to know you (and you get to know us) process.

It worked out so well.  We were able to work with a super sweet couple and their families (not to mention a great team of wedding vendors).  They were so grateful to have us, and we were happy to be there.  Midway through the day, they mentioned how glad they were to find a videographer at the last minute because they really wanted to preserve their wedding vows.

It’s something that I think most clients would assume is a given when they book a wedding video, but an increasing number of vendors do not include audio with your wedding video.  The minute they said how happy they were that they would have audio of those vows, I was so glad they ended up with us.  It’s not something that came up when they contacted us (though they may have discussed it with a planner who already knew what we offered) and they could have easily ended up with someone who doesn’t offer that.

I was curious as to exactly how many vendors don’t include audio, so I did a little non-scientific research (ie, I asked in some professional Facebook groups).  I found that most people who classify themselves as videographers do include audio (though my local market lags far behind, even for videographers).  However, for vendors in other fields (photo/dj/venues) that sell video as an add on, less than half include audio.

That’s audio of any kind.  On your wedding day, you want good audio.  The best audio.

Ask About Audio

If your vows matter to you, ask about audio.  Watch their films.  If they don’t include audio in the portfolio they put on their website (ie, their very best work) it’s not likely that it will be included in yours.  What about the other important words that are spoken during your wedding day?  The speeches, the candid moments?

I love audio for the way that it propels the story.  There’s nothing to capture emotion like that little pause that happens, right before someone says something that cements their future.  It’s the breath one takes before they get ready to go, the laughter of friends and family. I love audio for its sentimentality.

I think Chris also appreciates that, but he loves it for the science.  He’s spent the past 20 years working in radio, fine tuning the way radio stations sound.  He’s mixed live bands, and recorded them as well. He knows more about mics (there are so many of them), and mic placement, than I could ever comprehend, and he takes well-recorded audio and mixes it until it no longer sounds like a recording; it’s like you’re right there.

Let’s Talk About Mics

If this were a Hollywood set, we’d hire a guy to follow you around with a boom mic all day.  But this isn’t Hollywood, it’s your wedding day….and nothing ruins a wedding aesthetic like a giant mic on a stick.  So we use some other options to capture audio in a variety of ways.

First, there are the little on camera mics that we use all day long.  These are great for capturing the noise of the room: everyone laughing together, having a good time, nature noises, etc.

What they aren’t good for is capture crisp audio for things like your first look, ceremony, and speeches.  Because we use long lenses so that we can give you space for these things to happen (nothing says romance like a camera person breathing down your neck, am I right?) this means our cameras, and those mics, are not close enough during those moments for great audio.

During your ceremony and reception, either your venue or DJ likely already have a plan to mic the people who are speaking.  We connect with them, and record that audio.  We also like to have our own audio, and to get that, we hide tiny mics on the groom (and bride, when possible). We don’t like to see those mics (hey, you’ve spent a lot of money to look that good!) so we hide them pretty well.  Most couples forget that they are wearing them.  We only use these for the audio of the first look (if you’re doing one) and ceremony, so you don’t need to worry that we’re listening in on other portions of the day.

Most men’s clothing has several places that it’s real easy to place a mic.  Dresses, not so much, and this is why we make the call on whether to mic a bride on the wedding day.  We hide the mic in, well, the most obvious spot… dresses with plunging necklines may not work.  We also never want our recorder to cause any bulges or lumps in the perfect lines of a dress, so we’ll also look at the fit of the skirt and the dress itself.  If it doesn’t work, that’s totally okay, we’ll still have great audio.  But you can never have too much great audio, so we use those mics where we can.

I mean, when these are your vows, how could you even chance missing them?

Is This Mic On?

It’s a pretty rare occurrence, but every once in awhile, we’ll run into a situation where there are no other plans for amplifying audio for your day.  Our mics don’t do that.  They aren’t hooked up to a sound system, just to our recorders.  So they won’t help your guests to hear what is being said.  No one ever notices during the wedding ceremony, but if no other mic is being used for speeches at the reception, we will mic those who are speaking on our own.  But the guests still can’t here so sometimes we get the questions “Is This Mic On?”  Yes, working exactly as intended.  Just not hooked up to speakers.

We always recommend that our clients hire a professional DJ or talk with their venue about options for the reception.  Because we know how important those words are to preserve for your video, and we also know that everyone who came to your special day wants to hear them too! We have a whole collection of people that we can recommend for this, just send a message if you’d like to chat about it!

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