So, what does the well-known and oft-quoted Verizon guy (who is now doing ads for Sprint) have to do with wedding videography? A lot, actually! Hear us out ;)
You may get swept up in a videographer’s breathtaking visuals and distinct aesthetic style--as you should! So much of a wedding film’s emotional impact is as a direct result of the beautiful footage itself. But if you were building a house, you’d want a rock solid foundation to hold it up for years, hopefully even for generations to come!! Picture, therefore, the audio of your wedding film as that rock solid foundation to your home. If there are cracks in the foundation such as windy, possibly distorted vows, or telephone-like letter readings/toasts, and if there are crumbles in the foundation such as a boring, redundant soundtrack, suffice to say the house will not be built to last!
While you and your partner won’t need to be audio experts by any means, in general, when you’re making your decision to hire a wedding videography company, we recommend considering the following two points behind successful and professional audio capture:
Use of microphones!! 🎤
We personally will always have at least one compact shotgun microphone plugged into one of our cameras to capture broadcast-quality audio throughout your wedding. So, your question shouldn’t be about what make and model of a shotgun microphone your videographer uses, but whether they use one at all! Are they just relying on the underpowered, unprofessional internal microphone built into their camera(s)? If so, understand they most likely won’t be able to capture any usable candid, natural dialogue for your final films. This would be as bad as relying on your cell phone microphone to capture audio for your films.
Not everything audio-wise has to be recorded perfectly during a wedding day! In fact, some conversations are private and should stay that way. Your letter readings, vows, and toasts are much different though, and since these often form the bedrock of the important audio in the wedding films we create, we put a special emphasis on these moments and act accordingly. To effectively capture these moments, you should be willing to ask: Do you use lav mics during the ceremony, and how many will you bring with you? We have at least three lav microphones/recorders with us at all times, and all three are small enough to fit comfortably in the groom’s inner jacket pocket, as well as your officiant’s pocket, and the third lav is potentially put onto the bride too, or more usually the third lav is used as a hidden, backup audio source somewhere close to the action. Later, the lav mic/recorder units can be used as a backup audio source during the reception toasts too, but we will discuss this more down below! The truth is, the lav mic is inconspicuous while also being high-fidelity enough to capture every word, and sometimes even your anxious breathing, during the ceremony. Our cameras, which may be ten feet or more away from you, will not be able to reliably pick up what you’re saying in a crisp, pleasing way, even if they have a good compact shotgun microphone plugged into them as mentioned earlier!!
Your DJ!! 🔌
We love working with DJ’s, not just because of how well they keep the party going during reception time, but because of how important they are to the flow and audio quality of any toasts!! Generally we prefer to plug our audio recorders into the DJ’s system in two ways: through the back of one of their speakers, although this is not the preferred method. Our main preference is to plug a recorder into a feed coming directly out of their board! From there, we have two more fail-safes. First is to hide a tiny audio recorder inside of a black sleeve that we slide onto the handle of the microphone the toasts givers will pass around. The black sleeve hides the recorder, and this keeps the recorder close enough to their mouth to capture usable audio. The second method, which is the least reliable but still good to do, is to take one of those lav mic/recorder units, and drape a lav mic over the front end of one of the DJ’s speakers. All of these methods should not cause any interference or static issues with the DJ’s system and our recorders. While that all may sound a bit confusing and like overkill, we promise you won’t even realize we’ve done any of that work, and it’ll pay off in a major way when you can watch your films and feel like your back at your sweetheart table taking in your best man’s or matron of honor’s heartfelt speeches. All you need to do is make a polite request the week of your wedding with the DJ: can you make sure my videographer will have access to at least one feed from your board during the reception? They’ll know what that means, and if it comes from you directly, they’ll be especially happy to oblige!