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Old May 29th, 2011, 11:31 AM   #1
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Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

I was wondering if interacting with couples has changed your perception of marriage and relationships? Does it make you more inclined to get married or less? I'm 32, never married/no kids. I don't have any burning desire to get married. I'm filming a wedding today, and have already shot an engagement video for them. During the course of the filming I've watched them bicker, and I sense this will only escalate in the coming years. Both have been married previously, as well. I know it is imperative to remain strictly business during shooting, especially externally, but have you ever felt a bit resentful of the institution or perhaps gotten teary-eyed during shooting? Did any of you get into the business because you love marriage and relationships, or was strictly a financial decision? What say ye?
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Old May 29th, 2011, 12:57 PM   #2
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

Interesting post, Patrick.

Many new wedding videographers are often struck by the "emotional" factor, but over time that lessens as we learn to focus on the job at hand. A sensitive nature can be both a help and a hindrance in this field. It is rarely as beneficial as it is detrimental, but can be overcome. Over time and you can learn to see things more objectively if this is your nature. This is my experience.

On the why of it, I believe the majority of wedding videographers do it because it is a way to shoot video and be paid for it. If you look at the attempts some of us make to be artistic, etc, it is clear that we are talking about wannabe artistic types, often with no talent, who just enjoy being creative. I include myself in that group.

Many of us buy a video camera, play with it, and simply look for ways to get creative with it. I discovered the fun in editing, putting things to music, and next thing you know I thought of myself as an artist.

I shot my first wedding, put it to a sappy song, because I didn't know how to shoot a continous live event properly, and imagined I would become a cinematic videographer. I thought that my work was so profound that I deserved to be paid for it.

I was concientous, and learned a few things from others, (luckily for my clients) and I got a little better, but I still have a long way to go. I'm very much a beginner at video myself. (However I have been involved with the wedding business one way or the other for over 25 years.)

I find a mentor or two are necessary. You must make friends with other local shooters to really succeed, but that is just opinion. It can be done without, but is much more difficult, and you will get better much more slowly without others to learn from. And trust me on this Patrick: if you had any idea of how little you know about video today, you would probaly become overwhelmed and quit. I just picked up "The Five C's of Cinematography" yesterday, and I am now suddenly ashamed of everything I've ever shot. I know nothing about shooting, and I've been doing it for 8 years. Very scary stuff when your realize that.

Anyway, the institution of marriage has nothing to do with feelings about my craft, most of the time.

Weddings are pure kitsch. That is why they are parodied so often in movies. The sometimes (oftentimes) silly bridesmaids dresses, the cake with initials on top, easy to make fun of. The challenge in making a humorous feature film about wedding silliness, is because weddings are often parodies themselves. How do you make something funny about something already funny? It's a classic filmmaker's dilemma.

My favorite brides are those that "get it", and fully understand the kitschy aspect of the whole affair, but grin and bear it for the sake of the families. Those girls/couples are my favorite, but are exceedingly rare.

As far as being moved, I'm am moved on occasion by the father daughter dance, or the father's speech, as I most often emphasize with where he is at and how he must feel.

Regarding the kitsch factor, I stole and adpated the following from "The Unbearable Lightness of Being:":

"Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession at a wedding. The first tear says: How nice to see a young couple in love getting married. The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all these people, seeing this young couple getting married. It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch."
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Old May 29th, 2011, 01:00 PM   #3
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

I almost cry at every wedding I shoot, because I always see beautiful things! I'm not kidding. I've been very fortunate that I've been able to translate what I see to something everyone can feel when they watch their wedding videos. It seems like a lot of videographers today are focused more on their equipment, or camera movement, but are not really seeing what the COUPLE is about. Luck is a big part of it, and the camera has to be pointed in the right direction when it happens. Things like the WAY he looks into her eyes during a quiet moment, the WAY he holds and caresses her hands, or the WAY their bodies lean towards each other when they're small talking all communicates love. My favorite shot is if they're talking in private, the bride suddenly bursts out in laughter. These are things you can't set up, you just have to be ready to capture them when it happens. If you're not seeing these things, your camera may not be pointed in the right direction because every wedding has it's ups and downs.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 09:33 PM   #4
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

If anything I think shooting weddings desensitises you to the whole feel of the day.

Most people go to maybe one or two weddings a year on average. For many of them, it will be the only time they are emotionally moved all year. So they allow themselves to be fully swept up in the moment. When you're at one every weekend, it's a very different experience. And, of course, the ability to remain objective means you can focus all the more on capturing and adapting to those little things happening around you - be it a suble change in the lighting, or a priceless moment between two restless children at the back of the church.

I'd liken our experience of weddings to that of the main characters in "The Wedding Crashers." They've been to so many weddings that they know exactly what works, what doesn't, and they know exactly what the audience wants to see and hear. They remain entirely objective yet because of their acute awareness of the events unfolding, they are able to do their 'job' successfully.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 09:45 PM   #5
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

I read an article a few years ago (I searched, but couldn't find it) that said people who work in the "wedding industry" (catering, photography, videography, bridal stores, etc.) have a substantially higher incidence of divorce that other industries. Pretty sad.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 09:51 PM   #6
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

Very well said John, I agree completely with your statements. My first year of full time wedding work, I taped 35 weddings. That's a lot of weddings to attend. So I've done hundreds of them now. It is as you say: one becomes objective, but know from experience what you need to tape.

You really need to be objective to to your best work, IMO. But that comes in time I think.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #7
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

Hi Chris

That could also be due to the crazy hours we have to work!! If you have a wife who likes to party on a Saturday night then she really won't be too happy with your occupation...essentially wives are left alone on the weekend until the early hours of the morning without ever being able to go out and join another couple for a BBQ. It does mess up the social side of your life as you are working while others are relaxing!!

Yeah, I'm with you John...I tend to get de-sensitized which is probably better from a technical POV. At least I can concentrate on my job rather than get swept up in the emotional moment and realised that you SHOULD really have pushed the camera's record button before getting involved. Then again weddings are happy events so it's a brilliant environment to work in!!!

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Old May 29th, 2011, 10:16 PM   #8
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

The downside of all this however, is that when you attend a wedding of a friend, it's hard to shake that objectivity and get into the moment. I've found with the two non-business weddings I've attended this year that I still feel like I'm in work mode - always looking out for details, finding unique angles, checking my watch and the light, and cursing the photographer for blocking my view. And then I forget to clap...
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Old May 29th, 2011, 11:56 PM   #9
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Janka View Post
I was wondering if interacting with couples has changed your perception of marriage and relationships? Does it make you more inclined to get married or less? I'm 32, never married/no kids. I don't have any burning desire to get married. I'm filming a wedding today, and have already shot an engagement video for them. During the course of the filming I've watched them bicker, and I sense this will only escalate in the coming years. Both have been married previously, as well. I know it is imperative to remain strictly business during shooting, especially externally, but have you ever felt a bit resentful of the institution or perhaps gotten teary-eyed during shooting? Did any of you get into the business because you love marriage and relationships, or was strictly a financial decision? What say ye?
I've been in the business 19 years and just got married 3 1/2 years ago at the age of 42. We have a brand new 15 month old baby girl and life is wonderful. While in my 30s, I never had the burning desire to get married or have kids either. It's 1am and I just got home from a wedding. I can't wait until 7am when my daugher wakes up to see her smiling face. She is the world to me. Patrick, your feelings about marriage and kids will probably change too.
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Old May 30th, 2011, 03:17 AM   #10
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

First Patrick, great thread!

My wife of 16 years has worked with me throughout that time and still does. As pros we tend not to feel much emotion at the actual recording, unless there’s a particularly emotional speech or something like that.

But, afterwards, during and at the review of the edit, my wife and I can often find ourselves welling up just as Warren describes.

When I started concentrating on weddings six years ago I disdained the “regulation” slo-mo sections but when clients asked for it I realised it sometimes gave me the chance to pick up small, details that in real time I might have missed.

Glances, winks, a tear in the corner of the eye, gently blown kisses even the occasional squeeze of the arm, all these we find we’ve captured. In our “Dream” wedding programme (a summary of the romantic parts of the day set to a romantic piece of music the couple have chosen) we’ll sprinkle these magic moments, knowing that any emotion we feel ourselves in the edit suite, will be massive hankie time for the client.

Finally, for Chris H’s survey, I don’t think we’re any more or less stable than any of our non-industry friends, and to Michael, I concur completely. When my grandchildren were born (in Korea) I rejoiced in the existence of Skype video, hoping it would overcome the separation I knew when I lived overseas myself and a weekly blue airletter was the only regular communication. Of course Skype’s better than airletters but there’s nothing to compare with the breath of your child or grandchild against your cheek.
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Old May 30th, 2011, 04:14 AM   #11
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

Hi Philip

It's not by choice!! My better half came to one wedding and that was it!! Over the last few years we have been to family weddings where I have done the video as a wedding gift.

However normally I go to work on a Saturday and she stays at home (by choice) !! You could also look at it as providing some "free time apart" but I must admit I would prefer to shoot as a duo rather than on my own!! However attempts to find a "shooting partner" have been a waste of time...they just don't have the same committment and attitude as I do!!

Pity you are in the UK!!! I could borrow Nikki now and again if we were closer!!!

Chris
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Old May 30th, 2011, 06:21 AM   #12
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

First let me state that I've started in weddings as a still photog back in 1971. Made the move to the "other side" (video) in 1983. Don't remember specifics anymore but I've done somewhere in the area of 2100 weddings between stills and video. In just the last 10 years I've done about 550 weddings give or take 1 or 2. Yep 55 a year. Not this year-so far I've only got 45 booked but that's alright by me.
Honestly the only weddings I've ever been emotionally invested in were my own childrens, 1 daughter and 2 sons.
My personality is such that while I've worked with many hundreds of GREAT couples (like the one last night) I really don't know them, aren't friends for life with them and honestly a week after the gig, I have forgotten most of what happend. Now I don't mean to sound shallow or trivialize their wedding but I have the inate ability to forget things pretty quickly (ask my wife of 42 years) mostly because I know I have another 1 or 2 to get ready for the next week and I have editing to do.
I'm mostly a docoumentarian (sp) but I DO recall even if only somewhat certain aspects of certain weddings good and/or not so good. Lets face it, not all wedding receptions are all that much fun, not all bridal parties are all that much fun, not all brides and or grooms are all that much fun, hopefully you don't get all 3 at one time-that's a sure disaster.
Did I get into it because I'm super creative or emotionally attached to weddings? No, I got into video because my sister-in-law asked me if I could video tape wedding in 1983. I borrowed a camera (consumer beta with a seperate recording deck and a cassette recorder for sound-yikes). I made the move to video for the same reason I got into doing weddings as a still photog, I needed the money. I was self employed with a family and knew nothing else. I had no other "trade" except what I had learned in the Army and the only skills I had learned weren't very transferable to civilian life and the "family" wasn't hiring at the time.
So do I do it for "love"? Nope I do it for money, to pay my bills, keep a roof over my head, food on the table and gas in the car. Do I enjoy myself on the job? Mostly! If I could go back knowing what I know now, would I do it again? HMMMMM good one, I don't know. I'd like to say "no" but I can't quite say that although I might do a lot of things differently, but wouldn't we all.
All in all I got into the wedding industry by accident but overall I can't complain (no would would listen anyway- 80% of the people in the world don't care and the other 20% are glad it's you and not them) but for me, it's my paycheck.
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Old May 30th, 2011, 07:07 AM   #13
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

Since I started filming in 2000 (when I was about 25) I have gotten a bit blurry eyed a few times. But it doens't happen that often.

As others have noted, some wedding parties are great. Others are not.

It's the one's that are great, and also where you clearly see the love between the couple and the wedding party, and the parents/grandparents. I mean, when you are in the presence of a situation it is very powerful. Also, it gives hope for the couple to have a long and lasting marriage.

Over the years, I have also filmed the opposite, and in several cases the couples have gotten divorced a few years later.

I'm an engineer by day but also have a creative side (or at least I like to think lol) and have always enjoyed drawing and art. Getting into video actually happened by accident over a decade ago, but I'm thankful that it happened. I find that making wedding videos is a very rewarding experience.

From video, I've also recently gotten into photography (NOT wedding photography). And just like video... it's another place to spend all my money. LOL

Oh, and not to mention I like to play guitar and keyboads too.... a 3rd place to spend all my money.

Finally I didn't get married until I was 32. Was never in a hurry. Now, I've got a 2 year old son and I've found that being a dad is the greatest thing ever.
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Old May 30th, 2011, 07:13 AM   #14
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

Excellent thread, with equally excellent opinions. I think that the original question can reveal more about videographers, than about the wedding itself. Truth be told, after many weddings you get that feeling that "it's only a job". Is it a job that needs to be done properly in order to get your money and keep doing it? Absolutely. Are there times that the "distant" videographer (or photographer) gets emotionally affected by some certain weddings? Strangely yes. Some may disagree that this is normal to happen (and maybe it isn't) but I recall that those weddings that got us emotionally involved in different ways everytime, happen to be our best works. Coincidence? Maybe.

Don't get me wrong, many people can cry in a wedding, this doesn't mean this is what happens to us. It's just that some times strange things occur, other unpleasant, other out of happiness (and I wish I could share some really incredible stories) that makes the Fourth Wall collapse, kind of. I think it's nice when it happens, it's like pushing a button that makes me go deeper into what happens that day (hence the "coincidence" with the best jobs). Of course it's not always like this, not because of us, but because of the weddings themselves.

But anyway, it's also about the reasons everybody got into this line of work. I find it difficult to believe that a male entered this business just because he loves the emotions (that's a good excuse for one to write in his website, it surely helps to attract brides), but for a woman photographer/videographer it may be true. Others started this for the cash, and others (like me I suppose) is because they loved cinema, great productions, and similar stuff and decided to start from there, and weddings are good in order to experiment and make some money out of it. Of course, many want to jump into other productions, but wedding is like a loophole. Easy to enter, hard to get out, especially if you make a name out of it.
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Old May 30th, 2011, 10:05 AM   #15
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Re: Does filming wedding weddings affect you emotionally?

Nice Thread Patrick.
What can I say, sometime emotions comes to me when I hear speeches from grandparents, how even after 40 years together they still love each other, how proud they are and happy! They give advice and I listen to that! At this point I start thinking about my beautiful wife who sits at home with my lovely kids and waiting for me to come back....
That's life! And I think I have the best job in the world to have a chance to capture and feel this moments!

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