We could go on for a whole article about how difficult wedding videography is with only 1 camera, and then right at the end swoop in with our plug – “with FIY Wedding all your guests use their own camera!” … but that would feel a bit obvious. So we figured we may as well just drop our plug right here at the top.
If you’ve been asked by a couple to film their wedding and you’re not really a pro videographer… you might want to suggest our services to them. With FIY Wedding, guests film on their phones, upload their clips via a QR code, and we then edit the video.
That said, if you are hell bent on filming a wedding with only 1 camera, let us help you out.
Is it even possible?
Yes, of coures it’s possible. Not ideal, sure. But possible. If you have only one person, but 2 cameras, then you can obviously set one of the cameras up on a tripod to capture different angles of key moments. But since you’re on this article, let’s assume you literally only have access to 1 camera.
Have backup batteries, a tripod, and lots of practice.
In addition to the camera and its accessories, you’ll need a few other things to ensure your wedding shoot goes smoothly. The most important is backup batteries. Sometimes, even when you’re prepared for everything else (like having a tripod), the battery life of your camera can run out unexpectedly.
If this happens at an inopportune time (such as during the bride’s entrance or first dance), it could end up costing you some great footage that could have appeared in the final video. Getting extra batteries is essential, so that if one runs out halfway through your shoot, you won’t have to stop filming until it’s ready again—you’ll be able to keep shooting with maybe only a brief interruption.
It’s also a smart idea to have a good understanding of how long your batteries last. When it flicks down to only one bar, does that mean you have 3 minutes, or 30 minutes? If it’s only 3, you’ll probably want to switch to a fresh one rather than running it down until it dies, to try and avoid interruptions.
Get as close as possible while filming.
One of the most common mistakes we see with wedding videography is standing too far away from the action. If you’re shooting with only one camera, you’ll want your one shot of each moment to be good quality. Depending on your gear, zooming in post-production may not look great (not to mention it will exaggerate any camera shake), so ideally you want to be filming at a suitable distance from the off.
This is particularly important for the ceremony and speeches, if you are using your single camera for recording the audio as well.
Ideally, we’d recommend recording audio separately, but that won’t always be possible.
Request that your bride and groom come prepared with a schedule and lists of friends/family members.
You’ll want to make sure that you know who will be there, so that you can plan out your shots and meet the needs of the couple. Ask them for a list of friends and family members, particularly those close to them that they’d like to be featured in their video. Sometimes videographers can focus overly on guests that they happen to be sitting close to, but they might be random people that only just made the guestlist!
If you know who’s really important – the closest friends and family members – you can be sure to focus around them on the day (as well as the bride and groom!).
It’s worth also getting a run down of the order of the day, so you know when key moments such as the first dance are going to be. That way you can ensure your equipment is ready (and that you’re present!).
Use a gimbal if you can
A gimbal is a motorized tripod that allows you to pan and tilt your camera as if it were floating on air. If you’re shooting a wedding by yourself and want to capture smooth video, a gimbal is going to be your best friend. If you’ve only got one chance to get each shot right, you want to do everything you can to give yourself the best odds!
Make sure the camera is recording!
This may seem obvious… but seriously! Make sure the camera is recording at all times when you want it to be. That also means checking that it’s still recording during long clips, such as the speeches. Be careful not to just turn it on and then sit back and relax.
Keep checking that it is still recording, and if it’s on a tripod, keep checking that the subject is still in the frame. There’s no worse feeling in the world than going to turn the camera off and realising it already is!
We can help with wedding videography!
Here’s the second shameless plug. FIY Wedding can help if you are contemplating filming a wedding with only one camera. We provide 100 QR cards, so every guest has the opportunity to film on their phones and upload their footage.
It’s an affordable way of capturing a unique wedding film. It also means you can get more angles of things that normal videographers ever would. For example – if 4 or 5 people film the first dance, we can then switch between all these angles in the editing, making for a great video.