Capturing Wedding Audio

Maid of Honor Speech vineyards

Someone once said… audio is 80% of a film… Have you ever watched a TV show where the “synch” was off? Even in the beginning days of films… someone played a piano or organ in the theater. On your wedding day, your audio is what allows us to tell your story, and it’s what takes you back in time 20 years from now.

Now for the scoop…

So… what’s the deal with fear of microphones? I get the whole speaking in public thing, and maybe people think that when we put a mic on them it’s going to blast thru the PA system. Well, the good news is that the mic’s we use when recording your wedding ceremony video will not go into the PA and will only be used during your film.

Maybe we should think of microphones as our friends. Have you ever watched a movie, video, or something on your smart phone and couldn’t understand the words? or was scratchy? or maybe even a WINDY day? Often the film work can be beautiful, but if the audio “sucks” (a technical term) the complete experience is not so great. Creatively, I feel that audio is probably a little more important than the filming, especially during a wedding.

Since we are (hopefully) only going to film your wedding day once. We tend be overly cautious about using multiple microphones / recorders as we don’t get a second take or do over. Our typical wedding ceremonies are recorded with several audio systems.

  • on the officiate
  • on the groom / partner
  • sometimes on the bride / partner
  • thru the sound board if a system is used for additional speaker / readings
  • in front of live musicians if they are a part of the ceremony

When combining great audio with our multi camera approach, we feel our wedding ceremony films are pretty amazing to watch.

Some of the Audio Gear we bring for a Wedding

What about your reception speeches and toasts? While it seems like should be simple, there are several things that can make the process challenging.  We’ll use various options to capture these amazing moments on video and audio…

The primary and most common way for quality audio and clear speech? We’ll have a microphone on a mic stand. Often taped to it. Why? Here are a few of the things we have experienced during receptions…

  • People… Besides the basic fear of speaking in front of an audience… Most people really have no practical experience holding a microphone, let alone holding a microphone while they are reading from a piece of paper or smart-phone. Sometimes it works well, often the mic ends up too far away to pick up the voice or worse… ends up going up and down like a yo-yo. Other times the mic seems to just fall away and towards everyone else. And the most entertaining… when the speaker talks with their hands, or they start channeling Leonard Bernstein and start waving the microphone like they’re in front of an full orchestra.
  • Pacing… Some people have a hard time in front of a group and staying still, meaning that they will pace, and or walk around. While not in itself a bad thing, depending on the layout, they may walk out of the light, or make it difficult to get a nice stable, close up shot.
  • What’s in the background? We want the person speaking to not have to visually compete with their background. Bad stuff? In front of a window so they look like a shadow in your film. In front of a bunch of exposed DJ equipment… or by a door leading into the kitchen with staff moving about…
  • Lighting… often it’s already getting dark when speeches are occurring, so we like to have the area lighted.

Now we do understand that every venue is unique, and you have a vision of how you want your day to unfold. So, while the above describes the ideal way (and why) for us to capture quality audio, and video, we are happy to work with your vision of your wedding.

In Summary.

While this seems like it could be a lot of things to think about, even overkill, your wedding only happens once. Capturing quality audio is important to your enjoyment of your films for the rest of your lives, and even beyond.

If you would like to know more about how we film and capture your wedding day audio, drop me a note and I’d love to chat about your specific venue and circumstances.  

Have an Amazing Wedding! – Ken

Technical Note: During your ceremony, if you or anyone in the Bridal Party feels the need to have a smart phone in a pocket. Be sure to power off, or at least place in airplane mode. Just imagine during the vows, a bridesmaids phone goes off playing “I can’t get no satisfaction” as her ringtone… what else needs to be said.

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