A Strasbourg wedding – a day of videographer challenges!

by | May 28, 2018

I love a challenge and ‘Real Wedding’ number four in our series, was certainly that, for several reasons.

Set in Strasbourg in north-eastern France, this was certainly the most bilingual wedding I’ve covered yet. Elizabeth from the United States and Guillaume from Strasbourg itself.

On the day, three languages were spoken, which I had to grapple with while filming and then in the edit…. but actually, the variety of the languages was not a barrier in the end but a fortunate ‘positive’.

Elizabeth and Guillaume found me on Google…

“We chose you for the high quality of filmmaking
and your ability to capture each couple’s uniqueness.”

As a Soprano and Violinist at the Frankfurt Opera House, they both had an appreciation of audio, which is one of the driving forces behind all our films.

They’d invited friends from the orchestra to play at the ceremony and they also had a live performer for their first dance. So, when we first chatted about their wedding, the audio-visual language of their film was crucial which meant I needed all the best professional audio gear at my disposal. Which of course I have.

On the day Elizabeth was getting ready in her room at the château but Guillaume was with his groomsmen in the centre of town… meaning there was a lot to film from very early on, including not only their preparations but establishers of the venue and set-up of the wedding. I had to fly around filming, as well as take into account a drive into the city centre of Strasbourg to film Guillaume.

Another challenge on the day was that it was to be an open-air ceremony in an enclosed courtyard set in the amazing grounds of Château de Pourtalès. That in itself isn’t a problem but the weather forecast wasn’t good, so I needed to be ready right up until the bride walked down the aisle for a quick change around with four cameras.

Photos by Charlotte Aleman

I had four cameras with me. For most of the day I used just the one camera to enable me to move discreetly around the couple and guests and film the day as it unfolded naturally. But for the ceremony I also set up three ‘locked-off’ or static cameras to achieve the maximum coverage and three cameras for the speeches.

A family friend, whose dream had always been to take a wedding, acted as the celebrant. A beautiful touch to their wedding but gave me an element of worry because he’d had no experience in conducting a ceremony before. He was nervous and reluctant to wear a microphone. Part of my job is to make my clients feel at ease and relaxed and on that day, I also helped the celebrant with his nerves too.

Everything went perfectly to plan during the day and the couple left plenty of time for the ‘portrait session’ with myself and the photographer. I don’t like to steal the couple away from guests for too long so it’s always my preference to work with the photographer at this point during the day to save time. Again, the language differences between myself and Charlotte meant this was an interesting half an hour… all the same, it was fun.

Photos by Charlotte Aleman

The speeches were all fabulous – scheduled for before and after the meal. I like this idea and it’s a really nice compromise for those couples wanting to have speeches between courses. This has become a bit of a trend but it’s very problematic for videographers if the couple want every speech recorded.

Due to the time it takes to set up cameras (often three of four during speeches) it would mean they’d need to be left in situ during the meal. Not only does this make the tripods and cameras a tripping hazard but service has to work around them, so it means the videographer also has to remain in in the room at all times too.

Usually, the meal is a time when I’ll take a quick break, recharge batteries (mine and the cameras!) and also back up footage. And not forgetting that if you have speeches during the meal the waiters often get in the way of shot as they clear plates and serve up the next course …. but who wants to be filmed eating anyway. It’s always better for your guests to focus on the words and the sentiment rather the taste of their food.

Elizabeth’s father gave his speech in German and English, Guillaume in French and English, the same as the best man and then there were a few ‘off the cuff’ words from the chief bridesmaid who spoke only in English. So, it was fun and games in the edit but all in all they gave the films a bilingual flair.

The last challenge for this wedding was the First Dance, which was choreographed by the couple after having dance lessons. As I mentioned before, the music was also live, with a guest singing their song and playing the piano. I decided on three cameras as I anticipated the couple would later want this dance in a standalone film… and they did.

It was a fabulous wedding and Elizabeth and Guillaume loved their films…

“Thank you again so much for making our day so
special and for all your hard work for our Strasbourg
wedding. We were so happy to have you there.”

Story Of Your Day // Love crosses all borders from Story of Your Day.

If you’d like to read more about my adventures as a destination videographer, you can read this diary post.

And if you’re considering having a wedding film and want to chat to me about telling your story then book yourself in for a chat today.

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