What is it like to be behind the camera on a wedding day? In this case, I mean video camera, of course. Today, Christina of Traveling Heart Productions is here to answer the question for us! In the next edition of “A (Wedding) Day In The Life Of” series, Christina is sharing what a day (actually what a FEW days) in her life looks like. A lot (and I mean a lot a lot) of work goes into making a video – there's prep time, schedule creation, location scouting, consulting with the other vendors, backing up all of the footage (usually to multiple places), and hours and hours of editing…not to mention actually being there on the wedding day to film it! But why am I telling you all of this? You can just read the first hand account from Christina instead!
Hey all! My name is Christina, and I’m the owner and lead videographer at Traveling Heart Productions! I’m so excited to provide you with a behind the scenes look at my life as a wedding videographer! I love filming weddings, and I’m always so honored and excited to capture such an amazing and important day. The wedding day preparations begin several days prior to the wedding, starting on Thursday. Here’s the rundown of a wedding my second shooter, Brandon, and I filmed a few weekends ago:
Time to charge batteries and double check my equipment. I have lots of batteries on me during the wedding day, and I need them all to be ready to go. I also look over my equipment and make sure everything is here and in working order. Tripod and monopod plates? Check. Shoulder mounts? Check. Just making sure I’m not missing anything important!
Time to format cards, organize my camera and equipment bags, and look over the timeline and questionnaire. I prepare my second shooter’s bag as well, so she’s ready to film groom preparations right away. Once our bags are packed and organized, I start preparing what I want to wear. I’m usually either in black pants and a blouse/cardigan combo, or a maxi dress with a cardigan. Layers are my friend, since it often goes from being 85 degrees outside to super chilly in the reception space. For tomorrow’s wedding, I’ll be in a maxi dress that I love to wear.
Saturday (Wedding Day!)
Time to get up! I get showered and dressed. Time to move my two camera bags and my equipment bag into the car.
Today’s wedding is in Johnstown, PA, so we have a little bit of a drive this morning. Brandon and I will be driving together, as we do for most weddings, because she lives down the street from me. I swing by her house and pick her up. We stop at Panera to grab bagels and coffee for breakfast. Panera = life.
Still driving! It’s a relaxing morning so far.
We arrive in Johnstown. We aren’t supposed to be on location until 11 a.m., so we spend a little time scouting where we need to be later in the day. I run through the itinerary again, and give Brandon a copy.
Arrived at the bride’s house, where she will be getting ready! I grab my camera bag and my monopod from the trunk. Brandon types in the address for the groom’s location (his parent’s house — just down the street) and she departs.
Ring the doorbell, and I’m here! Time to start filming preparations. I introduce myself to everyone, quickly set up my camera, and I’m filming! I say hello to Leeann, today’s photographer. I'm really excited about that because I really enjoy working with her. I mostly focus on details, hair/makeup, the bride getting into her dress, and the overall interactions between her family and friends. It’s a super relaxed and happy atmosphere.
Time for us to travel to the groom’s location, where the couple will be doing a first look. Woohoo, I love first looks! I grab a ride with Leeann, since my second shooter has my car and off we go!
It’s pouring down rain when we arrive, but it quickly dissipates. The couple has a super cute first look and now they have some free time to take portraits. I hang around to grab some portrait footage and then Brandon and I are off to the church to set up!
Arrive at St. Mary's Byzantine Church after inhaling a turkey sandwich in the car. We bring in our cameras and equipment and set up our three cameras. It’s so hot out, and I’m really glad the church is air conditioned. Once the groom arrives, I put a mic on him to record clear audio from the vows. I coordinate with Leeann to make sure she’s okay with my anticipated locations during the ceremony (so we’re not in each other’s shots) and now I’m ready to film!
Ceremony begins! This church is so gorgeous and there are lots of beautiful spots to capture the ceremony. Brandon is split between two cameras on tripods — one in the balcony and one on the far right hand side of the church capturing the bride’s face. I am on a monopod next to Leeann during the processional and then I’m off to the left hand side for vows and ring exchange, capturing the groom’s face. During the rest of the ceremony, I quietly walk around and get other shots from interesting vantage points. I’m back on the left hand side for the kiss! Yay, they’re officially married!
Bubble exit outside! So cute! The ceremony has ended, and it’s time for Brandon and I to break down our equipment and most of our cameras. I remove the mic from the groom so he can take formal portraits in the church. While formal portraits are happening (I don’t film the formal family portraits), I grab some interior shots of the church. Once I have everything I need, I pack up my camera and let Brandon know where to go for the reception. I send her there early so she can grab detail shots before the guests arrive. She loads the car back up with our equipment (I really need to buy a bag with wheels for us). I ride with Leeann again — and we’re off to bridal party portraits!
Bridal portraits are at the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown’s campus, and I’m excited to grab some pretty footage! I always have fun filming couples interacting with their bridal party and with each other in a creative way.
We travel to the reception site (Johnstown Masonic Temple) and I grab some more footage of the couple before going into the reception hall to set up with Brandon. She has already filmed lots of pretty detail/hall footage. We coordinate where we will most likely be during the reception. I introduce myself to the DJ and plug into his equipment so I can record the toasts for the video.
The reception begins! The order today is: Introductions, First Dance, Cake Cutting, Toasts, Blessing and then…
Dinner! Time to take a break and eat. Feels good to sit down.
We’re back at it, and ready to film the Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dances. The floor opens up for dancing. Party time!
The sun is setting and it’s a perfect time for some outdoor evening portraits. Leeann and I both head up to the roof (!!) where we can get some gorgeous shots in beautiful light.
Ceremony ends. We say goodbye and thank you to everyone! Brandon and I break down our equipment and load everything back into the car. Tonight is a bit of a longer drive home (two hours) since we’re in Johnstown. I drop Brandon off at her house.
I’m home! Time to copy all of my footage onto my computer. I have nine camera cards full of wedding gorgeousness, and I love scrolling through everything as I copy it over. Once it’s all on my computer’s hard drive, I back it up onto an external hard drive, and then I also upload it to cloud storage. I also will not wipe my camera cards until the wedding has been delivered to the couple. I take a lot of precautions with my footage; media management is important! While this is happening, I’m usually eating a snack, drinking water, and watching Parks and Rec, because it’s the best. I’m a night owl, so being up late is no issue for me, and I sleep better knowing I have everything backed up.
Whew, I’m tired! Time for bed (I’m asleep in 10 minutes).
That’s my entire day! The next few days I spend working on the teaser trailer. Once I deliver that to the couple, I begin editing their full highlight film. I usually spend about 40 – 50 hours of editing on each wedding that I film. Thanks for following along with me!
And what better way to see a wedding videographer in action than with a behind the scenes video? Duh! Enjoy this little snippet that Christina put together! She's the absolute best for sharing her day with us and I hope she definitely took Tom Haverford's advice and treated herself after this!
If you missed the beginning half of this summer series, you can see what wedding days in the life of Sapphire and Lace Design and La Pomponnee Beauty Artisans look like. Be sure to stay tuned as I share more in the coming weeks.
You can also revisit some of my favorite posts from this series in the past!
- Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers
- Post Script Films
- Jeremy Ganss Productions
- The Blue Daisy Floral Designs
- Soiree by Souleret