So many words could describe my first fall shooting wedding videos: fun, rewarding, challenging. Above all, the most accurate word is "grateful."
Thank you so much to the four couples who trusted me to shoot one of the most important events in their lives. So far, everyone has been exceedingly easy to deal with and equally as appreciative of what I provided them.
Unless something unforeseen happens, my fall wedding season wrapped up this weekend with the nuptials of Kayla & J.D. Botner, who held their festivities at the picturesque Fillauer Lake House in Cleveland, TN.
Their story is slightly untraditional in that they were legally married back in December before J.D. spent a lengthy stint away from home serving in the Air Force. He returned to Tennessee recently, and this past Sunday was one of the few days they could schedule a ceremony in town before they quickly move to Arizona. The life of a military family.
My shoot went rather smoothly thanks to my wife Martha, who was able to help out again and work as a second videographer. She mainly stayed on the tripod. Circumstances left me without my monopod (or slider) so I used my Revo shoulder mount most of the night. Decent results. It's much easier to move side to side with the shoulder mount, but it tends to make the shotgun mic bounce around more, and the monopod certainly is easier on my back.
As for cameras, in the past, I've rented a Canon 5D as a second camera for weddings to go with my Canon 70D. This time, I rented a Nikon D500 instead. Like my Canon 70D, the Nikon D500 is crop sensor. But for a crop, it's incredible in low light! I was shooting with ISO above 5000 at times, whereas on the 70D, I would start seeing noticeable noise at 1600. It's a few hundred dollars more expensive than a 70D, but if you have it to spend and have no extreme loyalty to Canon, I recommend the D500.
But enough camera geek talk.
Enjoy this preview highlight video (a trailer, if you will) from the Botner wedding. I'll release a longer version some time next week.
You want an easy gig? I got one.
This past Saturday, while the leaves in the mountain trees were changing into full kaleidoscope color, I made the gorgeous 90-minute drive to Pineville, KY (in the Cumberland Gap area). That's where the Bell County Animal Shelter is located.
Recently, the shelter received a grant from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation to renovate their facilities. AVMF hired me to shoot video of the renovation.
I could post video of people painting, drilling and hanging up doors. But that's not what you want to see.
So by popular demand, this video contains nothing but the adorable puppies and kittens at the Bell County Animal Shelter! Take one home today!
This was a first. Well, kind of.
I shot this wedding by myself. No second camera person. For my first couple wedding shoots, my wife Martha was able to tag along and operate the camera at the back of the ceremony, but she was out of town during the Monica and Shawn Chapman wedding at the beautiful Legacy Springs Premier Events Center in Madisonville, TN.
No big deal though. Thanks to a little pre-planning and more than ten years of experience shooting news/sports stories solo, this went wedding went off without a hitch.
Take a look at the highlight video above and see for yourself. The bride had a few special song requests for the video, and I think they complimented it quite nicely.
For the ceremony, I locked a Canon 5D on a tripod in the back of the crowd, mounted a GoPro Hero 4 Session behind the couple and the preacher and carried my Canon 70D on a monopod to switch up the shots. I haven't posted any "raw" wedding videos yet, but I offer them to the couples as part of the package I provide them and here's how this one turned out.
For the reception, I switched things up a little bit. Normally, I carry around my 70D and lock the 5D on the tripod because the 70D is so much easier for me to use as a run-and-gun focus-on-the-fly camera. But the 5D is stronger in low-light settings and is a better camera overall (when used properly) so I shot most of the reception with that one. I'll just say the results were mixed from my perspective. Plus, the sunlight coming through the barn made for some horrendous backlighting issues at times, but I worked around it for the highlight video.
Also, if you want a laugh, check out the maid of honor's toast at 13:40 of the reception video below. She wrote her own rap lyrics to an Eminem backbeat. Gutsy.
Thanks again to Monica, Shawn and Monica's mother Yvonne for hiring me!
Also, thanks to Jean Lee at Legacy Springs, photographer Hannah Joy Brown of Joy Wildflower Photography and Adriel McCord from Effective Mobile DJ Service for making the day fun and easy.
I'll be shooting another wedding this weekend. So stay tuned for more...
Jason Jennings is a freelance videographer based in Raleigh, NC. He previously spent more than a decade covering sports for television stations in Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Missouri.