Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Camera, Action, LIGHTS!

***This is a blog post from about three years ago that I'm reposting. The info is just as valuable as ever!***

I've been wanting to write this post for, well, years now. It's about something that is very near and dear to a wedding filmmakers heart: lighting. I don't think I can overemphasize the importance of having nice lighting at your wedding reception; it dramatically affects the appearance of your wedding video.

If you are having an evening reception, there are two routes you can take to add more light to the event: have your DJ provide it, or hire a lighting company. Let's talk about the first option.

I love doing weddings with CMB Music Productions because Casey always brings lighting for the dance floor (which is included but optional). It's called a 4 effect dance light, and it's LED so it can change colors and move to the beat of the music playing. It can add lots of interest and energy to the dance footage. If you're having a DJ, definitely look for one that offers this service.

Casey also offers other services that I believe are well worth the investment. He can add a 3D laser that is used with a haze machine (which creates a thin layer of smoke), and you can see this in action in Davi & Jonathon's trailer. And for a neat personal touch he can do monogram projection on the dance floor ($175- $250), which looks like this:

This monogram is from April and Ben's wedding, and I love how it enhances the first dance.
So now lets talk about things that a dedicated lighting company can do for you. First we have uplighting (which Casey does offer for $200 to $1000. You can get Casey as your DJ and lighting provider, or get just lighting through his Tyler Uplights company.) This allows the walls of your reception space to be washed in your color of choice, oftentimes your wedding colors. (FYI, I've read that the most flattering light color is coral.) It creates depth to your wedding images, because you see the subject in the foreground but also color and lighting in the background, so you always have two layers of interest. Next we have pinspot lights on the centerpieces, wedding cake, and other details. I love this because it really highlights all the beautiful flowers that you've spent so much money on. Everything just seems to glow and sparkle. Plus, your guests will be able to see each other's faces as they eat and talk.

Here is a still frame from Megan and Mark's wedding footage. It gives you an idea of what pinspotting can do for the centerpieces- see how they pop? Plus, it enhances the shiny tablecloths and the glassware. In this picture you can also see the blue uplighting on the wall.
And lastly, there's the lighting for the dance floor and band. Since this is where the majority of the action is going to take place, I recommend you start here and then add the other lighting as your budget permits. For recommendations on lighting companies, you can talk to your coordinator or venue.

There are several things to notice in this still frame, also from Megan and Mark's reception. See how her hair has all those colorful highlights, and the sequins on her shirt sparkle green, and her skin glows? I also like how you can see the blue in the background that contrasts with the warm colors in the foreground.

This is by no means an exhaustive overview on lighting. The main thing I want to convey is that the more light, color, and interest you have at your reception, the more beautiful and dynamic your video will be.

You can also check out this post to learn more lighting lingo.
And click here to see some truly breathtaking event lighting.

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