On several occasions, I’ve been asked where (or how) I came about the name for First Impressions Video. The answer is simple: In the world of non-scripted event productions, there is rarely—if ever—an opportunity for a second take. You can’t get a wedding couple to stop in the middle of the ceremony and repeat their vows, or ask a corporate CEO doing an annual presentation to do it over again because you missed the most important part of his or her speech! That would be an “epic fail!” But the question has more to do with the genesis of the name.
The saying, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression,” is attributed to many folks, as I have learned: Oliver Wilde, Mark Twain, Will Rogers; heck, even Walt Disney! Given their histories and personalities, it would make perfect sense for any of these esteemed people to have said it. But the real attribution for this phrase goes to Hannah Tatum Whitall Smith (1832 – 1911), an evangelist, author and an activist in both the Women’s Suffrage and Temperance movements. Smith was considered, among many of her talents, a motivational communicator—quite an accomplishment, given the historical time period. The original phrase was, “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression,” and the word ‘good’ was dropped in more contemporary use, though the inference remains.
This statement promotes responsibility in how we approach our work because if you’re shooting a live event, there just may not—and probably won’t—be a second chance, so we’d better get it right the first time. Good words to live by—in videography, or any other field of endeavor. Thank you, Mrs. Smith, for the inspiration!
Wedding videos typically fall into one of two categories. Both are recordings of the day’s (and evening’s) activities, but the approach is different.
Documentary Style (often referred to as the “Journalistic” Style)
As the name would suggest, this approach captures the events of the day in a fairly linear fashion: bride prep, groom prep, the ceremony itself, any “tween” activities and the reception. Guest interviews may be included. The shoot and the editing usually flow with the chronological order of the day. Because the intent of a documentary style is to present the wedding in its entirety (notwithstanding some editing to “tighten” the footage) the length of the video can often run up to two hours. This is also the less expensive of the two styles to produce. A shorter version can also be produced to represent the highlights of the day. A finished documentary style video should be delivered in 8—10 weeks.
Cinematic Style (sometimes called the “Love Story” Style)
As this name implies, this is more of a story telling approach. Run length is typically shorter than “docu” style and more attention is given to freedom of creativity. Sequence of events is often out-of-order, and more attention is given to visual impact. One such concept that seems to be popular over the last few years is “trash the dress,” where, after the wedding and reception is over, the bridal gown is—literally—destroyed. In a way, a statement is being made that the wedding is over and the dress will not be used again; a far more declarative statement than merely putting the dress in a box for storage. To be certain, not everyone is comfortable with the idea of ruining such a beautiful garment, but creativity knows no bounds for brides wanting to take a risk! Because the cinematic style is far more elaborate in both shooting and editing (heck, a storyboard may even be in order), it can be expected to be more expensive, and will take longer to generate the finished product.
Regardless of the style you choose (and you can blend them!), a capable videographer can help make it a day to remember! And as our name implies, you don’t get a “second take” at once-in-a-lifetime events, so be sure First Impressions is there to capture it!
A few days ago, the NBC Evening News ran a story on the increasing number of “older Americans” who have taken to online dating sites as a way to crank up their love lives. To no surprise, a number of websites targeting this audience have emerged—including one run by AARP!
For people in this stage of their lives, taking the step from dating into marriage typically doesn’t have quite the “pomp and circumstance” of the more elaborate weddings that take place in ones’ 20s or 30s. More often than not, these ceremonies are more simple—maybe not “justice of the peace simple”, but very heartfelt, nonetheless.
In this context, videography is often more about the relationship than the ceremony. A couple may ask a videographer or photographer to “tag along” and record some of the subtle nuances of the day. If kids are part of the picture, they may be included. As their videographer, I would be inclined to look at the “little things” that make the day special, and not necessarily the big expansive (and sometimes—expensive) activities, that may have been more appropriate at an earlier time in a couple’s life.
Sensitivity is the key here, and a good videographer will want to focus on what the couple really wants to accomplish. It is still a wonderful, special day!