Wedding films – what does a second shooter do?
You’ll see it on our contracts and in general chat, but the term second shooter seems a bit vague. In fact, prior to commencing upon a career in filmmaking, the term second shooter would most likely conjure up conspiracy theories about the assassination of JFK.
Thankfully, its a lot less dramatic than that. No grassy knolls here thank you very much. Instead it simply means that along with a primary shooter who will also direct the proceedings for the day, we also have the capability to get more angles, more footage and ultimately, produce a far better film.
There are two main roles for a second shooter; one is getting the second angle on the wedding speeches and ceremony. During the ceremony I am usually at the back somewhere, operating two cameras and making sure that I have safely got the shots in the bag. That brings peace of mind. If circumstances allow, I give my second shooter the mandate to get up close, off to one side, of the ceremony action itself. This means much finer detail of the emotions can be captured. I have been asked why I don’t do this shooting, as it is the most intimate. My responsibility is to deliver a wedding film. Therefore I take the responsibility for getting the main footage, operating multiple cameras.
What this requires is for me to trust my second shooter and I do this by generally using one or two camera operators who I know are better than me. I select them not only on their technical ability but also on how closely they match my style of shooting. I am fortunate to have some very talented colleagues.
But aside from the ceremony the second shooter also allows the Curious Robin Films eyes to be in two places at once. While I am filming the bride prep, they are with the groom. While I shoot the couple shots, or the details in the room, they are filming candid shots of guests during the drinks reception. It allows us, as a team, to be constantly capturing footage during the day, which is no mean feat when you consider all the tripods, etc that we have to set up and take down. The absolute key to creating a great film is to shoot as much footage as possible. Typically a wedding will amass around 150-200GB of footage. That’s a lot of work to sift through in the edit but its definitely the preferable problem to not having enough footage.
So, from now on, we will only ever shoot with two shooters. I have shot solo a few times in the past and it damn near killed me. That’s not the reason though. The reason is that I can produce an exponentially better package. If you are thinking about getting a wedding film, we obviously suggest you get in touch with us to commission on of ours, but if you choose someone else we cannot overstate how much of a difference a second shooter makes.
All of the images in this post were shot by my second shooters, just in case you needed further justification.