By Maria Immaculate Owechi
A wedding memory lane /love story is a short film between 5 to 10minutes which is played at the reception to guests on a giant screens to depict the couple’s biography and portray how they met.
This experience can add colour and a celebratory feel to a wedding. The guests get to enjoy, understand the couple more and feel more drawn to the couple’s cause for celebration.
Muhammad Katende, a professional videographer with Katende Muhammad Photography explains that traditionally in Uganda, the memory lanes could showcase friends of a couple talking about how they know them. He however says this tends to be boring since the same friends give speeches at the reception.
“So I personally invented a love story where I could take a couple to a nice place and capture the story of how they met which people have liked and other media companies have started doing so,” he says.
This trend has been adopted by some couples who do not mind spending beyond their budget as Katende reveals that it costs Shs 1.5m and above.
This is not to say that you won’t get a good video at a cheaper price, however, there are some unprofessional cameramen who produce poorly edited videos which make one regret investing in such a venture.
Elizabeth Ogwang, a customer care executive at Africell, Wandegeya branch who got married in 2017 says that after watching a memory lane video online, she wanted one for her wedding. She financed it using her savings.
But unfortunately, they under looked the fact that the camera person had said he had no past experience in shooting memory lane videos.
“The cameraman assured us that he can come up with something from what he had seen professionials do and since he was cheaper we agreed,” Ogwang reveals.
“My husband and I got pictures from when we were babies, at primary and secondary schools, graduation until we became corporates which were all incorporated into the video,” she adds.
So, the videographer had to film the homes where they were raised, the kasiki parties and interviews from their parents, siblings and friends.
“But it was humiliating when at the reception the video aired was poorly edited and had a disorganised storyline, dark images, and some sounds were not clearly being heard,” Ogwang narrates.
From Ogwang’s experience, we learn that it is important to review your video first before showing it to your guests. This video is not a surprise for you. It is for your guests, who are a mixed group composed of friends, family, church members and so on. Reviewing it will let you sieve what you want the video to portray to them.
My Wedding Magazine spoke to some professionals and they recommended the following tips on how clients and cameramen can work together to achieve excellent work.
Start collecting the content early
Sometimes couples make the mistake of contacting the cinematographer when the wedding is a few weeks away hence handing the content in late. This may make the cameraman edit in hurry in order to beat the deadline which explains the disorganized and poor quality work displayed.
Therefore, video experts advise couples to contact their cameraman at least one or two months before the due date to start working on the project.
Moen Kasenge, a photographer and cinematographer at Urban 1 Media, Kampala adds that they can begin with asking for the couple’s old photos and those of the time they have been dating, to show their journey.
Kasenge says sufficient time is needed to also shoot moments of when they are together shopping, or maybe on the beach having fish or running around.
Come up with a concrete storyline
At times a disorganized arrangement is as a result of failing to pin a proper order of how the love story should be documented.
Hilen Akena, a photographer and cinematographer at Histovic Studios, Kampala advises that in order to achieve an excellent storyline, one should be creative.
“You should look at other people’s videos not to copy but to come up with something different but still interesting or more than what you have seen,” Akena explains.
He adds that you have to think and research. That’s what separates good cinematographers from the ordinary ones.
Akena also tips couples to share their visions with the cameraman because they might turn out to have something that they can put together.
This aspect is supported by Kasenge who believes the professional should ensure they befriend the couple so that their conversation helps in bringing out what they want.
Your cameraman should have the right equipment
The most important thing to consider when shooting a memory lane video is using the best cameras for such a project.
According to Akena both the photographer and the couple have to first do an equipment check because filming a memory lane is just like making a movie, this implies that the photographer has to have the right equipment to pull it off.
In an article about, The Best Cameras for Wedding Videography by 2Bridges Production, they recommend that when checking for the right camera for a memory lane, the sensor size is the most important content.
The website says a larger sensor has a characteristic of shallow depth that gives better chances of getting that cinematic look in your wedding video.
Your camera person should have a tripod stand
It is not nice when a clip appears to be shaky because the cinematographer was not stable while hand holding the camera. Therefore, Akena advises couples to make sure their cameramen use a tripod/camera stand to achieve stable videos. When that is put in check, the camera man will come up with a good picture at your wedding.
This is not a one-man job
It is important to have at least two or more cameramen because you have to use more than one camera when shooting a memory lane video. Find out if your cameraman has taken this into account because it is difficult for a single camera to shoot different shots and angles that will add variety to the video.
If he seems blank about this, he might not be the person you are looking for to do the job.
Look out for sound quality equipment
Sound is important in the video lane. A video shot the wrong way will have inaudible words and wind interference.
According, to Akena in order to sort the problem of sound, lapel microphones or a boom mic is needed to pick good sound from the characters in the story which is also later edited after recording. That means clients should check that separate sound is being recorded from the camera on a separate gadget.
Katende also says that the company hired for sound /PA should have a compact system which can synchronize with the formats used for the video to help rule out sound problems. He says this is only possible by arriving early at the reception and making tests of the video.
For a good picture quality
Akena says that about picture quality, the cameraman needs to use good lenses. He says normally the lens that comes with a camera when it’s first bought, are not so good but can film.
“Here it falls back on the cameraman to hire extra lenses to attach to their cameras so that they get a better picture,” he says.” So the clients need to observe if their cameramen are changing that round glass-like thing (lens) or not.”
He adds that in this area, literally, every shot requires a change of lenses depending on its purpose like for wide shots you require wide lenses and for close shots you require telephoto lens. “
Kasenge compliments that to achieve a good picture you must make sure you shoot with the same settings. For example, standard is a recommendable picture style. This will ease coloring by the colorist.
Katende adds that if all these aspects are not under looked, an excellent memory lane video will entertain your guests.
As a couple preparing for a wedding, it is important that you have these pointers on your fingertips so that you can identify fraud from a good service provider for your memory lane video.