Monday, March 20, 2017

GoPro, Wedit & DIY Wedding Videos

There was a time when having videographers at your wedding was a really expensive endeavor. The professional video guys would haul in the big rig cameras with special lighting and boom microphones. They would record hours of raw footage and then you'd wait more than six months for the edited VHS tape to arrive. After paying thousands of dollars you had a video with cheesy titles overlaid on poor quality footage that you'd never watch more than once (especially if you never converted it to DVD or a digital file).

Today, couples have many more options to preserve their big day. With the growing popularity of GoPro cameras, many couples begin their wedding experience by recording their engagement using a GoPro. These small cameras can easily be attached to the forehead or chest, or held on a long selfie stick to capture the intimate moment of a marriage proposal. Rather than having a friend come along to video the proposal or hiring a professional, the GoPro maintains the intimacy of the moment while still allowing it to be captured for posterity.

Brides and grooms have also recognized that a videographer only captures so many hours of the wedding weekend. If a video crew is hired for the ceremony and reception, they won't have any footage from the rehearsal dinner or those special moments at the after-party. There are also many wonderful moments that will be missed with only one or two camera operators at the wedding. When GoPro cameras are distributed to random guests and they're asked to capture as much footage as they can throughout the weekend, you're sure to get some quality moments that otherwise would have been missed.

A GoPro is a POV (point of view) camera meaning that it shows exactly what the person wearing it sees. That gives a different perspective than traditional wedding videos which are taken from static tripods or on the shoulder of a videographer. The aerial advantage points and wide-angle shots will lead to a unique finished product. There are also features on the GoPro like time-lapse video that will let the guests have fun while recording. Some find the footage from a GoPro to be nauseating due to the bounciness, but GoPro's Karma Grip fixes that with its stabilization ability. Encouraging guests to pass the GoPro cameras to each other will guarantee many different points of view throughout the weekend and allow the wedding couple to see their event through their guests' eyes. It is also fun to plant GoPros around the wedding ceremony and reception (they can be hidden in the flowers of a wedding bouquet or at the bar) to give a fun perspective on the event.

As a rabbi who officiates a lot of weddings I have seen a trend toward DIY videography. In some cases, it's a coordinated activity like giving out several GoPro cameras, but in other cases, it's the guests doing what they do naturally -- using their mobile phones to record video and take photos of the wedding. Many brides and grooms have told me that it's not a matter of cost, but they realize there will be so many wannabe Steven Spielbergs in the crowd that they are confident they'll get enough cellphone footage that they don't need to spend any extra funds on professional videographers.

A local Metro Detroit startup has capitalized on this theory and is making DIY wedding videography a trendy option. Farmington Hills-based Wedit markets itself as "a fun and interactive way to capture your total wedding experience, from the rehearsal dinner to the brunch afterwards." Wedit, an online e-commerce operation, sends out a package to the wedding couple several days before the big event that includes 5 high definition (HD) cameras. They can use the cameras for the entirety of their wedding weekend and then ship the rental cameras back to Wedit's offices. Providing their guests with these rental cameras ensures they will get the footage right away and they don't have to worry that a friend's camera phone won't shoot quality video or someone's memory card won't be full and unable to continue recording video.

Wedit then consolidates the footage from all of the cameras into one video that is available in the cloud for the bride, groom and guests to view, share and download. Additionally, Wedit's professional editing team will edit the raw footage to create "a personal, professional and priceless finished product" for an additional cost. Wedit has its competition as other DIY wedding videography options are popping up around the country, although Wedit was one of the first and still has the market cornered. Wedit's owners, Lee Burnstein and Jeremy Stybel, both of West Bloomfield, believe they've found a niche in the wedding industry for both wedding couples on a budget and those who are looking for a unique wedding video to remember their special day.

While weddings are still one of the more traditional customs in our society, celebrants are looking toward new ways to preserve these liminal moments. GoPro POV cameras give a new perspective on an age old custom, and Wedit offers a new and different way to capture the memories.

Cross-posted to the Detroit Jewish News

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