We’ve unofficially declared this week Wedding Week over here at Stillmotion HQ, to get you all geared up for your wedding shoots this summer.

What a beautiful story Jess and Brian had to tell — and we’re really happy with the way film turned out. But there is no question as to why it came out so well:

P R E – P R O D U C T I O N.

People often assume that Stillmotion’s wedding films are a result of directing, re-directing, and over-producing. People think this because our footage is so emotional, and sometimes the timing seems too good to be true.

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Really, we just do everything in our power to predict the future. We don’t ask people to redo things because we missed them or want to get a better shot. Instead, we do everything we can to make sure we won’t miss the shot, and we scout out the location ahead of time so we know the very best position to be in.

Basically, there are a few major steps we take to creating a great wedding film like Jess and Brian’s, and we want to share them with you.

Here’s the basic outline:

  • Care about the couple.
  • Follow the Four P’s of storytelling.
  • Ask questions and develop keywords.
  • Scout it out!
  • Always stay open to spontaneity.

To give you a more detailed idea of how we put these steps into action, we’ll walk you through each one using examples from our experiences shooting Jess & Brian’s wedding.

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Wedding season is upon us y’all!

And while everyone loves a beautiful wedding film, it’s equally important that they sound beautiful too.

Even though sound is so important, it’s something that can easily go overlooked when so much focus is put into capturing the perfect image. But if you don’t put the work into getting proper audio, the quality of your film will suffer.

If you want your wedding feature to have great audio, you need to think about when to mic the bride and groom, and you need to know how to mic them properly.

Which parts of the wedding do I mic?

Basically, you want to mic the bride and groom as much as you can throughout the shoot, because it’s going to help you tell a more intimate, real story. Obviously you can’t mic them all the time, but it’s not going to be enough if you just mic the ceremony.

Try to get mics on them at different points during the days leading up to the ceremony as well, like during rehearsal dinners and other events that might be taking place in the brief time that you’ll be there filming.

Beginners will often make the mistake of only micing the ceremony. If you don’t mic the bride, groom, and other members of the family you think will be essential to telling the story, then you’re going to miss out on the good stuff.

Seriously — if you take the extra time and put in the extra effort to mic the bride and groom at other times during the festivities, like during the first look scene you see in the tutorial, you’ll be amazed at the intimate conversations and moments you’ll encounter.

Catching these moments are going to allow you to tell a deeper and more personal story about your couple.

So how do I actually mic them?

We wanted to make this tutorial because we know that there are a few different ways audio can screw up your wedding feature.

If you don’t hide the mic properly, it’s going to show up in your film. But if you hide it in a way that will cause it to rub against clothing, you’re audio is going to sound like crap.

In this tutorial, Ray recommends the Sennheiser G3 Wireless Kit or the Countryman B6 for wireless micing.

Here are the best techniques we have for keeping mics hidden while avoiding rubbing against clothing:

How to mic the Groom:

  • Just inside the natural gap of the collar. Hiding the mic in the gap of the collar is going to give it the space it needs to avoid brushing against the clothing. Stick the mic underneath the natural gap of the collar, and run the wire under the collar and down the back of your guy.
  • Underneath the tie. The mic is more centered here, and the tie acts as a natural wind block. Be sure to find a spot where there is the least amount of contact with the tie and the dress shirt — just under the knot is best. Drop the audio recorder in the inside pocket of the jacket.

How to mic the Bride:

  • Wrap a lite wireless audio recorder with a hairband and secure it with gaff tape. This will be worn around the bride’s thigh. Plug the lav mic into the recorder, and run the mic up the bride’s dress, and use medical tape to secure it in the middle cleavage area of her dress.

But remember…

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We’re proud to say that over 72 people submitted short films (all created inside a week) to our recent Storytelling Challenge in partnership with Vimeo Video School.

For those of you that missed the tutorials/challenge, here’s a quick recap:

Our challenge to the community was to use the storytelling lessons we outlined (People, Places, Plot, and Purpose) to tell the story of a group or person who is actively doing what they love in their work or life.

As we said above, 72 entries were submitted – and over the last week a panel of judges from Vimeo, Cinevate, and our own team helped whittle down the entries into ten finalist and the eventual top three winners.

Without further ado…

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Today is an exciting day around the Stillmotion studio – we’re unleashing our two most advanced filmmaking classes into the wild!

Run free, classes! Run free!

We’ve decked out a couple pages – one for each – where you can find all the details about whether or not the curriculum, schedule, tuition, and timing is right for you.

(NEW) The Take Action Filmmaking Challenge…

The Take Action Filmmaking Challenge is a new 11-week online filmmaking course.

Registration is open NOW and available through NEXT FRIDAY, May 17th at midnight!

You can participate along more than a hundred like-minded filmmakers from anywhere in the world.

Click here to see everything included in the Take Action Challenge…

We’ve got a week-by-week schedule of events, and first-hand reviews from a private class that went through the challenge at the beginning of the year.

The first challenge (Week One: Lighting Without Lights) will be issued the morning of May 20th – it’s going to be crazy.

EVO is finally coming to Portland, OR…

Wanna come spend time with us here in Portland?

This is your chance – EVO – our most intimate, in-depth workshop experience that we offer. We’ve hosted around a dozen EVOs in cities around the world – and we’re really blowing off the doors to welcome people to our new home city.

For 5 nights and 4 full days, we’ll completely shut down our studio to make short films for charities. EVO is limited to only 15 passionate, like-minded participants (with a dozen Stillmotion staff on hand to help you).

This is as hands on as hands on can get. These are real charities – and we’ll go from concept to premiere in less than 72 hours. Every step of the way, we’ll be in trenches with you – fighting for the best story possible – and completely unveiling the curtain behind our filmmaking process.

It’s an intense experience, but one we are proud to say truly changes lives and businesses for the long haul.

Click here to read a day-by-day breakdown of what our EVO workshop is like – and what’s included in the tuition…

We have a few seats left for one in early June (just a few weeks away) – and are also filling seats for Late July too!

Our goal with any workshop or training we offer…

These courses and workshops are our most advanced and premium education.

We realize that it’s a big investment in yourself – and in your business – and we don’t take that for granted.

Our goal is simple: blow your (filmmaking) mind.

And more importantly, change the way you approach every story you tell – from this day forward.

Between the new Take Action Filmmaking Challenge and our next EVO workshop(s) in Portland – we hope you can join us in making a huge splash in the filmmaking world.

If you’re at the point in your journey where you want to take things up a notch…

We’d love to be the ones to show you the way.

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This is our friend, Marshall Jones. He’s a poet, performer, author, songwriter, and all-around badass human being. He’s also a walking example of how a strong human connection with someone is far more beneficial than any typical business connection could ever be.

Marshall wrote the beautiful words you hear in our Stillmotion reel. The narration is powerful, effective, and it’s 100% us.

We spent only a few short days with Marshall before he wrote this, but he managed to compose something that perfectly translates who we are as a company, and who we are as people.

See for yourself — here’s the Stillmotion reel:

Marshall did such an amazing job with this, but it wasn’t because we wrote him a check. We did a favor for him, and he did one for us in return.

In our experience, it can be so beneficial to go the extra mile like this to make unique connections. There is no business as usual at Stillmotion, and we’ve found that creating a solid network of people doing what they love is the best business model for us as filmmakers.

Doing what you love is no joke.

In this industry you will hear a lot of advice. Often it’s going to be helpful, and occasionally it will be revolutionary.

We really can’t stress enough how important it is to share ideas and experiences with other filmmakers. Stillmotion firmly believes that you get what you give, and we live our lives through sharing and iterating ideas.

That being said, once you actually get good at what you’re doing in this business, you might hear a lot of advice like this:

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While Heath Ledger’s Joker is legendary… we’d advise you to ignore that piece of advice.

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