By Jennifer Watkins / Photography by Jamie Maldonado
Preserving magical events where lives are changed forever
A Thousand Word Productions started in 2006 when owner Nathan Browning and his wife Shelley were planning their own wedding and realized the options for a videographer were very limited. The rest, they say, is history! They have done over 400 weddings and strive to “preserve magical events where vows are exchanged and lives are changed forever.” We sat down with owner Nathan Browning to hear about how he started his business, the current trends in videography and his personal experiences with weddings.
Q: What is the history of your business?
A: My wife, Shelley and I met while both working for the local NBC station. When we were planning our wedding, we wanted a professional video. Looking around we realized that we didn’t have many options and the one guy who did offer wedding videos, wanted $3,000! We used the camera crew from the TV station and we put the video together ourselves. From that point on, friends and family had us doing their weddings. It became too much, doing both jobs so I had to choose. The choice was between shooting news stories of car wrecks and murders or shooting weddings. Shooting weddings seemed like work that would last for decades, even centuries in some cases, capturing people’s happiest day. It wasn’t a hard decision!
Q: What are some key questions brides and grooms should ask when shopping for a videographer?
A: (1.) How do you record sound? If the answer is, the camera has a microphone, do not hire them! They must use a lapel microphone on the preacher otherwise you will hear a child screaming or other outside noises in the audience above the wedding vows.
(2.) How many cameras do you use at the ceremony? Never hire a person using one camera. You will not be able to enjoy watching the ceremony when the camera is zooming in and out.
Q: What new trends do you see in the industry that brides should incorporate into their wedding?
A: The bride and groom sending each other gift’s with a note or love letter before the ceremony. We also see fun dances with groups and/or parents. It makes for a less emotional reception and more of a party atmosphere.
Q: It seems that the video industry has boomed over the past 10 years. High-speed internet, Youtube, and technological advances in camera equipment have made video more accessible than ever before. What is your take on how the industry has changed in the last 10 years, both generally and specifically in the wedding videography industry? How has this impacted your business? Have you seen a shift in perception when it comes to photography vs videography within the past 10 years?
A: Ten years ago if you wanted to share your wedding video you would need to invite your friends and family over to the house and pull out the VHS tape of your wedding. Now you are able to share and show off the biggest day of your life with everyone you know. But this has also created a very big problem for the wedding video industry. Many new wedding videographers do not shoot the documentary of the day but make a very nice highlight video. At some point Brides will wonder what was said during the reception speeches and even want to hear their ceremony vows, and unfortunately they have a movie trailer, but no movie.
Q: What are some of the things you do to personalize each of your wedding videos?
A: Every wedding has 30-50 hours of editing time. We use 3-5 cameras at the ceremony and just the ceremony takes 1-2 days to put together.
Q: Do you ever find brides worrying about the videographer getting in the way of the party? If so, how to you calm those fears?
A: If you point a video camera at any person, chances are you will make them nervous. With our experience, one of the most important things we do is make people forget we are there. Little techniques like staying back but zooming in and never pointing a camera up close to a person’s face are very important.
Q: What moments are “musts” for being caught on tape?
A: (1.) Every Bride misses half of her own wedding. They pick out the flower girl and bridesmaids but never see them going down the aisle. The grandparents and parents coming down the aisle is seen by everyone but the bride. (2.) Making sure the vows are captured is important! Everything comes down to the promise you are making together. (3.) All speeches by the wedding party and parents and the traditional dances. My mom passed away 3 months after our wedding and I can say after losing a parent the videos you have of them are priceless.
Q: BONUS: As a videographer you must attend so many weddings. What is the craziest or most memorable wedding moment that you have ever witnessed and did you catch it on film?
A: We were at Elmwood Gardens shooting our first ever live streaming video of the ceremony. The Bride’s family was from Australia and the Father of the Bride, who was 6’5″ says to me, “Nathan this better work! It’s 2:00 am in Australia and everyone is awake ready to watch!” My response was “There are no guarantees, sir, but we will do our best!” After the ceremony, the family was posting on Facebook and they couldn’t believe they were sitting on the couch watching a wedding 10 thousand miles away. One family was watching from England, so we had 3 continents watching live!
A Thousand Word Productions