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Kissing Gate Films: wedding video secrets

Award-winning Kissing Gate Films reveal the secrets to memorable wedding video and explain why they always return to creating them: it’s what they do best.

Wedding video: best secrets and support

Part of the magic of the wedding videos created by Kissing Gate Films is due to one thing: they rather spend time getting one amazing shot than ten average shots. The results are… well you can check them right away.

We’re very distant from the crude videotapes wedding photographers created when the interest for moving images begun to be associated with weddings, in the 1990s. Although weddings were already being filmed, it was the introduction of accessible Video Home System (VHS) cameras that made wedding photographers gain interest in offering moving images to their clients. Suddenly it was mandatory to offer a package with photographs and videotape. The wedding videographer was born!

Still, video was, in many cases, an afterthought: a VHS tape with some scenes more or less edited (less than more, many times…). The introduction of digital camcorders and software that allowed to explore new options took the wedding video a step further, but the introduction of the DSLR as a video capture device by Canon, with their EOS 5D Mark II in 2008, changed the market completely and opened the doors to a new perception of what could be done.

We moved to cinematic films – digital did help a lot –  that have little in common with the early videotape clips created. Kissing Gate Films is an example of that change, and an example of thinking “outside the box” when it comes to wedding videos. That’s the feeling you get from going through their website. And nothing better to show how much passion they put into the work they do than to watch the video where Ben Marlow, the founder of Kissing Gate Films proposes to co-founder Kate Addison.

On their website Ben and Kate wrote this: “We live with our cameras, our computers and our two little boys. We love cinematography. We love making music videos, short films, fishing films (yep, fishing films), promotional films and other bits and bobs, but what we love even more, is coming back to where it all started – weddings. It’s where we feel at home, and we reckon it’s what we do best.”

The interview published here, created by Sachtler to promote the products Kissing Gate Films uses, takes us behind the scenes and reveals not only the technical aspects of wedding video as Kissing Gate Films sees it, but also the passion that fuels the whole team.

From the bride walking down the aisle to the moment the groom places the ring on her finger, wedding cinematography is all about capturing moments. But for award-winning destination wedding videographers, Kissing Gate Films, they’ve built a reputation for delivering epic, cinematic films that seem to transport you to a special moment in time.  From aerial timelapse footage to set the scene to slow motion clips of the wedding dress billowing in a plush, manicured tree, Kissing Gate’s films marry once in a lifetime moments with the fairy tale quality only an expert could plan. In fact, it’s the reason couples around the world choose Kissing Gate Films for destination wedding videography.

“We love cinematography,” explained Ben Marlow, Creative Director and founder at Kissing Gate Films. “We love making music videos, short films, promotional films, and others, but what we love even more is coming back to where it all started – weddings. It’s where we feel at home, and we reckon it’s what we do best.”

To capture once in a lifetime moments, Marlow and co-founder Kate Addison, use Sachtler tripods and monopods. Designed for shooters on the go, Sachtler tripods and monopods are lightweight and offer buttery smooth pans and tilts, which ensure that Kissing Gate’s footage is always high quality whether the video is in real time or whether the frame rate is slowed down.

Your wedding and party videos are very memorable and unlike anything that we’ve seen. Where did you get the concept for shooting wedding videos like this?

Event cinematography is very off the cuff, and I tend to embrace that. So instead of wondering whether I’ve covered every little aspect of the wedding or party, I concern myself more with how I can best cover the event in the most creative way possible. I’d much rather spend my time getting one amazing shot rather than ten average shots.

How long does it take and what kind of planning goes into your work?

Wedding cinematography can take a while to complete yet the turnaround time is a lot quicker. Our larger weddings can be in the editing stage for up to four weeks. Our events need turning around within a day so working long into the night the same day as the shoot is not out of the ordinary. Arming yourself with as much information as you can get will always stand you in good stead. Research is impossible since we work all over the world, but Google helps out a lot with that to get an idea of locations, among other things.

What’s in your kit and what, to you, is the most important aspect of the kit?

For what I do, our tripods need to be light, so I use the Sachtler Ace with the Carbon Fibre legs because the quality is outstanding. I’m never without my Ace with my Sony FS5 rigged up. It’s a perfect solution to maintain a steady handheld shot while still remaining mobile.

We also use small quadcopters for aerial shots and the CAME-TV Optimus gimbal is on every shoot. For audio, we use Zoom recorders and Rode Lavalier mics. We also use little Manfrotto Lumimuse lights that are brilliant since they kick out good light for such a small frame. We often need to light very dim rooms, in which case we’ll strategically place a couple of the new Litepanels Astra Soft LED panels to throw some really good quality light into a scene. For monitoring, we use SmallHD monitors – great picture quality in a compact unit.

What are your top three tips for an upcoming filmmaker/wedding videographer?

Master the art of filmmaking before going out and spending thousands on drones, gimbals, sliders, and whatnot. I’ve always been a firm believer that all good filmmakers should be able to go out with just one lens and a monopod and be able to create something beautiful without the need for extra pieces of gear. Second, never be afraid to try new techniques. As filmmakers, the most important thing is to keep pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones.

And finally, always do your best to acquire good audio. Our wedding films are hugely reliant on audio to drive the story, – intertwining speech with visuals is what keeps our films engaging. I have a simple rule: if your audio isn’t great, don’t use it. It will drag your production down.

Final notes

To find more about Kissing Gate Films visit their website. Also visit Sachtler to know more about their equipment. The tripod used by the team is a Sachtler System Ace L TT 75/2 CF, a Carbon Fiber Tripod with Ace L Fluid Head. It is designed for shooting video with a compact HD or HDV/MiniDV camcorder, or a DSLR camera. It’s appropriate for payloads between 0 and 13.2 lb, so most popular professional camcorders are well supported, as are accessories such as matte boxes and heavier batteries.

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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…

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