The Magic Formula to a Great Wedding!

This is a still from their video...

This is a still from their video…

This past Saturday, I had a revelation. I have these a lot, but this was a big one. First of all, it was a great wedding. Kelli & Kyle got married at St. Peter’s and reception at the convention center. Now, I’ve had a lot of great weddings this year, but this is the one where I put the formula together. It consists of two elements.

  • First is great vendors. There was a great team of vendors there on the day, working together, looking out for each other, and on top of their game. Matt Brodie; photographer, Cameron Glover; DJ, Lacy Geary with …By Invitation Only was directing. There wasn’t a weak link. I think it’s so important to surround yourself with great vendors on your wedding day. Not only that can do great work, but have great attitudes so that they help the day go forward and not worry only about themselves.
  • Second is a great couple. Now this may sound cliche, but Kelli and Kyle were so easy going on the day. This was an adventure and they were up for anything. They had prepared for the day, and were just there to enjoy their friends and family being around them. No stressing over the little details that don’t end up making much difference. They had Lacy to handle those things.

I think the combination of great vendors with the right attitude and a great couple with the right attitude can overcome any wedding day obstacle like rain, or delays, etc. And that’s really what makes the difference…

Wedding Film –

Photography –

DJ/Entertainment –



The Phantom of Old-School Wedding Videography

I hear people all of the time talking about competition. How the wedding business is so competitive. Well. I wanted to take a minute to talk about my competition as a wedding videographer. With every bride I face the Phantom of Old-School Videography. I fight what we used to do back in the olden days. And don’t misunderstand, I did it too. I never liked it or felt comfortable with it, but I did it. So, what is old-school videography?

  • Old school videography was first of all, long. Even if there was a highlight video it would be 4-5 minutes of slow motion. It was not interesting to watch.
  • Old school videography was done with the large cameras of old which required A LOT of light and were extremely heavy. So, there were tripods everywhere and lights everywhere.
  • Old school videography instructed that you wear your tux and go table to table asking for well wishes for the bride and groom.
  • Old school videography required the use of slow, sappy, overly romantic music that put cheese on a whole new level.

This image is what goes through someone’s mind when they think of wedding videography. Long boring video that you’ll never watch, obnoxious obtrusive videographer that bugs everyone. And folks, let me tell you, this no longer has to be the case. We have evolved into something completely different. Wedding videographers have taken to calling themselves filmmakers, cinematographers, visual artists, all to distance themselves from the phantom of old school videography. What does it really mean? It means that what we try to do is offer you a personal, interesting, comfortable way to preserve this history. We have the tools and the talent today to make something that you will not only watch, but excitedly share with your friends. I have people tell me all the time that they watch my wedding films like entertainment! The day has dawned on a new era for wedding video. It is what you want it to be, and we can finally attempt to remove the phantom of old school wedding videography. This is something different. It’s a wedding film…

Bill Grant

Top Ten things amateur videographers do wrong…


So, I get asked occasionally for advice on wedding videography. I wrote this list for a magazine called SO in Indiana. I thought it might be a good list to share here. If you are considering letting a “friend” or relative shoot your wedding. These are some things to look out for…

  1. Stability. Everyone thinks they can handhold a camera or that it looks cool. Stabilization is always preferable. Every shot you see in a film is stabilized whether it’s a tripod, monopod, shoulder rig, etc. Even the least expensive tripod is preferable to handholding. Plus it doesn’t kill your arms.
  2. Audio. Camera audio is never good enough. A simple pocket recorder and a lapel mic can capture vows and readings nice and clear and help to preserve them. All of the emotion of a wedding is contained in that audio and it is probably the most important, difficult, and overlooked single factor of shooting a wedding.
  3. Backups. One of the biggest issues you have at a wedding is if something fails or goes wrong. If you have one camera and someone steps in front of you, the shot is lost and you have to move. There’s no way to stop what’s going on so you can reset your position. So, having at least 2 cameras rolling at all times during the ceremony gives you peace of mind just in case something goes wrong. Also, you never know when equipment, batteries, memory cards, tripods, etc. are going to break. It’s critical to have a backup because no excuse is a good excuse even if you’re not being paid.
  4. Distance. Most amateur videographers are shy about getting close to the action, so you see a good bit of zooming in to get closer. The key is to actually get closer. (except during the ceremony, then you should definitely zoom in) but with all other shots especially of people arriving, greeting each other, dancing and interacting, it’s always preferable to really be closer. The key is to get in close, get the shot then get out. You don’t want to be obtrusive, but you distance your viewer from the subject by being so far removed. Also, if you zoom, that should never make the edit. Very 1986.
  5. Looooooong edits. One of the most common mistakes by amateurs when they first start to edit videos is feeling like everything has to make the final video. The leads to very long, very boring videos in the end.
  6. Editing Variety. Good edits mix up the shots. Not just wide, then medium, then close. But tempo, dynamics. Understand when and how to speed it up or slow it down.
  7. Cutting to the music. The other tendency in the beginning is the need to use an entire song in an edit. Generally popular music is 3.5 to 5 minutes. If you lay down a song and then go find footage to fit it, that time can be an eternity. The better way to do it is to find your best footage. Align it the way you like and then cut the music to fit your footage. Sometimes that might mean 3.5 mins sometimes you’ll be less. But if you lead with the best footage it will always look better than if you cut the footage to match the song.
  8. Transition happy. Generally when people get a hold of new editing software, the thing they love is play with transitions. Barn doors, wipes, stars, hearts, it’s all in there. There are only two transitions that should ever be used in an edit. Cut and dissolve.
  9. Focus. Not camera focus, but focus on what you’re there to do. If you have a family friend do your wedding video even as a gift, the one tendency is to lose focus. They are not there to hang out with friends, or to dance, or drink, or shoot video of their cute niece and nephew. If they are going to do your wedding video, they need to be able to focus.
  10. Interaction with the other vendors and people involved. There’s nothing more awkward at a wedding than the person there that you don’t know with a camera and doesn’t introduce themselves or work with the flow of the day. It takes some experience and confidence to blend in to the wedding and be a part of the day. Understanding the basic relationships and what is important to the other people involved is critical. It just takes a quick phone call with the photographer, DJ, or wedding planner to get a feel for who everybody is and introduce yourself.

Lana & Jeremy – Columbia SC Wedding Film

I love this film. This is one of the clearest examples of what we love about doing wedding video. This is a great, uplifting, triumphant story. It’s a very clear example of god at work. People ask me all the time, why? This is why. Great people, beautiful setting, great day. Also, got to work with so many of my vendor friends and my beautiful wife. Wedding and reception was at The Millstone at Adams Pond

Caitlin & Calvin – South Carolina Lace House Wedding Film

This really is just an gorgeous spot for a wedding. Great light, beautiful trees. And then at the reception, they THROW DOWN! Expert planning and direction from Jill Arehart with By Invitiation Only, The Lace House was perfect. Great, hot day.

Leah & Stephen Preview Trailer – Adams Pond Columbia SC

This was one of those incredible stories that you just have to see to believe. Leah contacted me fro the first time from a Naval ship. She was on that ship until about 3 weeks before the wedding. Planning a wedding from a Naval ship, top that! Wedding and Reception at Adams Pond
Short Film coming soon…

Sam & Todd Short Film – Columbia SC Wedding Film

Our goal has always been to capture a couple’s personality. I’m so excited to show this film and what’s possible when you can focus on what’s important. The people are the most important element of a wedding. The “Modern Family” interviews here are just hilarious. Thanks Sam & Todd or should I say “Tom” for letting us be part of your day!
Wedding at First Baptist Columbia, Reception was at the Summit Club hosting the Palmetto Club. Rehearsal at the Lace House.

Samantha & Todd – The Love Letter – Columbia SC Wedding Video Trailer

I’ve been looking for a way to get more good personality in our films. Just how to get to know the couples better and tell their story better. I think this might be it. We interviewed Sam & Todd after the wedding and just got tons of great stuff. This is the direction for 2013! It’s great when you can go into a wedding day and feel like family. These guys were so cool and accommodating, it was just an awesome day to be in the wedding business. Great light, great clouds, great people. It’s cool when it all comes together. Short film coming soon…

Anastasia & Kevin – Preview Trailer – Columbia SC Greek Orthodox wedding…

This was such an unreal, beautiful, colorful, and awe inspiring wedding to be a part of. You could feel the joy coming from everyone involved. Great friends to work with, Lucas Brown, Dave Gilbert, Tony Sharpe. And to end the night with an Aston Martin… well that just sums it up! Thanks Jonathan for a great edit on this one. Short Film coming soon!

Meredith & Ryan – Preview Trailer – Columbia SC Wedding

So great to get to know couples and families, get to see them interact. Rehearsals are great for getting to see that real interaction. What a great day and amazing group of vendors.
Short Film coming soon!
701 Whaley –
Jill Areheart – …by invitation only
Courtney Dox –
American Floral –

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