Let's face it, it will be a while until we'd find families practising for Sangeeth night and capture the on-stage dhamaal, sipping cocktails off an open bar and spotting waiters some serving those delicious chicken tikkas on toothpicks.
On our first COVID wedding shoot, can't deny that we had to struggle to capture emotions we usually see at weddings when half the guests were in face-masks and the other half were attending via Zoom call. An hour into the haldi event, and we began getting restless. This panic had us engaging more with both sides' families,
seeding ourselves into their conversations, interacting with relatives to capture their nuances, which helped define our documentary approach of covering wedding films.
Intimate weddings have mostly been followed by European countries; Rustic spaces, poetry and wine - are all the ingredients that favor minimalism over flamboyance, which inadvertently save the couple a lot of money. And slowly, yet surely- replacing crowded halls with cozy living rooms will soon be adopted in India too.
The game's changed considerably, where we are happy to focus on the heart of the story rather than capture gaudy attires, elaborate hall decor and an over-the-top bridal entrance.
With the vaccine on it's way, the sanitisers and masks are sure to fade away, and leave with it a new norm in shooting weddings. We look forward to the day where cinematographers shall love storytelling more than the fancy cameras they work with.
With that, films shall focus on dialogue more than decor, on revealing personalities more than people, on telling stories more than shooting as is.
Watch our lockdown wedding video here - which premieres on YouTube on 30th October at 9pm!
Creative Director at NJM Weddings
It's easy to see how drastically things have changed from a filmmaker's perspective.
Pre-covid: "Wedding films are not about grandeur, but emotions. "
Pre-Covid: "Wedding films are about love and togetherness."
"A bulk of the family aren't going to make it to the wedding, how do we show togetherness?"
"Our crew loves shooting wedding films, mostly for all the hospitality, and great food ;) "
"How do we survive the entire wedding without exposing our team to some obvious risks?"
At the time when a nation-wide lockdown was enforced, our wedding planner introduced us to Praveen and Anusha, who couldn't wait any longer to get married to each other.
Considering the restrictions and risks involved, we wanted to pen our experiences while filming their wedding.
Rounding up the team:
We had to ensure that all on-board understood the safety aspect while covering.
To be clear that we are shooting at our own risk, we had to be respectful to those who were not willing to shoot due to safety concerns.
For those who were willing to shoot, we had to address their concerns collectively and be a 100% transparent regarding the safety provisions. We wouldn't want our own to feel like we are pushing them into a war zone.
No escaping from the new norm:
During our initial discussion with the couple, we let them know that there is no point ‘escaping’ from the fact that we are all facing an unprecedented time, and with that - we must embrace some new ideas which will soon be a norm in upcoming wedding films.
Take it from our learning:
What are your thoughts on how we can improvise our next wedding shoot? Do drop in a line below!
Imagine a wedding without a priest, or a wedding without reciting mantras.. or how about a sangeet without a wedding DJ?
Coorgi (or Kodava) Weddings are a stem apart from the other kinds of the weddings celebrated in India; Simplicity is the key to Coorgi weddings. It’s a family-oriented occasion which focuses on building up a bond between the two families and is entirely based on the blessings of the elders. Prayers are offered to ancestors at the sacred lamp and the wedding ceremony is guided by elders whose blessings are sought.
Baale Birud: Stem Cutting
A typical coorgi wedding lasts up-to two to three days. The main ritual performed is called ‘Baale birud” - On the path leading to the wedding hall, a row of nine or more (multiples of three) banana plant stems are fixed vertically to small wooden stakes driven into the ground. A relative from the bride's family are given the honour of cutting these stems when the groom arrives. He cuts the stems one by one, each with a single stroke, exhibiting his strength and skill. He then dances joyfully to the beat of the valaga music along with the assembled people.
Sammanda Kodupa: Bestowal of rights to the bride
The Groom and Bride are taken to the stage where they sit next to each other as elders of the family bless them one by one.
This is the essential ceremony that solemnizes the marriage. The elders of the bride’s and the groom’s stand in front of the sacred lamp and recite the traditional dialogue that bestows the rights to the bride. The dialogue is characterized by a few exaggerated and humorous comments, and the elders improvise on it with some friendly banter.
Batte Thadpa: Blocking the bride’s path
When the bride has received the sammanda rights, the groom is ready to lead his new wife to his house. However, the bride's bava (cross-cousin), who could have married her by tradition, blocks her path at the threshold, claiming that she is his by right. After much hilarious arguing and bargaining, the bava accepts a gold coin from the groom and lets her go.
Ganga Puje: The bride fetches water from a well
This ceremony (that is traditionally held in the groom’s house) follows later in the evening. It symbolizes the bride becoming a part of the groom's family and helping in the household chores.
She breaks a coconut and drops the coconut halves also into the well. If she cannot break the coconut easily she is teased, and women around her claim to be able to predict the gender of her first child.
The bride then draws water from the well and pours it into each of four small pots. She balances two of the pots on her head, one on top of the other. Two young girls from the groom's family carry a pot each and walk with the bride, one in front and one behind her.
This procession now returns to the wedding hall, accompanied by the wedding band playing a slow beat. The bride takes very small steps to the beat of the music. Members of the groom's family dance in front of her, welcoming her to the house. These days they often dance for hours (and brag about it later), slowing the bride’s walk and testing her stamina!
Right after this ritual everybody emerges in drinking and food which is followed by a night full of music and dance! After they receive the blessings, Groom showers rice on Bride’s head and they exchange Jasmine garlands.
After all the rituals are played, Bride finally arrives to Groom’s house, she is made to fetch water from the well which is considered her official entry to the Groom’s family.
The Coorgi Wedding is a celebration full of unique rituals, family bonding, and a lot of fun! Try identifying these customs in the film "There Will Be Time" where Cauvery ties the knot with Cariappa - embedded below!
A picture may say a thousand words, but a video captures more. The commotion, the hustle bustle that leads up before the final rituals, the reactions of your near and dear ones as you make your way down to the mandap, and your expressions as you take the final pheras. The day spurs by and these moments are crucial for a seasoned videographer to capture beautifully.
Wedding videography can be an added expense, but at the end of it all, it’s worth the splurge.
A professional take
Professional videographers are trained to get the best results and know exactly where to be at the right time. They invest in high quality and expensive equipment to give you a grand outcome. Editors can piece together the footage with just the right music to accommodate anything you wish to have.
Celebrity for a day
Wedding videography has changed drastically in the past 20 years. A professional videographer can edit all your raw wedding footage to create a movie, set to music, that will truly tell the story of your wedding from start to finish. Wedding videos these days are just a couple of steps away from Hollywood. With the right videographers, you’ll get an opportunity to be the star of your own movie!
The 'larger than life' experience can either be included in your wedding film or as a separate 'pre-wedding' film that serves as a great Save-The-Date invite.
Read our article on pre-wedding films featured here on the economic times.
Moments you miss
Your wedding day goes by as fast as a camera flash, and it is impossible for you to be everywhere and see everything all at once. But a videographer can capture these moments and allow you to watch them as though you were there and see even more moments than you were able to on your wedding day. Your videographer may even offer you extra footage that didn’t make it to your wedding film.
Your wedding video is just a button click away from being shared. Videographers now upload wedding videos onto various social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. Share your big day with your family, friends, and guests who were unable to attend the wedding, giving them a chance to be part of your special day just as though they were right there with you.
Something to have and hold
Your wedding video is something to watch and share with generations to come. It’s a great way to reconnect with magical moments.
All the reasons you need to hire a professional wedding videographer, STAT!
- Communications Specialist, NJM Productions LLP
South Indian weddings are packed with traditional rituals. We usually associate a classic ceremony seeing the south indian wedding stage decoration, floral arrangements, the banana leaf entrances – these are all images that can never be erased from our memory. To appeal to the generation of today, most couples off late celebrate their wedding with a concoction of modern innovative themes with older traditional rituals. However, the weddings we will be talking about today are the purists, where all the rituals for the couple are completed on stage- witnessed by a hall full of close friends and relatives. The beautiful, time tested customs are more than enough to set the mood for the audience as all these rituals bare an interesting story.
To produce a candid wedding film is a big task since most of these rituals are conducted on stage with less scope of movement by the cameramen. No couple would want these rituals to be ruined by cameramen setting up their tripods in the center of the stage just to complete their shot, without any concern for the family/relatives who have traveled far to watch the wedding rituals.
So how do we manage getting all our shots to produce a candid video, without disturbing the peace and sanctity of these functions?
Use the Telephoto Lens:
Long lenses are great to achieve closeup shots of the groom and bride, even from a distance. You can station a Tripod with these lens at a strategic place where there is enough room for your own movement so you can adjust when incase your shot gets blocked by family members who stand in front of the couple.
Know the rituals before-hand:
This is crucial to know so you and your team are always aware of the movements on stage and they are better prepared to capture all rituals instead of last minute scrambling for shots. This shows a professional approach by your team as against an unprepared, messy, get-out-of-my-way videographer.
Watch your Equipment:
If all bets are off, get into the scene to get your shot but always look out for the family members' safety first. Ensure that your Tripod legs don't stick out as you make your way into the crowd, which can cause a lot of nuisance to the people around.
In the mandap area, where the place is packed with people, try getting in with a single legged monopod instead of a 3-legged Tripod.
If you need your shot, don't forget to be polite as you request the person in front to clear the frame. One impulsive, arrogant move from you can define your reputation in that instant. Be gentle, and they will be more than happy to move out of the way.
Any traditional wedding can be a long grueling process that will tire out anyone, even the enthusiasts. That's when the natural smiles diminish. Get the couple to smile from time to time, or at least try. In a place which is packed with one traditional custom after the other, their facial expressions can go a long way to make an interesting wedding film.
I've always wanted to do something for myself rather than be a cog in an enormous well-oiled machine. The real beauty is in all those little things that you build on your own; as you watch your small sandhill grow, and you strengthen it's walls with your bare hands preparing it to weather high tide.
So the first thing I did for myself to keep my sanity, is that I made a list of all the things I needed to build a company from ground up.
NJM Productions (tm)
You Narrate. We Create.
Imagine a concert waiting to happen on the day of your wedding, and YOU are the star. The cameras will follow wherever you go, and they would flash their lights to your every smile, every nod and every 'pranaam'. Later on, you can do nothing but hope that you gave your best angles to give a good show for the final video.
But let's not stop there, and stir things up a bit. What if you knew exactly what song will be used for the final film, you come in slightly prepared and break into an amazing choreographed sequence or lip-sync a song for the cameras to make a video that will be remembered for years to come.
Introducing you folks to the new era of lip-dub weddings; the lyrics in the song play more weightage over other aspects in the film. Our own journey in the wedding space began with shooting a lip-dub wedding video to the song 'Sugar' by Maroon 5. You can watch our video here.
Here's a list of all the essential bits we learnt from own experiences in producing these films for couples on their wedding day.
Whether you are a couple or a videographer or neither, this list will certainly help you make the most out of the lip-dub video - even as a participant.
And ... voila!! Upload your final video and watch your fan-base build with all those views streaming in. It seems like only yesterday when you imagined yourself to star in your favourite song, that too on the most important day of your life!
Do check out some of our best lip-dub wedding videos here.
NJM Productions (tm)
You Narrate. We Create.