What you need to know about filming a sparkler send off at your clients' wedding.
Candy Glass Productions has filmed a number of sparkler send offs. They're a lot of fun for the couple getting married and guests, and look great - a perfect ending to your wedding video! There are a few challenges for videographers to be aware of when filming sparker send offs, but if you keep the following tips in mind you should be fine.
Most likely the sparkler send off will be taking place at the end of the night. That means guests have had a few hours to enjoy themselves...now add fire! Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on how close those sparklers are to you and your gear. Another challenge is rounding up everyone to stand in two lines. They'll need to stand close enough for you to capture a good composition (about 8 or 9 feet) but far enough apart so that they don't touch anybody walking down the path. From the picture above you'll see that the two lines of guests are dangerously close to each other. Even though it captured nicely on camera, the bride and groom had to crouch while they ran through the center.
Like you, the photographer is also trying to get the best shot. This often leads to them blocking your shot or bumping into you if you decide to have the couple walk towards the camera as you walk backwards. Or it can lead to you blocking the photographer's shots, which can lead to unhappy clients. Communicate with the photographer on where you're going to be and ask them to do the same.
Sometimes the couple will want to walk through the passage of sparklers and other times they'll want to run. They might also want to stop for a kiss or they may want to run back and forth. It's best to communicate with the couple and talk about a plan. They'll be happy to discuss it with you because most likely this will be their first time doing a sparkler send off. 😉
A big problem with shooting a sparkler send off is that the sparklers are extremely bright and you're in a dark enviornment. You don't want to be caught off guard when the bride and groom arrive. Have an assistant or a guest pass though before the couple and expose for their face.
There are plenty of ways to go about filming a sparkler send off, but we have found a way to capture it that works really well for us.
If you have two cameras, that'll make filming this event a lot easier. You'll be able to rely on at least one camera getting the shot in case one of them gets blocked by either the photographer or a guest.
Have one camera on a tripod or monopod at the end of the passage (equally between both sets of guests if you can manage. If you've communicated with the couple beforehand you'll be able to have them go around you). Use a wide focal length to get both lines of guests but zoomed in enough so that it will fill up your frame.
This camera should be mobile. We have ours on a Glidecam. Follow behind the couple as they walk/run through and crouch down so that you're not in your other videographer's or the photographer's shots. We prefer to shoot this at a higher frame rate for epicness. (See second video below)
We tried using the Glidecam walking backwards during the sparkler send off but the problem is that photographer will want to walk with you. It gets really tight and you tend to bump into each other as well as the guests are holding the sparklers. It's a tricky balance but if it works for you then go for it. It's all about personal preference and trying different techniques out.
Below are a few highlight reels with sparkler send offs to check out:
Above is an example of a sparkler grand entrance.