The Cinematographer

Photo: Bobby Doherty/New York Magazine

Andy Biscontini, of Kiss the Bride Films

What’s your trick for getting couples to loosen up in front of the camera?
In the past, I’ve asked people to do a big fake laugh. After everyone recovers from the embarrassment of doing something really phony and corny, they tend to be more relaxed. People often get self-­conscious about the way they come off, but at a certain point, you have to chill out and trust that we’re going to make you look good.

So is it best to act like the camera isn’t there?
Actually, it’s great when people are a little bit aware of being filmed. I’ve shot couples that turned out to be masters and gave some subtly awesome glances when they knew the camera was on them. And it’s not like we never set up any shots. We’ll try to take the couple for a little walk and get some hand-holding stuff that will look good in the highlight reel.

How do you avoid that cheesy wedding-video factor?
That’s what the editing process is for. I don’t mind a little cheese if it’s genuine, but obvious gag moments—like the groom’s buddies dragging him up the church steps—aren’t going to work.

What about the soundtrack?
Picking the perfect song for footage is like finding the perfect person to marry: Nothing is perfect in every way, but there are some songs that are special and good. We usually ask couples for a list up front. When in doubt, I’ll incorporate some Sam Cooke or Otis Redding. I’ve never had a couple come back after viewing their wedding video and say, “We hated the Otis Redding.”

Do bloopers ever make it into the final film?
If it’s something cute and funny, then a resourceful editor will incorporate it. I once had a groom lean in to kiss the bride right after his vows, but they weren’t married yet so she stopped him. It was sweet, and everyone had a laugh over it. But if mom slips off the chair during the hora, that’s probably not going to make it in.

The wedding photographer: friend or foe?
I think in some quarters of the industry there’s a perceived competition. I’ve heard of photographers intentionally blocking shots, but I think that’s very rare. For the most part, we have great working relationships with photographers. And it’s two different disciplines. Photographs have that wonderful way of capturing relationships at a glance. Film is about experiencing things in time, motion, and sequence, which are a big part of the emotional experience.

Have you ever encountered guests who try to hog the camera?
We get scene­-stealers all the time, especially as wedding videos have gone viral on the Internet. There are people who want to be the best moment in the video, but, really, they’re never going to upstage the bride.

Illustration by Aiko Fukawa

“A lot of times couples aren’t aware of how often they lick their lips. From an editing standpoint, it can be a problem, so try to keep any nervous tics that you have under control on the day of your wedding.”

The Cinematographer