To Stream Or Not To Stream?
:: EVERTYTHING YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LIVE STREAMING YOUR WEDDING ::
By Jessica Burke, NOW Weddings Publisher
Photo: Capture Studio Photography
Planning a wedding comes with so many things to consider and now thanks to social distancing necessities, couples have so much more to think about and more decisions than ever to make.
While sorting out a guest list may have been a harrowing challenge pre-pandemic, it can be even more difficult now – or easier if you were looking for an excuse not to invite someone, or many someones…we’re not judging.
So let’s say that local restrictions require a more “intimate” guest list, but your original “must invite” file was upwards of Bourbon Street on Mardi Gras night; or, let’s say you have very important guests, like grandparents or family and friends living abroad, who just can’t be there in person due to health reasons or travel restrictions. Sometimes postponing just isn’t an option, but that doesn’t mean those guests have to imagine what your wedding was like. This is where live streaming comes in. Thankfully technology is pretty awesome and can help keep us connected even when we’re far apart.
But the first question is, who should be in charge of this very important job? In a pinch many couples start taking volunteers from their guest list for tasks like these, but is this really how you want your guests spending their time?
“We’re all really thankful Aunt Sally is a champ and has volunteered to hold her phone perfectly still and level for the full duration of your wedding ceremony,” says Brian Jarreau of HootDown, a local live streaming service, “but later, when it’s time to dance, she’s going to be wiped out, which is unfortunate because everyone knows she’s the best at ‘Cupid Shuffle.’ No no, I kid, but really, your guests are just that, guests, and though no one really minds doing it, someone will inevitably mind how it’s done.”
LaVina Bostock of Your Day Video and Photography agrees that how the live streaming is done matters. “We are bringing our many years of video experience to the table,” she shares. “We are not just using a phone or tablet to shoot with.”
Pros like HootDown and Your Day Video and Photography use professional cameras. Yes, cameras, as in more than one camera and upwards of four, to cover your event and they can switch between views seamlessly too thanks to their production level equipment. This means that your guests watching from afar see a more interesting and engaging broadcast of your wedding, instead of watching from one person’s perspective. Apologies to Aunt Sally.
So what’s the difference between a traditional wedding video and live streaming you may ask?
“Live Streaming is different from the traditional wedding video in the fact that we are allowing your guests that are not able to attend your ceremony the experience to watch it live as if they were there,” says Bostock.
Jarreau adds, “Live streams and traditional wedding videos are very different in execution. Picture the differences between watching a feature-length film versus a reality TV show. Both are captivating and offer a different look and feel in the content they are conveying. The film is just that, a polished cinematic vision that’s taken an expansive amount of time to render and produce. The reality show has a visceral live-action feeling that exhibits realistic, lifelike action.”
For a traditional video, the camera person will follow the couple throughout the day and capture creative angles and highlights and then go back to their office and edit everything together into a beautiful, movie-like, polished finished product. This means you’ll wait weeks to months (totally worth it, btw) to receive your video due to the time it takes to edit together the finished product. With live streaming, your guests won’t have to wait to see your wedding, because they’ll be in the middle of the action as it happens! Also, totally worth it.
Adding live streaming to your wedding doesn’t have to break the bank either. Your Day Video and Photography offers live streaming packages starting at $400 for their one-camera live streaming services and HootDown’s prices start at just $750 and include 4 camera coverage among other perks. Both companies will provide you with a copy of the video to watch later too! That’s what I call money well spent!
So, let’s say you’ve decided to invest in a live stream. The next question most people have is: “What platform is THE BEST for live streaming?” Well folks, the experts have weighed in and the answer is all of them. Not kidding. Literally any platform out there will work just fine, but some have perks that make them a better choice depending on the event details.
“We’re able to live stream to all of the popular current services available and even multiple platforms simultaneously,” shares Jarreau. “When posed with the question of which should I use, it’s important to think about the people who will be watching your live stream. What is the general age group of your guests? We find that YouTube is the most accessible and familiar platform to use for most guests. Facebook is also a great place to broadcast from but your guests will need a Facebook account and sometimes a little more knowledge on the user interface of the platform. Platforms like Twitch and Zoom are also available but again require the user to have an account.”
If you’re still on the fence about live streaming, take some time to consider how important this video will be to you years from now.
“I’m a wedding photographer, when the pandemic hit, our entire world, like everyone else’s, was thrown into disarray,” shares Jarreau. “Brides who had been planning their perfect wedding day since childhood were suddenly facing a challenge no one had ever considered. My phone rang for 3 weeks straight, couple after couple postponing their weddings, looking for any sort of solution to the insanity. In early April a good friend of mine had a small ceremony on Zoom – all of our friends were there; it was a beautiful little gathering. This got me thinking – since some of our couples had decided to still move forward with their ceremonies, but only 10 people, how could we still include their hundreds of previously invited guests? I spent nearly a month working to piece together a solution that would work and HootDown was born. It’s already difficult for some folks to travel, with age, kids, work, and costs that can be prohibitive. Live streaming your wedding for folks who just can’t make it is such an easy and selflessly inclusive solution. Watching a pre-recorded concert or presentation is great, but experiencing it live is such an intrinsic and emotional experience.”
“We have had many couples whose grandparents were not able to attend due to covid restrictions,” says Bostock. “With the live stream, they were able to watch as if they were there. I highly recommend live streaming your ceremony so that guests can feel a part of your day.”
So go ahead and explore your live streaming options and get your whole guest list in on the festivities whether they’re near or far.
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