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Say it with a video at your wedding

Couples are singing their own wedding theme song, sending out animated e-vites and levitating for a photoshoot. Here are the gimmicks running the wedding film business

  Titled The Singing Bride, a four-minute video uploaded by The Wedding Filmer last week has raked in over 1 lakh views and more than 200 comments, most admitting that it gave them goose bumps and mushy feels. In the video, bride-to-be Hemna Kesaria, croons an original Hindi composition, Ilitija, in a recording studio set-up and then, performs its acapella version at her sangeet ceremony, held in February, against the backdrop of magnificently lit-up Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur.

Hemna Kesaria performs an original composition, Ilitija at her sangeet ceremony at Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh fort
Hemna Kesaria performs an original composition, Ilitija at her sangeet ceremony at Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh fort; (below) she recorded it at a Mumbai studio

Composed specially for the couple, it’s also the theme song in their wedding film. "Using current hits is trendy but after a few years, they become dated. An original composition is timeless," observes filmmaker Vishal Punjabi, about the latest trend doing the rounds in the wedding film business. Some time back, Punjabi, who heads the city-based wedding videography firm, recorded a contemporary version of the Folk song, Din Shagna Da. "It spawned a whole bunch of covers and it’s now become every bride’s go-to song," he says. The cost for a recording shindig could go upto R20 lakh but couples are game. "Jewellery and expensive clothes can be designed and stitched at any stage in life but you can only capture your memories once, when it happens," says Punjabi.

And he isn’t the only one. Last year, city-based photographer and cinematographer Harpreet Bachher of The Wedding Story, which has filmed celebrity shaadis of Ahaana Deol and Bipasha Basu, brought in local folk artists from Jodhpur to record a version of Kesariya Balma for a wedding film which starred a Marwari couple.

To-be bride Riya Kuwelkar collaborated with The Wedding Story to send out animated save-the-date e-vites
To-be bride Riya Kuwelkar collaborated with The Wedding Story to send out animated save-the-date e-vites

"The latest trend is customising the film according to couple’s personality traits and their story," says Bachher. For his current client, Riya Kuwelkar, who owns an animation studio in Nariman Point, he will make a part-animation, part-live action wedding film trailer. The to-be bride will add the effects to the reels herself, capturing her upcoming November wedding in Thailand. "We are in the process of creating storyboards and have planned a few shots too. For instance, we’ll shoot friends jumping into the pool and add a water splash effect," says the excited 30-year-old, who earlier sent out an animated save-the-date video as an e-vite. "It included a mix of animation and a video game play (my fiancé’s passion) along with our video game caricatures. It’s a beautiful memory," she adds.

Show it live
In the last few years, professional DOPs and filmmakers have nudged out local videowallahs to make wedding films that would give most Bollywood producers a run for their money. Apart from upping the scale with use of the aerial shots and drone cameras, they are now focussing on Live Edits too. Including the service in the wedding package allows guests to watch a four-minute reel, which gives a glimpse of the ceremonies, on the last day of the celebrations.

"It’s challenging as we need two laptops, an editor and an assistant on location to make the live edit. However, it’s amazing to see the reactions from the families, who get a sense of the fun and emotional joyride that the wedding has been. This year, we’re covering four destination weddings in Dubai, Phuket, Goa and Pune and all the couples have asked for a live edit," says Monisha Ajgaonkar of The Photo Diary, a Mumbai-based wedding film and photo studio. Some of their other innovations include setting up on-location video booths to get candid bytes and a stop-motion animation pre-wedding film. "We shot with the couple for a day and then, hired an animation studio in the city for the post-production," informs Rahul Lalchandani, who freelanced as co-director on the project.

The shaadi splurge
Rs 2 - Rs 5
lakh
fees for a top photographer or videographer on per-day basis
Rs 1.5 - Rs 2 lakh an underwater photo-shoot
Rs 1 lakh 3.5-minute animation trailer
Rs 1.75 lakh a coffee table book

Levitation photography attempted by Cupcake productions
Levitation photography attempted by Cupcake productions

Flying couple, anyone?
Besides films, pre-wedding photo-shoots are also getting more innovative. Recently, Cupcake Productions, a Delhi-based production studio attempted levitation photography for a couple. “It means clicking two shots then combining them in the editing stage. It took two hours from creating the background to getting that one perfect picture. The challenges depend on the position of the character. "We used a tripod to get our camera in line with their position, so that the props wouldn’t get into the frame,” shares co-founder Shruti Chhabra, while her husband and founder Jayant adds, “The interesting thing about levitation shots is that because the concept of a floating subject is so enchanting, the rest of the image can be simplistic in composition. On an average, it takes one day per image to post-produce it perfectly.”

Get booked
Mumbai-based Jodi Clickers offers coffee table books along with wedding shoots. They’ve tied up with a publishing firm in Italy to bring out the 70-pager, laden with photographs and write-ups. Till date, they’ve created seven such books. “We assign a copywriter to the couple, who gets an insight into their story and also quotes, from relatives. The person is also present at the wedding venue. We edit the content, design the layouts and send it for publishing,” says managing director, Abhishek Behani.

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