THE dusty old days of two-hour-long wedding videos—poorly produced, with clichéd FX and elevator music—are long gone. Today, it’s all about highlight videos (short, snappy ones—much like a trailer) and customised shoots. In fact, with ‘highlights’ of celebrities like Amala Paul, Nazriya Nazim and Asif Ali going viral on social media networks, videographers have never been busier. “Now everyone from young IT professionals to businessmen and doctors want to invest in professional videographers who specialise in creating short, quirky, entertaining videos that seem like they are meant to be watched in theatres,” explains Arun Vaiga, who runs his own wedding photography studio, Fineday Photography. We talk to some of the top wedding videographers on trends, gadgets and LOL moments.
When three professional photographers— Sinoj Aiyappan, Arun Vaiga and Santosh Anima—decided to start a wedding photography outfit called Fineday Photography in 2013, they had one thought on their minds: cinema. With a combined work experience of over 40 years between them, and their lead photographer, Aiyappan, having already worked on the hit Malayalam movie, Ithihasa, as a cameraman, their main idea was to generate sufficient funds to make their own movie. “This is why we are very selective about the clients we take on,” explains Vaiga, elaborating, “Initially, wedding photography was a means to an end. But we soon realised that we can exercise our creativity and sharpen our movie making and post-production skills by creating five-minute cinematic wedding highlight videos.” Fineday’s long list of clients includes celebrities like Meera Jasmine, Aju Varghese and director Jean Paul (of Honey Bee fame). They give the utmost importance to client confidentiality and do not regularly update their work on social media. But one of their current trending videos is a post-wedding highlight video of actor Asif Ali and Zama Mazrin.
GADGETS: The M VI M10 Stabilizer (used extensively in the movie Raid 2) and Rokinon manual focus lens are the new toys in their arsenal.
UP NEXT: Besides taking videography classes for the All Kerala Photography Association (AKPA), the Fineday crew’s immediate plans include developing a script for their movie, while working as cameramen on director S Binu’s yet-to-be titled film starring Unni Mukundan.
STARTING FEE: `50,000 onwards. Details: 9744746542
Maangalyam: The dream wedding is the biggest viral wedding video to come out of Kerala—primarily because it featured two of the Malayalam films’ in-demand stars, Fahad Fazil and Nazriya Nazim. The crew behind the highlight video (which featured the hit track, Maangalyam, from Bangalore Days) and the extravagant wedding is Maritus Wedding Planners & Wedding Studio. “We began operations in 2011 and were the first exclusive wedding planners in the state,” says Shahid Bake, the MD. “We began our wedding studio the following year because outsourcing to freelance photographers meant bad quality. Our photography crew excels in capturing candid moments,” adds the MBA graduate. Listing surprise engagement ceremonies, save-thedate videos and underwater weddings as some of their unique video shoots, Naieem Kurumpelil, head of photography and a B.Tech graduate, says that visiting international videographer, Leonard Han, from Malaysia, was one of the first to introduce the highlight video trend in the state (in 2011).
FLASHBACK: Due to privacy concerns, the crew wasn’t informed they were going to cover Fahad and Nazriya’s wedding. This left them a little starstruck at the start of the shoot.
UP NEXT: Maritus plans to venture into the field of fashion photography and are currently working on opening an office in Dubai.
STARTING FEE: `1 lakh onwards. Details: 9847155777
Sujith Kumar never expected a wedding highlight video he uploaded on Youtube, titled A New Generation Kerala Wedding, would amass over 12,00,000 views! Especially since it was an informal video—where the bride and the groom are pictured indoors, sporting sunglasses, and jiving to the music of Adaradara Kottu from the hit Telugu movie, Dookudu. “That video kick-started a trend and, as imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, we have come to terms with others copying our ideas. Including our pioneering use of heli-cams for aerial shots,” says Kumar, the creative head at Framehunt Photographic Services. The six-member crew recently expanded their company profile and made the transition from Kottayam to Kochi. “We moved in to our new 1,200 square foot office in Thaikkudam, a few weeks ago. The bride and groom from the New Generation viral video cut the red ribbon,” shares Boney Sudhakar, a qualified computer engineer and head of administration at Framehunt, who has just returned with the team after doing a post-wedding shoot in Dubai.
UP NEXT: “We’re turning into a private limited enterprise next month as we want to venture into industrial photography, ads, etc,” shares Sudhakar.
STARTING FEE: `85,000 onwards. Details: 7561000999
Happily ever after
If ‘happily ever after’ is how you end a fairy tale, then Riyaz K S, Nithin George and his wife Ria Nithin, think otherwise. To them, capturing the best moments of a couple entering a new chapter of their lives is the new happily ever after. The wedding video/photography organisation was started in 2010 by the trio who come from varied backgrounds—Riyaz is a part time HR consultant at Info Park, while George and Ria are software engineers—and who wanted to take their passion for photography a step further. Today HEA has an extended crew of 20 photographers, designers and post-production employees. They got their first break when they covered actress Amala Paul and director A L Vijay’s special day. “Weddings are a one-time event and we put our noses to the grindstone to ensure that we captured as many moments, details and candid shots as possible,” says George, adding, “We try to incorporate the couple’s characteristics into the video rather than just documenting the occasion.” While the trio’s close association with the actress (Ria and Paul were neighbours and went to the same school in Aluva) had got them the invite to shoot her engagement, they were taken by surprise when the celebrity couple asked them to cover the wedding, too—just three days prior to the occasion. Needless to say, the wedding video went viral on Facebook soon after.
GADGETS: For the basic wedding video, they use the Canon 5B Mark III. And for high-end productions, the Canon 1DC and C300 are their pick.
STARTING FEE: `50,000 onwards. Details: 8129595595
Ever heard of someone changing his legal name to include that of his company’s? Meet 28-year-old Vineesh Smoke, the owner of Smoke Ads and its director of photography. His 12-member team of videographers, editors, photographers and graphic designers moved from Thrissur (where the agency was created three years ago) to Kochi because all their bookings were from the city.
“Though we had started out in this industry as a model casting/advertising agency, we couldn’t keep up with the competition,” shares Vineesh, who studied animation at Kochi’s CAD institute. “We hit a lucky streak when some of the prominent businessmen hired us to cover their weddings, after our candid videography coverage of actress Shafna Nizam’s special day created a lot of buzz online. This gave us an opportunity to showcase our video coverage and post-production skills. Now, they hire us for their industrial/ad shoots. In fact, we just returned from doing an ad in Uganda for an African beer brewery,” he says, adding that his globe-trotting team is headed to Sri Lanka next, for a new ad shoot for a popular leather accessories brand
GADGETS: The firm uses the Canon EOS 1-DX and the Red Digital Cinema Camera to capture ultra-slowmotion 4K-quality wedding videos. “There are couples who decide their wedding date after cross-checking with us for availability,” claims Vineesh.
STARTING FEE: `2 lakhs onwards (for a team of five photographers plus a drone). Details: 9516669999.