"Can you hear me now?" is the last thing you want to deal with when setting up a wedding livestream. Is the WiFi working? Why is the camera quality so meh! Livestreaming your wedding is a fabulous way to incorporate guests into your wedding day that are unable to attend in person. So here is some practical advice from a Northern Virginia wedding videographer to help it go off without a hitch.
A cell phone on a tripod sounds like a solid and inexpensive solution, and it ultimately it can get the job done. But it comes with its limitations. A cell phone mic doesn't produce audio at a good volume unless it is very close to the officiant and the couple. Like really close. Add it ambient background from air conditioning units or the birds chirping and it becomes difficult for guests to hear your I Dos unless you're practically yelling.
Leave it to the professionals. Hire a videographer that has wireless mics that feed into the livestream. These mics will be placed on the officiant and the bride or groom. These wireless mics don't project to the people attending live, but to the people watching virtually. This will mean an additional cost for the videographer's time and additional equipment, around $500-$1,000 for the service.
See if your ceremony space has a built-in live stream. This is the most ideal solution in our opinion. If your venue is live-streaming on the regular, it means their internet strength is solid, their audio should directly feed into it, and cameras already be in place. This most likely will be less of a cost than having a videographer provide this service, as some venues even provide it at no additional charge.
Attach a microphone to your cell phone. The most cost-effective solution is to purchase or rent a high quality microphone that connects your cell phone. While this isn't a guarantee that the audio will be the most amazing thing since sliced bread, any little bit helps and its relatively easy to step up (click here for this Youtube tutorial).
While audio is a huge thing to consider with your livestream, WiFi is as important, if not more important because bad connection means no feed. Most venues have a free WiFi network for guests, but the free guest WiFi is typically mediocre at best. Talk with your venue to see if they have a private WiFi you can hook up to for streaming purposes. If they do not or are unable to, be prepared to have to use your own hotspot or ask your videographer if they have a hotspot connection.
Pick a Person
Not the most glamorous of jobs on the planet but a very important one. Someone attending your wedding needs to be in charge of the livestream, if it is not your venue or videographer providing the service. Nothing is more frustrating than a bride or groom tending to their own livestream settings. Make sure this person is also familiar with the platform you're streaming the feed to, be it a private Facebook group, Youtube, Zoom, etc.
Skip it All Together
Okay, I get it, this goes against the whole reason for the blog post but hear me out. If you have hired a professional videographer (like me) who is recording your ceremony at full length with multiple camera angles, great audio, etc., your edited ceremony film will slap way harder than a livestream ever could. Yes, it won't be live and you won't get this film until a month or two after the wedding, but the product will be very enjoyable to watch. We have had many couples skip the livestream and wait for their ceremony film to share with family and friends. It is also a keepsake for you.
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