Hi, my name’s Dalton Young, a Destination Wedding Videographer and Photographer. I want to talk really quickly about your wedding DJ and how it is important for them to actually understand how to do their job and how to use their equipment. There are many talented videographers out there that I’ve seen, and I’m talking about videographers, that don’t even know how to use their cameras properly. Well, it goes the same way for photographers and DJs.
But we’re going to talk specifically about DJs, because DJs, not understanding their equipment, can lead to multiple issues that can lead to feeding interruptions, that can lead to static and different sounds that come through the speakers during the ceremony, during the toast speeches et cetera. But the biggest thing that I see happen is when I go to a wedding as a videographer and I come up… So our goal… So when you have toast speeches or a ceremony, we want to record that audio. Sure, we’ll have Lavalier mics on the groom, the officiant, and sometimes the bride. We’ll have those mics put in place.
But we also would like to record from the DJ. And many times I go to the DJs and, believe it or not, I will say, “Hey, I’m just looking for a line out,” which means I want to plug my recorder into the sound deck in order to record the audio. Many of them don’t know how to do that, and some only understand how to do it partially. I went to many weddings, and they’re like, “I’m not sure how to do that. You know how to do that. Can you show me? Can you do that? Can you set it up since you know what you’re talking about?”
And I can, but that’s where I’m going, it’s important to have someone that knows their equipment because audio is half of your viewing experience. And if the audio gets messed up during your ceremony or reception, or just sounds really bad, it can affect the entire viewing experience of your highlight film, your trailer film, ceremony edits, toast edits, whatever, and that’s really something that I should be checking, but I shouldn’t be the one primarily doing. That all comes down to having a quality vendor, having quality DJs, for example, in this case, that understand, not only how to have a good time and have a good show and create a great experience, but also how to use their equipment.
And I don’t want you to take this as this is me attacking DJs because it’s not. DJs are an integral part, and we love having DJs. I’m just saying, make sure that when you talk to your DJ when you hire your DJ, say, “Hey, I’m having a videographer. They’re going to need to record off your sound deck. They’re going to want a line out, a custom, our own line out.”
There are different ways. A lot of times, they’ll give us something called a mix out, and the mix out, generally speaking, is all the audio that’s coming through the speakers or coming through the sound deck, just everything merged into one just coming into our recorder. While we can work with that, we end up getting that a lot because a lot of DJs don’t know how to, they don’t know how to or they don’t have the right setup, to give us our own line out.
When I’m talking about our own line out, imagine a mix out, a mix out’s going to come with, if there’s any music, we’re going to get that, and we can’t use that because of copyright issues unless it’s for a raw ceremony edit. But for our highlight films, we use commercially licensed music. When they send us the full mix out, we’re capturing everything. And some of those sounds, it’d be nice… For example, let’s talk about the toast speech. During a toast speech, we want our own line out, that way, the only thing that they’re sending us is the voice, and the only thing they’re sending us is what’s coming through the microphone. That’s all we want. But if we’re getting that, and then the sounds of music, or what other sounds, they could be playing a random song. I’ve heard them do that before. After a toast speech, they’ll hit a button, and then you’ll hear some funny sound or whatever. They’re trying to make everybody have a good time. But what that does is that comes through our audio and that just doesn’t sound good.
So having someone who can send us our own dedicated line is huge. That’s a game-changer for your wedding video. And also, someone that understands audio recording equipment, not just the playing equipment, but the recording, because they need to understand how our equipment works as well for what we’re doing. That way, they can monitor our gain levels.
I mean, unless… So some videographers will have recorders that have auto leveling, and then you have some people that set the gain manually, which means it sets the recording level, the audio level, manually. So having someone who can, not only monitor that but even adjust it if need be is another huge component. As those levels are everything, having the right audio levels, having the right volume, you’re going to have some people that speak loud and some people that get quiet. And if your DJ doesn’t adjust their equipment or our equipment accordingly, then that becomes an issue.
So typically, and we’ve done this many times, if we have come into a DJ that doesn’t know what they’re doing, we’ll turn auto leveling back on, just because we don’t know what result we’re going to get from the DJ. So we start, basically, to protect ourselves and our own process, because, again, our goal is to make you happy and deliver you the best product. Everything we do is for the bride. And that’s the biggest piece of what we’re doing because we’re passionate about what we do, and we genuinely care about our deliverables as well as your experience. So we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure the best relationships happen.
But it all starts with you. It starts with you during this planning process. It starts with you during the hiring and asking just basic questions like, “Hey…” And you can’t be afraid to ask these people these things. You can’t be afraid to ask a videographer if they know how to use their camera, or a photographer if they know how to use their camera. You’re investing thousands of dollars with these people.
And obviously, you should be able to look at their reviews and experience and all that and tell how they shoot. Because you won’t see that in the reviews. They won’t be like, “Oh, yeah, they shot this way on their camera.” But when you start hearing brides and grooms talk about the quality and how, “It looks like something on TV,” or, “It was wonderful. It was clearer than our photographer,” or it’s just whatever, you start to realize, and it’s so consistent and constant, you’ll hear those words, and that’s when you know you’re talking to someone that knows what they’re doing and they’re very good with their equipment. Because just because you shoot manually doesn’t make you good either. I know some people that shoot in full auto and do better than people shooting in manual. You have to understand your equipment, and you have to deliver a great, consistent final product.
So ask your vendor these questions, ask your DJ, if, “Hey, I’m going to have a wedding videographer. He’s going to need a line out of your deck. Is that okay?” Or if they say, “Oh, we can, but we’re going to have to give them a mix out,” that’s okay. The biggest thing is they got to be able to give me something because I can’t tell you how many weddings I go to and it’s almost like if it wasn’t for me understanding my job and doing this full-time and being totally immersed in this world, and this usually happens when I work with a part-time DJ, it’s usually when it happens. Usually not a full-time DJ, it’s usually a part-time DJ who maybe does a few weddings a year, and does this as a hobby. And usually, they got hired, because someone, usually the bride or the bride’s family was trying to save a little bit of money in the process.
So again, choose your vendors wisely. Them all working together and knowing as their equipment is important. It will affect your final product, because, one, that DJ can affect your photographer and videographer. Your photographer can affect your videographer and DJ. Your planner can affect everybody. I mean, we all mesh into each other like one big cake, one big wedding cake. We’re all going to have to come together to make the best wedding cake and to make your wedding day phenomenal.
So if you have any questions about hiring, or what questions to ask your DJ or photographer, or videographer, we’re here to help. We want to be a resource for you. I want to be a resource for you because I genuinely care about you having an amazing wedding day experience, whether you choose to work with us or not. You need to make the right choices, and sometimes when it’s your first time planning a wedding or a destination wedding, or maybe you just haven’t planned a wedding in a long time, it helps to have an open, someone you can just bounce ideas off of, someone in the industry full-time that can tell you, “Hey, this is kind of how things work. This is kind of how things don’t work,” or, “Things have changed since then.” Those kinds of questions are the questions you want to ask me or someone else in order to get the right answers so that you can make an educated decision that you have the best wedding experience that you could ask for.
Again, my name’s Dalton Young. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out, and we will talk to you soon.
Photography/Videography: Dalton Young Weddings