Your niece is getting married and she asks you to video a few action shots at her wedding. If you like making video movies, this is a golden opportunity to practice your skills. Treat this like preparing for a two week vacation: plan your video with the same care and forethought.

Think of a creative way to title your story. An invitation resting on the veil composed with some accessories from her ensemble makes an interesting way to start your story. Ask the bride and groom for some snapshots of themselves when they were two, five, ten and teenagers. Place all the photos on a dark cloth on the floor and SLOWLY pan across the pictures, stopping briefly on centers of interest. Always fade in presenting a new segment and fade out at the end. The fade signifies a change in time and prepares the viewer for a new scene.

Background music also enhances any part of your video that does not include an actual band or DJ in the shot. A small CD player placed in the room will fill in those awkward dead sound spots. Soft rock, love songs by favorite artists, or romantic classics add interest to your movie. Make sure the volume is low so as not to over power normal conversation.

A list of planned shots that tell a story serves as a reminder during the day. The most effective method of story telling starts with an overall or scene setting shot. For instance, fade in on the bride getting out of her car arriving home from the hair dresser, walking up the steps and greeting her Mom at the door. A cut to the reverse angle from inside the house follows the bride and sister to her bedroom. A second cut shows the bride holding the gown up to her body, prancing around the room. A medium distance shot provides more detail to the eye, allowing facial expressions to be seen and enjoyed. Super closeups interspersed between the medium shot inject excitement and impact to the scene. Occasional macro shots briefly sandwiched in between satisfy the natural tendency to want to see detail: an engagement ring, a leg garter, a signed card, etc. These "preparation" scenes of the bride, her family and bridesmaids are necessary as a foundation for the wedding story. Try to capture people DOING things, like talking on the telephone, having an early toast, a last minute gown repair, or Dad having trouble with his tux and getting in the limosine. Don't forget to fade out the last scene.

At the ceremony, capture the exit from the car, entrance of the parents, the bride and her father, and all the attendants. Position yourself so that the camera can see the faces of the bride and groom during the ceremony. To record the whole ceremony, transfer yourself to the center of the aisle in preparation for the first kiss and promenade. Intersperse shots of the ceremony with close ups of the parent's faces. If you can, position yourself behind the bride and groom for the congratulations. After the rice throwing get a shot of the bride and groom in the back of the car (kissing). Attach yourself to the wedding party for some action at the park. Don't bother the professional photographer, just keep on the lookout for interesting tableaus between the bride and groom and attendants. Interacting shots of the bride and groom are most effective as short takes.

The action at the reception automatically flows in a story telling sequence, starting with the entrance, toast by the best man and the first dance. During the toast stand close to the best man so as to hear his speech clearly. Break up long segments with a change of scene. For instance, video three minutes of dancing, then two minutes of table comments, followed by a Grandmother being hugged by a grand daughter. Telephoto close ups of faces ideally comprise fifty per cent of the video. This keeps the interest and impact at a high level. Super close ups placed between regular shots provide variety to your movie: the top of the cake, an opened jewelry gift, the wedding rings, lips kissing, and a tear in Dad's eye. Some time during the evening, take the bride and groom aside and them how they met and where they are going on their honeymoon. Other interesting interviews include funny stories from their best friends and baby stories from the parents. Don't forget to give the camera to someone else so that you and your family are part of the story.

A few minutes alone showing the bride and groom by candlelight, holding hands and talking to each other makes a romantic end to your video. Fade out and be sure to include your credits. While the happy couple are honeymooning, you can edit your video with computer software for a professional look. Happy shooting!