How to shoot a wedding video on your iPhone, transfer to iPad and edit it… all before dinner!

This weekend I went to an Italian wedding with my other half Lucia. Not understanding a single word of the ceremony or speeches, I thought I would shoot an impromptu wedding video for the happy couple, Oreste and Sandrine. Realising I also had my iPad with me, I wondered, could I shoot, edit and present a video all before coffee was served after dinner? This being a wedding on the continent, I needn’t have worried, I actually completed it before the main courses were served!

Every indie filmmaker I know has endured a long ‘love/hate’ relationship with wedding videos. I have certainly made my fare share of them, but I can’t deny, there have been times when the wedding video business has kept a roof over my head. And every one that I have shot has always kept me on my toes. This one, while a totally spur of the moment decision to shoot, would be no different.

So how did I do it?

First, I could have used the iPhone video camera, but I find that ‘look’ a little sterile. So I used an App called Super8 which makes the video look like old super 8mm film – the images it creates are immediately nostalgic and personally, I find aesthetically pleasing.

Once shot, getting the clips off my iPhone and onto the iPad was a challenge, but I found an App called ‘Photo Transfer’ that allowed me to connect the two over WiFi. Transferring the files to the iPad was then easy and took about half an hour (I had shot about 20 minutes of clips). It should have worked over Bluetooth but I just couldn’t get the two devices to communicate.

After the starters, I could see the bride and groom working their way around the room, chatting to guests at each table, and I decided that I would have the edit completed by the time they got to our table.

Once the clips were transferred to the iPad, I fired up iMovie to edit them into a sequence. Now let’s be clear from the get go. iMovie on the iPad is NOT a sophisticated or feature rich editing tool. It’s VERY basic. But, it is also intuitive and very simple to use. It’s also been well thought our for the touch screen interface. I have added a wish list at the end of this blog for iMovie 2 features which I believe would significantly improve the experience of editing with it.

Editing was very fast, setting ‘in’ and ‘out’ points on clips and dropping them on the timeline. What was frustrating was removing the sound from each clip (the sound on the iPhone is not good for video and I had decided to use a music track) as it had to be done manually, clip by clip. Also, iMovie is set to make every edit a ‘dissolve’, so each edit had to be changed to a ‘cut’. Grrrrr!

I also found that by the time I had thirty ofrforty clips on the timeline, the system did start to run slower. But I did have to remind myself that I had shot a wedding video on a phone and was editing it on a tablet computer.

The family around the table thought I was a bit crazy, frantically editing away, but they soon came around when I had it completed and they saw that our Bride and Groom were going to get a premiere of the wedding video I shot at their wedding only two hours ago!

With the last edit done, I hit the render button so that we could watch it full screen… and boy did it render quickly! I was braced for it to take several hours, but it took all of five minutes.

When the happy couple arrived at our table, they huddled around the iPad and pressed play… and then the magic began! It was clear that this ‘immediate’ presentation was something every bride and groom would enjoy, not to mention the small crowd of wedding guests all craning to see the magical moments from the day. There were smiles and tears aplenty.

I especially knew this was a real hit when the official wedding video guy starting filming the guests watching the unofficial wedding video!


The video was live on Facebook within twenty minutes for relatives who could not make the wedding. No doubt, this unofficial video will have stolen much of the thunder of the official wedding video by being first to the finishing line.

If I had been even more organised, I would have had a video cable that I could have hooked up the iPad to the video projector to show everyone after the speeches.

So there it is. Yes it is possible to shoot, edit and present a wedding video of sorts on an iPhone and iPad. My phone battery was pretty much dead by the end, but the iPad still had 60% battery left. Crazy.

My Wish List For iMovie v2 for iOS
1. A basic title tool. I know I can create titles in a photo app and import them, but this is a glaring omission.
2. The ability to drag and drop clips on the timeline so that I can re-order the edit easily and quickly.
3. The ability to duplicate clips so that I can re-use footage – currently, ‘edits’ are imposed on the clip so that if you re-use a clip on the timeline, you are forced to use the same selection.
4. Saving versions so that you have various edits of the same project.
5. The ability to set (as default) edits to ‘cut’ and not ‘dissolve’. I understand why Apple has set it to dissolve by default, but its VERY annoying to have to manually change each edit from a dissolve to cut.
6. Basic colour grading and some filters though I would guess rendering would be a time and power drain.

If you are a glutton for punishment, you can watch the video on Lucia’s public Facebook page here.

Onwards and upwards

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author


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