Love through film: Chear Media captures the big moment

Keeley Meier, staff writer

Submitted photo

Wedding videographer Hunter Chear says that for him, the location of the wedding matters much less than the couple’s story. This is why he uses audio and interaction to create the perfect wedding film for couples.

Brides & Bouquets Special Section

Hunter Chear has a gift for storytelling—through the medium of videography. 
Chear, 19, is a student at Augustana University studying marketing and business administration. He is also a wedding videographer. 
Despite his age and being fairly new to the world of weddings, Chear is a natural—perfectly and artistically capturing the best day of many couples’ lives. 
Chear, who owns Chear Media, shot his first wedding in the late fall of 2019. He took the leap into capturing weddings on film after he went on a mission trip where he documented the experience, compiled the clips into a video and realized he could do “so much better.” Chear says everything snowballed from there. 
The big day
Chear follows the same course of action for every wedding he captures. First, he starts by meeting with the couple, taking them out to dinner and getting to know them and their story. Then he schedules a follow-up meeting closer to the wedding date where they discuss the schedule, timing and planning. 
On the day of the wedding, Chear says he arrives 30 to 45 minutes before he’s scheduled to arrive so he can get the establishing shots and even some drone footage. 
He takes in the entire wedding day, leaving sometime during the reception unless the couple has a planned exit. 
Chear, who bubbles over with passion when discussing his craft, says the importance of videography is unmatched and differs from photography.
“Videography poses, in general, are different than photography poses,” Chear said. “What I’m looking for in poses is movement—whether the couple is walking or I’ll have the groom whisper in the bride’s ear to get her to laugh. I want to capture the emotions and the interactions between the two.”
This is why Chear stresses the importance of audio in the films he creates, whether it’s the groom’s reaction to his first look at the bride, bridal party speeches or vows. 
“Audio is one of the main differentiators for videography,” Chear said. “I like to use the audio to tell the couple’s story.”
Chear also tells the couple’s story by capturing the little moments that may not be the stereotypical, must-have shots. 
“Of course, the big moments are the vows or first kiss or even walking down the aisle, but I think that after they walk down the aisle, it’s kind of the first time the couple realizes, ‘We’re married now,’” he said. “It really just sinks in for them, and it can provide some really authentic moments.”
There’s another shot that Chear makes sure to take time for at each wedding.
“One shot I try to do with every couple, which I just absolutely love, is I just have them slow dance together,” Chear said. “I love this pose because it looks great on video, but it also just gives the couple a chance to slow down and take a moment for themselves.”
The process of creation
Once the vows have been exchanged and the cake has been cut, Chear gets to work turning the day’s clips into a cohesive wedding film.
Chear’s wedding package includes a one-minute highlight teaser film that he sends the Monday after the wedding. 
He then spends anywhere from 20 to 35 hours making the feature film—editing down a day’s worth of footage, choosing songs, creating a storyline. Chear says he matches the music to the tone of the wedding, whether it’s upbeat or more emotional. 
The main film he creates for couples is six to eight minutes long, but Chear does offer add-ons for a longer video. 
Tips for a perfect day
Chear says that a few things couples can do to make his job easier is to stick to the day’s schedule as much as possible, account for set-up time if possible and provide contact information for other wedding vendors and any important people (bride and groom’s parents, maid of honor, best man, etc.). 
The other request that the young videographer has for couples is that they just be themselves and allow themselves to have the wedding they want. This, Chear says, makes the day enjoyable and fly by. 
As for wedding guests, Chear says it’s best to try to be in the moment instead of focusing on getting that picture-perfect shot of the first kiss with a smart phone. 
While it’s a videographer’s job to worry about lighting, Chear says the best weather for shooting is under cloudy skies; it allows for even, diffused light. Mornings or late afternoons tend to be the best time of day to shoot so as to avoid harsh shadows cast by sunlight.
It’s also common to capture the moments of preparation—the wedding dress being zipped up and bowties being straightened. The best kind of lighting for these moments, Chear says, is ambient light-ing with windows, as opposed to indoor, overhead lighting. 
Of course, not every videographer will capture the same shots. This is why Chear says research goes a long way in the process. 
“When you’re choosing your videographer, make sure that you like their style,” Chear said. “I know a lot of times we watch wedding videos just because and you’ll see a certain style. I think, instead of asking your videographer to get this shot or do that style, get a videographer that has a similar style to what you want.”
Chear is also an advocate of making sure couples are compatible with the videographer they choose. 
“There is a right one for you, and there are not-right ones for you. Don’t just settle on the first person you find,” Chear said. 
He also recommends staying in contact with any videographer you inquire with. Even if you go a different direction, Chear says, shoot them a message to let them know. 
Say yes to the videographer
Chear, who will graduate in 2022, isn’t quite sure what the future holds but he knows it does hold continued wedding videography. 
Chear captured a number of weddings in 2020 but says he can’t choose a favorite.
“Each wedding is so special and unique,” Chear said. “My favorite weddings, regardless of where they were, had to do with the couple’s story because I think that story matters more over scenery.”
That’s why, Chear says, videography is the perfect medium in which to capture a wedding day—because it encapsulates audio and interactions you may not have remembered otherwise.
“Honestly, in five, 10, 20, 30 years from now—or even the week after your wedding—you’re prob-ably not going to remember what your parents had said to you or the speeches or the jokes your friends told because the day just goes so fast,” Chear said. “When you’re able to go back into that video and hear either a grandparent or your parents’ voices, I know that has been a really strong [moment] and important thing for people.”
And for Chear, the ability to capture these powerful, moving moments are why videography should be on the top of each couples’ must-have wedding vendors.
“I think there’s this idea that videography is more or less an afterthought after planning everything else, but I think it should actually be one of the top vendors that couples have to include in their day,” Chear said. “I think videography and a wedding film can bring you back and make you feel like you’re back at your day in a completely different way than photos can.” 


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