Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Traditional Srilankan Wedding Ceremony


The Poruwa ceremony (beautiful exchange of vows and symbolic gifts) appears to have existed in Sri Lanka before the introduction of Buddhism in the 3rd Century B.C. The Poruwa ceremony was a valid custom as a registered marriage until the British introduced the registration of marriages by Law in 1870. Today's Poruwa ceremony has been influenced by both upcountry and low country customs of Sri Lanka. These traditional Kandyan Weddings are influenced by the Hindu culture which gives prominence to “Nekath” which refers to the auspicious time.

The Costume And Jewelleries of The Kandyan Bride

If there is anyone who strongly attracts attention and admiration towards oneself, then it is certainly a Sri Lankan bride. The Kandyan bride in her traditional costume of the Osariya (sari) and the complementing regalia looks like a queen and, she is certainly the cynosure of all during the wedding ceremony. Unlike a western bride who would choose the simplest of dresses and the most moderate jewellery, the Kandyan bride opts to be lavish in everything she wears. A grand sari often worked profusely in gold or silver thread, with pearls, stones, beads, and sequins adding an extra sparkle to the already eye catching design. A Kandyan bride will certainly be incomplete if she chooses to drop even the smallest piece of jewellery from the traditional ensemble. The Bride begins her dressing at an auspicious time assisted by her mother or female relative who is considered to be lucky.

The headg
ear , Nalalpata or the headband is attractive and significant. It is a gold gem-studded forehead plate, traditionally worn by the king and those in his court. The Nalalpata was tied to the forehead of a young prince during the ceremony naming and assuming the royal sword. His name, decided by the astrologer was inscribed on the headband. A Sinhala wedding thus is a grand ceremony, just like a royal event marking the ‘rights of passage’. The Kandyan bride is distinctive from the rest and only she has the privilege of wearing a Nalalpata on her wedding day. The Nalalpata placed by the mother, on the middle of the forehead at an auspicious time one stem extending down the middle parting of the hair, and another two branches extending across the forehead upto the ear and then the sun and moon ornaments are placed on the right and let respectively on the head. Traditionally the Nalalpata was a rich piece of jewellery embedded in red stones. But, today, it has many forms and is often left to the imagination of the craftsmanTraditionally the Nalalpata was a rich piece of jewellery embedded in red stones. But, today, it has many forms and is often left to the imagination of the craftsman.

The bride's neck is one whole mass of chains. Padakkam or the pendants are the im
portant part of the chains. Starting from the Nalalpata pendant, each successive chain shows off beautiful pendants, with typical Sinhala designs. A touch of ‘local favors’ is visible in these chains. The Peti Malaya is the last and longest chain encircling the rest. Peti Malaya means a garland of flowers or petals. In India, it stood for real flowers which played an important role in Indian festal dress.

The design o
f the pendants may vary. Some may choose a flower, others animals. The swan or the Hansa is a famous bird design used. The Hansa Puttuva (two, three or more swans with entwined necks) is featured in many works of art in Sri Lanka. In India, the swan is regarded as a "Sacred Goose". The use of the swan design for pendants is significant and symbolic. The swan stands for purity, beauty and is auspicious. In Sinhala poetry the swan is likened to a woman’s breasts.

Agasthi Malaya is a chain made of agate. Some chains have seeds placed at intervals along the chain. Gedi V
alalu or the bangle of fruits is made up of various local seeds strung on a wire. It is in these pieces of jewellery that the goldsmith has utilized local material. Seri Valatu is a broad bangle with three smaller bangles joined together.

The ear-rings of course clearly indicate their Indian origin. These ear-rings are known as Dimithi with the shape of an over-turned cup. The ear-rings are enhanced with tiny pearls dangling from the Dimithi. The two ear-studs from which the Dimithi flow, are studded with "odd" numbers of stones. Sri Lankans are extremely superstitious when it comes to numbers. Hence, any piece of bridal jewellery or for that matter any jewellery is not made with even numbered stones. Odd numbers are always considered lucky. The number seven is considered a magical number in our tradition; from food to jewellery, number seven crops up in every Sinhala event. Thus, the Kandyan bridal jewellery also consists of seven pendants. It is said that the custom of wearing seven chains may have been due to the practice of observing Goddess Paththini who is clad in similar jewellery. This practice had been there since the Kandy period of the Sinhala history.

Some brides wear armlets as well. Armlets are worn to ward off ill luck. However, the armlet can be more eye- catching when it is made of gold or
silver and is studded with gems. Belonging to the headgear are symbols of the sun and the moon placed elegantly on either side of the head, divided by the Nalalpata. They are symbols of eternity and thus, when a bride wears them, they stand for an everlasting and fulfilling relationship of the couple. The figure of the sun and moon are among the one hundred and eight Magul Lakunu or auspicious symbols (Himaliyan forest, filled water pots, flowers, cobra hoods, Swasthika, ear-rings, umbrellas etc.) The sun and the moon are often invoked as guardian and protector especially by those who cultivate the soil.

The History of Kandyan Nilame Attire

At the dawn of the fifteenth century, a Portuguese colonial arrived on the island followed by Dutch and English colonials who invaded Sri Lanka during the 17th century. Although much of the island came under the domain of European powers, till the eighteenth century, the interior, up country region of the island remained independent, with its capital in Kandy. Arrival of the Europeans played a huge part in cultural changes and a new Sri Lankan middle class was eventually formed which favored Western culture and ideology. The European dress code adopted by this new class changed the traditional concepts of the Sri Lankan society. This led traditional upper class Sri Lankan families to demand a better dress code and the result was the Sri Lankan Nilame Attire which combined Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage and style.

Nilame attire was reserved for the most upper class traditional Sri Lankan families and was made in silk or sheik textiles with embedded jewels and extensive embroidery work. Its colour described the wearer’s designation of work and the status in the society. In the ancient Sri Lanka only the kings and his immediate family membe
rs had the privilege of wearing elegant clothing. The king’s ministers and other officials also had uniforms reflecting their designations and the status in the society, but the clothes they wore looked much less exclusive and more ordinary than the attire used by the royal family.The royal attire was specially made by tailors who came down from South India and they kept the art of making these distinctive clothing styles a secret. However, these Indian tailors used Sri Lankan help and with time the Sri Lankan helpers captured the art to a certain extent and later started to sew the designs themselves.

In the 18th century with the down fall of the Kandy Kingdom the Nilame Attire was mostly replaced by western suits due to British colonial influence. Yet, the high class Sri Lankan families occasionally wore them at special occasions such as weddings and cultural events as a symbol of family status. The attire was then reserved only for the Kandian families who kept the right of wearing nilame attire to them.

Magul Poruva And The Ceremony

There are specialists in the village who will prepare the ‘poruva’(mandapaya) which will be kept at a prominent place in the main hall facing a particular direction as indicated by the astrologer. The ‘poruva’ is gaily decorated with flowers. A mat is laid out and a white cloth stretched over it. Rice and silver and copper coins are spread over the white cloth. Four fresh clay pots are kept in the four corners, each pot carrying an opened ‘pol mala’, which is a unique symbol of prosperity named ‘punkalasa’. An oil lamp is kept on top to be lit when the ‘poruva’ ceremony starts. Betel is kept ready to be offered by the bridal couple to the relatives at the given time.

On the day of the wedding, the bridegroom’s party will leave at the auspicious time and will time the journey in such a way as to arrive at the bride’s residence ahead of the time for the ‘poruva’ ceremony. In the early days, the party would travel in caparisoned-elephants and horse-carriages in the "magul-perahera" are now part of history with high-powered automobile industry, replacing man and animal — powered modes of transport will bring the bridegroom’s party. As the magul-perahera is sighted, a long line of crackers tied to two trees will be lit and the entire village would get the message that the party has arrived.
As the bridegroom enters the house, a younger brother of the bride would pour a few drops of water on the bridegroom’s shoes and he would drop a ring to the basin of water. This is a modern adaptation of the custom of washing the feet before entering the house. (Washing of the feet by a member of the household is done when a Buddhist monk comes to a house. This was quite logical because in early days monks never wore slippers).

As the auspicious time for the ‘poruva’ ceremony approaches, the bride would be brought out from her room in her bridal costume. An uncle of the bride leads her to the ‘poruva’ and as she steps on the ‘poruva’, the groom too will join her. An elderly male then sings ‘ashtaka’ - stanzas blessing the couple. A bride’s uncle would tie the couple’s thumbs with a golden thread and pour water from a ‘kendiya’ signifying that the couple is married. The thread is removed at the end of the recital of stanzas.

While some teen girls sing ‘Jayamangala Gatha’ the Bride bows to the Groom in eastern style with her hands clasped and Groom ties a gold chain around her neck and places a ring on the left fourth finger and then bride also places a ring on the groom’s right hand’s fourth finger.. Betel is then offered by the couple - first to the bride’s parents and then to the groom’s parents followed by close relatives. It is customary to offer a ‘kachhiya’ (40 yards) of cloth to the bride’s mother by the groom as a token of appreciation for bringing up the daughter. Once the formalities are over, a bride’s uncle helps the couple to step down from the ‘poruva’ at which moment a coconut is split with a bang to ward off evil spirits.


Friday, August 14, 2009

How To Film A Wedding.

So, you're going to film a wedding video... Panic!

Sounded like a good idea at the time didn't it? The big day is drawing closer, and it seems an awfully long time since you volunteered (or more likely were volunteered) to film the biggest day of any happy couple's life. The quality of the video archive of their momentous occasion depends wholly upon your filming and editing skills. Phew, you finally admit to yourself, (but to no other) that the task is daunting. This is way beyond anything you have ever tackled before and frankly you do not have a clue where to start.

Don't worry, help is at hand...

The Plan

The first thing to bear in mind is that having a good plan is the way forward. Equally think about how you would like your final movie to look and match that to the natural sequence of events that happen at a wedding. If you take a little bit of time over this, then you will end up with a high level Shooting Plan that looks something like this,

• Opening Credits (Video montage of photographic stills of happy couple as babies children and fledgling couple, preparations of bride and groom on day of the wedding, arrival, including guests at wedding ceremony), at ceremony

• The Wedding ceremony itself starting with the arrival of the bride through to completion of vows.

• Video Montage of shots after the vows, departure for and arrival at the reception, including footage of still photographic shoot.

• The speeches (Bride's father or Sponsor, Groom, Best Man, Others)

• The First Dance (With cutaways to video montage of the day's events)

• Best Wishes (Interviews with the principal guests wishing the happy couple all the best)

• A Day to remember (Video Montage of the day's key events and closing titles)


For the above plan to be effective there are a number of preparatory steps to be taken.

1. Meet the happy couple well in advance of their wedding. This allows you to assure them that all will be well on the day. You can also ask for photographs (or better still video) of them both when young (baby, starting school, teenagers, when they first met, engagement photos etc) for inclusion in your video montage. You can also confirm their output requirements (Widescreen?) and music taste.

2. 'Black' your DV tapes (put the lens caps on and press the record button until the tape is finished and then rewind). This writes time code to the tape and saves any hiccups at the editing stage.

3. Attend and film the rehearsal, if there is one. This allows you to get permission from the priest, minister, rabbi etc to film the wedding and gives you a good idea of what is going to happen on the day. It also allows you to check if power points are available. If not invest in extra battery power. Equally the rehearsal presents a big clue as to when to change your tapes - don't want to do that mid vows do we!

4. The rehearsal also allows you to set appro ximate timings for the event. For example on the big day you don't want to change video tapes during the vows! Not a good idea!

5. At the rehearsal, use two video cameras if you can, to establish the best shooting position for both cameras. You should also 'man' both cameras! Use camera one for the main footage and use camera two for general shots of the guests and other events.

6. Check all your batteries. Remember to have spares for the camcorder itself and to be quite certain about how long the powe r will last. We have already mentioned the importance of not changing tapes mid-vows. Equally you will not want to run out of battery at the crucial moment. Don't forget those other important sundries. For example if your external microphone uses its own batteries, then make sure they are new and certain to last for the duration.

7. On the subject of microphones, please do inve st (if you have not already done so) in a good uni-directional external microphone. I have often watched wedding videos where the sound on the vows and/or speeches is frankly muffled. A good microphone will avoid this.

8. If you have not already done so, invest in a set of headphones for your camera. We shall discover later that it is important that you, the camera operator, hears what the camera is hearing. Test the effect of panning and zooming at th e rehearsal.

On the wedding day itself

1. If the Bride and Groom have agreed to you filming their preparations, then arrive early at their home. Stay in the background and be as unobtru sive as possible. Obviously you will have agreed befor e hand the boundaries of what you may and may not film.

2. Arrive at the Wedding Venue early; this is particularly important if you have not had the opportunity for a rehearsal. Confirm your filming positions and other arrangements with the person conducting the marriage.

3. Get some additional footage outside of the church/re gistration office/synagogue/mosque/whatever, of guests (and Bride and groom etc) arriving. This allows for good video montage and title sequence shots.

4. Return to the wedding area and check your camera settings for exposure and focus. Despite what the manufacturers claim, modern consumer video cameras do not perform well in indoor light. It may be OK for you New Year party, but remember you are filming a wedding. Adjust your exposure and focus settings accordingly!

5. Before the arrival of the Bride, take the opportunity to film the nervous Groom and guests. Makes for good background footage and gives you a final check on your microphone, tripod and earphones..

6. Return to your plan and film the bride walking down the isle and the wedding service itself. Keep your camera as static as possible and only zoom for a specific reason (not just because the camera can do it). For example you may want a very slow zoom stopping at the close up of where the Bride (or Groom) says, 'I do'.

7. Avoid 'panning' (moving camera from side to side) during the vows. The reason for this is as the camera moves so does the microphone. Therefore you run the risk of losing, or diminishing the audio quality of the vows (This also applies to the speeches). The use of headphones should confirm that the audio is good!

8. This part of the wedding ends as the happy couple leave the wedding to depart for the reception. Take this opportunity to replace your film and check your batteries. Whilst the stills photographer is busy outside the wedding venue, make your way to the reception venue in good time and repeat the checks you made on exposure at the reception venue.

9. Usually at wedding receptions there is a huge break between arriving and serving the meal. Use this opportunity to film the principal guests. Simply ask them to record their best wished for the happy couple. This is best done without the knowledge of the bride and groom and adds a lovely and welcome touch to the finished video.

10. Typically the last main event of the wedding is to film the First Dance, take care to get uninterrupted coverage of this. Pick a good uninterrupted view to ensure that your filming is not interrupted by the usual Wedding Paparazzi! Also, take a note of the First Dance song, you may want to use a CD copy of this at the editing stage.

General Tips throughout the Video

1 . Keep filming. Remember video tape is cheap , memories take a moment and last a lifetime (don't miss them).

2. Camera person doesn't talk/laugh/cry etc (may be difficult in the unlikely event of an original speech)

Editing and Presenting the Video

1. Frankly this is a topic in its own right! How ever if you have stuck to your plan, th en the video will make itself.

2. The only tricky bit is how you build your video montage. The only advice to give here (it is ultimately a matter of choice and taste) then keep it snappy. Typically choose very short clips (5 to 8 seconds) and match the clips to suit the tempo and style of your music. Go light on the transitions, ultimately they are a distraction to the viewer. Transitions should be used sparingly and for a specific purpose. Don’t use transitions just because your software allows you to!

3. As for presentation style, then that also is a subject in its own right, and beyond the scope of this particular article. Meantime just keep it simple and consistent!

Above all enjoy the day! Remember that Filming anyone’s big event is an honor and a privilege. With a little bit of planning, and little bit of foresight, it really is a rewarding experience.



Thursday, August 13, 2009

Planning The Wedding Video

It's your wedding. While memories of the ceremony undoubtedly conjure up at least a smile, the memory of dealing with all the minute details that went into planning the event probably causes an involuntary shudder.Yet it's those very factors that made your wedding the spectacularly romantic event I'm sure it was. And producing a wedding video is really no different; it takes the same planning, attention to detail and a realistic anticipation of potential glitches that did elevate my project from being just another wedding video to one that is a uniquely personal celebration of love.

Rather than covering the technicalities of shooting, the following those tips are meant to inspire my creative instincts during all phases of the production, from my first meeting with the couple to the final editing stages.

Planning my shoot, shooting my plan. With a wedding video, it's not always possible to have an exact plan, but following those tips helped me to keep my production on track.

It's all about the bride and groom. This is the most basic (and most important) tip of all. Keeping in mind what they want. Get as many shots of them as I can holding hands at the rehearsal, when they first see each other at the ceremony, walking out together after the vows, the little looks they give each other at the reception, laughing, dancing and enjoying the spotlight. Get other people to talk about them on-camera. Concentrate on getting those once-in-a-lifetime shots.

Meet with the bride and groom as far in advance as possible. On the practical side, It makes me sure know where each part of the wedding will take place. Many couples have their receptions and ceremonies at two different facilities. I’d found that having as much information as possible ahead of time will influence every aspect of my wedding video, from the types of shots I’ve planned for, to the overall look and feel in the editing phase.

Luckily still photographer is one of my best friends. So he did cooperate with me all the time and didn’t get between me and the action by ruining my shots.

The most important thing to remember during editing was that I wanted to present not only the scenes as they occurred, but the ambiance as well. Kept this in mind when I making decisions about title styles, colors, music and transitions.

Make it personal. I have produced over 100 wedding videos, but to this bride and groom, their wedding is a unique event. Edited accordingly. Look at the colors in the bridesmaids' and flower girls’ dresses , flowers and draw on this color scheme when creating their titles and DVD Covers. Whether the wedding is formal, casual, theme-oriented or traditional chose everything from fonts to music to reflect the personal aspect of the event.

As a wedding videographer, My most important goal is to establish a partnership between myself and the bride and groom.I may not be able to prevent them from having to deal with all the necessary details of planning their wedding, but with these tips,I did create a wedding video that will bring back nothing but wonderful memories of their wedding day.

Source(s): http://www.videomaker.com/article/8983/


An Introduction To Wedding videography

Wedding videography is the documentation of a wedding on video. The final product of the documentation commonly called a wedding video is also being referred to as a wedding movie or a wedding film.

Types of Video Productions:

Wedding video has grown in recent years to encompass myriad video production offerings. Some are produced to be shown at the wedding or are delivered after the wedding.

Engagement Video

A video documenting the groom asking the bride to marry. Quite often filmed without the bride's knowledge.

Invitation DVD

Some invitation printers will include a DVD disc in a slot in the printed invitation. The DVD shows the couple and/or the parents on camera inviting viewers to the wedding and reception. The DVD is usually produced by the same videographer who films the wedding and may include footage from a Concept Video.

Photo Montage: (Also called video scrapbooks)

Includes but not limited to still pictures displayed on a video. Can also include sound bites and video footage, but is predominantly still photos.

Love Story

Traditionally an interview of the bride and groom about how they met, what they are like together and what their plans for the future are. Quite often the interview is inter-cut with romantic footage of the couple frolicking together or re-enactments of what they are talking about.

Concept Video

Typically a short film that incorporates to tell a story about the bride or groom or both. Quite often not related to the couple's real life.

Same Day Edit: (Also called a wedding day edit or wedding encore presentation)

A short video produced from the footage of the wedding shot earlier in the day, usually only incorporating footage from pre-ceremony, ceremony and post ceremony, that is then showed at the reception as a recap of the wedding.

Bridal Elegance

A video shot in the style of a fashion shoot that depicts the bride in her wedding gown. Can be done before, during or after the wedding.


A chapter on the final DVD that shows highlights of the ceremony and reception. Usually running under 10 minutes, highlights videos may be uploaded to You Tube and other social networking websites. The shorter highlights chapter is popular to show friends, while family might watch the full-length wedding DVD.

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