Filming I DO

Below you will find guidance about filming I DO. You can also download the guidelines, here (you will need to create a free ISSUU account to download).

Do READ THEM THROUGH as it they really will help you save a massive amount of time and get the best possible result. Really.

Before doing anything, watch the I DO films at

If possible, take someone with you to help out, as the shoot is very precise, and there are a number of key elements – it’s easy to lose track. Also, it’s good to have someone to run interference with passers-by. 


  • Discuss with your performer the choice of location.
  • Ideally, we should have something with distinct lines of perspective (see diagram, below) for the effect of approaching the camera to have most effect. For example, we have shot down an alleyway, across a bridge and under an avenue of trees.


  • However, if you are in a spectacular location (like in Daniel Henshall’s), then don’t worry too much about it or about the blurred effect we have used in some of the films (see notes on filming Shot 1, below, for info on the blurred effect). In Daniel’s film, he walks ALONG the guardrail below and then into the centre of frame, and it looks amazing.


  • As holding the shot is quite tricky for the actor, avoid direct sunlight onto their face.

There are 3 shot elements

1. The Walk Up To Camera into focus and the saying of the line I DO.

  • The blurred effect you see in the films featuring Sarah Snook and Zindzi Okenyo was achieved in camera, using specific lenses. This is tricky, and requires the right equipment, so don’t be put off if you can’t achieve it. The walk up to camera and the saying of I DO is, in itself, sufficiently impactful and powerful to make your film work.
  • If you have the equipment, for the blurred effect, the trick is to use a wider normal lens (something no longer than a 50mm, so something between 30mm and 50mm), with a relatively open aperture (a small number, like 2.8 or 2.0) and to set the focus pretty close to the camera (so that the picture is sharp when the subject is only a few feet away from the lens).
  • Put a mark down for the performer so that they always walk up exactly up to that same place. Something like a backpack on the floor could work. That way the character can tell they’ve reached their mark just by feeling it with their feet. If they have to look down to check their position, the camera will see them do that and the illusion will be broken.
  • You will need about 20 seconds of walking to enable the edit. Best way to achieve this is to ask the actor to walk away from the camera at normal pace for 20 seconds and make that their start point.
  • The framing for the final position up should be more or less as below, known as a medium close-up.


  • Your performer should walk at a normal pace towards the camera. As they walk, they should not make any big gestures – raising arms, any sudden movements, touching hair – will distract.
  • When they get to their mark, they will stop and take a pause of 2-3 seconds before they say I DO, right down the barrel to camera. After this, they should position for 3 seconds (to make things easier in the edit). Don’t stop filming unless the speaker thinks it hasn’t worked or you have realised that it’s not working technically. They should then go into the next shot (The Reprise, below) without changing position. Keep filming as they do.
  • We recommend doing lots of takes, and experimenting.
  • Never assume you have got it in one take!

2. The Reprise

  • This shot, lasting 5 seconds and appearing after the I DO title cards, is a more personal moment. The performer can break the seriousness, smile, walk out of shot, whatever they think really. Some are solemn and serene, some more playful. Let the speaker do what they want, but grace, joy, serenity are the key words.

3. The Standalone shot

  • When you have done the walking shots and reprises, if you could also do a couple of takes of your perfomer looking directly to camera without movement, pausing for a couple of seconds and saying I DO and then pausing again. This might be useful should we look at doing an edit down the line of everyone who participated.

4. Publicity shots

  • Take some still publicity shots of your performer on location, both as a hero shot (the main publicity shot) for the film and a couple more to show more of where you are (and ideally one of you with your performer). For the hero shot, take one in the end position of the walk up to camera to show the location. Taking these shots is very important in helping publicise your film, so try not to forget to do them. No, really.
  • As examples, see:

5. Background Sound

  • We don’t recommend attempting to record sound during the takes themselves. Sound is SO difficult to capture in a take without a sound recordist or proper equipment. There is also so much extra noise around you when you film (particularly if you are looking to film in a busy place) that it will drive you crazy trying to get ‘the perfect take’. Filming the I DO films we had to contend with airplane noise, birdsong, traffic and very talkative tourists, so we opted to record everything afterwards.
  • Instead, if you want to capture the sound of the location, record what’s called a wild track, without anyone speaking. This is just using your mobile phone or camera to record sound. Just press record and let it run for 30 seconds or so. Having said that, even then, it’s unlikely you will get much usable, so you might choose to have no atmosphere in your film, or you can download sound effects from a number of free sites

6. Saying I DO

  • Go to a quiet place (where there is no other noise) either indoors or outdoors.
  • Using the Voice Memo app in your iphone or equivalent, record the performer saying I DO.
  • Do lots of takes, but get the performer to pause 3 or 4 seconds between each one so editing will be easier.
  • Be careful not that the performer doesn’t hold the phone too close to their mouth, as this will distort the sound.

If you have any questions or queries, post them in the comments section below.

Good luck!


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