From SWAT to Sweethearts: Top Wedding Videographer's Journey

(Image Credit: Courtesy Ray Roman)

From the time he was a young boy, Ray Roman knew he wanted to be a cop - to carry a gun on the rough streets of Miami and protect the public. He never imagined he would replace his gun with a camera and become famous for patrolling wedding halls.

After graduating from high school, Roman, 42, joined the Marine Corps and later the North Miami Police Department, where he became a member of the SWAT team and specialized in economic crimes. During time off he enjoyed filming his wife, Jessica, and their three children on his handheld video camera.

Watch the full story on "20/20: Wedding Confidential" Friday at 10 p.m. ET

Roman bought an amateur editing kit and became hooked on putting together mini-movies of his children. In 2006 his police buddies noticed his hobby, and one asked him to film his nuptials. Not knowing a thing about wedding videos, but up for the challenge, Roman agreed - and a dream he never knew he had was born.

"I went online to see how professionals were doing it, and what was out there - I didn't think it was that good," Roman said in an interview with "20/20." "I said, These people are making pretty good money, and they don't even look that great. I thought I could do better."

He drew on his knowledge from his amateur family films and his passion for making real-life events look like movies. He asked the crime scene photographer from the police department to help him film the wedding, hoping murder scenes would translate into weddings. Thankfully, it did.

Before he knew it, some other work buddies hired him, and Ray Roman Films was born.

For two years Roman was a police officer during the week and a wedding videographer over the weekend. Filming up to 50 weddings per year, and with his workload growing, he knew he had to make a choice. In 2008 he told his chief he was leaving to pursue his new calling.

Roman recruited his wife, a former business executive, to help film and edit. They have filmed hundreds of weddings from Brazil to Indonesia, and Ray Roman Films is one of the leaders in the wedding videography industry. It won 15 Wedding and Event Videographers Association International awards in 2009 and 2010, including first place for short-form wedding film both years. Roman has spoken at wedding conferences around the world and has filmed weddings for star athletes like the Miami Heat's Chris Bosh.

Roman said what keeps him hooked is not the $4 million weddings at the Waldorf-Astoria but capturing the heartfelt private moments that occur at any wedding, regardless of budget. He once filmed a groom's dying mother, in a wheelchair, enjoying one final dance with her son and knew how much watching it would mean to the bride and groom.

"There was not a dry eye in the house," Roman said. "One of the most beautiful things you'd ever see."

Watch the full story on "20/20: Wedding Confidential" Friday at 10 p.m. ET

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...