How to choose a wedding videographer?

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Wedding videography has provided the bride and grooms nowadays the opportunity to have produced a marvellous video documentary of their wedding. Today’s couples invest in selecting the ideal reception venue, bridal flower bouquets, wedding cakes, wedding ceremony decorations, invitations, wedding dress, and possibly end on that checklist is the wedding videos. But wedding videography should not be neglected because it preserves the memoir of the wedding celebration.

There are two options to record virtually every significant event in a person’s lifestyle. Through wedding photography and videography, all the stuff you wish to recall a decade in the future like the laughter and tears, the fun times with your bridesmaids and best man, and all that jazz. The wedding photographer has to direct and pose the couple and their guests to be able to position those worthwhile wedding album images. The videographer, alternatively, has to blend on the background and record additional informal scenes like a ninja!

Even more than photographs, a wedding video truly captures the spirit and magic of your big day—in living colour. And, thanks to advancements in digital technology, the quality of these videos has improved dramatically over the years. Instead of using the large, obtrusive analog (VHS) cameras that were standard ten years ago, most videographers now shoot with small, discreet digital video cameras.

Also, you’ll probably get a video mastered in DVD format, ensuring better picture quality and shelf life of 100 years (as opposed to 15 years with a VHS tape). What can you expect your video to look like? Here’s an overview of your options, plus how to get the most for your money, and some tips on finding the right pro.

If you’re looking for the best Video Company in Melbourne then look no further. Check out Vines of the Yarra Valley’s ultimate list. 

Basic Service

“Point-and-shoot” videographers, as they’re known, provide only elementary documentation of your day, so they’re your least expensive option (around $1,000). If you’ve seen any of your friends’ wedding videos…well, you get the picture.

While these videos adequately deliver a record of the events, some brides have told us that their “point-and-shoot” videos look a bit cheesy, thanks to the pros’ use of gimmicky animated graphics and sound effects—you might want to tell your pro to tone down these kinds of treatments.

Also, tell your videographer not to approach your guests, prodding them to “say a few words” to the camera: This is considered very passé. And be sure to specify the music you want to be included in the soundtrack (videographers tell us that a popular pick is “The Blower’s Daughter,” by Damien Rice, which was featured in the movie Closer).

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Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Videographer

Hire friendly photographers and videographers. 

There is a lot to capture on your wedding day in a short amount of time. Both your photographer and videographer will film the same key scenes: getting ready, first look, ceremony, speeches, reception, etc. Coordination is important, so try to hire a photographer and videographer who have worked together before. This way, they will likely have systems in place to make sure each captures those special moments. Ask your wedding planner for recommendations or have your photographer to suggest a videographer (or the other way around) for a seamless day-of experience.

Find a filmmaker who is comfortable with your venue type.  

Found a filmmaker you love but notice that all of their films take place outdoors and you’re getting married in a ballroom? Raise the question to the filmmaker before you hire them and make sure they’re comfortable shooting in your wedding setting. Request sample films to watch and show them an example of a film you like from your venue (or a similar) and confirm they’re comfortable shooting in similar circumstances.

Find someone who matches your wedding video style preference.  

Once you’ve made a shortlist of filmmakers who shoot in your area and are within your budget, watch A LOT of sample films. Wedding films vary a ton. Some are mostly scenes of getting ready and staged bride and groom moments, while some have a lot of candid coverage of dancing and the reception. Some only include music, while others include vows, speeches and toasts. Some even feature interviews with the bride and groom, filmed either on the wedding day or sometimes well in advance. The videographer you choose should have several videos you love. Before the wedding, send them examples of your favourites from their portfolio. Be specific with your examples: what did you love about each?

Don’t be afraid to search beyond your city.  

Certain wedding vendors, like florists or caterers, make more sense to hire local. However, don’t be constrained by location when choosing your videographer. While filmmakers do need a certain amount of equipment, it’s usually not more than they can take with them on a plane or in a car. Love Stories TV team member and bride-to-be Vanessa is getting married in Baltimore but found and hired a filmmaker based in Colorado! Every filmmaker has a different policy on travel, but if you find someone you love who isn’t from your area, you should still reach out!

Understand what’s included in your package.  

As wedding films have increased in popularity, so have the package options and the terminology. Understanding everything that comes in your package will help ensure you aren’t disappointed later. When your filmmaker sends you examples of what comes in your package (Instagram teaser, trailer, full edit, etc.) make sure to watch each example and be sure it’s the type and amount of coverage you want!

Be sure that you jive with the videographer.

When you bring a videographer on, you’re going to have to tango with them from the moment you sign the contract until months after your wedding during their editing process. You’re going to want to make sure that before you sign anything, you’re tangoing to the same beat.

Being filmed all day when you’re not used to it is an experience. Whether it’s a good or bad one is entirely dependent on how well you jive with the person behind the lens. And more importantly, the quality of your film is directly related to the degree of rapport you and your fiancee share with your videographer.

If you’re comfortable around each other, then your videographer will know the little nuances about you that will make your film uniquely yours.

So grab a coffee or drink with a few different people. Which one do you feel gets you as a couple? Which one is asking you the right questions? Which one shares your sense of humour?

Be sure you like the way their previous films tell stories.

A bride once told me “There has yet to be a wedding video you’ve created that has not made me cry.” Whenever I get feedback like that, it feels awesome because it tells me I am doing my job. I am storytelling.

The truth is, most couples have a story that could bring grown men to tears, but it can only happen if their storyteller (the videographer) takes the time before the wedding to get to know them enough to find that story and tell it with purpose.

I’d urge you to compare as many videographers as you can and see which videos stand out to you. Why do they stand out? Why did one film make you cry when another didn’t?

Make sure they have assistants to help split the tasks on your big day.

I used to shoot weddings solo, and I would not recommend it to my worst enemy. There is just too much gear, too many balls in the air, too little time, and too many places to be at once for it to go smoothly. Choose someone who will send at least two people out on your wedding day.

Don’t be afraid to budget for a videographer- a quality often depends upon what you pay.

A lot of brides still consider video a luxury item to add to their wedding if budget allows. I would say that with that mindset, you may not want to get a video at all because you could end up paying for something you don’t love.

There are no discount stores, coupons, or Black Friday sales for quality wedding videos. Filmmaking is a craft, and a well-put-together film takes thought, preparation, physical demand, high-quality gear, and editing time. I’m not going to suggest a price since prices vary so much, but I would budget at least the amount you plan on paying your photographer, and perhaps slightly more. No need to dismiss someone based on price, but be sceptical of someone who tries to sell you a highly discounted package.

Ask For Demos

You must ask to see a demonstration tape of the videographer’s previous work. There is no reason for them not to supply a demo — if they say they can’t for privacy or other reasons, cross them off your list.

Ideally, you should see a range of work from them, but also make sure you watch an entire video from start to finish. You want to know that they can cover the whole event well, not just get a few nice shots here and there. Note that it is normal to have a few minor errors during a long video.

You might also like to ask for references from previous customers.

Looking for a Video Company in Melbourne? Check out our ultimate list of videographers here. 

Communication Skills

The videographer should be able to get on with people and communicate well. Effective communication is important to make the day run smoothly, as well as making sure that everyone knows what to do and what to expect in relation to the video.

Videographers need to work with both guests and other professionals. If there is a dispute between them and the celebrant or photographer, the quality of the video could be affected.

Style

Different videographers have different styles, and you should choose one which you are comfortable with. Common styles include:

  • Fly-on-the-wall, reality-TV style
  • Documentary, including interviews, voice-overs, etc
  • Arty, cinematic styles

Price

Making good wedding videos is an expensive business and professionals need to charge a lot of money to turn a fair profit. You should regard cheap quotes with suspicion.

We can’t give a specific price guide here because they vary so much from place to place, but professional videography is usually at least as expensive as professional photography. Remembering that most videos require several days of skilled labour with expensive equipment, you can see why good video production costs a lot.

Cameras & Equipment

You might like to ask what type of video camera and other equipment will be used. If you are familiar with video equipment, this information might be useful, but it’s probably not necessary. An average camera in the hands of an expert is better than the most expensive camera operated by an average videographer.

It is worth asking how many cameras will be used. A single-camera is not capable of capturing everything properly and safely. Two cameras will allow for much better shots and significantly reduce the chance of missing something important. A third camera, usually left on a static wide shot, provides even more safety and creative options.

Editing & Final Versions

Editing is very important. Good quality editing will make a huge difference. Ask these questions:

  • How long will the final product be?
  • Can you have more than one version, e.g. a full version and 15-minute highlights package?
  • What titles, captions, etc. will be included?
  • Will the DVD have a title menu?
  • Will music be added? If so, what is the copyright situation?

Note: If you are concerned about budget, one option is to ask for the wedding to be covered but not edited. Instead, you get the “raw” footage which isn’t very practical to watch, but you can save it and get the editing done later when you can afford it. The most important thing is to capture the day — editing can wait if necessary. Unfortunately, many videographers don’t like showing their raw footage, but it can’t hurt to ask.

Check out our post on Which camera is best for wedding videography?

Video Format

Ask what format the video will be shot and supplied in. We recommend that you ask for wide-screen high-definition if at all possible. In the future, when everyone is used to watching high definition all the time, videos produced in standard definition will appear poor quality in comparison.

As well as the DVD or videotapes supplied for normal viewing, you should ask for a master-quality version in the original format (i.e. the edit master before it is compressed or encoded). You can use this version at a later date for further editing or transferring to new video formats. Note that this is not a normal request and the videographer might be surprised when you ask for it. Make sure you ask before the wedding day.

Your videographer should be ready to frame an incredible scene and change things around from wide-angle shots to close-up macro and not merely a series of extended shots panning across the whole room.

  • Try to look for wedding video suppliers that allow you to customize the video package.
  • Check out the videographer’s portfolio and samples of work taking note of the quality of pictures and sound audio.
  • Consider the personality of the videographer if they can capture the event without interrupting the guest.
  • Ask what camera equipment they are using and if they offer High Definition HD quality video.
  • Determine if they can keep within your wedding budget without compromising the quality.

The best way to find a reliable videographer who works in the style you want is to get recommendations from friends and family. Your wedding photographer might be able to provide you with a list of names, too; some photographers may even offer videography as part of their services. Or, try the Wedding & Event Videographers Association (weva.com).

You can gauge a particular videographer’s style by first checking out his or her website, where you may be able to view sample reels. If the videographer doesn’t have a web site, or if it’s poorly designed, take it as a sign that he or she is not technologically up to speed. And if that’s the case, keep looking!

When you start meeting with potential videographers, ask to see an example of an entire, edited tape from one wedding instead of a “best of” demo—this is the most effective way to gauge the quality of the product you’re going to get.

An essential part of the video service is the editing of the raw footage to put together a breathtaking sequence. Video editing generally includes taking off the extra unwanted scenes. Your wedding is transformed into a narrative story in a very different light. The combination of creative concepts, high-end equipment, and artistry will bring out the beauty of your wedding event celebration. You may want to include a voice-over incorporated in the post-production phase with striking music or some special effects that enhances a significant wedding ceremony in one’s life.

When the wedding celebration comes to an end, all wedding flowers will sooner or later die, your wedding guest shall consume food menu, and the only one you can keep forever are the photographs and video.

The “couture” option is to have your wedding captured on motion picture film—8 mm, or even 16 mm, the format in which most of those lush, silky-looking Hollywood movies (think: The Aviator) are shot. While a “film version” of your wedding day is as glamorous as you can get, it’s also a luxury product—an hour’s worth of this type of film can cost the filmmaker as much as $2,000. In addition to covering the cost of the film itself, you’ll also pay $3,000 or more for the filmmaker’s time and talent. But the expense may be worth it to you because these films are astounding, utterly gorgeous works of art.

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