Videography has quickly become a staple in documenting a wedding along with photography. But many couples who consider having a video of their wedding still find the cost quite expensive for something that seems rather simple to them. The truth is, wedding videography is not simple. It’s not just your uncle’s recording your wedding in a camcorder; it’s a complex process that needs to have a good investment to produce quality output.
When you understand what wedding videography is from your photographer or videographer’s perspective, you will appreciate the value of your money. And then it wouldn’t be expensive for you anymore, but just reasonably priced.
Why are wedding videographers so expensive? The reason wedding videographers appear expensive is because of the high costs involved in running a videography business. There are expensive overheads including equipment, insurance, training, advertising, the time cost of editing, and taxation.
Are couples being ripped off with the cost of their wedding video? For a good quality wedding videographer who creates a masterpiece of priceless memories, definitely not. Caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. As with any other service in any other industry, there are good and bad quality videographers. Couples need to be proactive in advance to ensure that they are booking the right wedding videographer for them.
When planning a wedding, everything will seem extremely expensive, and often a wedding video is a push too far for many couples. As long as they have photographs, many people are usually happy to go without moving images. But either way, I hope this article goes a little way to explain why wedding videos are so expensive. They take a lot of time, effort and people to produce. When you break down the overall costs and look at how much that videographer is making, then perhaps it will seem more reasonable. That still doesn’t mean you will be able to afford one, but at least now you know why!
If you want your wedding to be the Top Wedding Video of the year, check out our ultimate list of wedding videographers to help you get the polished product.
Table of Contents
Creativity, Skills and Talent
Equipment may be the most obvious reason for the high cost of videography. However, more importantly, it is the creativity, skill, and talent of the videographer that must be given high regard. These are the essential aspects that go into producing your wedding video.
Keep in mind that when you hire a professional videographer who has a good work experience and has a number of credible recommendations, a significant portion of the price tag goes to his professionalism and talent. These are indispensable investments for an excellent wedding video. After all, what can top of the line equipment do for you when your videographer has no vision and the capacity to produce that vision?
Producing your wedding video doesn’t begin and end on an actual day. Just as in any video production, there’s pre- and post-prod work that needs to be done to achieve quality output. Part of pre-prod is your initial engagement with your videographer where you discuss your wedding and how you want your video to be. It is doing the necessary research needed to prepare the content and look of the video.
Post-prod, on the other hand, is the editing work that enhances and weaves the raw footage with music and other effects into the excellent video that your videographer ultimately presents to you. On average, a videographer will spend 14 days working on your video. So while you may only see your videographer at your initial meeting and the day of the wedding, he will be working for you for about two weeks. Your videographer might even need to hire added personnel to assist in shooting your wedding or to assist in the post-prod process.
As you have probably already known, the state-of-the-art equipment that the videographer has invested in is, of course, part of his fee. You are also paying for the kind of camera, lighting, tripod, and other necessary gears that will be used to shoot your wedding video. Understand that these gears can cost thousands of dollars. Technology is a primary investment in this business, and it is needed to improve the quality of the product. And for your security, you want a videographer whose equipment is insured. Insurance is another needed expense to make sure that only your videographer’s top-of-the-line equipment is used on your wedding day.
Another important investment for the job is editing software. Just because you can’t see this, doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. Professional videography needs the latest editing software that does more than just cutting video clips and splicing them together; it can also add and adjust sound, create stunning effects, heathen pictures quality and much more. An entire editing suite can also cost thousands of dollars that includes premium editing software and a Mac, for example, or the latest computer and monitor. All these contribute greatly to the actual output of your wedding video.
A videographer who invests in quality advertising is more reliable than one who waits for clients to call. When a videographer, or any wedding vendor for that matter, advertises their services, it means that he has faith in his work. The advertisements don’t even have to be in an expensive medium like TV as long as it has good quality. Videographers can post their ads in blogs or websites or even via social networking sites such as Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook.
Any of these promotional means require creativity and hard work for consistent presence and visibility to clients and to address inquiries. So look into the advertising channel or method that your videographer uses to help justify the costs. If there weren’t any advertising, you probably wouldn’t be able to contact him or at least consider him for the job in the first place.
Another form of security that you want for the production company you’re hiring is one that purchases music licenses. A company that illegally uses songs in their wedding videos can get into the trouble with the law. You want to make sure that the songs used in your video are not only those that you like but that they have been legally acquired. You can look into the cost of licenses so you can better gauge the rate your videographer is charging. Or better yet ask him if the songs are licensed to be used in your video.
These are the investments you’re paying for in a professionally-produced wedding video. You should talk to your videographer about these so that you feel secure about what you’re spending for. You can also request for a breakdown of the charge rate so that you know how much goes to what. When you begin to understand what is going to be used for your wedding video, you get an assurance of the value of your every dime.
The Cowboy Factor
Filming is not photography. There are a host of factors that need to be taken into account filming a live event that isn’t there when taking photographs – from the 180-degree rule to the choice of recording codec, from handing aperture changes in motion to dealing with interference from the refresh rates of lighting. Filming isn’t 24 times harder than taking a photograph, but it is significantly more difficult.
Think of it like this – imagine you’re asked to take a photo of a friend. Now imagine there’s only one shot left in the camera, and they’re moving, and the light is changing, and this picture is important to them – maybe it’s capturing the most important moment of their lives. Now repeat this one hundred times, and you’ve got some idea what it’s like to make an event video.
Note – this isn’t to denigrate the artistry or complexity of photography. The best photographs are as complicated to set up and certainly as artful as any film shoot. It’s just that when it comes to capturing real-time events, in varying conditions, with high expectations, there are more factors to be juggled when shooting video.
When you’re filming on your phone, or in the automatic mode on your camera, or just in great lighting – many of these problems disappear, often at the cost of the quality of your final image.
When you hire a professional, they use professional gear, including but not limited to SD cards, hard drives etc. They also engage in a professional workflow – duplicating and backing up footage as it’s shot, on-site and off. This is all to ensure that your project or event doesn’t disappear. That sound is recorded as well as a picture. The final edit is there next week, or even next year, when you need it in an emergency and have lost or deleted your copy.
Let us help you choose the perfect videographer to help create a Top Wedding Video of your special day.
It’s a lot more work than you think.
When you’re hiring someone to make you a video, much of the work they do is invisible. This can include, but is not limited to – equipment assembly and disassembly, logging footage (loading it into the computer, labelling and checking each file, backing up etc.), reviewing clips, editing, re-editing, colour grading, rendering (squeezing out a final file), and reviewing the export.
Anyone of these steps can go wrong in a hundred ways. Rendering alone can take hours on a complicated project, even on a fast computer. There is no such thing as a ‘quick edit’, or a ‘small change’, since changing one element of a video requires re-rendering, then checking over every other element of the newly exported video. Counterintuitively, a short video (say a 30-second advert) can take MUCH longer to make than a long video (for example a single shot of an event).
I could write an entire article listing the intricacies of editing – which depending on the specifics required by the project (the number of clips, number and type of cameras, whether takes are mixed, the different kinds of media involved, synching speech, cutting to music etc.) can be enormously involved and time-consuming. This is why videos produced by friends or ‘for free’, can take months to appear, never get finished at all or be very disappointing when they do finally get done.
Equipment is expensive
Here is my current filming kit. Here is the gear I intend to buy over the next year. Filming equipment is expensive, really expensive.
The camera is in some ways the cheapest (and arguably least important) element of a filming setup. It’s a support system for the lenses, monitor, microphone, and accessories. One that requires lighting, fast media, and a faster computer and external hard drives to edit its output.
Right now, my gear is close to the most basic setup with which professional work can be done. It’s my experience and eye that differentiate the final product. Even so, my current setup cost several thousand euro to build up. Each time it’s used, it faces wear and tear, and more than almost any other freelance industry – each year it must be upgraded as standards improve and new equipment becomes available.
In addition to a reliable, decent quality camera and editing computer, there are numerous non-obvious yet expensive elements to a pro-filmmaking kit, including things like…
- High-quality Lenses (600 euro up each, used).
- Lens adapters (200 euro up).
- Variable ND filters (100 euro up).
- Camera cage (100 euro up).
- Remote follow focus (150 euro up).
- Gimble (750 euro up).
- External multichannel sound recorders (500 euro up).
- Wireless lav microphone kits (800 euro each).
- Second camera, for multi-angle shoots (800 euro, used).
- Monitor (200 euro up).
- Matte Boxes (100 euro up).
The list goes on and on, and what’s more, it varies per job, meaning that one setup will not suffice for a varied workload.
Imagine, you’re on a plane to Thailand. God forbid, as my mum likes to say, you have a heart attack. The call goes out, is there a doctor onboard? A hand is raised in first class. The off duty doctor races back towards the hell that is the economy and begins to. You survive. What saved your life? Was it a stethoscope? It was your doctor’s education and experience. The training (and more importantly, hands-on experience) of a videographer/director of photography, is what makes their work worth paying for. In my case, I’d been filming and editing web and short films for over a decade before I decided to turn professional, and embarked on an expensive masters degree. I’d also been working as a radio producer writing, producing, recording, and editing programmes (many of which are directly transferable to what I do now). It’s the thousands of hours I’ve to spend on and offsets, shooting, rigging, editing, grading, watching tutorials, reading manuals, and generally learning, that you’re paying for when you hire me. Not just my gear.
Videography, sound recording and editing are, for the most part, freelance work. That means that the day rates charged have to support the living expenses of the videographer while they look for work and on the unpaid days that will arise for even the most qualified and popular videographer. Like all freelance work, it’s paid at a slightly higher rate than full-time work, at least in theory. In practice, videographers work for below their official rates all the time – usually for charity campaigns etc. This places additional importance on being paid properly for professional work.
Other things can add to the cost of videography significantly, from additional staff (to provide B roll, sound recording, makeup, etc.), to equipment rental and transport. These costs vary by event, but they can mount up. They’re frequently invisible to the client, as they’re accounted for in the initial quote provided. Sometimes these costs are swallowed to help establish a working relationship or ease what can be an onerous burden – for example, when shooting for artists or charities. In the end, they still have to be paid. This may sound obvious – but it bares repeating: You wouldn’t ask a lawyer, builder, plumber or taxi driver to do their job for free. Why would videography be any different?
Check out our post on Should I hire a wedding videographer?
Is it worth it to get a wedding videographer?
Couples who are new to wedding planning often ask why is wedding videography important and is it worth it to get a wedding videographer? Yes, it’s worth it. You’ll get to see the moments you miss and so much more.
You’ll also have a professional to capture the very essence of your wedding day. You’ll have the ability to relive these priceless moments whenever you like and to show them to future generations. Imagine if you could watch your great grandparents’ wedding video? How awesome would that be?
Couples often wonder should they get a wedding videographer – is it necessary for their wedding? Yes, most definitely. For the reasons mentioned above, it’s one of the best investments a couple can make in relation to the wedding. The thousands of dollars spent on flowers, the cake, and wedding favours will be long gone, but the wedding video can be treasured forever.
Hopefully, this gives a bit of context to videography pricing – and a hint as to what a great deal you’re getting when a professional does offer you a discount. Baring in mind all of the above, videography in Ireland is incredible, arguably unsustainable, cheap.