Choosing a Wedding Videographer
Where do I start? I receive numerous inquiries requesting information. First, I understand that the average person is gathering information to try and make an educated decision that is right for them. I'm sure many people only know what they've read in numerous wedding magazine articles about wedding videography and photography. I've read most of these articles and they range from generic to sheer nonsense- especially those articles with the checklist of important questions to ask a videographer. What one has to understand is that the person writing the article is not an expert on wedding videography. Until they were hired to write an article about wedding videography or photography to fill the spaces between advertisers looking for business, they probably knew little more than anyone else on the subject.
So, in short, take what you read as a starting point and go from there. The first question many people ask - What is the cost for a wedding video? The short answer is, most good videographers will start at around $2,000. Unfortunately the wedding industry is full of people with the "get rich quick" attitude that brides are a captive audience. This ranges from the person who went out and bought some video equipment along with some videos and books on how to make money shooting wedding videos to those "wedding companies" who make a lot of money booking scores of budget conscious brides with great prices, "one stop shopping" with photos, video, and a DJ! A significant portion of the wedding industry is marketing to a predictable consumer mentality.
They realize a significant number of people will shop only by price, regardless of value, esthetic quality, and long term enjoyment they would have gotten by choosing someone who's life depends on the quality of their work. For those who tend to be more discriminate and place a little more value on quality, you will have some decisions to make an you'll be glad you did. The reality is, if you've looked carefully at finding the right photographer, you probably won't be impressed with the plethora of people offering the cheap wedding videos. Cost and Value: Unfortunately, objectivity and art are not as easy as choosing between Wal-Mart and Kmart to buy a DVD player or some other exact same item. In many cases, your investment to hire a really good videographer is almost intangible when comparing the talent, expertise, and investment in time required to produce a video that's worth watching and in some cases, the costs will be very comparable. One can't begin to compare the end result of the stereotypical wedding video and photo companies cashing in on the "Wedding Industry" and those a truly talented videographers and photographers who love their work and work hard to provide couples with something beyond the ordinary. A full time videographer, who's life depends on the quality of their work will be able to provide much more value in the finished video. The budget videographers who book scores of brides at "great prices" absolutely can't afford to invest anywhere near the required amount of editing time and detail to create a video that compares with what I, and other talented videographers will provide. Doing anything above the all-too-common, mediocre wedding and event videography requires a real skill, a creative eye, excellent editing capabilities, and talent. You don't study and watch videos to be a talented videographer or photographer.
It's like the musician playing a concert in front of a couple hundred people - either you have it or you don't! Shooting the video is only the beginning of the process Creating a finished product that is cinemagraphic, emotional, romantic, and yet relaxed is an art and consideration should be placed on its long term value. You wouldn't hire a band that can't play. Style - the most important question As you investigate the more talented videographers it will become evident the the individual personality of the videographer, the quality of their work, and their editing style will be a major part in your decision process. The more talented videographers will have a wider range of style. When I create a video for a client, I consider the person, the venue, and their event as a whole as part of my editing style. Each person is different. By working with a more limited number of weddings per year, I can afford to be objective in setting the mode for the video Generally, my work is more of a detailed cinematic documentary. Most of the events are "in real time". To produce a video that tells a story in real life requires a full time job just in editing. The video must have life and it must provide a full overview of the event.
I like to shoot in a relaxed photojournalistic style. This allows me ample footage to create a dramatic video with precise detail, and still keep the storyline moving. I also offer "short form" contemporary style videos, that are focused on a more romantic style. Many clients like to have both the documentary style along with the 15 minute romantic highlight video to share with friends. Unfortunately, I see just about everyone now uses "documentary" and "photojournalism" buzz words in their advertising. Hopefully, they aren't just throwing out words people want to hear and really understand the concept! Spectacular audio quality Audio quality is the most overlooked and often the most noticeable shortcoming in wedding video. Your videographer should be able to provide at least four wireless microphones for any event. Concentrate on listening for more than the vows. Demand to hear examples of readers, instrumentalists, vocalists, and string quartets. Your wedding will be a beautiful experience.
Don’t allow on-camera microphones to record your event. Make sure your videographer understands the principles of acquiring good audio for your video. Natural, Comfortable, Relaxed I like to refer to myself as a photojournalist with a video camera. When you think about it, this is the key to how I get great footage. When we think of the "Life Magazine Photos", we think of drama, good composition, and telling the story as seen through the lens. Molesting the Guests This also means that I do not "molest guests" at weddings. Frankly, my clients certainly don't want me sticking a bright light and a microphone in their guests' faces and asking them to "say something to the bride and groom", having them to do interviews, or having the bride and groom pretend they are doing "this or that" for the video. Too many people including myself and my wife have "been there, done that" with this type of videographer at a wedding. Frankly there are much better things to do with a video camera and my talent would be wasted chasing people around doing interviews.
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