By: Kristen Castillo
The world is a media savvy place and that means you have computers, email, iPods and TV nearby almost all the time. You love having this technology and the modern conveniences they provide. So it’s no doubt that you want your wedding day captured on video.
Think of your wedding video as a reality show of one of the best days of your life. Video will help you remember the nerves before the ceremony, the exuberance of the vows, the reception fun and all the special moments in between.
“I haven’t met a bride that hasn’t said the wedding video wasn’t their favorite thing,” says Bob Wright of Eagle Lion Video. “The only way you’ll see the wedding again is with video.” Many couples feel they have to choose between still photography and video, but there’s room for both as you memorialize your wedding.
“Professional videography has always been undervalued in the wedding industry in comparison to photography, but there is nothing like seeing and hearing every moment of the most important day of your life,” says Bob Hoffman of Bob Hoffman Video.
“We have never heard anybody regret that they had a video at their wedding; only that they didn’t. Who wouldn’t want to hear all the great things their friends and family had to say about them at the reception ten years from now? It’s tempting to cut video, but if you aren’t getting it for you, get it for your mom.”
While lots of planning goes into menus, flowers and attire, wedding videos shouldn’t be an afterthought. They have a lasting impact long after the wedding day ends. “After the wedding, what do you have left? The pictures and the video,” says Kyle Karges of San Diego High Definition Weddings who says brides and grooms are always glad they hired a videographer. “They say, ‘Oh my God! We’re so happy we did video,’” he says. You’ll enjoy the finished product and chances are your videographer will have a blast too.
“It’s just like making a movie every week,” says Wright. “You’ve got the cast, music and editing. I’m the Steven Spielberg of weddings.”
Not all wedding videos are the same. Videos can be shot in a variety of styles from cinematic to documentary. Cinematic videos are usually trimmed down versions of the long form documentary approach. The cinematic style typically runs about 30 minutes and covers the event, including vows, kisses, dancing and more, but is edited for time and includes music. The documentary style is more all-inclusive and can run an hour or two showing the big day in longer form and more detail. Jason Maxwell Taylor of Taylor Films has video packages which usually fall into one of three categories: “fairytale” which has a slow romantic editing approach; “epic film” which is like a timeless dramatic movie approach; and “MTV style” which is all about a very fast paced editing approach.
Wright’s packages offer a two to three hour long video. “We include the entire ceremony, the cake-cutting and toast,” he says noting: “A lot of people will want to see all the footage we take. I’ll give it all to them.” Short-form or long-form, wedding videos are all about personal preference.
Still Hoffman says he’s seeing a request for shorter videos. “Couples are busy and might not have time to watch their two and a half hour wedding each time a family member comes over,” he says. “Many couples are opting for a highlights style video instead, or for both.”
Video quality is improving all the time. Professional videographers work with state-of-the-art cameras and many shoot in high definition which has great resolution. “We have better technology available now than we had 10 years ago,” says Taylor. Hoffman says the biggest new trend in the industry is high definition and Blu-ray. While many clients have high definition concerns because they think their flaws will show, that’s not always the case. “HD is six times sharper than standard definition and myth buster it does not show every wrinkle more clearly,” he explains. “It actually provides a sharper more flattering image.”
Taylor notes high definition is more colorful and clearer than standard definition and says, “You’re better off getting your wedding filmed in high definition. You can always down convert the video to watch it now if you don’t own an HD player.”
Wright agrees, saying: “If couples don’t have wide-screen yet, we can make the video in standard definition.” Videographers also edit on high quality computers and they offer videos to their clients in a variety of formats, most often DVD. If a client requests it, a video can be transferred to VHS tapes.
Packages & Prices
Not all videography packages are the same. Some videographers shoot events with one camera, while others cover the wedding with two or more cameras. Some are all-inclusive and cover the whole day from start to finish; others are limited by shooting time.
A videographer’s work isn’t finished when the reception ends. Post-production editing is required too including elements like color correction and adding music to the video. “There is lot of editing involved,” says Taylor. “It takes me 60 to 70 hours to edit afterwards.”
Basic packages usually include at least three hours of shooting and a finished video with simple effects, as well as a few DVDs of the video. You’ll pay more for extras such as additional camera operators, video montages and guest interviews. “Video prices can range depending upon what the couple is looking for,” says Hoffman. “A full day video package from a professional videographer can range from $1,500 to $6,000. Depending upon the amount of footage the final video can range from 30 minutes to two hours. Usually our videos are about an hour.”
Taylor offers a “highlights montage” which runs three to five minutes, is set to music and includes the very best footage captured. His “short form edit” runs about 15 to 20 minutes and includes the vows, as well as other parts of the ceremony and reception. His “short form edit with bride and groom voiceovers” is popular since Taylor interviews the couple after the wedding and uses their voiceovers throughout the finished video. “It tells a different perspective and is more detailed,” he says. Once a video is shot and edited, couples can expect to receive their video within a few weeks to a few months. Some videographers can turn the video around even quicker.
“We want them to pull this video out all the time and watch it,” says Karges who puts guest interviews online on www.vimeo.com the day after the wedding. He says the high definition video is uploaded at no cost to the bride and groom so, they can view the well wishes as soon as possible, even on their honeymoon.
Within two weeks of the wedding, Karges sends a five to 10 minute cinematic highlights reel to the couple. Videographers like Karges say all packages are customizable based on the needs and wants of the bride and groom. “From editing to shooting style, everything is customizable,” he says.
Videography tends to be one of the last vendors booked for the wedding. It may not be an immediate must-do for couples who first need to book a venue and a caterer, but booking a videographer early is still a priority. “Two things to look for in a videographer is:
1) Is the work appealing to you? Are you happy with the finished product?
2) Make sure you click with the videographer’s personality,” says Taylor. Look for a true professional who has experience, references and a great clip reel. “We prefer to sit down and screen the couple,” says Karges. “We want to make sure we’re a match for them.” Meet with a few videographers to make sure you’re a style match and a personality match. Then decide on a professional and book his or her services as soon as possible to make sure the professional you want shooting your day is available.
“Typically it’s six months to a year,” says Karges who says he books quickly since he shoots one wedding each weekend. “We focus on quality, not quantity.”
Lights, camera, action! This is your chance to invest in a wedding video. It may seem like a lot of money now, but you’ll be glad with your decision when you get to relive the magic of your special day every time you view the video.