Thursday, December 6, 2018

Wedding Video

Wedding Video Introduction

Couples getting married today are looking for wedding videographers or wedding filmmakers. With so many types of styles, price ranges and even the terminology out there, I wanted to create a page to help couples getting married prepare when meeting with a video professional.

Wedding Videographer vs Wedding Filmmaker

Believe it or not there is a minor difference between a videographer and filmmaker for weddings.

In a nut shell, a wedding videographer is mostly a one-man-band of sorts, they sometimes will have a second shooter or an assistant to help.

The wedding filmmaker, sometimes called a cinematographer is going to have a team of people to help them during the day. There will be a couple of videographers, a sound guy, a grip or person that helps setup lights, tripods, microphones and the like and sometimes an additional assistant.

Many people in the business call themselves filmmakers, although it's just a term mainly used for the style, it's usually referenced with cinematic style.

Usually, when you see or hear the term filmmaker, nine times out of ten it costs more than the wedding videographer. Either one should have a good set of gear, years of experience and even videographer insurance too.

Here in the Roanoke, Virginia area, we only have wedding videographers, although a few call themselves filmmakers. There is no film used and it's not a team of people, it's just 1-2 videographers at most. True wedding filmmakers are going to have a crew of 3-6 or more, thus why it costs greatly to hire a true wedding filmmaker.

Wedding Video Style Types

When I started out filming way back in the day there was only one type of wedding film, the traditional style. You could choose from just the ceremony or both the ceremony and reception.

Well, times have changed along with the technology and we have the newer style wedding film called the cinematic style. Both have advantages and disadvantages and I will explain them both.

Traditional Style (Documentary Style)

The traditional style wedding film, today commonly called the documentary style, is an event style film usually with various montages and tie together for various parts of the day.

Many wedding videographers will start with an opening montage, a few minutes building up to the ceremony, laying down reflective music, drone shots, slider shots and various b roll clips of everyone getting ready.

Those that don't have a montage usually have a title graphic then go into the ceremony.

Speaking of the ceremony, typically for both styles, the videographer is going to start with the grandparents being walked down the isle and continue to film until the newlyweds walk down the isle together.

From there, the videographer will either go directly into the reception or they will have a transition montage going into the reception. They will capture all the highlights and some even capture b roll of people mingling, dancing etc.

I personally do not film during any dinner service for a couple of reasons. First, it gives me a little bit of down time to rest, grab a quick bite and prep my gear for the second half of the evening. The second reason, no one wants to see Aunt Elma eating food or stuffing her mouth full of mashed potatoes. 
Usually, after the couple does the exit or has the last big moment of the evening, the videographers eve has ended and they will close with a small montage or they will simply fade to black.

This type of video can be lengthy, upwards of 2 hours in some cases. While its more drawn out on video, you do get to see everything that happened that evening and you can relive it as many times as you would like.

Because this style of film is easier to edit in post production, they tend to be a little more affordable than the cinematic counterparts.

Cinematic Style

This is a much newer style of wedding video within the last 10-15 years or so. When couples would drop $40,000 on a real film crew, they would end up with a Hollywood style production, lots of 3-5 second clips, lots of motion, filters, custom music and editing are often involved.

The film itself is pretty small in comparison to the traditional style, ranging from just a few minutes to 15 minutes in length.

My cinematic style films are actually a Hybrid Style film, typically done with two people, myself and an assistant and they range on average about 6-7 minutes in length. You also get the ceremony in a separate edit, thus why its called the Hybrid style. A typical cost for a cinematic style shoot is in the range of $2,000-$2,400. 

The main difference is that the cinematic wedding film tells a story, usually narrated by the couple, maybe the pastor, those that give the speeches or the like and the video is very fats paced.

Couples tend to love this type of film more so although it is more costly to produce and it takes almost double the time in most cases to edit.

Today, you can get a cinematic styled film from a small wedding videographer for a few thousand ranging upwards of $11,000+ for larger studios like Ray Roman, a popular high budget videographer.

The downside is that you don't get a wedding ceremony edit and the wedding itself is more of a Hollywood production than a wedding. The since of the wow factor outweighs everything else and some films out there truly are pieces of artwork.

Hybrid Style

Many small production houses such as myself are offering a mix of the two, called a Hybrid Style Wedding shoot.

This is where you get a smaller cinematic style film that you can wow your friends and family with on social media, but you also get the traditional ceremony edit in a separate film.

Hybrid shoots are the best of both world and they tend to be sold as Cinematic style films but are much more affordable since it's a one man band or couple of people working the wedding video.

If you're wedding videographer doesn't offer something like that ask them about creating a package that would give you both.

Picking Your Package vs Creating Custom Wedding Video

The Wedding Video Packages vs. A la Carte

Most often than none, wedding video professionals are going to offer wedding packages to you for your wedding day. There are upsides and downsides to both and I'm going to explain them for you to better understand.

The wedding video package is going to be various levels of complete services for the day. Many other wedding vendors do the same thing, take you photographer for example. They'll have a base price then a higher priced package filled with more goodies.

The good thing about a wedding video package is that you don't have to spend the time thinking about all that you will need, the bad thing is that it's cookie cutter, the same format for every other couple. You're stuck with the price, like it or hate it.

The a la carte videographer is going to give you a base price of them, a camera and usually a wireless mic. From there, it's all up to you how much or how little you want them to do. The best thing about this type of service is that it conforms to your budget much better than a package does and you get exactly what you want too.

Let's think about an example here. Sallie and Steve are getting married and they want a wedding video, but their budget is set at $1,800 for a video. They meet with three wedding videographers and two of the three offer packages, either too small (ceremony only) or too expensive for the full day, say $2,300.

Well, if the third videographer can help them design a package that fits into their $1,800 budget, they're most likely going to hire them. In addition, many package often oversell services that you might not want or even need. That also translates into the videographer in doing extras that are not going to come across on film, if they do its very minute.

In 2016, I changed all my services into a la carte, except for the Simple Ceremony Video. With Roanoke Video, you can literally create the video that you want at the budget that's best for you. You can give our Build Your Wedding Video and see for yourself the value it can bring. 

I've found that couples tend to like this much better than a package as it fits more so into their own budget and from the video professional, they don't have to over do work on services that are worthless in the couples eye. To, me a la carte style wedding films are win-win.

Gear and the Basics

Video gear has changed dramatically in recent years with the DSLR or digital single lens reflex camera has become more advanced. With larger sensors, HD and UHD capabilities, a much more compact format, it's become the video camera type of choice.

The downside is that you can get a very low end DSLR that looks expensive. In reality, these are consumer versions of the professional camera and there is a HUGE difference in quality.

Many want to be professionals will purchase a $500 camera and try to become a video pro. However, the cheaper cameras are often washed out in color, carrying outdated and small video sensors, they don't have microphone inputs, they lack the capability to record large amounts of data each second and that translates into a cheaper experience.

There is a HUGE difference between a Canon T6 Rebel and a Panasonic GH4 in quality, features and price. They might look the same to the average person, but the GH4 is going to be a much better camera to use for wedding video. 
Videography is not about the camera. Having a more expensive camera does not make you a better videographer. To take the best images, you need the skills and knowledge of light, composition, and knowing what to capture and when.

Yes, the tool will make a difference (e.g. a more expensive camera with higher ISO and a more expensive lens with a larger aperture) in some situations, but that’s a technical limitation that might be only needed from time to time.

Besides the cameras themselves, wedding video pros will use different tools to gather the video shots that they need. Some of those tools can include:

  • Camera Sliders
  • Camera Gimbals
  • Drones
  • Monopods
  • Tripods
  • UHF Wireless Microphones
  • LED adjustable lights
  • light meters
  • Audio recorders (direct to an audio board)

A company with lots of tools can carry several thousands of dollars worth of gear to your wedding and that can translate into an incredible film, knowing how to use them is the key.

Experience is Key

The most important thing you need to know about whom your going to hire is their experience. Having someone with years under their belt at weddings is more important than someone with little experience and a couple of toys like a drone.

Let me give it to you this way, would you rather a professional with 10 years experience fix your car or someone who just graduated college fix it? Of course your going to choose the professional 9 times out of 10.

When you visit someones website or you meet with them in person, see how long they've been in the business. Typically the longer a person that's been doing wedding films, the more respected they are in the wedding business, the more likely they have good reviews and good films and they're going to know the format of the wedding.

They will know the etiquette, the dress code, the venue, other vendors and they will know what to do and when to do it.

I recommend hiring a company with at least 3-5 years of experience and several years of video experience previous.

The Takeaway

If you are seeking a wedding video professional, look for someone with good gear, years of experience and someone that offers a video that will fit int your budget, not the other way around.

Choosing a professional will really make a difference in your film and how they act during your wedding day. Someone that knows what they're doing is going to blend into the day and hopefully you will not see them much at all. The less you see them, the more natural you are going to come across on film.

Thanks so much for visiting the website today, if you are int he market for a wedding film, reach out to me and let me know. I do travel to all 50 states and I've worked with small budgets around $2,000 and large format weddings ranging in the $250,000 range too.

Joshua is a life long video and audio professional with hundreds of professional films under his belt. Joshua works filming television commercials, wedding films, broadcasts, business video and much more.

Roanoke Wedding Film Promise to Couples

wedding video promise to couples in roanoke valley

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Joshua Gabrielson
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Roanoke, Virginia