Wedding Videography

A great wedding and event videographer is a creative storyteller and master editor who uses moving images and sound to paint a vivid memory you can relive, over and over, for generations to come. Their videos are timeless, entertaining, and full of life. Think of how many times you have watched your favorite movie. Each time you notice something you never saw before. Photography, important as it is, does not make you laugh and cry as a video does. Video is the only way to capture sights…sounds…and motion.

Here are a few things that you should consider when selecting a videographer for your special occasion.

  • Ask for samples of their work.
  • As you watch, you will want to take notice of the general creativity of the video, its clarity, the variety of shots, the sound quality, lighting and generally how smoothly the video flows even if only one camera was used.
  • Is the video interesting to watch?
  • Are there interviews?
  • How long is the finished product?
  • Is it on DVD or tape?

As a general rule, a well-produced video will not initially have you saying, “Wow, what a great video!” Instead, you will find yourself commenting on the content of the video – the beautiful dress the bride wore, the speech of the valedictorian, the slow-motion close-up, the excited look of a couple as they left the altar and walked down the aisle, the face of your child crossing the finish line first at the state finals and the many other emotional moments that only a professional knows how to capture. That’s when you know a lot of skilled work and planning have gone into both pre and post-production. A well-produced video will make you feel like you’re actually there over and over again.

This is what you should be looking for in a video, not just a recounting of your day.

If you are pleased with what you see and hear, then they are obviously doing something right, using quality equipment, and have the creativity you’re looking for. By asking the right questions you can be reasonably sure they will deliver a video you will cherish for the rest of your life.

The remainder of your checklist is to ensure that what you saw and heard is what you will actually get for your video.

Ask about packages and prices. Did what they show you reflect all that you will get or are there additional charges for more cameras and operators, post-production editing work, different locations, effects like slow motion, highlight montages, interviews with guests and family, etc? Remember to ask them how many copies you get and how much extras copies cost. Be careful to stay on budget, however, be careful not to under-budget this important part of your special occasion. Very often people can’t remember most of their day because it blurs by so fast so don’t underestimate the power and importance of capturing the moments that will last forever. A good wedding and event videographer may put 30 to 50 hours into a single video (weddings, special events) between shooting, editing and client meetings. These professionals work hard and earn their money. Excellence shows. You will get more than your money’s worth when you hire a quality wedding and event videographer.

A nice addition to any wedding and event video is a “highlights montage.” This is a tightly and creatively edited look at your day that is also set to music. This ‘snapshot’ of the day typically lasts from five to ten minutes and it is great to show guests that pop in for coffee. This will usually cost you extra however, it is well worth the investment. Then, if they choose, they can sit and watch the two-hour full version, complete with a bowl of popcorn.

Talk to them about what you want and what you definitely don’t want, allowing them to make suggestions. They know what works and what doesn’t and may suggest items you never thought of including. If you book them, they will also do a pre-consultation with you prior to your day to make sure they have all the details. Along with your videographer, you are co-producers and directors in the making of your video. With today’s computer technology in film and video editing software, if you can imagine something, odds are high that it can be done, of course for a price.

A reputable wedding and event videographer will ask for a deposit. A deposit is a good sign. It means that they have enough business that they want to make sure that you’re serious about booking the time for your event. It’s also good for you because you know that they are serious. Review any contracts carefully and make sure that everything you want is listed.

One final consideration, make sure to that you have permission from the “powers that be” to have video cameras present at any function or event that you are considering videotaping. Some events don’t allow cameras of any sort. Checking beforehand will save you time and headaches on the day of your videotaped event.

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Choosing A Wedding Photographer

Where should your search actually begin? Well, if someone’s looking for a builder or plumber, what’s the first thing they usually do? Ask a friend if they’ve used anyone recently who they can recommend.

This is the best way to start your search for a photographer, because not only can you see their work, you can find out how well your friend got on with them. Personality is a huge part of wedding photography – you have to get on well with your photographer!

Then, being photographed will be fun and group shots won’t be the ‘necessary evil’ that most people see them as!

But most of the time I believe photographers should blend into the background and go unnoticed. This is definitely the key to capturing the best reportage shots.

Personal recommendation counts for a lot (most of my weddings come through word-of-mouth). If you can look at your friend’s wedding album and think, “wow, I want an album like that!”, that’s a good sign!

After that, there’s the Yellow Pages and the internet. But most photographers do tend to say the same thing and offer the same services. So here are my five suggestions for choosing a wedding photographer:

Find a photographer who’s willing to meet you for a no-obligation chat, so you can see his work and see if you get along. Are they enthusiastic about their work? Do they love wedding photography?

It’s a pretty good idea to have an engagement shoot before the wedding, to overcome any inhibitions of being photographed. This should also speed things along on the day as you’ll be used to posing;

Are the photographer’s packages all-inclusive, or is he hoping to make more money in after-sales? Ask him what you should expect to pay in total.

Does he use pre-made or bespoke albums? If pre-made, how many photos does it hold and how many cover types are there? If bespoke, how does he charge for extra photos and pages?

How will you first get to see your wedding photos? In a proof album, on a disc, online or at a viewing session with a digital projector? A good rule in life generally, is never to go with the first offer, but use it as a benchmark to assess a second, third or fourth offer. The same applies to choose a wedding photographer.

At the end of the day, if you’ve met with a few photographers, you’ll probably have a gut feeling about whom to go with. And it will probably be the person you connected with the most. The person who was passionate about his work, excited about your wedding and who you would happily have at your wedding.

What is Wedding Videography

Just like you, I get asked all of the time, “what do you do?” When I tell them that I am a wedding videographer, they usually look a bit puzzled like they have never heard of such a thing.

They also usually are confused at how come anyone would choose a professional videographer for their wedding rather than having a friend carry around a camcorder from Circuit City.

It seems that not everyone knows what videography is and why a professional videographer can capture a wedding so much better than a friend with a camcorder.

Similar to Photography

Videography is similar to photography in a sense of the fact that both are a visual way to preserve an event and give someone pictures of what happened that day. Professional photographers will be able to add quality not only by the equipment they use but by their artistic eye allowing them to shoot the really cool shots. They typically use cameras costing them thousands of dollars and can really take some spectacular shots.

A videographer differs in that videography has to capture thousands and thousands of pictures and sound too. Think of a movie. You could sum up a movie using pictures and a storyboard, but the final film will also contain all of the excitement and sounds. That is how videography can enhance how you preserve your wedding day.

The other main difference, mentioned above, is the capturing of sounds. Audio is so vitally important because you want to hear the vows, the music, the comments and the laughter that made your day unique.

What is the Difference Between Professional And Other Videographers

A couple of years ago, Yahoo ran an article about 10 businesses you could start this weekend. One of those businesses was a videography and the article sent chills up my spine as I knew that the “competition” was just about to explode in the area. What happens after articles like that is that people who have no real experience with digital editing and film-making rush out and buy a camcorder from Circuit City or Best buy and they start calling themselves a videographer.

That would be like me going down to the local Home Depot, buying a lawnmower and calling myself a landscaper. There is so much more that goes into videography, just like landscaping that I thought I would point out some of the differences.

When I shoot a wedding I either use one or two cameras based on what the couple chooses. The camera(s) I use are Sony DCR-VX 2100s which are not sold anywhere in Charleston at all. They cost around $2,500 each and that does not even include the other items that are necessary to properly film. That is just for the camera.

I also use tripods, extra batteries, and a Steady Max camera stabilizer to get the motion shots that I will need for the final video. Unlike photography, my subjects are always on the move and that movement is what I want to capture on film. I have to be able to move with them without it looking like a home movie or an earthquake.

Then after a wedding is shot, I go home and edit the video down from 4-6 hours to under 2 hours using thousands of dollars worth of software and high-speed computers. The final DVD is laser inscribed and presented to the couple after I have spent 40-50 hours in post-production.

Why go to these lengths to film a wedding? Because every moment at your wedding has been planned out. You may have spent months deciding on what type of dress you will wear or what your cake will be like and I want those decisions to be part of your finished product. I want you to be able to see your wedding day exactly as you planned it.

During the romantic first dance, which is usually done in low-light, I want you to be able to see your faces. The glance of your groom or how he looks at you while you walk down the aisle. Videography is so much more than pointing a camcorder and pressing record, but when done professionally, there is nothing better at capturing your wedding.

Avoid These Common Mistakes with Your Video Shoots

Avoid These Common Mistakes with Your Video Shoots

The differences between videos produced by amateur videographers and professionals are obvious for viewers but not that obvious if you are the one behind the camera. As your mind is filled with numerous thoughts, it is all too easy to overlook several essential aspects during your video shoots and these mistakes might be difficult to fix afterward.

Check out the following common mistakes amateurs often make during their first video shoots.

Excessive Zooming

There are limited options in lower-end consumer video cameras yet all of them have a zoom function. It is possibly the reason why many amateurs overuse it. When you look closely at things shown on TV and movies, you wouldn’t really notice this zoom effect. On the other hand, home videos are filled with excessive that can weaken the overall production. Get closer with your camera as often as you can and people will definitely continue paying attention. You can also try using a wide shot whenever possible as it produces better picture quality.

Poor Framing

The last thing people want to see is the top of the head or bottom of the chin of their favorite actor cut off by the frame. It is crucial for your composition to strike the perfect balance. Some videographers with a bit of experience tend to place everyone in the center to avoid this mistake. However, this too is a wrong move as it can get boring.

The real secret here is to make use of the rule of thirds for your video shoots. The subjects are kept on the lines that divide the frames, the years on the upper section, and the movement placed on the third section that is opposite the direction where the actor moves to maintain space in the front section. It may sound simple but not so in practice. But, you will learn how to do it right through experience.

Backlighting

One more thing amateurs usually overlook with their video shoots is the way light affects the appearance of the subjects on the screen. It is the reason why people under the sun or in front of windows have dark faces. The secret here is to have the most powerful source of light placed right in front of your subject. In cases when you have to use light behind the actor, you can simply increase exposure to blow out the background. A clear face without background is better than a dark face with a wonderful background.

No Tripod

Never assume that you can easily handle your camera with your own two hands because the truth is, you can’t. A strong and steady tripod is a more feasible option, particularly for long video shoots. Cinematographers never hold the camera themselves during professional cinema productions.

Background Noise 

A lot of videographers don’t consider the background noise during their video shoots. Cameras have embedded omnidrectional microphones that don’t just capture the sounds you need but even the sounds of vehicles on a nearby highway, kids playing outside, the wind, or even planes flying above. To get a clearer sound, clear out all or most background noise as possible.

Avoid these common mistakes to have better video shoots than ever.