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Choosing a wedding videographer

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.

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.

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!

people look their best when they are acting naturally. By staying in the background, yet always there, I tend to go relatively unnoticed, but still get great footage. I am a minimalist when it comes to lighting and attracting attention. Most of my work relies only on ambient room lighting. Many photographers I work with have even commented on my ability to get great candid shots. These are the shots that really make a great video, people in real life, being who they really are. Most people are not actors, everyone looks best when you let them be themselves.

The internet and Bridal Magazines are literally full of new faces doing wedding video every year. However, their ads would make it look like they’ve been doing wedding videography for years. In case you’re wondering, there are numerous images taken directly from tape on this site that are over ten years old!

Anyone who buys a camera and takes out an ad in a wedding magazine instantly considers themselves a wedding videographer. The same holds true for some photographers and other companies in the wedding industry that buy video equipment and hire weekend people to shoot video. Anyone can pick up a camera and point it and take a video. Unfortunately, the end results often look like it too!. Don’t be fooled by dazzling special effects and computer animation. Many people tout these capabilities in their advertising, but all of the effects usually seen in wedding video are usually just a substitute for good editing and the ability to build a story line.

Some videographers will use the Sony DSR 250 which is one in a class of stripped down cameras offered by most of the manufacturers geared specifically for the “wedding event market”. This camera still offers a significant improvement over the older SVHS video cameras, but it only has small 1/3″ imaging devices resulting in much less resolution and poor low light performance when compared to cameras with larger imaging devices.

The highest majority of typical wedding videographers use the smaller, much less expensive “handycam” style of video cameras. While these cameras do a nice job for their size and relatively low cost, they have very small 1/4″ CCD imaging devices, offering relatively poor low light performance and less image quality. Other serious limitations are the lack of a professional lens, the ability to adjust exposures, and limited audio functions. These cameras do have their place. For situations where there is plenty of light, like a garden wedding or daylight situations, the picture is pretty good and their smaller size makes them easier to use over longer periods of time. I keep one in my collection to use when ever I feel that the lighting conditions and shooting situation is just right.
All editing is done on professional Media-100 systems and over 500 gigabytes of disk storage. This system allows editing at very high data rates for optimum picture quality. Don’t let computer editing be confused with the idea of special effects and animations. I do not do the stereotypical wedding video with pictures popping out of hearts and tacky special effects. My work is clean and dramatic.

Video is mastered to DVD and backups are kept for a limited time on full sized DVCAM digital tape. We can still provide VHS to those clients who require it, but the cost of DVD players today can be well under $100.00 so it makes no sense to use tape.

Unless you choose wisely, your wedding video could be a haunting disappointment.
Remember, your videographer will be with you throughout your wedding day! Choose someone you feel confident will interact well with both you and your guests. You will find that your photo album and video will compliment each other. You should arrange to reserve your photographer and videographer as soon as you secure your reception site. Some dates can be in reservation over a year in advance. Seek out the highest quality and hire the best photographer and videographer that you can afford.

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