Wedding Videos and DVD
Emma Margeaux Bride Online Columnist

How to: Wedding Videography

Deciding how you want to capture and record your wedding celebration is an important aspect of the wedding planning process. Visual footage of your special day is something you and others will view for many years to come, so it is worth investing in quality production and modern technology, whilst also considering value for money.

Do I really need a professional video production?

Both the bride and groom will be busy (not to mention nervous!) throughout the wedding day so you’ll want to be able to go back and relive the events once the pressure is off. Some couples might question whether wedding video is really necessary once a professional photographer has been hired. Remember that moving images can capture many things the photographer can’t, such as  those natural, spontaneous moments that need to be seen beginning-to-end and somewhat contextualised to be understood, rather than in one snapshot (think of capturing the bride's reaction to moving speech, for example). Professional photos often don’t record the actual flow of the ceremony and reception. Additionally, video footage will capture the sound, music and atmosphere of your celebration, wedding guests enjoying themselves and the more humorous and impromptu moments that occur throughout the day.

If your budget is tight you might be tempted to opt for a family member to film the occasion. However, keep in mind that it is difficult to achieve a professional-looking production without the right equipment. And a professional will take into account environmental factors such as sound and lighting. If you want an impressive visual record of your day, it is worth the expense of hiring a professional.

Finding a reputable producer

Wedding videos can be expensive, so it’s important to choose a reputable producer. You will need to make appointments to discuss pricing and options, so make sure you leave enough time to assess several services before making a choice. A good way to start your search is to ask family and friends about their experiences with various videographers. You should also conduct your own ‘research’ into the video industry. Browse though a wedding directory and visit each business’ website, noting how well their site is presented. A professional service will usually have a professional-looking website.

The best way to ascertain the quality of the productions is to ask to see samples of each videographer’s work. Picture yourself in the production and ask yourself if this is how you would like to be depicted on your most important day. Different wedding videographers will specialize in capturing various styles, moods and atmosphere, depending on how they choose to shoot and edit the images.

When viewing video samples, assess the quality of the picture, paying attention to its steadiness, crispness, lighting, focus, contrast and how well the subjects are framed. Sound is also a crucial factor in the quality of a movie, so concentrate on the clarity of the words spoken and how well any music is incorporated in to the video. It’s important to remember that footage recorded on digital media will lose some quality when converted to VHS, so ask to see samples in the movie format you’ll be requesting.

What sort of features are available?

Developments in technology and digital media mean there are now more possibilities than ever before, most notably the DVD format, which is fast becoming the standard for home movie viewing. Your budget will be the single greatest consideration in choosing the size and extent of the production, and your producer will be able to outline the costs involved.

Common features often added during the editing process include titles, animations, or even photos of the bride and groom as children or when they first met. Music can also be integrated - perhaps the couple’s favourite songs, or a selection of the music played at the ceremony or reception.

Additionally, the format of your production needs to be considered. DVD is of much higher quality than VHS, and it allows you to incorporate exciting features such as interactive menu options. While DVD’s popularity is increasing, not everyone may own a DVD player, so you may wish to have your wedding video edited into both VHS and DVD formats if you intend on giving copies to relatives. Another option is to store movie clips and photographs on a CD-ROM, which can then be mailed to friends and relatives and viewed on any PC. Some couples also choose to display clips on a website for family and friends to view. There are infinite possibilities, and your videographer will be able to explain the kinds of special effects and formats they can provide.

Whether you opt for a simple, elegant wedding video or a lavish production with all the bells and whistles is a matter of personal preference. However, ask yourself whether special effects added now will still look impressive in 10 or 20 years. Try to recall the sorts of effects you saw in wedding videos 15 years ago and this will give you some idea of how fast technology moves. A high-quality production with minimal effects may in fact provide the most elegant and timeless record of your day.

How much should I expect to spend?

If video services seem expensive, consider the enormous costs of professional equipment and the value of the company’s expertise. Nevertheless, it’s important to ensure you are getting good value for money. Many companies provide both wedding photography and wedding video services and may be able to offer a competitively-priced package.

Compare quotes from as many businesses as possible to obtain some idea of what is charged in the industry, and ask family and friends about their wedding video expenses. You can expect to pay anything between $500 to over $3000 for the most advanced packages, depending upon the features and format of your production, whether you want moments such as ‘pre-ceremony’ events filmed, extra copies requested, and so on. As a rough guide, you might allocate 3 - 7% of your wedding budget on videography, though how much you can allocate will depend on your other wedding expenses.

What do I need to discuss with the videographer?

Discuss your needs and preferences with your producer well ahead of the wedding day. This includes the style and mood of the wedding video - you might want a formal, elegant tone or a more fun, light-hearted approach. Make sure the producer is aware of the wedding schedule, locations and times, and ensure your videographer is included as a guest at the wedding. Being involved will allow camera persons greater access to the events and encourage a more intimate and personal recording of the occasion.

Other questions to ask early in the process include how you will be consulted during the editing phase, and what happens in the event that you’re unhappy with the finished product. Clarifying these issues prior to the big day will keep unwanted surprises to a minimum and reduce the likelihood of any disputes.

Will we need to prepare in any way with the videographer?

One very important and final point to ask is the dry-run. As we discussed with choosing a wedding photographer, it is crucial that you do at least one dry run before the actual wedding, the video dry run just like that of the photo dry run can be a short informal moment or you can really work the opportunity.

Your photographer and videographer should book you for an hour or two and take you to the venue where you will be shooting your actual wedding pictures and video. Once there, they will work their magic on you and your groom as you work your way through some poses, discover some hidden gems and find comfort in each other and the photography and videography team. This breaks the ice for the big day and suddenly you look forward to being videoed rather than feeling a bit apprehensive about being the focal point all the time. 

Thorough research and making your preferences clear will just about guarantee a stunning video to pull out for endless reruns in the future. There's no better way to relive your big day than with a gorgeous, personalised video that captures the essence of your love for eachother!

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