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 Whys and Hows of Videography
Should I bother with video? Obviously our couples do. I like to tell couples that great wedding video is worth more than a fourth course or possibly even a dessert table after the cake. Certainly you will value a fabulously filmed and edited wedding film far more than a set of china (which you can buy for yourself down the road a few years!) or many of the items on your registry list. I mention this, because several of our couples added "wedding film" to their registries so that guests could contribute to this expense when the couple's budget hit its limit. Honestly, the only time you have to capture your vows and the toasts and well wishes of your friends and families is during your rehearsal dinner and your wedding. There will be no second chance.

We have never heard of a couple who spent time researching a wedding cinematographer and invested well in one, who regretted the decision. From time to time, couple who hired bargain videographers have told us regretfully that the boring, cookie-cutter music videos they received weren't worth the money they spent. We agree. A top professional studio will tell  you that it takes hundreds of hours to film and edit a fabulous wedding film. 
If you want your film makers to be invisible as well at your event, you will want at least 3 of them, willing to spend the time to coordinate with your photographers - so you will never see a videographer running around with a camera with a headlight mounted on top,  fighting your photographer for space. The more cinematographers, the more they are able to work as a team, filming from behind your photographers, in the background, never blocking each other or your guests.

Of course, the better the team, the more planning they do, the more they film, and the more work they spend on editing your wedding film , the more they are likely to charge.  Unlike a wedding dress which can go on sale once it's last season's; or a venue that can come down in price if not booked; a top-quality cinematography team has just begun its work once the wedding ends. Most work occurs in the studio where sifting through hours and hours of film footage, pulling tiny moments of importance or emotional loveliness from the rest and then creating a seamless story from these bits is what an editor's job is all about.

When researching wedding videographers, start by looking at their work. As a wedding cinematographer I can tell you that it's frustrating to get countless e-mail inquiries from couples asking first about prices and packages. I have even heard a bride or 2 tell me that she can get the same "package" for a lesser price from another studio. I wonder if that bride would call a bridal salon to inquire the same way about dresses? Or ask the same question of photographers? While one 8 hour package may cost twice what another studio may charge for the same coverage - the quality of the filming and editing may be dramatically different.  

When looking at wedding film sites, notice if all the samples look similar. Some less expensive (and less creative) videographers use a template for their work and just replace one couple with another each time they do a new project. Easy=less time= less money.

If each wedding film captures the unique qualities of the couple, the wedding, the day, you can be pretty sure you will be working with a talented film maker. But even then, double check. Ask the studio for references. Call former wedding clients and ask what it was like to work with the studio or cinematographer. Ask what the process was like, whether the studio was responsive to their requests, their ideas. Ask if they were happy with their wedding film. Ask if they thought that the studio was a good value.


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