ADVICE FROM A WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHER
ADVICE FROM A WEDDING VIDEOGRAPHER
While hiring a still photographer is usually a given for most
weddings, hiring a wedding videographer is sometimes considered
more of a luxury. There's no doubt about it, weddings can be
expensive and sometimes the cost of a videographer can seem high
and well, cousin Billy just got a new camcorder...
But be careful, because along with shooting your wedding, Cousin
Billy will probably also be hitting the bar and maybe hitting on
that really pretty bridesmaid because Billy will be there to
have fun, after all you invited him, you didn't hire him.
So if you really want a video of your wedding (and things like
the first dance and the cake cutting and the bouquet toss,) the
only way to make sure you get one is to hire a professional
If you do decide to hire a videographer you should get the most
for your money and you should find someone whose style matches
your own. Below are the top 5 questions I think it's most import
to ask (besides price.) I've put this list together based on
what I actually do in preparing to shoot a wedding. It should
give you an idea of how we go about shooting a wedding as well
as help you to get what you really want out of a videographer.
5 QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK YOUR VIDEOGRAPHER
1: Ask if they use broadcast quality cameras. This can make a
big difference in how your video looks. In the trade these are
usually referred to as "3-chip cameras." Any serious wedding
videographer will have these. Also, find out how many cameras
they'll use to "cover" the wedding. I generally use two at the
ceremony and one at the reception, though for big weddings I'll
use two at the reception as well.
2: Ask if editing is included. I always edit my videos. Handing
over a tape that I've shot and dubbed without touching just
isn't an option for me. Editing makes a better video for you and
allows me to try a little harder during the reception to get
really cool shots - because I know if something doesn't work, I
don't have to use it. But of course editing is more work and
costs more, so if you're getting a deal that seems too good to
be true, ask about this one.
3: Ask to see a DVD or tape of their work. I don't put clips on
my website but I do encourage potential clients to ask for a DVD
demo reel. A lot of people hire someone based on the one-minute
clips of video they've posted to their website. A video may look
great in a small box on your computer monitor, but what will it
look like on your plasma screen at home? This is also a really
good way to see what the videographer's style of shooting is. If
you find a videographer you like but you've seen an element on
someone else's demo reel that you want to include, don't be
afraid to request it, most of us are always looking for new
4: Ask if they use wireless microphones for the ceremony. Again,
this is something any professional wedding videographer will
have but it can make a HUGE difference. I always put a
microphone on the groom and one the officiant, minister or
rabbi, if I can. That way I can be sure to get the audio of the
entire ceremony crisp and clean on tape. Since I don't put one
on the bride, by using two this way I can be sure to get her
voice no matter which way she's facing.
5: Ask how they approach guests. I love to get little clips of
the guests offering best wishes or advice to the couple that I
can include in a final edit. But as your representative, the
last thing I want to do is harass your guests. Generally
speaking, I'll approach guests once and ask if they'd like to
participate. I always try to avoid interrupting conversations if
I can. If someone says no, or they don't feel comfortable doing
it then I take them at their word and don't pester them.
In my experience, Grandparents usually seem to be the most
likely to say, no, so if you really want them on the video, you
may want to say something to them before the wedding.
5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE A BETTER VIDEO
It's your big day! You've planned for this, dreamed about it,
prepared for it and then when it's all over, you sit down to
watch the video...
Having worked as a videographer I've shot dozens of weddings and
had an absolute blast doing it. I've learned a thing or two
about what makes a wedding video great. There are things that I
can do as a shooter and there are things you can do as a couple.
Act Natural. The most important thing that I tell all my clients
is don't be camera shy! When I shoot I like to wander around the
reception and capture little pieces of conversations here and
there. I always keep an eye on the bride and groom and from time
to time will try to sneak up on them and capture a nice moment.
These always make great pieces in the final video except when
the bride and groom freeze up the minute they see the camera. Of
course it's natural to get stage fright, but if you see the
camera pointing at you don't act like you've just been arrested
and are trying to hide your face from the world, just keep doing
what you're doing. As I like to tell people, act natural. Don't
worry about looking bad. The last thing I want to do is include
something in the video that's going to make my clients look
Talk to Your Videographer. Be sure to tell your videographer if
there's something special you want included. I always keep an
eye out for things that look special, but there might be
something you've spent extra time on and you really, really,
really want in the movie. Let your videographer know. I love to
get input like that because it makes my job easier.
Talk to Your Coordinator. I can't tell you how many times I've
been outside shooting a nice little interview with a bridesmaid
and suddenly I'll have to rush back inside to get the cake
cutting or the bouquet toss. Usually there's someone in charge
of the timeline, sometimes it's an actual coordinator or
caterer, sometimes the band leader, sometimes the DJ and
sometimes the photographer. I always find that person and tell
them before the reception to let me know when things are going
to happen so I can be ready. But every once in a while they
forget and I wind up scrambling. Talk to your coordinator, talk
to whoever is calling the shots and tell them to make sure the
videographer and the photographer are informed, there and ready
when important events are going to happen. A word from you can
work wonders. Remember, for tonight - you're the boss.
Point a Toe. I know this sounds crazy but it really does seem to
work and it will help your still photos as well. All you have to
do is extend one foot out slightly and point your toe. It causes
all kinds of amazing things (lines, as we image people like to
say) to happen to your body. Try it out, stand in front of a
full-length mirror flat-footed and then point a toe. You just
look better. And I'll bet you can't do it without smiling.
Talk to Each Other. Toward the end of the evening, I always ask
the bride and groom to step outside and record a little message
to themselves. It's always a nice moment and years from now it
will be really nice to look back on and see what you thought at
the time. But it can be hard to just look at the camera and say
what you think, so the best way to do it is to tell your spouse.
Pretend the camera isn't there and just talk to each other.