Somewhere at any given time, a recently engaged woman - let’s call her Bri - is drinking red wine on a couch with her girlfriends and a box of Kleenex, watching wedding videos.
You know it’s true.
And like so many before her, the combination of wine and cinematic romance is too much. It’s decided. She and (let's call him Jim) must have a wedding video.
Besides her father who will be footing the bill, who could blame her?
In this day in age, when a year of planning and savings goes into one day, why not make an awesome video to document it?
So the decision has been made. But now what?
If you’re like Bri — excited about the idea of a wedding video, but wondering where to start, this list if for you.
It’s a list that comes from four years of experience filming weddings, lots of mistakes, a few wins, and about 500 hours of testing the recipe for a great film.
1. You have to jive with your videographer
When you bring a videographer on, you’re going to have to tango with them from the moment you sign the contract until months after your wedding during their editing process. You’re going to want to make sure that before you sign anything, you’re tangoing to the same beat.
Being filmed all day when you’re not used to it is an experience. Whether it’s a good or bad one is entirely dependent on how well you jive with the person behind the lens. And more important, the quality of your film is directly related to the degree of rapport you and your fiancee share with your videographer.
If you Jive, then you’re comfortable around each other, and your videographer will know the little nuances about you that will make your film uniquely yours.
So go online, send some emails, and setup some coffee outings with some filmmakers. Which one do you feel gets you as a couple. Which one is asking the right questions? Which one shares your sense of humor? Which one do you Jive with?
2. Their films story-tell, not cookie cut
A bride once told me:
“There has yet to be one wedding video that you’ve created that has not made me cry.”
I say this not to brag, but to make a point that the reason she cried was because I did my job. It's not rocket science. It's not even really storytelling. It's just being a good conduit for someone elses story.
The truth is, most couples' story could bring grown men to tears, but it can only happen if their videographer takes the time before the wedding to get to know them enough to find that story and tell it authentically.
Compare as many videographers as you can and see which videos stand out to you. Why do they stand out? Why did one film make you cry when another didn’t?
3. Wedding videos are a team sport
I used to shoot weddings solo and I wouldn’t recommend it. There is just too much gear, too many balls in the air, too little time and too many places to be at once for it to go smoothly. Choose someone who will send at least two people out on your wedding day.
I will say there are exceptions, and I have nothing against people who do it solo. One could argue there are even some benefits to this approach, but if I was going to hire someone, I'd want at least two shooters.
4. You pay for what you get.
There are no discount big box stores, coupons, or black Friday sales for quality wedding films. Filmmaking is a craft, and a well-put-together film takes thought, preparation, physical demand, expensive gear, people, and editing time. I’m not going to suggest a price, since they vary so much, but I would budget at least the amount you plan on paying your photographer, and perhaps more. No need to dismiss someone based on price, but be skeptical of someone who tries to sell you a highly discounted package.
In the spirit of transparency, my 2015 rate starts at $7900. I could do a whole post on pricing, but boiled down, it's a rate I've arrived at based on what I feel I'm worth, and also what I need to run my business and pay my bills. A lot of folks charge less than me, some charge more. But my clients know what they're getting and they're happy with the investment they make with me.
To sum it all up. Wedding films are a personal investment and though I've never had one made for my wedding (I'm not yet married), I know from talking with clients that a lot of thought (and stress) goes into finding the right person or studio. This list certainly isn't exhaustive, but if you Jive, seek out Story, choose a Team over solo, and Budget realistically, you'll be off to a good start.