What can we do for you?
Hey , how's it going? Chances are that you put a lot of time and effort into planning your wedding - so we understand that it can be taxing to exert any more time or energy to video. (usually video is booked last for some reason, we believe the 1980's and VHS camcorders are to blame for this, but we are hoping to change that!). We are happy to spend the extra time to walk you through some wedding film fundamentals - and help you decide what direction to go. We thank you for checking us out and taking the time to learn more about wedding videography.
So grab a nice cup of tea or FIRE DEPT. COFFEE (shameless self plug - we film some of their videos) and browse through our tips for what to expect, how to plan for a quality wedding film, and for better footage and audio. I apologize in advance for any corny jokes - they are meant to make this boring technical stuff a bit more bearable.
PRICING -WHY DO VIDEOGRAPHER'S CHARGE LIKE A ZILLION DOLLARS?!
If you are looking for some one to "show up with a camera and shoot" you may as well stop reading now. IRONICALLY - when I was planning my own wedding, I was looking for just that. Just know that you can't expect the same attention to your wedding video's production or priority with your "videographer" who shows up and shoots. (EG your wedding video is not going to look like a scene out of bridesmaids or Grey's Anatomy - but with some planning ahead and the right vendor for you, it will look a lot closer than the dreaded VHS wedding videos of the 80's) Although I was very very lucky with a good videographer who was very reasonable with us for our wedding video. More often I see terrible work that brides and vendors are not happy with - even if they paid or "invested" a good amount of money.
A good rule of thumb is to spend a little bit more on video than on photo. The photo and video will last a lifetime, yet sometimes have the least amount of thought or money invested - if you truly can't tell the difference between videographer A vs videographer B, proceed with caution with prices that seem too good to be true. Ask them questions why they charge so much more or so much less than the competition.
We charge what we do because of our level of experience, education on film making, investments on updating equipment every year, working with full time film makers or people in the production world, and many details that make a difference, but there are diminishing returns at a certain point. EG videographer A charges $5,000 and videographer B charges $10,000 - there won't be much of a difference- (so hire US instead of that $10,000 film maker! - just kidding-- or are we??). You can't judge a videographer based solely on pricing, but always be cautious when a price seems to good to be true. I was undercharging when I was starting out. Another issue is industry "burn out". you can only film so many weddings in a year without expanding to second , usually less experienced or dedicated teams, and the stress of the industry leads to many videographers quitting after about 5 years, very few videographers are still in business after ten years, and by that time - the style of their work / equipment, etc may be outdated - it is common to spend $10,000-$30,000 on upgrading equipment each year to stay competitive.
Wedding and Event film making is unique in that it involves planning, attention, and cooperation from almost every vendor for the best results. From where the hair and beauty team set up in the morning, the photographer's cooperation, to whether or not the DJ, venue, or videographer provide the microphone for toasts at night and where the best man stands to give his epic speech / toast - we, as film makers - rely heavily on their talents, help , expertise, suggestions, and cooperation for our films and client's happiness. We don't like to boss people around on a wedding day, but we do like to go in prepared and communicated with everyone so that we are all on the same page. (imagine a movie director showing up and nobody else knows that they are in a film and where they should be - it would be slightly chaotic!)
Simply share this page with your guest speakers, bridal party, and vendors:
Please share this page with relevant vendors and guests such as - your venue , officiant or priest / church, hair stylist, photographer, DJ or band, maid of honor, best man, and anyone giving a toast, prayer, or speech - it goes a long way for educating them if they are not familiar with what we do and why we need their help and cooperation.
We are happy to hear feedback from your guests or vendors as well - they can message us at the bottom of the page with any questions of concerns.
we will make sure you look and feel your best
"Lights! .... Camera! .... Action!" Is a classic quote, because it truly defines motion pictures. (although "Roll Audio" is equally as important, but not as catchy.
The quality of light at each location either makes or breaks the scene and more importantly - is flattering or unflattering to the people in the shot. Lighting in general - is most flattering to people's faces when it is indirect and diffused. Harsh direct or dim lighting can create ugly shadows or look like some strange dungeon scene, or bring the mood down.
We want to showcase your beauty or rugged handsomeness. To do that, 95% of the time, natural diffused sun light is the way to go. For hair and make up , we think having the bride sit on a tall stool, facing the window , with minimal clutter in the background - is a surefire path to success. Our favorite shot to use is the bride getting her eye make up done at the very end of make up application - we usually re enact this right by the window so we can get really cool shots and if the make up artist has a lot of clutter in their workflow, we can make this more visually appealing by limiting distractions - EG get ready where you need to, then apply "finishing touches" by the window with minimal visual distractions.
The bride actually got ready in the middle of the room where the lighting sucked, but we re enacted the finishing touches by the window with the Purdy natural lighting and turned off the distracting artificial "orange" tungsten lighting
Diffused Natural Sun Light, or indirect lighting, especially through a large window is beautiful and flattering. Position your subject close to that window, facing outside - it is almost always perfect lighting for photo and video. Partly cloudy days have nice diffused light, or shady areas on a bright day. "Golden Hour" is warmer or more orange and even lighting that makes any subject or scene look friggin' magical.
Artificial Lighting - usually mixing artificial lighting and natural lighting is a bad combination for general wedding film making, unless a certain creative look is what the film maker has in mind. If a location has lots of natural lighting, or a good sized window, we usually turn off any lights we can for the most flattering footage. We usually don't like to change or add lighting to ceremonies - but some situations, if allowed - added artificial lighting will make a great difference for the better, and make the subjects "pop" a little more if we have the room / space to position the lights for a bit of "twinkle" in the eyes.
Once the sun sets, we need to rely on artificial lighting. You can expect our lights to sometimes be the brightest during the toasts / speeches / prayers. This is to see the "twinkle" in the eyes and the emotion of the face - most of acting and emotion takes place in the eyes - it is common for films and TV to have eye lights for this very reason and a hair light to subtly back light the subject - this is a must for people with dark hair- otherwise the dark hair blends into the background.-- on that note - for brides and bridesmaids, updos are preferred because the hair can hang and cover the face during important moments like vows or toasts. (unless you really really want to hide your face, which is okay too)
string lighting or subtle background lighting is awesome for helping us get exposure in camera and add ambience. Uplighting can usually make for poor video with flickering led lights that the human eye doesn't notice until recorded in video, or unnatural skin tones, such as green, purple, blue, orange, or deep reds. Consider the possibility of having uplighting dimmed or turned off if the video is un natural looking - this is of course partly subjective - and depends the situation and lighting equipment - but for the most part, you will look like an alien if there is green light shining on you during your first dances - for open dance floor it doesn't matter, we want more interesting colors , especially changing colors during open dancing.
So in a rather large sized nutshell - Try to have DIFFUSED natural lighting when selecting locations. Expect the possibility of video lights during key moments such as , intros / bridal party entrance , toasts, first dances, bouquet toss, etc. We do our best to blend in our lights during dancing to not take away from the ambience.
Nerdy Stuff: Why do I need video lights at my wedding?
If you request to have no video lighting during the reception - frankly, the footage will just look like crap. For the most part, video or film making needs about 3-4 times the amount of light , when compared to still photography - we can be filming anywhere between 24 - 240 frames per second and want each one to look great! Modern cameras are always getting better at low light performance , but this comes at a cost of reduced dynamic range, blown highlights, color science, and a bunch of other nerdy stuff that you don't have time for! The added bonus of having video lighting, is that guests who take photos during these lit up events will have a better chance of taking decent photos (especially video) instead of just awful and underexposed or grainy cell phone photos that they tag you in on Facebook.
Creative Control Compromise
On a personal note, we feel that bad (poorly exposed or blurry) photos, even when taken by a guest, vendor, etc on a cell phone - can cheapen the day that you've put so much effort and thought into making the day look beautiful. Consider having an unplugged or no photo policy for your guests and non photographer vendors - We are happy to provide our videos to the other vendors upon request, within reason - especially if they are helpful, courteous, and easy to work with. We cannot speak on behalf of the photographers, but we've always seen photographers who are happy to share their photos with vendors , especially venues.
Often photographers and videographers or film makers will be battling for the same shots, especially during the couple's creative photo session. We do need time to work our magic during creative photo sessions where the photographer will take a back seat to our creativity. 90% of the time, the photographer will be directing, and you will look at their cameras and not ours, and give us time to get our shots after they get theirs without rushing us - we do not rush the photographer's art, and expect the same level of respect. As a professional courtesy , your photographer should understand this and work with us - as there needs to be some type of compromise - we will confront you about this privately if it becomes an issue. If you sense any friction between your photo and video team, squash it immediately! 90% of the time everything is great ! We simply stress that you communicate to your photographer and vendors that video is a priority that you've invested in - your wedding day is not the photographer's day, the Dj's day, or the videographer's day - it belongs to you, as a couple - you ultimately call the shots. We want your day to be beautiful and flow the way it should. Wedding film making is still a brand new concept to most people, especially the high end quality we strive to produce for our clients - our particular shooting style is quick and often we are in the background , trying to minimize any distractions. There is a stigma out there that videographers ruin everything or have done things in the past that vendors do not like- We are simply trying to educate our peers and clients on what sets us up for success.
Unplugged weddings are great for the professional photo and video team - and guests can live in the moment instead of through the camera, but ultimately that choice is up to you - it is your special day, you've worked hard and deserve a beautiful day that you can always look back upon and remember your loved ones, by great looking photo and video.
Large bridal parties
Efficiency is key for when you have a large bridal party. Simple things like getting ready can throw off the schedule for the day, and especially formal photos with the bridal party and extended family.
Coordinate with your photographer and a VIP guest in advance ; who can have people lined up and ready on deck to knock out formals quickly and efficiently. Especially if there are jokesters or party animals involved.
We like to use our microphones for recording and supplement this with any audio mixer or PA feeds that we can plug into form venues or DJ's / bands. Please let these vendors know you want the best audio and to help work with us on this. We unfortunately receive a lot of pushback when vendors do not understand event film making requirements or do not work with quality videographers and film makers on a regular basis.
Toasts and speeches preparatoins: SHARE THIS WITH GUEST SPEAKERS
Tell guests not to read off of a paper, but to plan out a general idea of what they want to say and say it LOUD and with confidence - think of a presidential address - they speak loud with confidence , direct , and make eye contact. They do not shuffle back and forth or pace - or hold a crumbled up paper , a microphone, and a cocktail at the same time , this makes for a truly awkward and uncomfroable / nervous looking toast. If they are nervous about public speaking - have them plan like a 30 second speech - as events are unfolding so they are not breaking the "silence" in the middle of salads or dinner , eg. intros, crowd cheers, adrenaline pumps, cake cutting, speeches, and its over quickly for them- almost always they will wind up taking for a good minute or two and feel fine afterwards.
A big no no, is reading from a cell phone or screen - this makes it seem like they are checking Facebook while they are talking to an audience and can cast an ugly blue color on their faces from the device - please share this page and the video below with your speaking guests.
Amplification: Usually we've found that microphone and PA / ceiling loudspeaker rental or usage is usually low quality and we can not access the audio output of the sound system for recording. Churches usually have good audio amplification but access to audio boards can be an issue. Have them reach out to us with someone who will be in charge of audio that day or who will give us access to the audio board outputs (unfortunately ; the churches almost never return our calls when we reach out in advance or have no idea about audio, a handful of places actually have a line out readily available for recording their microphone feed)
We are hunting for natural movement, emotion, and responses, this means you and your spouse or guests moving around. Kissing, snuggling, Laughing is a great starting point for the couple's interacting. We usually don't want you to look at our camera - just the photographers if they are posing you that way. Let your bridal party, photographer , father of the bride (they usually do what they want anyways, which is okay with us!). and Dj / band know that you want them to listen to your videographer and follow through on their recommendations - if the videographer needs something particular - it's for good reason - simply better footage and audio.
Not everyone is used to working with a wedding film maker - if your wedding film is important to you, please let your bridal party and vendors know that the film , not video - is important to you - We call it a film because we are striving to create the highest quality - you are not paying good money for us to simply show up and slap a camera on a tripod.
We ask you to do this because YOUR opinion matters more to them than ours. We do our due diligence to work with fellow vendors and bridal parties, but please give them a heads up that we will be there to create awesome work that you will love and we will need their help to do so. Film making is a collaborative effort.
Dynamic story telling and film making usually needs some type of movement in the scene, whether subtle or intense. This can mean the camera has to move around while filming to give your brain a sense of environment as the foreground or background shifts.