Eyes Wide Open Gets The Best Wedding Video

Get the perfect video record of your wedding takes more than just your Cousin Barry and his trusty digital video camera. No matter what you might see on YouTube, a memorable wedding video requires professional knowledge of camera angles, lighting, editing, duplicating and most of all, a gift for telling the story of your romance.

The most important qualification in choosing a wedding videographer is experience. You’re purchasing a specialist type of product and you should seek out someone who completely understands how to create a video record of your wedding day. Think of yourselves as the producers of your own life story, which you are. Use the following guidelines to make up a checklist for each candidate to be your wedding videographer.

1.Ask about experience. If the videographer replies that he or she is just starting out, or that they’ve been in the business less than a year, note that on their interview sheet. Don’t cross them off right away, but be careful.

2. View demos. Insist on seeing a demo DVD of his or her previous work. A competent videographer often will provide a demo before you even ask. If the candidate refuses to let you see his or her work, cross that company off your list. Be sure to watch an entire video from beginning to end.

3. Get a sense for how well the videographer communicates with people. After all, this person is the “director” of your video. He or she needs to be able to politely, but firmly, guide guests and other professionals in the creation of scenes. At the same time, the videographer must respect the limits set by the person in charge of the wedding venue, such as a priest. Disputes can seriously harm the quality of your wedding video.

4. Ask about the videographer’s preferred style. As with photographers, videographers can use a reality-TV approach; a documentary style that includes narration and interviews with guests and family members; or a cinematic style that makes the bride and groom into the stars of the story. Choose the style that suits you best.

5. Be firm about knowing the price before you sign a contract. Ask especially about fees for anything that the videographer considers an “add-on,” rather than a service that’s part of the overall wedding video package. At that same time, be wary of any quote that’s much lower than the average of other videographers. Good wedding videos cost money, and a quality professional deserves to be paid fairly. There’s usually a reason for any extremely cheap quotes, and that reason most often is poor quality and/or poor performance. Don’t get suckered by a low bid.

6. Ask about cameras and equipment. A quality videographer will use at least two cameras; one simply isn’t enough to capture all the action. The very best wedding videos are made with three cameras; two for roving, and a third left on what’s known as a “static wide shot” that records the overall venue. Scenes from all three cameras are then edited together to make your wedding video.

7. Ask about the final product. Good editing is critical to a quality wedding video. Check with your proposed videographer about such issues as

  • The length in minutes of the final version;
  • More than one version, say a 15-minute “highlights reel” and a full “director’s cut,” just like in the movies;
  • If the video will have a menu to access “chapters” easily;

8. Ask about the video format. Many videographers recommend asking for wide-screen, high-definition format, which is the emerging format for all quality videos.

9. Ask about extra copies. Most videographers retain the copyright of the finished wedding video, mainly to earn more money for extra copies. While many couples feel this is an unjustified cost - after all, it’s your story being documented - the reality is that the creativity and professional skill that went into creating the video is actually the service for which you’re paying. Be sure to clarify the situation regarding copies, and ask if the videographer has a package on copies - a lower price per copy for a higher volume of total copies, for instance.

The bottom line: Select the best videographer you can afford, and enjoy watching the results!