Imagine this scenario - you're cozied up in the getaway car with your love, soaking up the unbelievable joy of the day that just unfolded. The big moments, the little moments, the unexpected moments, the love. It's the kind of day you'll want to re-live over and over again, and that's where a wedding videographer comes in. The incredible Julie of Elysium Productions is here to answer your most pressing questions about hiring a videographer, and why it's a decision you'll never regret. But first, let her highlight reel of 2016 speak for itself...
What's the #1 reason a couple should hire a wedding videographer?
Most importantly, to capture all of the unanticipated moments. The moments you cannot even imagine right now! Many couples forget to prioritize video or really think much about it before the wedding. And then experience the biggest day of their lives and say, "THANK GOODNESS WE HAD A VIDEOGRAPHER THERE!" There is incredible power in a wedding film to fully document a once-in-a-lifetime event in a super comprehensive yet entertaining way!
What are some tips for couples trying to decide which style of videography would suit their day?
The most important tip is to watch A TON of work. Hiring a cinematographer definitely takes more time invested in the selection process than a photographer because you actually have to watch in real time. Narrow it down by what you see on their website - that will ultimately allow you to find what style you like naturally. You may not know the "name" of the style but that's ok. Just the fact that you've gravitated towards certain films over others will define the style that you like.
From there, make sure you set up a time to meet or chat with the studios you have narrowed down. Don't just email and request a price list. This is probably the mistake I would say most couples make when booking a cinematographer. You see, a pricing sheet won't tell you how the studio goes about FILMING your wedding day. It just shows you numbers and the end result. But it's important to find out if their style requires them to be very directorial, bring lighting, record audio well, etc. Each studio has its own style and it's up to YOU to find out how they accomplish those results.
I already have a photographer, why do I need a videographer?
The medium of video has an enormous amount of power to create an emotional reaction. Photos just cannot do that by themselves. Think about it. When you watch a good film in the theater - or even a cool Superbowl ad - you laugh, you cry, you are MOVED. The medium of video combines the elements of music, sound, and movement in order to accurately document this once-in-a-lifetime day.
Hiring a cinematographer may seem like an extraordinary or "luxury" expense, but in the end, it will actually extend your entire wedding investment by DECADES by preserving these memories in this super effective format. Having great photographs and a great film go hand-in-hand but each does not "replace" the other. They serve two completely different purposes.
How much should a couple budget for a videographer?
Although the perception is slowly changing, think about this: wedding cinematography requires about three times the amount of equipment (audio, stabilization, more lenses since we can only shoot horizontal not vertical, more expensive software and expensive computers that can handle it) and about 5x the amount of editing time. To think about it another way, if you share photos that you take on your phone on Instagram, do you ever edit little videos to post? Probably not because it's very time-consuming. So while so many couples think that a cinematographer should be less expensive than their photographer, to get a great film they should budget equally for each.
Can I use my favorite song for the video? How does music licensing work?
The short answer is no unless you have a good $150,000 budgeted for your wedding film in order to license popular music (as it is about $15,000 per song). Without going into all of the legalities, it now makes the most sense for videographers to buy licensed music for our productions.
Although this could feel like a bummer, it's actually a huge advantage. Several services have started up that allow videographers to affordably license great music from unknown bands/composers. And the music is GOOD. Now we are able to create unique soundtracks (just like a Hollywood movie!) that create a separate memory already tied to those well-known songs!
What's the average timespan of the finished product?
Most studios edit some sort of Highlight Film or Sneak Peek anywhere from 2-6 minutes. From there, it varies widely based on the cinematographer's style. They may offer a documentary (non-storytelling) edit that is 2-3 hours long or some offer a more cinematic way of editing that lends itself to a shorter experience that is anywhere from 7-40 minutes. Remember, don't be shy and ask the studios you are considering to see fully delivered films and find what works best for you.
Film + Tips: Julie of Elysium Productions