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“I don’t want the videographers to miss anything, but how much should I pay for extra cameras and videographers?”
If you find yourself asking yourself this question, you are not alone. The truth is that there is no way to know because each videographer and videography company is different. We’ve created a list of the various factors that determine the type of coverage that you receive:
Style of Cameraman
The number one aspect which determines the quality of your wedding videography package is the style! Watch sample videos and pay attention to the aspects below. These will give you an indication of the style of the videographer. Use this information to decide what you’d be comfortable paying for:
One thing that I feel has disgraced the profession is the multitude of videographers that are glued to a tripod. Tripod use (or abuse) has its purposes, which includes steady shots and smooth horizontal panning. But this is best for scripted footage, such as having actors and pre-planned shot sequences. Many professional videographers are well-versed in this, but also have the ability to remove the camera from its anchor and get quality footage that is only attainable on foot. Honestly, anyone with one day of training can use a camera on a tripod efficiently and skilfully and I do not believe this justifies a high hourly pay scale.
The Running Man
Be wary of the fact that even though a tripod makes the footage stationary, not being anchored to one can mean that the videographer is running back and forth to get other shots. This may be distracting to the ambiance of the ceremony or reception and should be of concern. If you prefer the better footage with a great videographer, you might want to compromise and ask him to be less noticeable or distracting.
This can be a good thing and a bad thing. This is also seen in the best of photographers and the worst of photographers. Watching as the videographer barks orders and the whole thing is caught on tape, “Smile! Turn that way! Good!” Please avoid this at all costs. If a videographer is good at scripted shots, you will see the results in the sample footage. Some people can see it in the faces of the bride and groom unfortunately, unless they are great actors. This is why I prefer a hands-off approach to get natural and candid shots that reflect the actual joy they experience on their special day. This, however, will not yield any scripted sequence and this is an issue described further in the editing section.
The “2 cameras, 1 videographer” option
This means that one camera does not move. This is good as a backup to get footage at other parts of the wedding, but you really have to see footage to see if they use this effectively. If the editor cuts back and forth to the same frame, it may not be to your liking. Also, the backup camera (“B” camera) is usually one that costs less (while your cameraman may be using a more expensive camera) and this is most noticeable when edited with the better footage from the “A” camera.
New Toys, like the Button Camera
These are fun and great, but just make sure that it is worth it. Watch footage that actually uses the new gadget and see if you want that in your video at all. Also, be wary of the fact that the groom may have to wear the camera (which is not that big) and the transmitter (which is not big either, but can get annoying for more than an hour at a time). If you like the feature and understand the pros and cons, I say go for it.
One example involves a wedding where the altar was in front of a water fountain, of which the venue forgot to turn off as the bride and groom said their vows. The audio was drowned out by the constant pattering of water. A lavalier microphone is the type of microphone used in interviews, usually attached to the lapel. Grooms tend to dislike carrying the transmitter, so I alternatively place it somewhere near the altar. This also provides two audio streams where the editor hasthe option of choosing the clearer of the two.
Again, take a look at final products to see what you are buying. Many editors are not professional editors, using purchased templates to make their final product. This often results in a “cheesy” feel (I have permission to use that word because my clientele prefer to avoid “cheesiness” and use that word commonly). Be wary of paying for special effects where it takes 20 minutes of work to plug in footage into a template.
Music video styles can vary between great and downright horrible. Often, footage is clipped and just played to music in the background. If they take it one step further they will sync the clips with the beat of the music, often with transitions that may or may not please you. Many editors get plug-in packages that include wedding video transitions. For example the video clip morphs into a wedding ring and zooms off. This can cause what I call “effect overkill” and is the result of the person trying to let the editing program’s options make the video good by including every possible feature.
A real, professional editor can make the footage look good with simple cuts and then adds special effects to carefully add emphasis to certain moments. Look at any movie that is done well. Most of the cuts and transitions are straight cuts or fade transitions that are well-placed.
The style of a DVD case is often representative of the dedication and style that the studio has for its videos, though I would always say to not judge a book by its cover. However, the printing of the DVD is important. Adhesive labels will peel off in the years to come and may damage DVD players. The alternatives are inkjet-printable surfaces, which allows direct printing on the DVD. This isn’t as good as silk-screening, but silk-screens (used on the DVD movies you buy) are expensive and meant for printing thousands of DVDs.
Make sure that you know how many videos you will receive and how much it will cost to get any extra copies beyond that. Also, see if you are able to copy the DVD. If you have the option of getting the video hosted on a website, find out if there are any extra costs and how long the video will be hosted for (some places only offer this service for six months).
Extras, like a love story option or slide shows, are great. Just remember that some places offer extras to make easy extra money, while the true purpose should be to give the client flexibility and options to satisfy personal preferences. See if the price justifies the service. It’s like getting air conditioning (when it is not included) with a new car; it gives the seller a chance to increase revenue on top of a closed sale. Explore the options and flexibility of a videographer, although. It shows skill and talent to be able to cater to each unique client.
The truth: Many studios take advantage of the insane markup on wedding services and price accordingly. The best advice I can give is to pay for talent and skill. Expensive video equipment and pre-paid editing templates do not always justify a budget-tightening price.
So when you are looking at wedding videography packages, try to see what they actually offer beyond flashy terms and “fluff.” Many things should come by default with a wedding video montage. Be wary of when things are waved around like a banner (like “including 20 special effects”) when they have little bearing on the calibre of the production. The best advice I could give is to look around and weigh the price for the end product. Always see actual weddings, instead of flashy promo clips that do not reflect what you will show your loved ones in the years to come.
Still on the lookout for a wedding videographer? Take a look at our supplier listing!
5 Portrait shootings = 500 EUR