Wedding Video / DVD TIPS – Selecting your Wedding Videographer

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WEDDING DVD TIPS – Selecting your Wedding Videographer
“A DVD of your wedding day will allow you and your family to relive memories for generations to come.  The people who mean so much to you, the music, the voices, the emotions, all come alive again on video and DVD.”  These memories are priceless.  Who do you trust to capture them?


Tips for the Best Wedding DVD


What is most important aspect to consider when choosing a Videographer? 

In a word, experience.  Too many people in this business get started in DVD production by doing weddings.  Think about it, do you want to trust your once in a lifetime moments to someone who is just learning?  Making mistakes is inevitable when learning anything new.  It can take years to get it right.  I can remember shooting a Filipino wedding during my second year in video.  I shot a short ceremony with the video camera in the pause mode.  When the ceremony finished, I actually put it on record, and got some great floor footage.  Uh, wait a minute folks……… Always go with experience!
Selecting a Videographer, Photographer, or both?  There are some major differences that are obvious – one is an image on film, the other is a moving image on a screen.  But what’s not so obvious is how the two mediums interact with you.  Generally, photographers pose their formal shots, with the exception of what they shoot live.  Videographers generally just document the event and don’t pose shots, although some do.  When you have both a Photographer and a Videographer, the two should meet and have a chat so they can work together.  Both should be talented professionals that want the best for you, no matter what the budget. 

Choosing a Photographer or Videographer.  When the wedding budget starts getting higher, some choose to settle for one or the other.  If I had to choose one or the other, it would be DVD hands down.  Why?  Because a photo captures a moment in time, DVD lets you record time in motion.  A photograph just can’t come close to that.  Here is a possible solution.  If the budget is a concern, decide which is going to be the most important to you.  If it’s DVD, don’t go crazy on the photography package you choose.  If having a photo album is your priority, choose to have a basic DVD package to at least capture the day.  You can always have a good editor polish the original footage into a wedding story over time.  I was at a wedding expo recently and spoke with a bride.  She mentioned she didn’t want a wedding DVD because it wouldn’t be watched that often so why bother.  I said, “A DVD of your wedding day will allow you and your family to relive memories for generations to come.  The people who mean so much to you, the music, the voices the emotions, all come alive again on Video and DVD”.  So having a video or DVD is not just for the bride and groom but also for your families and friends for generations to come.  I can still remember the wonderful time I had at a family get-together watching my daughter’s wedding DVD.  Priceless!  I highly recommend at least a bare bones wedding video for those not sure.  If you shop wisely you can have both.

How important is the best video equipment?  The best equipment is great for technical quality but it is no guarantee of conceptual quality.  Many of the new single and 3 chip digital cameras offer excellent quality and low light capabilities that are advantageous when bright lighting is not desired.  You need to analyse your cost versus benefits when choosing a Videographer and his or her equipment.  I recommend those using 3 chip digital video cameras 1st, (highest cost), 1 chip digital cameras 2nd, (moderate cost) and Super VHS 3rd, (lower cost).  I don’t, in this day and age, recommend VHS or 8 mm.  Remember, equipment alone can’t make a wedding video special, only a talented and creative person can.  Go with someone who loves their job, pays attention to details, and can edit (create) well.


DVD or VHS?  Videotape degrades over time and because one of the major benefits to having a video is for generations, it’s not wise to have just videotape as your primary storage.  If your Videographer doesn’t produce DVDs, he should be able to have them made from his master or digital movie files.  After the first viewing, most people don’t sit through hours of video straight through.  Most fast forward, to the parts they want to see, wearing out the tape.  With a DVD, you can navigate to any segment you wish, quickly and easily.  Regardless of whether you have a DVD player or not, get a DVD for archiving.


What’s more important, the shooting of a video or the editing of it?  This is a great question.  Sinatra sang, “Love and marriage, love and marriage, goes together like a horse and carriage, this I tell you brother, you can’t have one with out the other”.  The same is true for video recording and editing.  You can’t edit with what you don’t have or with poor footage, so having a talented creative Videographer is extremely important.  Issues are positioning, camera angles, lighting and sound.   Assuming the Videographers get adequate footage, I would have to say that editing is more important to the final product.  Not all good Videographers are good editors and creative digital editing is what matters most.  Today’s software programs are amazing for creating, correcting and improving digital video but require a lot of time and talent to use.  Choose the most talented Videographer Editor you can find and afford. 

Why go multi-camera, does it matter?  Generally, an experienced Videographer knows when and where to be, so adequate coverage can be achieved with one camera.  More than 2 cameras are rarely necessary.  But using two or more cameras can have its advantages.  For instance, if an inevitable obstruction gets in the way, the second Videographer can capture the moment.  Extra points of view can only help to get the polished results you deserve during the editing process.  Don’t worry if you choose a 1-camera package.  Experienced Videographers can instinctively plan for capturing the scene in multiple points of view.  This is more difficult but talented editors can weave the footage (insert) in a way that looks like there were multiple cameras.  I shot an international longboat canoe race for the King of Tonga with only one camera.  I took a ride in one of the longboat canoes during a practice run to get insert shots from all viewpoints, and then edited them into the footage of the race for a 3-camera look.  The King was blown away.  It’s all in the editing.
What about editing and special effects?  The art of Wedding Videography can be described as getting colours on a palette – the editing process is the canvas.  Editing can be as simple as removing unnecessary footage, but in the hands of a creative and talented editor your finished wedding video will be a memorable one and something to cherish.  There is no substitute for good editing because it’s not always what you shoot that counts but what you show.  By comparison, shooting is the easy part.  Digital editing involves getting digital video from one or more cameras into the computer (Capture & Encode).  Then the real fun begins.  Generally, 4 hours of editing is required per each attended hour.  So a 4-hour schedule will take approximately 20 hours of editing, an 8-hour schedule 40 hours, double that for two cameras.  For some strange reason, I always seem to put more time into it than that.  I’m a perfectionist I guess!  Many other Videographers just don’t put that amount of time into it and that extra time is what makes all the difference.

Bare bones and low-priced packages do very little editing because of what’s called in-camera editing or cuts only.  In camera editing is a technique that basically means ‘compose, shoot, pause, compose, shoot, pause’ so the original video looks like it was edited.  This type of footage is not perfect but it requires little or no editing.  It’s videotaped and then dubbed to tape.

TIP – this type of inexpensive package is great for adding a Custom Option to, like a “Music Video Highlights” montage affordably.  The editing and FX (special effects) are included in the Option price!

Unlike basic cuts only editing, tastefully produced special effects can add beautiful transition effects between segments such as dissolves, various multi-layer special effects, slow motion, and even broadcast quality graphics and titles for some first class results.  Adobe Pro, After Effects, Liquid Edition, Final Cut Pro are just a few of the many great editing programs the best editors use.


Other Options :  I love the names.  Many Videographers offer all kinds of possibilities; basically they include The Prelude, Highlights, Special Effects, Titles, and Photo Music Videos.  Let’s start with the Prelude.

“The Prelude”.  Perfect for capturing the months leading up to your wedding day

The best wedding video professionals just don’t add some baby photos and music and call it a prelude.  A genuine prelude is a complete production in itself with “A Wedding Story” style that evolves over weeks, even months.  This can include the bride and groom’s courtship stories with new and existing video and photos.  Add on and off camera commentary from friends & family, and then wonderfully weave the prelude story together with editing, transitions, and special effects.  Add some great music, and your prelude is ready to introduce to your family and friends at the reception.


The Wedding Day Highlights Montage.  One the most popular options are the Montage or Music Video Highlights.  Whatever it’s called, you will be happy you chose it.  There are two main styles of editing, one is Assemble Clips and Audio Dub, and another is True Music Video Style Editing.  Because I have been specializing in music video montage editing, I am naturally partial to the true music video style.  I like to tell my clients that when they select this option to make sure to have a box of tissues handy when watching.  The Wedding Day Highlights Montage is one of the most watched segments on your wedding video.  It is a Bride and Groom rated favourite that will capture all the key moments of the wedding day in a 5-10 minute segment.  Slow motion, special effects and the appropriate live or pre-recorded music are skilfully woven together.  Unlike some video editors, the pros do not dub music onto video, that’s too easy.  They insert video over music controlling the flow and timing of the imagery and preserving natural background sounds when appropriate.  This is very detailed, time-consuming work, and it’s the technique used by some of the best editors.


The Photo Music Video.   Great for archiving your photo album to DVD.  Your photos are captured, digitised and set to music with transitions and special effects.  They are very beautiful when all the elements are properly choreographed to the right choice of music.

There are a few more including one I am pioneering –


The Bride and Groom Cam.  It’s a tiny audio-video wireless colour video camera (the size of a quarter) that makes for some fun and interesting imagery and goes where no other Videographer has gone …before.
What to look for when viewing demos.  It’s a good idea to take the time to view a complete wedding DVD from start to finish.  A few minor errors during a long form video are common, so don’t make them an issue.  Look for smooth, steady pans and zooms, the use of a fluid head tripod will be more professional than a handheld.  Look for clean edits that make sense, good colour and clarity, camera positions and angles that compose well, capturing not just the bride and groom, but the wedding party as well.  During the ceremony, look for the classic shots.  The down the aisle facing the alter view, cut to the here comes the bride view, from the alter area.  These two views are hard to get with one camera without some fast repositioning.  In this case, you can’t be in two places at once.  The most important of the classic shots is the close ups during the vows.  Was the camera steady, the audio clear?  Wireless microphones are important here.  You get the picture?  Watch a completely finished product not just polished highlights. 

The bottom line, what does all this cost?  Expect to pay from $1 000 to $5 000 for your wedding day on DVD.  It has been said, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten”.  So make sure you get what you deserve, no matter how much you’re paying.  There are many fine Videographers to choose from.  Many travel, so keep your options open and book early.  Go with what you can afford. 

Questions About Wedding DVD?  Email Studio 777 DVD expert, International Wedding Videographer, , a full service DVD Production Company specializing in highly creative yet affordable video communication solutions for an ever-widening group of clientele in an ever-changing market.  Available for international travel. (Also available for international travel, Thomas Barrera, The DVD Makers)

Courtesy, Wedding Stories :  by International Videographer, Thomas Barrera. Director, The DVD

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