Your wedding video – Your wedding insurance

 In Wedding Videographer


Your Wedding video :  Your Wedding insurance

By Studio 777 Photography and Video Productions

Just when you thought selecting a Wedding Videographer for your big day couldn’t get more complicated, it just did.  With today’s incredible DVD features, making a DVD can be the best thing to happen on your wedding day – providing it is done right.  It can be the best possible memento of your wedding day.  It is your insurance against that all-too-common disease – WEDDING AMNESIA.  Read on and learn what to look for in a Videographer when you go shopping for a wedding video.

Everything has been planned down to the last toothpick.  All your family and friends are seated comfortably.  Your background music is playing in just the right key.  Your flowers look unbelievable and your dress fits like a glove.  The only thing left to do is walk down the aisle and marry the person of your dreams…

Next thing you are sitting at your main table and you are married.  How did you get there?  You have this gold band on your finger…  You were so nervous and excited that you suffered from WEDDING AMNESIA.

After the 40 interviews with Photographers and product providers, planning and planning, you do not have a single recollection of how your wedding went…  This is your insurance :  Your Wedding Video!  The cost of a professional DVD production is nominal and will provide you with years of good memories of your wedding day.

View a full-length video

Most Videographers will show you a demo video.  I prefer to show my bridal couples a full-length DVD.  A DVD’s length is determined by how much the images are compressed – the visual quality of the final DVD can be affected.  A demo DVD might only be 30 minutes long, and it may look fantastic, but when you look at a full length DVD, the compression ratio might affect the quality.  Ask to see a full-length DVD.  You can skip some scenes so you do not have to watch a 3-hour movie.

Look for some of the key elements that will ensure you receive the best production :

a)  Is the picture clear?  Is it snowy or sharp?

b)  Is the camera steady, or does the camera shake?

c)  Is the sound good?  Look at the church section and reception.  Most sound problems occur here.  Listen to the sound carefully.  Is it clear, without any hiss or distortion?  Is the music appropriate (it may not be to your taste in the demo, but does it add to the scene, or is it just ordinary and uninspiring)?  Most production houses allow you to select your own music.

d)  Was the composition good?  Did the Videographer perhaps cut off the head of the horse with the bride standing next to it?



Mass duplicated DVDs, such as those you buy at your local shopping centre, are created using a different process from the one used to create your wedding DVD.  Remember that the quality of your wedding DVD will only be as good as the equipment used to record it.  There is no magical cure for poor camera quality or camera work.

A video camera that uses a 3-CCD chip is the most recent and highest resolution camera available (except HD).  Digital cameras have a resolution of 530 lines.  Super VHS & Hi-8 cameras (which use analog tape) have a resolution of 400 lines and VHS cameras have a resolution of 230 lines.  The new HD cameras have a resolution as high as 1080 lines (you must have an HD TV & HD DVD player to view this format).  The higher the resolution, the better the quality of the picture, but expect to pay more for a Videographer who uses 3-Chip Digital cameras.  I do not recommend Super VHS, VHS or 8 mm.  There is much better technology available.

Remember, equipment alone does not make a good wedding video.  It takes a Professional Wedding Videographer with talent and creativity.  The person also needs to know his/her equipment like the back of his/her hand.  If a situation should change, the Videographer must be able to adapt within seconds.
Recording something as difficult as a wedding takes a great deal of skill and experience.  There is simply NO substitute for experience.  Even with today’s ultra-sophisticated video cameras, it is not just a matter of “point and shoot”.  There are a multitude of factors to take into account when recording a wedding.


Editing / Post-Production

This is where a lot of time is spent on the final product.  An average wedding video may take from 20 to 40 hours of editing (depending on the length of the recording).  The editor takes all the footage and puts it together with transitions and music, as agreed upon with the bridal couple.  A Professional Videographer should be able to provide this service.

Some editing terms :

Non-linear editing –  use of computer versus a VCR.  This does not necessarily have any effect on the final footage – it is one method of editing.

DVD authoring – if a Videographer provides this service, your final product should look something like you would rent at ‘Mr. Video / Video Den’, with menus and chapters.  This is a lot more work than just transferring footage to DVD.

Digital Video – this is the process by which footage is captured.  Whether it is digital or analog does not necessarily dictate quality.  There may be bad digital video just as there can be bad analog video.

DVD-making is a complex skill, with motion, sound, continuity and post-production issues to consider, in addition to the usual lighting and framing issues.

You should perhaps compare a wedding video to your wedding dress :  it is something you will cherish for the rest of your life.  If you buy something cheap you will have an inferior DVD of your special day for the rest of your life, and you can never recapture the day, at any cost!

You should also think very carefully about what the wedding really means to you.  It is not just (as most people believe) tying the knot or a public expression of a lifelong commitment, it is the bringing-together of two families (and this includes the close friends from both sides).  Yes, the ceremony is important, but the main fact is that many people have come a long way just to be with you for this occasion.  It is very unlikely that you will ever have a similar opportunity to have the same people together at the same time.  You will want to remember the people, who they were, where they came from, what they were like.  In years to come, they will either not be with us anymore, or they may be living abroad (or you will be), or they will have changed (for example, they will be all grown up!).  Beware of too short a DVD – then the finished DVD contains a mere hint of the flavour of the ceremony.  The bulk of the DVD should reflect the people present, and what they say or do.

You will have very little opportunity to relax with everybody present, and you will miss a great deal of the day – especially what happens while you are busy elsewhere (welcoming guests at the receiving line, driving in or out separately whilst your guests chat amongst themselves, during the taking of the photographs, etc.)  It is also sometimes interesting to peek behind the scenes, the hustle and bustle in the kitchens, the fussing over the flower arrangements…

Nevertheless, you will want to experience the other side of your wedding day – this time at leisure – in your living room.
Questions you should ask your Videographer :

  • How long have you been in business?  Experience counts.  A more experienced Videographer should do a better job for you.  If you use an established undertaking, that means that they have been in business for a long time and probably will not shut down next week.
  • How long do you have to wait for the completed DVD?  Some productions take 4 to 6 weeks, depending on your package.
  • Can I look at some of your recent and past work?  View recent and past work.  You pick the DVD you want to look at, not the Videographer.
  • How will the Videographer be dressed at the wedding?  No jeans!  It is a wedding and the Videographer must be dressed for the occasion.
  • What type of lighting does the Videographer use?  Even with the best of low light cameras, you sometimes do require a bit of light.  This light also will help your Photographer to focus in low light conditions at the reception.
  • What packages do you offer?  There are different packages, based on the experience, production cost, cameras and number of DVDs required.
  • What type of cameras do you use?  Some cameras perform better in low light conditions.  Others have a greater zoom range.
  • Do you offer Non-Linear Digital Editing?  The latest and newest technology is non-linear editing (on a computer).  Ask how many hours your Videographer spends on editing, since it will make a difference to the final price.  It is not unusual for a Videographer to spend 30 to 40 plus hours on the computer, editing a wedding DVD.  Expect a price difference (and quality difference) between those who edit non-linearly and those who do not.
  • Do you have back-up equipment?  Anything can happen.  Are your Videographers prepared?
  • Do you use wireless microphones?  Despite what some DJ’s might say, you want a HIGH QUALITY DVD production using the latest wireless microphones, producing just as good or even better quality sound than running your sound through the DJ’s sound equipment.  Audio quality is just as important as video quality.  At the ceremony, have the bride and groom covered by a point mic and a wireless microphone on the podium for any readers or singers.  Discuss audio placement with your Videographer ahead of time.
  • What are your guarantees and liabilities?  Most guarantees are written into the contract.  What happens if something should happen to your Videographer?
  • Do you have a contract / terms and conditions?  Get everything in writing!  Ask how much of a deposit is required and when the remaining balance is due.  This should also be in the contract.
  • Do you copy-protect the DVD?  Protect your DVDs from being copied and distributed.
  • Will the recording interfere with the religious and ceremonial proceedings?  In some churches or other religious buildings, there are areas the Videographer may not enter.
  • How much do you charge for additional hours beyond the agreed time as stipulated in the contract?  There is usually a point when the Videographer has enough footage.  If you require their services beyond this, there may be an extra charge as they will incur more costs in post-production.
  • Can you work with the Photographer?  You need to work together so that the bride and groom are relaxed enough for the Videographer to get the best footage.  Some Photographers and Videographers keep walking into each other’s shots.  A professional will know how to handle the situation.  The bride and groom should not even be aware of the problem.
  • Until what time will you be at the reception?  Some production houses stay at the reception only up to an agreed time.
  • What do you charge to travel?  There may be an additional charge if your Videographer needs to travel.
  • How much do you charge for additional copies of the wedding DVD?  Make sure the copy DVDs are exactly the same as yours, with the same cover prints and DVD prints as on your DVD.
  • Do you have references that I can call?  It is always good to hear from someone who has worked with the Videographer before.
  • If you travel far, do you sleep over?  It is sometimes just too late or dangerous to travel home and the Videographer may need to sleep over.  This should be in the contract.
  • What other services or special effects do you offer?  Some professional studios include childhood photos, engagement photos, etc. on the DVD.  As some studios charge for these services, confirm whether there is any extra cost involved.
  • What will you charge to record my wedding, based on the coverage I am looking for?  Most Videographers are prepared to customize a package for you.

* If ever your Photographer / Videographer asks for a “private session” where ONLY he/she may record/take photos, get yourself another Photographer / Videographer.  If he/she does that, the person will take up almost all the time and the other professionals will not get the footage you are entitled to, the footage you are paying for!  STAY AWAY from studios that insist on “private time”.

If you are on a budget, let the Videographer know.  If your budget is flexible, wait to ask about pricing until you have explained to the Videographer what you are looking for and until after the Videographer has talked about skill, equipment and service he/she can provide.

Things I would ask you :

  • What is your wedding date?
  • What is the name and address of your venue?
  • What time does your church service start?
  • Where will you and the groom get dressed?
  • What are your requirements for a wedding DVD?
  • Have you seen something that you particularly like?

A Videographer needs to be very receptive to what you want.  It is equally important for the bride to say what she does not want.

A Professional Wedding DVD isn’t expensive, it’s Priceless!

No money can buy back your big day, BUT you can relive it every time you watch your professionally produced DVD.  You should enjoy every second of it!

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By Studio 777 Photography and Video Productions 

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