Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why You Should Hire a Videographer

As the economy went in the direction that it did, I noticed that many of my clients were cutting out the video portion entirely. I realize it is very important to stay on budget, but it is also important to balance, and make sure that all of your requirements are being met within the budget that you have. I thought it was better to hear directly from industry experts on why video is such an important part of your wedding day. To order to answer this question, I have spoken to two very good videographers serving the Baltimore and DC Metropolitan areas. Here is what they say!

Jessica – Is DC based, and covers Washington DC and Northern Virginia. She will also travel out of her "core" area.

1. Why should couples hire a professional videographer?

Photography is an art form, and it captures one aspect of the day beautifully. A video is different because it includes movement and sound – your walk down the aisle, what it sounded like when you were pronounced husband and wife for the first time, that groovy dance only your Dad knows how to do, and the crazy stories the best man chose to share. You will be able to remember those moves and words if you have a video to watch on your ten or twenty year anniversary. A professional videographer, unlike a friend or family member with a camera, will not only be able to capture all those moments, with color corrected and non shaky video, but also with professional quality wireless microphones so that you will actually be able to hear the groom whisper “I love you” when the camera person is standing safely out of the way. Without professional video of the day’s events, you may be looking at a great photo of you and your guests laughing and wondering, what was so funny.

2. Will you edit videos shot by an amateur?

Yes, we will edit videos provided to us by amateur videographers. I was contacted recently by a woman whose friend videotaped her wedding. We were able to help clean it up a little, but there were parts that were too dark or too bright to see clearly and most of the video was shaky. The audio for the ceremony was hard to discern, but we were able to boost it a little, cut it down and transfer it to a DVD that worked on the couple’s DVD player. In the end, they weren’t given a great wedding video, but we were able to get it to the point where they could watch it.

3. What price should a couple expect to pay for a good and experienced videographer (range or percentage of wedding budget)?

Prices vary from company to company. I can say that it would be hard to find a professional videographer with years of experience who can do much for under $1,000.00. Likewise, there are several professionals in this area who will not work for under $5,000.00. Ask about hours of shooting and a la carte options when discussing prices – but keep in mind that editing takes anywhere from 4-6 times the number of hours shooting. So, even if the videographer is only on site for 3 hours, and you are having your video edited, he/she will most likely spend up to 18 hours on your DVD. Personally, I have spent up to 50 hours editing a single video. Try to keep this in mind when asking about prices.

6. Do you work closely with the photographer on the wedding day?

I work closely with the photographer and make it my priority to stay out of his/her way. Unlike with video, which is shooting thirty frames a second, photographers only have one chance to get the shot. I am certainly not going to be the one who gets in the way when that moment happens.

7. How do you set yourself and your product apart from others in the industry?

I run a boutique video company. I have a few associates that I work with, so we can handle more than one wedding in a weekend, but I do not farm out. Everyone who works for me is trained by me for a long time before they are sent out on their own. In addition, our videos are not cookie cutter. I work with every couple on an individual basis to find out what they really want captured that day and how they want it edited in terms of scope and style.
- is Baltimore based and travels to Baltimore, Annapolis and the Eastern Shore. He will travel outside his "core" area.

2. Will you edit videos shot by an amateur?

Typically, I don’t like to. First, the video is not shot with professional equipment. It is almost impossible to edit films produced with off-the shelf video cameras and not using wireless microphones for the vows. Things are missed, shaky, not calibrated, timecoded - make for a nightmare in the studio. Ironically, even “professionally” shot footage that wasn’t shot by the editor can be difficult to edit. Every videographer has their own shooting style which compliments their editing. When the familiarity does not exist, the approach taken to filming will make it difficult to edit – ultimately hurting the final product. There is only so much a professional videographer can mask with music and special effects.

3. What price should a couple expect to pay for a good and experienced videographer (range or percentage of wedding budget)?

In all honesty, an average video package on our end is about 40 hours of work from start to finish. From shooting on the day-of, travel time, and then editing and post- production. We base our pries on the estimated hours of work we put into our projects, the material goods cost, and annual maintenance fees for our equipment. Be wary of those vendors who seem too good to be true. Chances are- they are. The market is flooded with start ups and amateurs who think they can just pick up a camera and do the job. They will charge $1,000.00 or less, for photo or video, and you will find that they are either no good, or not charging enough to keep up with expenses.

4. What do you say to clients who decide to have a friend/family member shoot their video?

Although Uncle Charlie has the best of intentions, does he have the proper equipment to do the job right? Does he have the stamina, know-how and experience when it comes to filing a wedding? Can he anticipate the important events and know what to film and when? When you think about it, capturing, producing and creating professional video in the editing process is extremely demanding. If you wouldn’t allow a family member to capture your photographs, than why rely on one to capture your video? Your wedding day is too important to take chances on photo and video services.

5. Many couples believe that with a professional photographer, especially when they spend thousands of dollars, that they do not need a videographer. How will a professional video enhance the photographer’s album/images?

The first question a couple has to ask themselves’ when budgeting for video and/or photos is “are you getting what you are paying for”. I believe that photo and video are equally important on your wedding day. Photo and video are the only way you can relive your day. For example, my Grandfather passed away when I was 10. He was like a father-figure to me. When he passed, it was devastating. Sure, we had TONS of pictures of him and those pictures helped to bring back memories and were very important. About 4 years ago, my Aunt stumbled upon some video footage of him at a picnic. When he appeared for 30 seconds or so, I had realized that I was looking at my most possession. Just being able to see him walk and talk again was priceless. Your video just isn’t about your wedding, it’s about documenting you and your families for future generations to share and reflect upon.

7. How do you set yourself and your product apart from others in the industry?

We are not a large video company that has many different shooting and editing crews. I personally oversee just about all of our shoots and do all of the editing on all of our projects. My mother Sandy is my primary “go-to” videographer on the days where I am personally already booked. We work with the same regular pool of two or three other family members of whom I’ve trained with the same eye for detail. I am also young and generally cater to the same age group. Finally, I feel our work is far-and-beyond the best in our market area, especially for our reasonable price points.

Both experts agree on the Top 4 questions you should be asking when interviewing potential videographers.

1. How much experience/wedding experience does he/she have? Live events move quickly and there are no second changes. Experienced videographers know how to avoid making grave mistakes.

2. What technology does he/she employ? There are a lot of great professional cameras and microphones available. Primarily, you are looking for someone with up-to-date, broadcast quality equipment. You also want to make sure you receive your final product in the format that you want, whether it is on a DVD for friends/family members or podcasts for your iPod.

3. Do you know who you will be working with? A lot of video companies employ subcontractors. Make sure you view the portfolio samples of the videographer that will shoot your wedding.

4. Is he/she unobtrusive? It’s always great to work with a videographer who has been recommended – by the venue, your planner, a friend or the photographer. You definitely want someone who is going to “play nice with others”!

No comments: