I know some of you are probably saying to yourselves “I can’t afford a videographer, I’ll just have my uncle Bill do it for free.”. Well actually Videography is not as expensive as you might think, and your uncle Bill should be a guest at your wedding having a good time and not having to work. Videography is one of those businesses that has benefited greatly by advances in technology. The equipment has become more readily available, better quality, easier to use, and more adaptable to the wedding environment.
Videography is one of those things that you get what you pay for. On the other hand, you don’t have to pay a huge amount to get a great video. I have been a videographer since the old days when Super VHS cameras where the main camera in the industry. At that time the editing decks were also more expensive and more limited in their abilities. Today any good videographer worth his money is using a digital camera and a digital editor. There are a few things to consider when choosing a videographer; Price, Equipment, Choices, and last but certainly not least, personality.
Like I said before price is a big factor in everyone’s life, especially when it comes to a big ticket event like a wedding. You have hundreds of expenses, and countless choices as to what stays in and what goes out. Let me tell you that some times some people spend way too much on a photographer, and nothing at all on a videographer. That is not a very good choice. Photography is a very important things to have, don’t get me wrong, but if you do some shopping around you can afford both. The beauty of video is that you don’t have to rely on your recollection of the event by looking at motionless soundless still shots. You pop in your DVD, and instantly you are back at your wedding day. You can see yourself and your guests laughing and having fun. If any of your relatives are in another country or state and couldn’t make it to your wedding, you can send them the entire wedding on DVD instead of picking just a few pictures. We also specialize in making photo montages on DVD or VHS which are also very popular to send to relatives. On one DVD you can put hundreds of digital pictures. If you shop around a little you can find a professional videographer that will create a fantastic video for you at a reasonable price. We have packages starting at $350 and going up from there depending on how much you want done. I will warn you that some videographers think they are Spielberg and will want to charge you $5000. If your budget can accommodate that then that’s wonderful, but most people cannot. Most professional Videographers using 3 chip digital cameras as we do, and using computer non-linear editing software as we do, will charge you anywhere between $500 to $1000 for a wedding. Anything above or below that I suggest you give it a second look. If its too cheap then its someone just breaking into the business and you wont be happy with the results, and if its too high then you will probably be over paying.
The next thing you should look at is Equipment. Are they using the latest digital equipment or some dusty old cameras from the disco days and over charging for their work. Believe it or not there are still some Videographers out there using the old VHS cameras and selling themselves for top dollar. It’s a case of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). Find out what type of equipment they are using. The standard in the industry today is to use a 3 chip digital DV camera. DV Format is the best and Digital is obviously better then analog. The 3 chip refers to the inside of the camera having 3 separate computer chips that split up the visual spectrum and create a sharper and more vibrant image. For editing non-linear computer editing is the only way to go. Anything else is old and will not give you the most for your money.
Choices comes down to what will this company do for you. With our company for example we have packages that are suited to just about every budget, but since everyone is different we are able to customize each package to suit the needs of the client. With some companies the packages are written in stone and cannot be modified and there are no substitutions.
Personality is an easy one. Talk to the person who is actually going to shoot your wedding. Meet them, ask them questions Do you like them? Can you get along with them? Remember your wedding day is a very stressful day. You want to be surrounded by people whose personalities you can get along with. I believe you need all the professionals at your wedding to be team players. They all need to work together to make your day wonderful, yet get their individual jobs done. You don’t want to be pulling out your hair because the person you hired to do a job doesn’t know what to do. Hire someone who you feel comfortable with and who has experience. I myself have over 15 years experience as a wedding videographer and I can assure you that I have seen everything there is to see under the sun, and the only way to get through it is to keep a cool head.
In short, I just want to encourage you all to keep the video in your budget. Hire a professional company that is knowledgeable, and is reasonable priced, and that you feel comfortable with, and you will have a great video that you and your future kids and grandkids will enjoy. Best of luck.