“Find a company that does what you want well rather than requesting another company to replicate their style. Experience cannot be replicated overnight.” ~GYP
I filmed weddings early in my career as a photographer. Since the early 2000’s, DSLRs have redefined what wedding videos are. The days of 1-2 hour long wedding films are long gone. Now, you will actually want to watch your wedding film more than once… and so will many others! With the popular wedding short films of 3-8 minutes, you can easily share and re-watch your day over and over. The best part of it all is the cinematic experience that wasn’t as accessible before!
So, now that you have narrowed down your videographer choices to your top 3 and your meetings are scheduled, let’s look at some important questions to ask. We understand that they’re the professionals, not you, but you still need to ask the right questions to make sure the company matches your vision. You don’t need to know all the technical terms of filmmaking or how it works (that’s why you’re hiring someone to do it!). Some companies will do their best to be honest with you if they find that they may not be the best fit for you, and I’m not talking about money, but your actual creative vision. However, let’s be honest, most companies will want to earn your business so it’s your responsibility to hire the right one.
The questions below are divided into sections that translates into different facets of your film.
Ask if they record audio separately throughout the day, including the first look, gift exchange, card reading, ceremony, vows, and speeches. Clear spoken words are what adds the most value to personalizing your film. Who will be wired with mics and how? These answers can reassure that they’re the right team for you. If you have an outdoor wedding, be sure to let your videographers know of any external factors that may interfere with audio (ie. water fountains, nearby airports, major streets, children, etc.). If your favorite films do not have spoken words and more like a music video style, then you don’t need to worry about this.
Details of Your Day
Ask how many videographers will be at your wedding and their experience working with the company. If details are important to you, you don’t want the video team to capture the details at the expense of missing a key moment of you, and vice versa. Having multiple videographers can help ensure that everything from dresses, shoes, flowers, DIYs to guests and key events are covered. Moreover, learn about the additional videographer’s experience level and work with the company. Their familiarity working with the company and understanding of the style will keep your film visually cohesive. We have a saying with our team, “Our film is only as good as our second shooter.” This means the second shooters should be skilled and often times their roles can be interchangeable with the main shooter. We believe their work will “make” or “break” the film.
Ask how they direct guests and couples during the photo session. This is your big day. Breakdown the different parts of the films you enjoy watching. Does the film feel strictly documentary and do you feel like a bystander watching the events unfold naturally? Or do the shots feel very intentional and you feel like you’re part of the story? If this is the case, often times “candid moments” are directed, and that is totally okay! In fact, some direction from video is great so that you know the team is proactively getting what they need, rather than reactively which could lead to some issues later on if their style is more cinematic (vs. documentary). For some couples, “posing” is non-preferred but keep in mind that directing is very different from posing. Posing can seem unauthentic while directing a moment allows you to still be you. That being said, it is your responsibility to understand their style and see if it’s well within your vision and comfort zone.
Security & Trust
Research the company to make sure it has a long standing of reviews, some social media presence, and years of experience in the business. This is especially important for couples who are paying a high price tag for the service. Venues will request for proof of liability insurance from your vendors, videographers included. These are some items required when hiring a trusted video team. If you are hiring an amateur or a student, there may be other incurred costs like a one day liability insurance or more work on your part to ensure they have everything they need. Other concerns like delayed delivery times and lack of accountability are risks you take when working with any vendor so be sure to do your due diligence before tying the knot with each one. Setting very clear communication from the beginning will eventually save you headache, time and money in the long run. The goal is to not be left disappointed or with nothing at all.
I hope these thoughts and insights are helpful to you. Wedding research and planning are not easy, but there is so much joy in the big day that makes it all worth it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I end here with one of my all time favorite wedding films. Enjoy!
May love be with you.