Chances are that if you are looking for a modern wedding highlight film you will be presented with tiers, packages, or even a savvy a la carte system of pricing. Is the ultra exclusive Scarlet Emerald package really that much better than the Premier Diamond? This post will help the Bride and Groom decipher the wedding package lingo and make savvy decisions to start off their newlywed lives together.
1.) # of Camera Operator, Cinematographer, Videographer - this refers to the amount of people that will be shooting your wedding day film. Not all videographers are the same, many times the main cinematographer is sub-contracting a "second shooter". The second shooter can be a great cinematographer that runs his or her own wedding film business, or a high school student doing their class project. The more camera ops. there are, the more coverage you will have. Two angles of the same shot is not only a piece of mind, but can lead to more seamless and creative editing. Multiple camera ops.can also cover different events happening at different times. If your wedding is scheduled where the Groom and Bride are getting ready at the same time in different places, you really want to make sure you get at least two cinematographers. Pro-Tip: 2 is good, 3 can get crowded. You want to factor in how fun and comfortable the entire day will be. Between the photographers and videographers, you don't want an army of paparazzi (or maybe some of you do) storming your every sweet moment..
2.) HD, 1080, 4k - this doesn't refer to the size of your television. This refers to the amount of resolution that your videos will be delivered in. HD has 720 lines of resolution across the width of the video. 1080 or Full HD has 1080 lines, 4k or Ultra HD has around 4,000 lines. The more resolution the crisper and sharper the image. What registers as cinematic to us has little to do with resolution, and more to do with lighting, color, and sound. Most likely, you watch videos on your phone or tablet in 720 and never complain. You still want your wedding film to be delivered in at least Full HD, which most videographers should offer. Pro Tip: Most prosumer cameras can now shoot in 4k, if someone advertises to you that they can shoot in 4k, and adds this into a pricing tier, take this to be a clear marketing gimmick and stay away.
3.) Full Event Coverage - if you have parents and grand-parents this is most likely all they will really care for. They didn't grow up using snapchat, they want to see the full wedding from beginning to end, the more footage the better. And believe me, they will watch it beginning to end; more than once. Most likely a Bride and Groom won't even sit down to watch the full event coverage of their own wedding. A full-length edit usually includes the full ceremony as well as the main reception events (you want to specify what those events are). I can't imagine that any videographer actually films the entirety of the reception, there's always the family friend who does that for free. Full or clean coverage means that every moment of the event is recorded. What happens when someone decides to walk in front of camera A, as long as camera B has a clear shot we have clean or full coverage. Full event coverage is usually an added expense since the cinematographer will have to bring a couple more cameras and tripods and will definitely need at least one second shooter.
4.) Highlight and Feature Film - sometimes the chronological, documentary type film is a tad slow and has you scrubbing ahead. Enter the highlight film. It's cut or edited with a pace, with more creativity to keep things visually interesting, it hones in on a particular story, it creates an emotive response. They are usually cut to music and are a best of the video and audio sequences from the day. A highlight film is anywhere from 4-8 minutes in length. A feature length film, which is typically anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour are extended highlight films. They come with short trailers and even Hollywood style billboard of the wedding with credits. The billboard thing can be really cheesy and I hesitate to comment anymore on it. Pro-Tip: Some of the worst wedding videos I have seen live in that 10-15 minute range and some of the best wedding videos I have seen are less than 5 minutes. You may be eager to pay more for longer films, but in my opinion the shorter films cut to a song tend to have that visceral and emotive quality that any good cinema does.
5.) Same Day Edit - seems self-explanatory and is. A short highlight film is ready to be viewed by the guests towards the end of the reception. This is no easy feat and comes with a hefty premium. Take note, you won't get the same quality out of the same day highlight video, but usually the places that offer this service follow a certain template for editing, so it might be 80-85 percent of the quality you would have been delivered a few weeks later.
6.) Aerial Footage - every wedding film seems to have a drone shot now. If you're not saying "oh cool a drone shot" that's a good sign that the wedding filmmaker knows what he or she is doing. Over the past year, drone shots were included because filmmakers were experimenting and maybe wanted to showcase it on their portfolio Now, as FAA rules and insurance premiums have brought complications, you will have to pay a la carte to have an FAA licensed, insured drone operator film those special aerial shots. Pro-Tip: Ask if the videographer is indeed FAA licensed and insured. If not, don't bother paying more for the drone shot. Also, unless your venue is epic, the drone shot is most often unnecessary.
7.) Online Deliverable vs. Blu-Ray - It's the year 2017, do people still own Blu-Ray players? Macs abandoned optical drives long ago. In terms of pricing, you will certainly pay a premium for the Blu-Ray option. Not because it's better, but because it's a hassle and burden to the cinematographer. It seems the industry is going the way of online deliverable. Some packages will include an online deliverable with a menu and chapters. You'll pay a little more but it's a happy medium and homage to the DVD wedding videos that were so hip even a few short years ago.
Still confused? Have questions? Comment below and i'll be sure to get back to you!
My name is Hans, I am Korean-American, with an (antiquated) German name, my wife is legitimately part-German, so it all makes sense now..