For a long time video lagged far behind photography, and so couples would shell out the big bucks on a professional photographer and hand the budget scraps to the videographer. Many wedding videographers have grown accustomed to playing second fiddle to their shutter snapping peers. Over the past few years, wedding videography has grown leaps and bounds and so have wedding filmmakers sought to correct the market disparity; leaving google to answer, "why are wedding films so darn expensive?"
Around 80% of brides to be will budget somewhere in between 1,500-6,000 for a wedding films. These packages often include morning to late evening coverage with at least 2 cinematographers, a short highlight film, and possibly a longer cut of the entire wedding day festivities. So we should ask, how much of this chunk of change is merited and how much of this is due to the ol' classic wedding markup.
Now before we answer that, some of you are wanting to rather ask, "can you get away with a wedding film for less than 1,500?". Sure! Your second cousin's, friend's, roommate's, brother knows a guy who just got one of those fancy Canon DSLR to take videos of his pets and kids. We can always entice him to join the filmmaking ranks and cut his teeth on your wedding at a family friendly price. Before you make that awkward phone call, take into consideration that there is only one take for nearly every moment in your wedding. What happens when the camera breaks, or the memory card malfunctions, or maybe he forgets to hit record, or has been filming the whole day in the wrong settings, or is over-exposed, or under-exposed, or is trying out his new gimmicky film-angles, or testing out his new videography toy instead of focusing on the shot; speaking of focus, it can be ever so noticeably soft, or the spec of dust has been on the lens the whole time. A 10 hour wedding is not for the faint of heart! If you want the professional photographer with experience, why would you want "some random kid" with a GoPro filming your dream wedding?
Here is what really goes into wedding film, things that you should be aware of as the bride or groom so that you can rest assured that your spending on a wedding film is truly a life-long investment.
1.) Blood, Sweat, Tears
Photographers traditionally carry two heavy cameras throughout a wedding day. A videographer's wedding day kit includes a heavy camera rig as well as a tripod, monopod, slider, and glidecam. On the lighter side, a shotgun mic, two lav mics and two audio recorders for the ceremony and speeches. Speaking of reception, at least two light sources and lightstands for the reception, possibly a sandbag to weight it all down; and finally, of course you got to have a drone. For the hot summer weddings, in a sprawling estate, a golf cart might be my next investment.
2.) Skill and Experience
I mentioned a little earlier any number of factors and permutations that can go wrong. The wedding videographer understands the risks, can perform under pressure, and has a backup plan if things go wrong. They have learned from the school of hard knocks what not to do, which sometimes is more invaluable than what to do. They can sense a moment and nail the composition, focus, and exposure each time. They have studied the art of lighting, and know how to get the best results. They are not phased or stressed but rather hitting a rhythm and stride as the evening falls.
3.) Post-Production (a whole lot of it!)
The two cameras, a drone, and multiple audio recorders I mentioned before, they need to all be synced up behind the scenes. Each camera and lens has a distinct color science, color cast, and contrast that needs to be synced up. Audio needs to be synced up to video. If there are multiple angles they need to be synced up, the video needs to be synced to the beat of the music. Lots of syncing. On top of that there is time spent giving the final look, or color grade. All this work to trim up 150 or so video clips to be ready for the final editing block. In the cutting room, tasteful decisions need to be made in sync with the wishes and aesthetic of the bride and groom in mind.
4.) Hidden Fees
The videographer deals with hidden fees that you are not aware of. Gas and tolls and parking to get to the venue, camera and lens rentals, sub-contracting the second shooter, vendor insurance, equipment insurance (expensive things unfortunately do get stolen or lost from time to time), and of course the flat rate to license that perfect song or two for your highlight film.
After working as a wedding videographer you notice all of the other blue-collar heroes that are in the business of making a day magical. For all the hard work that goes into a wedding; your photos and videos are the one take-away to re-live those memories for generations to come. My advice, not as a wedding videographer, but as a married husband that has a bag full of antiquated wedding cassette tapes somewhere in my attic, don't skimp on the videographer!