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Choosing a videographer to film your wedding can be a stressful process. I’ve written a list of questions to ask your wedding videographer before booking to make it easier for you. I’ve divided the post into 4 types of questions: experience, stylistic, business, and delivery.
How many weddings have you filmed? The more familiar a videographer is with the efficiently and speed necessary to film a wedding, the better chance your film will be a success. Videographers who are only experienced filming non-wedding videos will rarely be able to handle the fast pace of a wedding. It can take quite a few before they get good at them.
Are you experienced with my religious ceremony and customs? This is one of the more important questions to ask your wedding videographer. A videographer could have a lot of experience with western weddings, but that won’t equip them with the knowledge of yours. Hindu, Jewish, and other culturally specific weddings require an understanding of style and sensibility to the customs and traditions.
Have you shot at my venue before? Every venue has a completely different layout. The last thing you want is for the videographer to figure out the lay of the land on the day. A videographer who has filmed your venue will know the best spots for things like your first look and candids. Just because they haven’t filmed there before doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hire them. They can take a tour of the venue or research it online before your wedding.
Are you a fly on the wall or do you get up close and personal? Many videographers pride themselves on being unobtrusive. You may indeed want that for yourself. However, videographers who worry about inconveniencing you are going to acquire less than captivating footage. To get an emotional story that grips you requires the video team to get up close and personal. They will have you stand where the light is the most flattering. They’ll get a variety of camera angles. They’ll have you redo something if they can get a better shot. They won’t be invisible, but that’s a good thing!
Is your aesthetic light and airy, dark and moody, or something in between? This should be something you’re able to gauge based on the sample videos on their website, but they might not have just one style. Be sure you know their process so there are no surprises if you were expecting a certain aesthetic.
Are you licensed and insured? Of all the questions to ask your wedding videographer, this one may be the most important. Most venues require a liability insurance policy from wedding vendors. You want to be sure if any accidents occur that all parties are protected and covered for damage and/or injury. If the videographer is filming with a drone, make sure they have it FAA registered and have a Part 107 license.
Do you have a second shooter? Unless you have a small and short elopement, you really need more than one videographer. There are far too many things going on at once to risk not capturing something important. Two videographers means they can be at two places simultaneously. For example, one can get bridal shots while the other gets groom shots. They can also get more angles of your ceremony and reception. If one of the videographers has their shot blocked by a guest or they’re busy adjusting a light or audio, the other can pick up the slack. Having a second shooter is important both for security, as well as creativity.
Is your music licensed? Be wary of any videographer using popular well-known music in their films as they’re almost assuredly doing so illegally. It’s not permissible to use music without the consent of the artist or record label. Reputable videographers use licensed royalty-free music to stay ethically and legally whole. What this means is that they only pay once for the permission to use the music. If the music isn’t royalty-free, you must continually pay the artist or label. If you only ever play your film at home, you’ll most likely be safe from copyright strikes or legal action. This won’t be the case if your film is displayed on the internet. Here is an example of a high profile copyright incident: Wedding Videographers Sued for Using Music Online.
How do you deliver the film and when do you deliver it? Delivery platforms have changed quite a bit in recent years. Between DVD’s, Blu-ray discs, USB sticks, and digital delivery, it can be quite confusing. Most videographers deliver their couples’ films in Full HD 1080p resolution. DVD’s are not capable of displaying this resolution as they only display 480p standard definition. You do not want your beautiful wedding footage degraded by putting it on a DVD. The quality loss is massive. Blu-ray discs can display 1080p content, but Blu-ray players aren’t as common in households and physical discs are a nuisance. Many newer computers and laptops don’t have disc drives anymore.
Although 1080p is the standard, many videographers offer 4K. Blu-ray discs cannot play 4K footage. USB sticks can store 4K video files to play on a smart TV, but don’t provide any benefit other than being a physical representation of your film. The most versatile and universal content delivery nowadays is digital download via services like Vimeo and Google Drive. You can download the files to any internet connected device and easily shared to any other device. There are online services that mimic a traditional DVD menu, but you are still advised to download your films.
You also want to be sure you know what the timeline is for delivery. The last thing you want to do is wait months on end waiting for your finished film. Many videographers offer an Instagram teaser. You’ll want to be sure you get it quickly while the wedding is still fresh in everyone’s minds.
Hopefully this gives you enough questions to ask your wedding videographer before you decide to book them!
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