The short answer is YES.

Now here’s why:

 

    In the past, having a professional video produced of your wedding was considered a luxury.  When planning for your much-anticipated day, you typically reserve your church and reception hall first.  Next are the caterer and photographer.  Then come the details, such as flowers, invitations, whether to use a DJ or live band, and any other special touches to delight your guests.   Then, you start to think about hiring a professional videographer, rather than depending on Uncle Ralph's movie camera.  Nowadays, however, the quality of both video production and equipment for this once in a lifetime event is vastly greater than those taken with home movie cameras.  Videographers are often being booked a year in advance.  

 

    Brides in western Pennsylvania, on average, only invest about 3.3% of their wedding budget in video services.  Conversely, an amazing 95% of brides say that after the wedding their video is one of the most memorable keepsakes they have.  Unfortunately, you truly do "get what you pay for", and 3% of a $20,000 budget (average budget for Southwestern Pa) is only $600!  A respectable professional wedding video should cost, on average, between $2000 and $3000, depending on the number of cameras used, among other variables.  

 

    So then, what's the difference between a $600 wedding video and a $2000 one?   A lot.  Any videographer charging as little as $600 for a complete wedding video is either a beginner, or is not a professional using the appropriate video and audio equipment.  This means that their equipment will most likely not be much different from what uncle Ralph would use, and, they do not have the experience to anticipate where to be at various points during your day.  What I mean is, an amateur will hear the first dance beginning, get his camera into position, and then start recording.  A professional will already be in place and recording before the DJ even introduces the first dance.  Shaky camera work is a tale-tell sign of an amateur.  A professional will use fluid camera support systems so that every shot is steady, level, and smooth.  Audio is a big factor too.  An amateur will simply use the microphone on the camera.  A professional will have a wireless microphone on the groom or the officiant assuring clear audio of the vows, combined with a professional grade microphone to clearly pick up the music and other audio sources such as readings and singing.  How the audio is recorded at the reception is important too.  Ideally a wireless microphone will be placed near the DJ's speakers so that no matter where the camera is it is receiving clear and consistent audio.  

 

 

Now that you understand some basic differences between an amateur videographer and a professional, let's explore some common questions.

 

 

IS A WEDDING VIDEO REALLY WORTH IT, AFTER ALL, WE'LL HAVE THE PHOTOS?  

 

    Photos are very important.  But video offers so much more.  Remember, you can't HEAR photos.  Without video of your wedding, you will never again hear the music as you walk down the aisle, nor will you again hear the sermon or your vows.  There are many things you will not witness yourself, such as your bridal party walking down the aisle or cocktail hour.  At the reception, video allows you to again hear the funny and emotional toast, and to relive your first dance together as husband and wife.

 

 

MY FRIEND HAD A VIDEO MADE OF HER WEDDING BUT SHE NEVER WATCHES IT.  WHY SHOULD WE GET ONE?

 

    It is important to realize that you are creating this wedding day video as a memory keepsake not only for yourselves, but also for your parents, children, and even friends and family who could not attend.  Some couples watch their video every anniversary.  Some more often than that.  Some relive the day once and then store the video for archival purposes.  Imagine if you could watch the wedding of your grandparents!  Imagine hearing them exchange vows!  This is a legacy you are leaving for your grandchildren, too.  

 

 

WHY WOULD WE NEED EDITING SINCE WE WANT TO SEE ALL THE SCENES THAT WERE RECORDED?

 

    “Editing” a wedding video doesn’t necessarily mean cutting out footage.  Editing involves the addition of titles, music, still photos, etc. If more than one camera is used, the editor will switch back and forth between the cameras using whichever camera has the best angle at any given moment.  Editing can also be used creatively to give a video better pacing.  For example, a lengthy scene of guests dancing can be broken up by including interviews with guests every few minutes.  

 

    A well-edited video looks far more polished and thus will be more enjoyable to watch than amateur videos which lend themselves to the "fast-forward syndrome".  Our policy here at Bella Novia is that if we record it and it’s good usable footage, then it will be included in your wedding video.  We DO NOT have a time limit of the final video.  

 

 

WILL THE EQUIPMENT BE DISTRACTING?

 

    Because modern video equipment is compact and silent, the more important consideration here is whether or not the videographer has the skill to avoid intruding on the ceremony.  I feel strongly that both the ceremony and reception should be taped in as unobtrusive a manner as possible.  

 

    Most people are concerned about the use of flood lights during the wedding service. A professional will use low-light digital cameras which can produce images in all but the most dimly-lit interiors without additional video lights.   A small light of varying intensity is often used throughout the reception.   This is both common and necessary since reception halls are typically dimly lit.  Again, this is where the experience of the videographer is important.  It’s more about how the light is used as to not be distracting to the guests.

 

 

HOW CAN WE TALK WITH A PROFESSIONAL VIDEOGRAPHER ABOUT THE OPTIONS FOR OUR VIDEO?

 

    Most videographers offer a free, no-obligation consultation.  Visit as many different videographers as your time permits.  Of course, asking a friend or relative who has been married in recent years is one of the best methods.  Watch their video, and ask them how good the videographer was to work with.

 

    For more information, or for your free consultation, call Eric directly at (412) 264-3124 to schedule your appointment.  Evening and weekend appointments can be made to accommodate your schedule.  

 

 

    Eric Pensenstadler is the owner of Video Horizons, LLC and Bella Novia in Moon Township and the President of the Pittsburgh Professional Videographers Association (PPVA).  Eric is also a member of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association as a photographer/videographer.

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