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How To Find The Right Videographer For Your Wedding

Your wedding is fast approaching. All of the essentials have been taken care of. There is just one more task to accomplish. You need to find someone to videotape your memorable day. Of course your distant relatives are offering to bring along their camcorders, but you've seen some of their home movies and you were dizzy after the first five minutes... Here are some tips for finding the right person.

Getting Started

The first step is to find a number of videographers and review their work. Ask to see an actual wedding as opposed to clips of several different ones. Any videographer can easily pick out his/her best shots and edit them together, but true quality will be revealed in a client's finished product.

Finding the right videographer is no easy task. We encourage you to do your homework, shop around, and find the videographer that best suits your needs. We feel confident we're among the best of the best, not only in our area, but throughout the industry. However, we understand that people make decisions for different reasons and we want our clients to feel 100% certain that we're right for the job.

Aside from the quality of our work, what we most often sell to our clients is TRUST. One of things that we are most proud of is videotaping multiple weddings for families. It's one thing to be hired to videotape a wedding for a family. But it is quite another to be hired three and sometimes four times by the same families to videotape all their son's and daughter's weddings as we have been.

The people you hire to shoot your video can have a tremendous effect on your wedding day. We understand that shooting a dynamite wedding video requires great sensitivity, a keen instinct for knowing when to ACT, when to REACT, and when to SIMPLY STAY PUT.

No matter who you hire, make sure you understand their style and what they intend to do. Make sure your videographer understands WHAT YOU WANT and is professional enough to deliver what you expect.


What makes us so different?

We could probably answer this question in a million different ways, be it our creative abilities, our customer service, or our unquestionable passion for what we do. But what probably makes us so different is that we TELL A STORY rather than just push a record button. Being a great videographer requires a lot more than just knowing how to operate equipment. It requires attention to miniscule details, an ability to get along with just about anyone, the physical ability to get demanding shots, and the LISTENING SKILLS to be able to capture the story. Most often, we simply let our work speak for itself.

Formats

The next step is to discuss the format (type of videotape) that will be used. Understanding formats can be confusing. If your videographer is not using digital cameras and editing equipment, then your finished video is not going to look anywhere near as beautiful as one that is done totally digital. If they use VHS, Super-VHS, 8mm, or Hi-8, every time they edit or copy a tape, no matter what format it is shot in, they will begin to lose picture quality. But there is no deterioration of the video when it is shot and edited digitally. Throughout the editing process, your footage stays in pure digital format and that means your final DVD will look awesome! 


Can't a friend videotape my wedding for free?


Certainly, but don't expect professional results. Video Imagery has videotaped over 300 weddings and we know all the ins and outs of capturing such an important event. We use professional digital cameras, digital editing equipment, titling, special effects, professional microphones, tripods, and backup equipment to create a true production. Unless your "Uncle Steve" is Steven Spielberg, we can't emphasize enough what a huge difference there is between home video and a professionally-produced DVD. Your friend or relative may have great intentions, but it's very unlikely they have the equipment (professional cameras, wireless microphones, editing gear...) that a professional has. It's almost a given that they do not have the know-how or experience to produce a great video. Also, do they have the stamina or readiness to be on top of all the especially important moments? The truth is, you can't just suck reality in through the lens of your camera. To make great video, you must be meticulous in searching out the best angles and experienced enough to anticipate the best moments. Your wedding story is simply too important to leave to chance.


What distinguishes a "high end" video from a "low end" video?

High end videos require no excuses and capture the day's essential moments. The sound is clear and crisp, the images have accurate color and the camera work is smooth. The pace is quick and captivating, never dragging on longer than necessary. Special effects are content driven, not just used because they "look neat". Mostly, the difference between a well produced, professional video and a low-end job should be obvious by your reaction to it - you either hate it or you love it. Don't be mislead by 5-7 minute music-video style demos. Insist on seeing real weddings and hearing the real sound.


Won't the cameramen be obtrusive and disruptive?


I have heard horror stories of bright lights during the ceremony and videographers stepping right up between the minister and the couple. The kindest compliment anyone ever gave us pertaining to this was, "I hardly ever saw you all day." Video Imagery makes every effort to record your wedding unobtrusively and tastefully, using no lights at the ceremony, remaining stationary and silent throughout, and using a documentary style in all of our taping.


Will my photographer and a videographer work together?


Generally, photographers and videographers get long just fine. In our own experience, we have even become close friends with our colleagues, and have never had a problem with a photographer.

You should be aware, however, that there are still some photographers that resent the rapid onslaught video has made on the market. I can honestly say though that I thoroughly enjoy working with the photographer and have three photographers that I highly recommend and am good friends with!

Remember: your photographer and videographer are working for YOU on YOUR wedding day, so be sure to let ALL of your vendors know exactly what level of cooperation YOU expect. Your wedding day is not the time for a clash of artistic egos.


What if my church has restrictions on video?


It is the client's responsibility to find out if there are any restrictions on photography and videography wherever the event takes place and to notify the studio(s) well in advance. Many churches and synagogues have guidelines, such as no flash photography and no moving around during the ceremony, and understandably so. The place of worship is not a television studio.

We strive to place a camera in a position which affords us a clear view of your faces during the ceremony. This is not always possible because some churches restrict all videotaping to the balcony only. Be sure to find out what is allowed before you contract with a videographer or a photographer.

Most celebrants realize the importance of video to the bride and groom and their respective families. One couple told us that watching their videotape was like renewing their vows, and it's hard to find fault with such a wonderful sentiment as that.

When do you begin taping?

For our Gold/Platinum, Diamond, and Ultimate packages we begin taping one, two, and three hours respectively, before the ceremony when preparations are being made. Some of our most emotional and special shots have been made as the bride and her attendants are getting ready.

Do you charge for mileage?

We will never charge extra unless your wedding is more than an hour from Janesville, Wisconsin. We have and will go anywhere in the United States to capture your wedding on video. (Additional Expenses charged if out of the Southern Wisconsin/Northern Illinois area.) We enjoy visiting different places and meeting new people.


Are your prices negotiable?


Our prices are based upon our 19 years experience videotaping hundreds of weddings and thousands of other events, as well as the high-quality of the professional equipment that we use, and therefore are almost always not negotiable. We encourage you to shop around by LOOKING at the actual work, not just shopping by phone. Once you see what other videographers do and then view one of our wedding DVD's, there is no comparison.


What is in-camera editing?

Something we do not do. In-camera editing is merely pausing and starting the videotape in the camera as events warrant and then handing the tape over at the end of the day. We shoot a lot of footage to ensure that we capture all the special moments and then use our post-production editing suite to complete the tape, adding music, titles and special effects.


Should I provide a meal for the videographers and photographers?


We are on the job for sometimes up to 14 hours depending on the package you pick. It is a welcome courtesy if you provide a meal for your photographers and videographers, and to provide it quickly so that we are ready to work again at a moment's notice. Don't feed your vendors last because you will probably want shots of the newly married couple as they greet their guests at the tables. If you cannot provide a meal, we will need to take an off-site meal break during the reception.

When will I get my finished DVD?

Normal production time is 2-6 weeks after the event depending on the package you pick and the editing time needed to finish it. We spend upwards of 40 hours on each wedding video we produce! We encourage everyone to gather all photos for the Early Years Montage as well as all musical selections and have them to us 1 month prior to the wedding, otherwise we find that if you wait until after the event to get these materials to us it results in unnecessary delays.

What will our presence be like at your wedding?

Much of this is up to you. Whether you want us on the alter with you or hidden in the balcony, it's your call. We prefer to have one camera up on the alter and off to the side so that we can see your faces, and not just the back of your heads. However we work with you to figure out the approach that best suits your style. In general, we are very sensitive to what's going on around us. We have a keen sense for when to move and when to stay put. Always, our primary concern is making you and your guests feel comfortable.

Will bright lights and long cables overpower your wedding?

The last thing we want to do is turn your wedding into a Hollywood production. We use a very discrete setup, involving no cables or overpowering lights. Our cameras do an excellent job of picking up quality images in low-light situations and we use a small light only when necessary at the reception.


Why is the right music so important to your wedding video?

Music sets the tone for your entire video. While most videographers will not even do a highlight music video, those that do tend to rely on the same music over and over again, regardless of the emotional content of the scene.  Oftentimes we'll wonder why so many videographers just assume that everyone's a Kenny G fan. It's more important that the music fits the mood of the occasion, reflecting your personality and enhancing the moment. And we always let you choose which songs you would like for your video! Our music videos of your wedding sometimes last 45 minutes while most other videographers do no music video at all, or at best, a quick one song video and they almost always charge extra for it!

We spend many hours "scoring" each video we produce, working and reworking songs until they fit just right. No matter what your musical taste, you can have a great deal of input as to what music goes into your video.


How soon before your wedding should you contact us?

Popular summer dates fill up quickly. We recommend booking as soon as possible as it is not uncommon to book one to two years in advance. However, every once in a while we will have a date open so don't hesitate to call us if you are making a last minute decision on wedding videography.

Anything else you can think of?

Be sure to ask the video studio if they do all the work themselves (Videotaping and editing) or if they subcontract the work out to freelance videographers.) We always do all the work ourselves, from beginning to end, and all of our videographers have at least 10 years of experience, while some have close to 20 years experience!

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