Monday, October 26, 2009

Do it yourself wedding videography - Should you or shouldn't you?

I have seen many bride's blog posts in which they debate or justify their reasoning behind whether or not to hire a wedding videographer.  But in today's DIY age, the question has also become whether or not to handle the wedding videography on your own to save money.  While this might seem like a good idea, I just wanted to quickly share the pros and cons of this service...and yes, to some, luxury item for your wedding.

To me, the video is even more important than the photos.  Why?  Because it captures the tears falling, the laughter ringing out, the sweet comments, funny jokes and moment by moment events as the day unravels.  As fun as the photographer's shots of your guests on the dance floor are, nothing beats getting to pull out your wedding video each Thanksgiving and show the family all over again how Grandma got down doing the hustle with the bride and groom on their big day!

My sister's husband was one of those grooms that didn't want to spend the extra money on a videographer and did not see the point.  So I helped split the cost to hire a professional wedding videographer for her wedding...but with a twist.  We contracted him to simply shoot the entire day with an assistant and then fork over all the video tapes to us before he left that night.  The cost was much cheaper than actually having him edit a video together of her event because the editing process is the time consuming portion of wedding videography.  In addition, instead of just getting a 90 minute video recap of the entire day and the ceremony vows, we received ALL of the raw footage of everything he shot.  Granted some of it was obviously shaky and him running around to get in the right location, but we had it all.

What was cool was that in today's computer era, just about anybody can purchase a simple or extensive video editing program for $100 to $2000 and make a video themselves.  This is what we did.  I have become an amateur videographer shooting things like my daughter's soccer season, all-star softball season, etc and then editing the footage into montages set to music and clips of big events to pass out to the parents of the team as a keepsake.  I love doing it and was able to create a wedding video for my sister from the raw footage the professional videographer shot.  Granted, it's just a hobby and I am by no means a pro, but I did do some research browsing wedding videographer web sites for samples and styles of things I could replicate.  And it was all our own and to our exact desires.

Now, don't get me wrong...there are definitely brides out there who will tell you that you can just have friends and family bring their camcorders to shoot everything from their persepctive and give you the same raw footage at the end of the day.  My best friend had a friend do that and I took the footage and edited it into a simple wedding video for was the first video I ever made.  However, as you will see in the excerpt below, it's always better to hire a pro who knows where to be when, how to get the right shot, use good lighting and will be respected by the guests to get out of their way.  :)

The following is an excerpt from a comment posted on Blogger Brides of one girls experience with DIY wedding videography:

Being a bride that took the diy approach with video, I have to write about my video. Family and friends will do your video for you because they love you, but they are not pros, know that going in. We can barely hear our vows at the ceremony. Our first dance got cut off half way through because they all turned the cameras off to join us when the DJ asked them to. It's all pretty shaky and hard to watch. The cameras are of different qualities, so some look good when the reception lights went down and others look like a grainy mess. Also I notice that the color is different, my flowers look bright and colorful on one camera and dull on another.

I agree with the previous poster that the editing is what makes video so expensive. When I asked videogrpahers in my area what they would charge to make this into something watchable, they said it would cost as much or more than their full coverage packages because of all the corrections they would need to make.

If you really want a video and it is important to you, don't skimp on it. If a pro is just not in your budget, look for a college student (ask for the best in the class). There also may be a pro willing to shoot and hand over the tapes like the poster above mentioned, but in my area, they all said no. If I were doing it again today, I would try asking them if they would shoot the wedding and allow me to pay for the editing later when I could afford it.

This is great advice.  Ladies, I am telling you...figure it out and make it work if you think this is something that will be important to you.  Heck, most brides don't realize how important it was to them and then end up regretting not having a videographer afterwards...especially since the day flies by so quickly and with you off taking pictures, you will possibly miss half of your guests arriving, mingling, etc.  You will miss the way the reception room looked before all the guests broke in and tore it apart.

Many girls say that their proposals were a blur and they could not remember anything their fiance said to them as he popped the you want the same experience when you are reciting your once in a lifetime vows to each other?  To me, the videographer is the absolute most important part of my day.  We couldn't afford what I wanted, and so I negotiated a phenomenal deal with a very understanding and amazing company...but there is no way I wanted to spend so much time and effort and thought planning this one event and then not have it permanently recorded to revisit throughout my life. 

And for some final encouragement, here are some samples of people's video clips from weddings that friends and family took (in a future post, I will share some clips I edited of my sister's wedding video):
 Holy Shakes-a-lot!

 Blurry, people walking in front of camera, BACK of Bride & Groom!

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