How To Choose A Wedding Videographer

Tips to help you choose the perfect videographer for your wedding.  We give you a bit of easy technical info, review special effects, and what to look for in your final video. All the caveats to avoid, questions to ask, and what you should have included in your contract.
Some of the helpful hints on our How To Choose A Wedding Photographer section apply here as well. First of all, once you’ve decided to get married and settle on an approximate date, waste NO time in searching for the videographer. The better ones are booked heavily into the future so time is of the essence.

Ask lots of questions when you interview the videographer.
How much experience do they have? Do they appear ethical? Do they look like someone you want to have mingling with your guests and interviewing them? Ask to see samples from 3 different videos. How does camerawork, audio, editing style, and image quality look?  These are really the most important factors, above all the special effects.

Have they ever worked at your church and reception hall before? You should ask your church if video is allowed and if so, where they should be placed, and where they are not allowed .

Does your videographer have capability for multi camera coverage? Second cameras cost about $500 more, but they give a great effect during the ceremony. The primary reason for a second or third camera is to pick up an angle the the primary camera cannot get.  For example, the front camera will get the details of the ceremony, while the back camera gets an alternate angle of the recessional and processional as well as ceremony activities.  Two cams are important because one person cannot be two places at once. With 2 cameras the videographer can create a picture in picture on the screen, showing the exchange of vows in the main portion of video, and the parents’ reactions in a little window. If you have the extra money, this is really worth doing. Also, the second camera can capture scenes at the reception that the first camera may have missed.

Do they bring lighting for the dance floor? Today’s video cameras have impressive specs in the dark, but some are still not that great, and produce grainy images in the dark.  Our videographer had 2 lights that lit up the dance floor and he turned them off when with a wireless remote when he was not filming. Also ask them if they have done corporate affairs/meetings/video production. You will find these type of people to be more experienced, and they may use better equipment, as corporate events are much more involved. Ask them how many copies of the final tape you will receive. You want to get at least 2 copies. It’s a nice gesture to get one for your parents.

Do they record the event in a professional format such as S-VHS or digital?  You do not want a videographer recording your wedding with a VHS tape.  Some videographers don’t like the digital technology due to video compression, and they feel it does not provide a good enough image.  Can they give you a tape in S-VHS format for those people who have S-VHS video players? Do they have the capability of using computer generated graphics? (and not cheesy ones, either). What other hidden costs are associated with the quoted price? Sometimes they will charge you extra for a 1 minute “Love Stroll” segment of video.  Some people want a package that includes a short musical picture story known as a video collage with photos of the bride and groom growing up. Usually a handful of photos of each person is given to the videographer to tape.

How many hours do you get the videographer for? You don’t want any surprises here. Will the video be edited “In Camera” or in the studio? You want your video to be post edited in the studio, which usually has much better quality effects than the camera, even though it costs a bit more.

Don’t forget to ask if they have worked in the location of your reception before.

Videographer Deposit Tips
You may need a new, clean credit card for deposits, don’t EVER pay cash. If the deal goes south, you’ll never get your cash back, but you can dispute a credit charge.  If your credit is ok, but not perfect, try the useful Lending Tree Credit Card Search.  Their free service gives you up to 4 credit cards willing to issue credit to you.  What if you can’t get credit at all and keep getting rejected? Then try this Credit Card Finder For People With Bad Credit.  Don’t keep applying to credit cards, get rejected, and your credit history ruined further, find out who will approve you before you apply. They find at least 2 credit cards guaranteed to issue an unsecured credit card to you.  If your credit is so bad and If you’re in too deep, maybe now is not the time for a new card.  But don’t take on more debt with a consolidation loan, try a debt reduction program instead like the non-profit iDebtAssistance.com.  You get an interest rate reduction payment, which pays off your balances much quicker than you ever could, as interest is eliminated or greatly reduced.

Get References From Friends and Coworkers
Your best resource is people you know. Ask around at work. Every married couple has a video. Call a TV station and see if any of their cameramen moonlight on the side. They work with the video cameras every day, so if anyone can do it, they can. Look at other wedding videos. As with your quest for photographers, interview 3 to 5 videographers. We interviewed 3 different videographers before we settled on one, and the differences in quality and personality are vast. There are people out there who think they can just pick up a camcorder and hereby knight themselves as pro videographers. You want someone with many years experience in photography and videography who really knows lighting. For example, video usually turns out better with lights color balanced at 3200 Kelvin. Your videographer better know details like this, and not just slap a light bulb on top of his camcorder. Talk to the videographer and listen to their philosophy on how they operate. Ask them how they interface with the DJ, photographer, and caterer. You want a videographer who stays in close contact with the DJ, so they know when to be ready to film the milestones. It’s a big industry out there, but it is a plus if the videographer has worked with the DJ or the Hotel/Resort where the reception is. Visit people you know to view their videos and get an idea of what you like on the video. As you watch the video ask yourself the following questions:
Do you like the effects?
 Is the lighting bright enough and does it look acceptable?
 In areas of low lighting, is there a fuzzy graininess?
 Do the colors look bright and accurate?
 Does the audio have a good level and is it free of distortion?
 Do you like the scene transitions, or are they choppy and sudden, cutting off the audio?
 Is there anything missing that would like to see on the video?
 Is the video vibration free and the left to right panning smooth?
 Are there too many zoom in/zoom out shots? These make it look unprofessional.
 Do computer generated titles look professional or do they look like an old Pong video game?

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