Thursday, February 25, 2010

Choosing a videographer

[I haven’t seen a good list of “what to ask a videographer” similar to "what to ask photographers" online, so I wanted to add my two-cents.]

Websites with highlight clips from weddings are helpful at narrowing down the type of videographer you’d like to hire (style, content, overall editing/special effects). However, in order to determine who on your short-list you should hire depends on details and the entire film package. Ask videographers to send you information on their packages, and if it’s within your price-range, ask to see two or three full-length films in order so that you can see [non-]consistency and style (note: not all of them do this; they often want you to visit them in their office).

If you’re getting married in a particular church or religion (e.g. Our Lady of Victory Basilica) ask for a film of that church or religion (e.g. if they filmed at Our Lady of Victory take a look at that film, if they haven’t ask for Catholic weddings). Outdoor weddings can be filmed with different angles than a restrictive church.

Questions to ask besides the normal “what packages do you offer”:
• What videography/film training do you have? -or- How did you get started in the business?
• How many cameras do you use? Any stationary cameras? Do you have options to add
more (get their viewpoint if more is necessary, or what they can do with two cameras that they cannot do with one camera)? Is there a possibility to have two for the ceremony and one for the reception (to save on cost)?
• Do you put a microphone on the groom during the ceremony?
• How much do you charge for overtime?
• Can you describe how you work with photographers on the wedding day?
• Do you shoot in High Definition and provide copies of the wedding film on Blu-Ray (ask if this is important to you)?
• Can the bride and groom provide input prior to the wedding day on what aspects to shoot/are most important?
• Can the bride and groom be involved in the editing process?
• Can the bride and groom provide/suggest/state the music for any highlight segments of the
• Do you “interview” guests? (note: you may not want guests to be interviewed)

While watching the films look for the following:
• Is the lighting and picture quality good and sharp?
• How does the audio sound? Can you hear the bride and groom say their vows?
• Can you see the groom's and the bride's face during their portion of the vows?
• How are the scene transitions and effects? Do they look like it is fresh or from the early 1990s?
• Is there vibration/camera movement jerky or choppiness in the video? Is the video blurry?
• What is the length of the video/film – is it too short, too long, just right?

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