By: Rebecca Richman 

I did a post a little while back about some common photography questions that we often get from our brides and I thought that I would do the same for video.  I reached out to our industry video experts to find answers to some common questions I get from brides about videography.

Many brides are afraid of the use of lighting during the wedding; I think a lot of this may be due to old school video equipment that they've seen in the past.  Can you explain in what situations that lighting might be necessary?

Alicia Nathanson from Blossom Productions: “If you’re planning a wedding anytime soon, your timing couldn’t be better! Thanks to modern day technology, many wedding filmmakers have put their video camera on the shelf and are now using DLSR cameras. These cameras are wonderful at capturing video in low-lit environments (take note- “low-lit”….not “no light”…..). Thinking about how you plan to light your event is worth discussing if factoring in video.  If a couple has chosen to not add lighting (uplighting, pin spots etc.) then, we are relying on the lighting that presently exists in the room. If that lighting is made to be too dark, than even the best camera can be compromised…possibly resulting in the most unobtrusive, stealth DSLR shooter resorting to using a light!  When you’re meeting with a wedding filmmaker, definitely ask them what type of cameras they use. Even just a little amount of light can go a long way in ensuring that your day is clearly captured.”

What is a short form edit?

Dave Williams from CinemaCake: “The "Short Form Edit" or "Short Film" is typically less than 30 minutes in length.  Beyond that, there are really no defining characteristics.  Some short films are simply chronological highlights of the day. Others use time-shifting techniques to tell the story in a less linear fashion.”

What is a documentary edit?

Dave Williams from CinemaCake: “A "Documentary" is also sometimes called a "Feature Film".  Again, there are no rules about what goes into these films but when people discuss "Documentaries" or "Features", they are usually referring to a film that is cut a little longer than 60 minutes and sometimes up to 2 hours or more.  It breathes more and is typically cut chronologically.”  

What is the difference between these things and the raw footage?

Dave Williams from CinemaCake:  “Any "Edit" requires editing.  This includes manipulating the raw footage and sounds into a show that tells a story.  Raw footage typically refers to the actual footage as it came out of the camera; no editing, no audio mixing, and not very watchable.  Sometimes a studio will throw the raw footage into a chronological timeline and present that to a client as raw footage.  Technically, there was a little editing to get it into a state that is watchable.  That is called an "assemble edit" but it is common in the industry to call such an edit "raw".  Raw footage is for people who want everything that was shot for posterity.  Some studios include raw footage as a deliverable, some charge extra, and some don't give it up at all, for any price.”

What do you tell brides who feel they don’t need video?

Tim Sudall from Video One Productions: “Just imagine if I could open a hope chest from your Grandmother and in it was her Wedding album and her wedding film from 70 years ago.  You were then told that you could only see the Photos or the wedding film. What would you pick?  Someday your grandchildren or great grandchildren will have the honor of seeing your love story from the beginning.”





How do you capture sound during ceremony? Will I (the bride) have to wear a microphone?

Darrell Aubert from Aubert Films:We capture sound during ceremonies by using different wireless microphones and sound recorders that are placed in various locations or on people and are appropriately hidden from sight. Often times we will be using 3, 4, or even 5 microphones to capture all the different parts of a ceremony. We never mic our brides because we want our microphones to be as hidden as possible. To capture the vows and ring exchange, we mic the groom where we can easily hide the microphone from sight. We use this microphone to also record audio from the bride, who is almost always nearby and can be clearly recorded.  For receptions we work with your DJ or band to tap into their sound system to record the cleanest audio possible. This includes music, toasts, prayers, etc. We also mix this clean audio feed with ambient sound (the sound of the room) that we record separately. This mix gives our films a very realistic and "in the room" feeling.”

If you could give one piece of advice to brides relating to video and the planning of their wedding what would that be?

Tim Sudall from Video One: Modern day Wedding Films have evolved significantly in the past 5 years.  Take the time to experience these films and the value they will have to your marriage and your family history.”

Alicia  Nathanson from Blossom Productions: “We highly recommend that you meet the person who will be filming your wedding. Regardless of whether your fiancé says “You care more about the video than I do so, can you just meet them?”, having a face-to-face conversation prior is beneficial to BOTH of you. Not only do you get to share your vision for the film in person, but a rapport is established. Moreover, you save yourself from wondering who the stranger is with the camera at your wedding!”

Darrell Aubert from Aubert Films:  “Weddings are one of the few events in our lives where we can experience such profound and powerful emotions. When you imagine yourself at the ceremony, having just said your vows, exchanged your rings, or whichever traditions you follow, you can imagine how that moment will make you feel. It's such an overwhelming and complicated feeling. No words can quite describe it. It's not just simply joy, or happiness, or satisfaction. Those words seem incomplete when trying to express what it feels like. This bundle of emotions is what you should feel each time you watch your wedding film. When you search for someone to film your wedding, choose that person based upon how their films make you feel. Your film should be a capsule of that bundle of emotions that is so profound yet so difficult to name. A capsule that you can take off your shelf and open any time you want to re-experience and feel one of the most important moments in your life.”

Dave Williams from CinemaCake: “After 10 years of making wedding and event films and teaching wedding and event production to thousands of wedding videographers, the best advice I can give to clients looking for the best film for their taste and budget is to spend some time online, viewing lots of wedding films.  Don't just look at the short trailers and recaps; ask to see exactly what is delivered.  If you find a company that does not show what they deliver, move on.  Insist on seeing the final deliverables for yourself.  

Whether it's called a "Short Film", a "Documentary", or a "Feature Film", watch it in its entirety.  Then ask yourself if it's something you'd watch over and over again.  Clients spending thousands on what will be the only moving, talking, crying, and laughing record of their big day should invest some time and watch what other clients are getting.  Here are my top ten questions every client should ask a videographer:

1. How will my movie sound?
2. How do you handle lighting?
3. How do you vary your shots?
4. How do you plan to tell the story of my day?
5. How long will it take to get my finished movie?
6. Are you ‘preferred’ by the other companies I’ve hired?
7. May I see other clients’ movies and read what they had to say about you?
8. How do you get your shots without being ‘in the way’?
9. Why are your services more expensive/less expensive than other companies?
10. What do you do to make sure our movie is unique to our personalities?”

Hope this post is helpful for all the brides out there considering videography. I can tell you it was one of the best decisions I made in the planning process and would really regret not having all of these memories on video to share with my family and future children!