Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Tip #3 - Why choose a videographer?

Now and again I receive enquiries from brides asking me to film their wedding, and after I send them a quote, they tell me it's difficult to persuade their fianc├ęs that a wedding video is worth it. So I thought I'd sit down and write an article about that.

As with everything there are pros and cons to making this decision, and both should be weighed up and compared. Let's have a look at some that spring to mind below.


First the Bad News

Expensive
As discussed in my last post, decent wedding videos can cost anything from £500 to £2000. With all other expenses at a wedding, adding this on top is quite tough to justify. 

Yes, weddings are expensive, but there are videographers out there who will be happy to film your day without costing the earth. (We're one of them :))

Awkward
Who wants a guy you don't know standing around pointing a camera in peoples' faces? He adds nothing to the actual event and just makes the bride and groom, the bridal party, and the guests feel nervous. Who needs that extra stress? 

True enough, but a good videographer should show enough tact and discretion at a wedding. It is a live event, and in order to end up with a great result, it really helps if we have footage of people naturally having a good time. The best way to do this is to film from afar, zoomed in for close ups. Half the time you won't notice were there.

Takes time
You have to go to meet them to talk things over, that's an hour plus travel. You have to think of songs you like and make even more decisions. You need to wait for months for them to be completed, open the wrapping and watch the whole thing again. 

A preliminary meeting before the big day is a great way to get to know your videographer, build a rapport, and gives them a chance to find out a little about you and your plans for the day, with timings etc. It makes everything go much more smoothly, and is well worth the time. If geographical distances are a problem, a Skype call or even just a phone call can make all the difference.

Aren't Photos Enough?
We're already forking out a tonne of money for the photographer – why do we have to have a videographer as well? How many media formats do we need to record our wedding in? 

Yes, photos are the more traditional way to capture a wedding, and can look fantastic. I have absolute respect for all the great wedding photographers I've worked with in the past. But video is slightly different, which we'll be looking at below.



Now The Good News

Moving Pictures
In 1892 Edison and Dickson invented a motion picture camera and a peephole viewing device called the Kinetoscope. They were first shown publicly in 1893 and the following year the first Edison films were exhibited commercially. Since then the technology used to capture moving pictures has advanced greatly, with many videographers now offering 4k HD.

Audio
One of the great things about having your wedding videoed is that the audio gets recorded too, which means that all the special, meaningful words spoken at your ceremony by the celebrant, minister, priest or registrar - all the advice they give you - is recorded forever. As will your vows be, and any readings given. Then there's the speeches - nervous undertaking, but well worth it! If you have your wedding videoed you'll have them there to look back on and enjoy again and again for years to come. 

Our job to make you look good
You don't have to worry that your videographer might catch you at an embarrassing moment, or send a clip of you falling into your wedding cake to 'You've Been Framed'. It's our job to make you look good, which you will do, you'll look great.

Family and Friends
One of the best things about your wedding day is having all your family and friends in one place to give you a good send off. It's usually quite a rare occasion, with everyone all dressed up and looking so grand, so isn't it worth capturing it as much as possible for posterity? And while you're at one end chatting with one group of friends, your videographer is at the other, videoing messages from the another group.

The Day Rushes By
The day will go by in a flash, trust me. There will be so many people to try to catch up with, so many faces, and once the alcohol starts flowing and the dancing kicks off that's it :) Woosh. But if you've got videographic evidence to fall back on any time you want to relive it, theres nothing to worry about.

Editing
One of the cool things about using more than one camera is that your videographer can cut out any little slips during the vows or the speeches seamlessly, just by jumping from one camera to the other. So that's one more safety net if you're nervous about getting the speeches filmed. If the words don't come out right (but they will because you'll have practised a lot the night before) just take a breath and start again and let us take care of the rest.



Your Wedding to Music
Many wedding videographers edit your wedding video to music of your choice. They ask you for a dozen songs that are important to you and cut together music video montages from the footage to create a specially custom made music video just for you.

Photography Vs Videography
I've often thought about this - what is the difference between photography and videography? And this is what I've come up with. Photos capture moments, video captures the day. They're both good, and there are some overlaps, but at the end of the day they are two separate forms of media, created by two different people who work best when working together.

So that's it. It's make your mind up time. If you can find a videographer you can trust and get along with, why not have a chat with them and see if you can come to some arrangement.

But whether you have your wedding videoed or not, the most important thing is to enjoy your special day.

Read #Tip 1 : Support
Read #Tip 2 : Price

© Chris Young 2018

Wedding videographer image credits:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Weddingvideography.png
https://www.flickr.com/photos/79992579@N07/8471365055

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Tip #2 : Price

It's not all about finding the cheapest deal. It's about finding the best quality, the best value, the right videographer, with a character and style you like, who you can trust to do the best job they can. Some couples have a family member or friend video it for them for free for a wedding present. If your friend or family member's job is videographer with many years' experience then relax! You've aced it. Read no more.



The Wedding of Ruth & Alastair, The George Hotel, 1st Dec 2013

Consumer cameras are getting better and cheaper all the time, but there are some things that can only be learned from experience in the field. For example, did you know that most cameras, when trained on two people, autofocus on the central background between them? That's not good when filming vows. Also, will your family member or friend be using lapel mics to get good clear audio? Or know what an active smartphone can do to a microphone's signal? Do they know what to do if the bride and groom are silhouetted against a bright window and the camera can't make out their faces? Will they be using two cameras in case one is shaky or blurred or they need to edit something out? Just some things to think about.

The Cheapest Deal? 

One day when I lived in Japan it started to rain and was quite windy, so I went in to a 100 yen shop (like a pound shop) and bought the cheapest umbrella I could find. Then, while I was walking home the damn thing broke in half and I ended up throwing it in the nearest bin. And then I thought to myself, well, it was only a pound, what did I expect? And I walked home soaking wet. So I would have been better off not buying anything – I would at least have still had the 100 yen. From that moment I decided never to buy the cheapest option of anything. Usually I aim for the second cheapest, or middle of the range, or even better, a known and trusted brand name that have their image to worry about and so build things to last.

Another story. Before Christmas 2017 a young bride sent me a message. She was in tears because her videographer had made a hash of her video. I said I'd see what I could do. She sent me the link and I downloaded it and I felt a sinking feeling almost straight away. Because much of what her videographer had done wrong could not be fixed. When something is out of focus, it's out of focus forever. As far as I know there is no software that can put something in focus once it's been captured that way. I felt really bad for her. I could cut out those parts or cover them over, but apart from becoming the first person to invent an app to focus a blurry image there wasn't much else I could do.


How Much Does It Actually Cost?

A lot of people think wedding videography is generally over-priced. So did I. The trouble is, to make a good wedding video does actually take quite a lot of work (at least £8.50 per hour living wage) and needs quite pricey equipment that has to be upgraded every five years. A new Macbook pro + software costs about £2000. A good camera, £2500. Let's say hard drives & SD cards cost £500. That's £5000 every 5 years, or £1000 per year on average just maintaining equipment. (Say a videographer does 24 weddings a year. That's £42 for equipment per wedding.)

On top of this is £420 for insurance (£18 insurance per wedding) and £330 for accounting fees (£14 accounting per wedding).

Next let's say it takes 30 hours non stop to edit a wedding flat out + 10 to shoot it (+20 if there are two camera operators) @ £8.50/hr = £340 for labour.

And what about pension (10%), website (£5), admin (£10) and marketing (£10)?

Summary of Estimated Minimum Costs per Wedding
(assuming 24 weddings per year, one operator, £8.50/hr in 2017)

Equipment £42
Insurance £18
Accounting £14
Website £5
Admin £10
Marketing £10
Labour £340

Total £439

Pension(10%) £44

Grand total £483

So after all this £500 per wedding might not seem so expensive.

This is the minimum a videographer might expect to budget for costs for a wedding. Anything less than this and either they aren't using good equipment, or they aren't insured, they're doing a rush job, or they haven't thought things through properly.



The Raptor Filmz / White Orchid 2017 Wedding Compilation 

Top End Wedding Videos

Well, what about the most expensive deal? £2000 for a wedding video? Okay, if you really like their style, talent, hard work they put in, etc. Have they won awards? Do they have great reviews and an infallible reputation? How many people are they employing? Are they all really necessary? Are they going to use your money efficiently? How many cameras are they using? Are they filming from Bridal Prep until Midnight? Are they using great stabilisation like motorised sliders? (on my wish list :)) How many years' experience do they have? How many years' training? Do they have a fast turnaround? What support do they have in place (See Tip #1)? What resolution end result do they provide?

If a videographer asked for £2,000 to film my wedding I would genuinely be quite interested to see a breakdown of their budget.

On a side note, studies have suggested that the more money a couple spends on their wedding, the smaller the chance their marriage will last.

Conclusion:

Ask yourself : what would Buddha do? Well, he probably wouldn't get married. But if he did, he would choose the middle way. £500 as standard, up to £600 if they have good references, you like their style, you have a good rapport, etc. And I'm not just saying that because that's how much we usually ask for, from Guests Arriving until First Dance. This is honestly what I would recommend to a niece or nephew if they asked me how much would be a good ball park figure to spend on a wedding video in Scotland in 2018. 

If you would like to add something to the discussion, please let me know in the comments below.

Read Tip #1 : Support
Read Tip #3 : Why Choose a Videographer

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© Chris Young 2018






Monday, 19 February 2018

Tip #1 : Support

Over the next few months we will be giving you a few tips on how to ensure a great wedding video and a worry-free wedding day. With over six years' experience in the wedding video business, we've picked up a few pointers that we'd like to share with you.



The Wedding of Ruth & Alastair, Edinburgh 1st Dec 2013

Tip #1 : Support

When choosing a wedding videographer it's usually a good idea to find out about how they will support you, not only on your big day, but before, during and after.

Before:

Will they meet with you to get to know each other, build a rapport and iron out any details? In my experience this always helps. Even if things change later it's always a good idea (travel time allowing) to physically meet and have a chat and a coffee. It could be at a location like a cafe halfway between you both. The preliminary meeting helps both parties to ask and answer questions, and to fully understand what is expected from the other. It's much easier to discuss the plan for your big day at a meeting on a different day than on the morning of the wedding itself when everyone is rushed and sometimes stressed. It's also a good idea just to touch base the week of the wedding to make sure everything is still all good and there haven't been any last minute changes. It might also be an idea to ask the videographer to send you a text when they arrive at the venue to let you know everything's on track.

There is also the small possibility that your videographer might be sick or their transport breaks down on your wedding day. (Sorry to mention this! It's never happened to me, touch wood, but it could and I'm usually prepared just in case, with AA membership and a network of other videographers to contact in such an eventuality.) Has your videographer got failsafes in place? Do they leave in plenty of time to account for roadblocks etc?

During:

Your videographer's priorities should be twofold. First, to capture the best video possible in the circumstances, and second to ensure the best day of your life runs as smoothly as it can. In practice this means :

  • Being helpful, careful, safe and considerate to everyone
  • Not competing, but co-operating with the photographer to ensure the best shots for both
  • Lending a hand whenever necessary
  • Remembering that it is a live event and that even though they shouldn't be visible in their own shots, they are still very much visible to all the guests and bridal party on the day
  • Being as discrete as possible

After:

So it's all done and dusted. The day is over and everything went well. What's next? The videographer has to first of all duplicate all the footage in the event that a hard drive fails. Ideally they should do this the very next day, and have two copies stored at different locations in the event of a fire or burglary. It takes many hours of work to first whittle all of the 360GB or so  down to all the best stuff in a 90 minute video. Then there's the stabilisation, sound adjustment and colour correction. But an email every month or so to let you know how things are going might be nice. Your videographer should keep the master version of your wedding day backed up in duplicate (24GB) for as long as possible, just in case you lose your DVD, USB or there's some other technical problem, or even if you want copies. Probably in twenty years DVDs (720 x 576) will become obselete in much the same way as VHS has. What will the next format be? Rather than transfer from DVD to the next big thing, hopefully you can just contact your videographer and get it done from the master, which will be much better quality (1920 x 1080 HD). We actually back up your wedding film master in triplicate: twice in full 1080 HD and once as a hard copy on DVD.

So that's it. I hope this has given you an insight into what things to look for from your wedding videographer regarding support, before, during and after your big day.



The Highlights of the Wedding of Ruth & Alastair

Photographers/ videographers - have I forgotten anything?

Brides & Grooms - do you have any interesting stories to tell us?

Feel free to leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading! If you'd like to reach us, you can find us on Facebook here.

Read Tip #2 : Price
Read Tip #3 : Why Choose a Videographer?

© Chris Young 2018