Do you know that word association game that psychologists use when their patients are lying on the couch? The psychologist lists various words and the patient has to say the first thing that pops into their head, which in turn helps the doc figure out what is going on deep down in the subconscious. Well, let’s play a round of that game, shall we?! What is the first thing that comes into your head when you hear the words “wedding videographer”? If you’re like me, your mind immediately flashes back to an image of a middle-aged guy standing in the center of a church aisle, recording a wedding ceremony with a ten-pound video camera that is just barely being supported by a skinny-legged tripod that’s holding on for dear life. The audio is bad, the entire ceremony is shot from the same angle, and the total running time is 57 minutes. And watch out; if the VCR ever starts eating that VHS tape – you can kiss your wedding video goodbye. Of course, this scenario isn’t fully representative of the way things are today. The cameras are all digital now, and they even shoot in HD! That means it’s going to look and sound incredible, right?! Not exactly.
Thankfully, the technology involved in video cameras has come a long way over the past decade. But when it comes to paying for a wedding video that you’ll actually want to watch, there’s a lot more to it than just a nice camera. In the end, it all comes down to the story. A wedding film that is going to be worth watching in ten years cannot just show a montage of clips from your wedding day – it must tell the story of your wedding day. How does a wedding film tell the story of your wedding day? It shows you the sights and sounds that are unique to your wedding day. The groom winking at the bride when they thought no one was looking. The laughter shared between cousins who rarely see each other because they live in different parts of the country. The hilarious story shared during the best man’s toast that had everyone cracking up. And of course – the uncle who is known for breaking loose on the dance floor. There are so many special moments that go down on a wedding day in addition to the ceremony, and a good wedding filmmaker will keep their eyes and ears wide open in order to capture them.
While there is much more that we would like to say when it comes to what makes a great wedding film, here are three basic questions to ask yourself when choosing your wedding videographer/filmmaker:
1. Will this videographer also be capturing the audio of our wedding day? When it comes to creating a stunning wedding film, audio is crucial. And we’re not just talking about the soundtrack (although that is important too). Rather, a great wedding film will feature audio from the day in addition to having a killer soundtrack. The words that were spoken during the ceremony and the speeches can play a significant role in bringing your wedding film to life. A good wedding videographer will be able to sort through all of these words and pick out the bits that tell your story best.
2. Does this videographer follow a cookie-cutter template with their films? This is a question that can be answered simply by going through the videographer’s online portfolio. Does each film seem to follow the exact same template? Does it feel like you’re watching the same story, just with different characters? If that is the case, we’d suggest looking elsewhere. There should be more that differentiates your wedding film from others than the characters alone. While there are elements that seem to be present at every wedding (decorations, food, laughs, hugs, music), they don’t always look and sound the same at every wedding. And the people don’t always behave in the same way either. It’s the job of the videographer to use these elements to create a wedding film that is unique to the sights, sounds, and stories of your day.
3. Does this videographer’s wedding films move me emotionally? More than anything else, the videographer that you go with should create wedding films that stir up feelings of joy, love, and thankfulness for the people in your life. Time after time we have heard people say to us, “We were watching your wedding film, and it brought us to tears… and we don’t even know the people in the video!” We love hearing comments like those. It is a testament to the emotion-generating power that a good wedding film can hold. Your videographer’s goal should be to use that power in a way that will continually remind you of everything good on your wedding day, namely, the love and commitment of your family, your friends, and your spouse.
To give you just one example that we think serves all three of these purposes, check out the film below. We had the opportunity to tell the story of Lauren and Luke’s wedding day in September of 2016. As we interacted with them throughout the day, it quickly became evident that their family was an incredibly important part of their lives. We also learned about the shared sense of adventure between Lauren and Luke, and how this played a significant role in realizing that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. By highlighting these themes (amongst others) we were able to craft a wedding film unique to Lauren and Luke, that they will be able to cherish for generations to come.