Wedding Videographer Chat with Martin Andrews, Thursday, August 21 at 11 AM

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Published August 14, 2008

Washington, DC
Hi Martin, I was wondering if you can do a combination of shooting in 8mm film and HD. Also, can you give me some details about the packages you offer? Thanks! Eleni

Hi Eleni,

Great question! We offer both HD options which are delivered on Blu-Ray DVDs and super8mm movie film options. We love shooting movie film!  All of our packages are a la carte and customized for each couple and their day--we basically build the package for you. In terms of pricing, brides typically spend $2000ish for a 1 Camera Option, and $4000ish for a two cameras. One of the really nice things about our packages, is that our filmmakers are full time in the studio -so the person who shoots your wedding is also involved in the editing  - which of course results in a very one on one approach and personalized end product. 

Arlington, Va
I was at a friend's wedding this past weekend and a family friend videotaped the wedding with a camcorder. What are the pros and cons of having a friend videotape the wedding? Thanks!
Theres certainly both pros and cons - obviously if a bride and groom dont have room in the budget for a videography - something rather than nothing is always nice to have--- especially 40 years down the road.   Most professional videographers will be using the latest technology cameras, wireless microphones and editing equipment - all which add to a higher level of production - but i strongly feel that the real value to hiring a pro has more to do with the talent/expertise and craft of the videographer. Someone who knows what the best shots are - where to shoot from, the right angle, how to tell the story in an engaging and romantic way. 
Arlington, Va
How long do videotapes of weddings usually turn out to be after all the editing is done?

Thats a tough - but good question we hear a lot!

 Typically films run 1-2 hours, but for what we do everything is custom.  We usually include all of the ceremony, all of the toasts, dedications and special dances - so if the best man rattles on for 25 minutes during his toast - that adds 25 minutes to the video. 

In our films, we include a number of music video highlight sections - so you get both the important moments in their entirety, but also some shorter condensed versions set to music which are great to share with family/friends or post to the internet to share.  

Washington
How can I tell if a videographer knows what he or she is doing before I hire one?
Its important with any vendor you hire to go off recommendations/references and to view portfolio and sample pieces of their work. If you dont have a planner to help with hiring vendors,  talking with your vendors/asking around and asking for advice/recs is the best way to go. Also the Washingtonian Best of Weddings List is a great resource ;)
Arlington, VA
If there is only one videographer, does he/she tend to miss out on a lot? Is it better to ask for two videographers?

Two videographers will always provide better coverage than one - but only having one doesnt mean you arent going to get great coverage. Having 2 videographers allows us to get reaction shots - during the father of the brides welcome - we can cut back and forth from the father of the bride to the bride smiling, laughing, tears/etc. It also provides better and more complete coverage during the ceremony - with 2 the video WILL be more dynamic.

But any professional videographer should definitely get all of the important moments - even if he/she is solo.  

 

Woodley Park
How much can I expect to pay for a good videographer? What do you do that my uncle with a camcorder can't do?

I would say good videography - at least in the DC area, starts at around $2000, but there are different levels of video coverage and "good videography" is very subjective. 

There are videographers in DC that do great work starting at 1500, there are also great ones at $4000, and $5000 and higher.  I believe you definitely get what you pay for.

A professional videographer is going to be using the best technolgy, and will be dedicated to captuing the moments all day long - your uncle, why he may have a really nice camera - will likely want to hit the bar a few times, will likely miss things, and almost certainly wont use wireless mics during the vows/toasts. Theres also the post production - when we spend 8 hours shooting your wedding, we also spend 20-30 hours editing, which is really where it all comes together.

Washington, DC
What is the most popular service/package you provide? How do most people like their wedding videos done these days?

I think most brides really want a video thats fun and enjoyable to watch.  Theres a certain stigma with wedding videos that they are long and boring and you wont want to watch them because of that. Many of the wedding videos that are produced today are absolutely awesome productions and look like movies.  Ultimately, brides want a video thats going to show off the fantastic wedding she had, in a format that can be shared easily with friends. 

Most of our packages are shot by two filmmakers in our "Feature Film" format - which is more of a condensed/highlight version of your day. We also love shooting movie film, which looks very cool and nostalgic when its edited into the final piece.  

Bethesda, MD
When choosing a videographer, should I ask to see some past videos that he's put together?

DEFINITELY! Its also very important that you ask to see finished products and not "demos" consisting of shots from many different weddings. 

 Anyone who goes out and shoots a bunch of weddings can put together a demo of the best shots from the best events - these are very misleading and not representative of what you will receive. 

 Ask to see finished products - what the client actually received. Watch the ceremony, the reception and pay close attention to the quality of the image, shooting and editing. You'll be paying a lot of money for your video so its important you get the best! 

Washington, DC
Have couples ever asked you to reshoot certain parts of their reception/wedding that started out kind of like "bloopers"?
We've never really been asked to reshoot moments - but we've been asked to put together blooper reels.  Most weddings dont really have lots of blooper moments... so putting together a highlight reel of them would be tough.  In the finished products we produce, we definitely put in all of the best/funny moments, and if theres anything that we are not sure about (in terms of being appropriate) we ask the couple what they think. 
Ballston Bride
what's the most awkward moment you've ever had video-taping things? have brides/grooms ever asked you to film things that you refuse to film?

There have definitely been some awkward moments! ;)  Probably the most disheartening thing is when the couple gets into a fight at the wedding - which we have see happen from time to time.  It makes things more stressful for us of course - but its really not good when the guests notice. 

 The only thing for me that can get annoying-- and I have to put my foot down is when a guest whos had a bit to drink wants to take my camera and film ME.  That has happened and it drives me crazy! 

Washington, DC
Watching home videos brings out my motion sickness! How do you ensure wedding footage is not shaky so I'll be able to actually watch the video?
I completely hear you!   We do this day in and day out, so our camera work is extremely high end and professional. We use tripods (small and unobtrusive) during the ceremony, and the receptions are shot hand held with cameras that have stabilizers - so the image is always great. 
Washington, DC
How do you stay creative with the way you create wedding videos?

Its what drives us!! We are always looking for new and creative ways to shoot and edit our films -- within the scope of what the finished film should look like. For the films we produce, the couple has a lot of input into the production process - from pre-production to the finished edit - so we love couples who get involved and really want to have a say in the finished product. 

 We also have a very diverse clientele- we do Indian weddings, Persian, African, Latin American, Korean, Jewish, Christian and Muslim and many more - this keeps it really fun and interesting for us as all of these cultures/religions are so different and so colorful.  They pick different styles of music, have different visions for their finished films - and this really allows us to  flex our creative muscles and be a part of so many differnt  styles of events - and get to know so many people from different cultures. 

Washington, DC
I'd like to video tape my cousin's wedding - she's not hiring me as a professional or anything, but just for fun and to provide her with some off the cuff memories. What kind of video camera would you recommend for an amateur?
Thats really nice of you to do that for her!   If you're not going to be doing any editing, I would probably recommend a direct to DVD recording camera - which would give them a DVD copy right out of the camera. Also look for a camera with a built in light - at the reception you will need that - and make sure you have plently of tape/DVD and batteries.  You may want to consider a small tripod  as well for the ceremony and toasts - as you could get tired of holding the camera.  Good luck! 
Arlington, VA
Hi Martin! So I'm getting married September 2009 in a very funky, unique boutique hotel....we are about to set our budget with our wedding planner and she highly recommended a videographer. While our budget is being stretched for the remaining necessary things (flowers, dresses, cake, etc) what would you suggest we budget for a videographer package?

Congratulations on the upcoming wedding!  Budget what you can afford.  I always tell clients the two things they will have 40 years down the road are their pictures and their video.

 You definitely get what you pay for with video, and it sounds like you are planning a really great event - so you may want to give consideration in the budget to "this is what i will have when the food is all eaten and the flowers are gone". The video, like the pictures will be lasting - and Im sure you're kids will love to see it 20 years down the road!!

 

Thats all the time we have for today - thanks everyone for submitting such great questions!  You can visit our studio's website online at www.blueskyfilms.com or email any additional questions to us at team@blueskyfilms.com

 

 

 

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