What’s a common complaint of brides and grooms? “It all went so fast!” Investing in a high quality wedding video lets you revisit the sights and sounds of your special day for years to come. These memories in motion are priceless, so plan to spend the time and money necessary to do it right. In short: hire a professional.

Professional videographers: Offering quality & creativity

In recent years, wedding videos have dramatically improved. Professional videographers have the technology, talent, and time necessary to produce videos with excellent quality (think: clear audio, crisp visuals, and sharp editing). A good videographer will remain inconspicuous throughout the day and capture intimate, uninhibited moments of you and your guests. You’ll see every laugh, every tear, every “blooper” — everything from the rustle of your gown to the choked-up tone in your dad’s champagne toast to the best man high-fiving the groom.

Often times, your video can be much more than a straight-forward recording. Technological advances make for boundless creativity. Videographers offer fun options like a movie trailer for your wedding video, complete with opening or ending credits and a narrating voiceover. There’s also documentary-style filming, complete with bride and groom monologues or “confessionals.” A videographer can give you that “behind the scenes” look at your wedding day.

In addition to the final wedding video, some videographers offer same-day services such as rush editing of wedding day highlights or photo and video montages to show at your reception. Projectors for these shows are recommended and may be available through your videographer. These upgradeable video services are growing in popularity and could add the perfect final touch to your celebration — your guests will be totally entertained by all those sometimes-touching, sometimes-hilarious moments.

If you’re a high-tech couple, put your videographer to work before the wedding. Work together to create a video-style “save the date” for the folks on your guest list. You can save money by uploading this video to your wedding website or YouTube, then sending friends and family a link to view it. Or you can burn the “save the date” to a DVD and mail a copy to each household. Video invites are modern, fun, personal, and, if worked in to your videography package, a potential money-saver.

Choosing a videographer

When researching professional videographers in your area, visit their websites and view a sample video. Just like photographers, each videographer has a unique style — make sure you and your videographer share a similar vibe and vision. Pay close attention to make sure the sample meets your expectations in terms of video detail and quality. Things to consider when viewing a sample video include the clarity and stability of the picture, as well as the videographer’s ability to smoothly edit and transition the material. Another thing to keep in mind: audio. Knowledge of remote microphones and where to position them is key — a good videographer will have this under control. Yes, there’s a lot to consider, so let’s break it down with a video evaluation checklist for quick reference:

Checklist for evaluating a sample video

Evaluate the picture…

  • Is the picture clear and consistently in focus, or is it jumpy, blurry, or shaky?
  • Are there any dead spots?
  • Does it move smoothly from one scene to the next or jump awkwardly?
  • How is the lighting?

Evaluate the sound…

  • At the ceremony, can you clearly hear the bride, groom, officiate, and readers?
  • At the reception, can you clearly hear the toasts?
  • Is the audio muffled or difficult to hear at any point?
  • Are the music selections and volume appropriate?
  • Is the crowd and ambient noise controlled?

Evaluate the overall effect…

  • Is the video too short, too long, or just right?
  • Is it entertaining?
  • Does it trigger emotion?
  • Does it look like the work of a professional?

Budgeting for a professional

Professional videographers will spend anywhere from four to 10 hours with you on your wedding day and another 35 to 50 hours editing your wedding video and adding graphics, music, and other special effects. Taking into account all of the professional equipment, experience, and time spent, you should expect to spend an amount similar to your photography budget. When you finally choose your videographer, be sure to ask to see a copy of the contract and make sure you understand the ins and outs of specific costs.

Budget tip: If your budget doesn’t allow for much now, still invest in a quality videographer’s bare-bones package. You can always go back later and add extra elements, such as a video montage or highlight tape for the reception, if funds allow.

Video fun, post-wedding

There’s a new post-wedding bridal trend that would be perfect film fodder — it’s called “trash the dress.” Also known as “fearless bridal” or “rock the frock,” this is a style of wedding photography and videography that juxtaposes an elegant bridal gown against an entirely out-of-place environment. What kind of environments? Try a soggy beach, muddy riverbank, or paintballing war zone. The bride then, as evidenced by the trend’s name, trashes her dress on camera, succumbing to the elements and ruining the gown. But proceed with caution! Be careful when attempting a video shoot near water. Best to “rock the frock” on dry land.

Another fun way to play with your video post-wedding is to host a viewing party. Invite close friends and family into your home as husband and wife and relive the day that “went so fast.” Who knows? You might even have some leftover cake and champagne to serve.

Some final words on “why”

We all know the obvious reason to invest in a wedding video: you’ll have it forever to view as a couple. But so will those guests who couldn’t make it to the celebration. Having a video to share with family and friends who weren’t present on your wedding day will be a wonderful treat for them. And for every aging family member who not only made it to the ceremony but also to the dance floor, those memories (and dance moves) will be preserved forever. Finally, at the risk of jumping the gun, do it for the future kids. They’ll love watching “The Day We Got Hitched” time and again just as much as you will.

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