How Much Should I Spend On My Wedding Video?

19 Jan 2013 | Categories: Wedding Videographer Blog | Posted by: Perfect Wedding Films

Today’s brides have a lot more options than they had just a few years ago.  With new camera technology, videographers are able to produce higher quality wedding films than ever before.  Most importantly, this technology is available at a price that professional wedding videographers can afford.  It’s still quite an investment, but it’s no longer out of reach.

So how much should you pay for your wedding video, and how does a wedding videographer decide how much to charge?  Here’s an explanation of what it takes to create an amazing wedding video:


DSLR Cameras

DSLR cameras are what professional still photographers have been using for years and are far cry from a point and shoot.  These cameras began shooting video in 2008, but took a few years for the technology to have the ability to create “film like” video.  They have a full sensor and shoot video at a very high resolution.  The ability to interchange lenses and the depth of field is what makes these cameras so good for filmmaking.

An average DSLR camera costs around $5000 just for the camera and one lens.  Most professional videographers have multiple lenses and various pieces of production gear, such as tripods, sliders, jibs, etc.  On most wedding shoots, it’s almost impossible for one videographer (or shooter) to capture everything.  That means that there are usually two to three professionals that are part of the production crew.


Talent and Experience

Creating an amazing wedding film takes a lot of knowledge, ability and talent.  Anyone can buy a DSLR camera, put the settings on “auto” and point and shoot.  The professional filmmaker (videographer) always sets the camera on full manual.  They know what shutter speed, aperture and exposure to use with what lens and in what situation.  Knowing how to use the camera like a professional is the difference between an average looking film and an amazing looking film.  There are a ton of little subtleties that can make a film exceptional, and most beginners don’t know what they’re doing wrong.


Professional Audio

There are many aspects to capturing a wedding that need to be planned ahead of time.  Good natural sound is crucial to making a great wedding film.  Audio is something that most beginners don’t think about when they start filming a wedding.  In order to capture the audio of the ceremony clear and clean, an external mike and audio recorder must be placed at just the right spot.  Every venue is different when it comes to recording audio and the acoustics of the environment.  A professional wedding filmmaker knows just where to place the mics to get the best audio.  If the audio isn’t clean, not loud enough or is distorted, the entire wedding film will be ruined.  Audio is one of those things that most people don’t think about when watching a video, but it’s incredibly important to creating the emotion the viewer is feeling.


Shot Selection

The key to an amazing wedding film is shot selection.  Shot selection means getting the right shot and framing it correctly.  This is where experience comes in.  The more experience the wedding videographer has, the more they know what shots they need to get and plan accordingly.

The key to great shot selection is planning (and experience).  The film team needs to have a coordinated plan in order to get all the essential shots.  There are many moving parts to a wedding and many essential people and events.  Each wedding has many similarities, but every wedding is different.  The Bride and Groom will usually have an idea of what they would like to have filmed, other than the usual.  It’s key to have good communications between the film team and the Bride and Groom.



Once the big day is over and the happy couple is on their honeymoon, the filmmaker’s work is only half done.  The editor must go through the hours of footage to start compiling the best shots.  Most weddings start off with the film team capturing the Bride and Groom getting ready.  This usually starts hours before the ceremony.  After the ceremony is over, the team must capture the reception, the first dance, the cake cutting, etc.  Depending on the length of the ceremony and reception, this could be up to 12 hours or more of filming.  With two shooters filming all of the events, this could add up to 20 or more hours of footage that the editor must go through.

The art of editing is just that, an art form.  It doesn’t matter if the footage of the wedding is the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen.  If the editor can’t piece it all together, add music and combine all the elements to create an emotional film that captures the essence of the day, then it’s all for naught.

A good editor has to master many techniques, and at the same time be able to tell a good story.  A good wedding film has amazing footage combined with motion graphics, music, production audio of the day, tells a story and makes both the Bride and Groom look their absolute best.  All of this must be mixed together seamlessly to make the viewer get lost in the story.


Your Wedding Video Budget

Let’s face it, weddings are expensive.  Most couples plan for the venue, the dress, the food, the photographer and everything else, leaving the wedding film as an after thought.  By the time they start looking for the perfect wedding videographers, their budget is running thin.

Other than the wedding pictures, it’s the wedding film that will last the longest.  The food will be gone, the flowers will all die and you’ll forget just exactly who attended the wedding.  The only thing that will let you relive the day and the party that night is the wedding film.  So why do people expect to pay the wedding videographers the least amount of money?

It’s really up to you how important you consider the wedding film.  When you start planning your wedding, consider finding your wedding videographers at the beginning of the process.  That way, you’ll have the appropriate budget for the quality of wedding film you deserve.

If you’re tight on money and need to be conservative with the video budget, make sure you do your research.  Watch examples of different videographers in your area.  Keep in mind all of the information above and what it takes to make a great film while you’re doing your research

You only get one shot to capture your wedding.  You need to hire someone you know can make your wedding day look amazing.

Congratulations and good luck!

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