Why Does the Cost of Wedding Videographers Vary?

The price for various professional videographers for weddings can vary from $500 to more than $5,000. Why this difference? If they are all experienced, equipped and trained professionally, why is there a difference in their asking price?

Before we begin to explain this in detail, you must realize that all artists, such as photographers and videographers, fix a value for the work they do, which is based on various factors, such as equipment, time, effort and expertise. These factors are different for each artist, and it depends on the demand for their work as well as their approach to it.

If you are an engaged couple looking for a wedding videographer, you should keep in mind a few factors that can help you to make the final choice. This way, you will not be making a decision based only upon the asking price of the videographers. You will know which factors you should compare, and where you should be willing to cut the costs and where you should be okay with crossing a few expenses.

Documentary versus Filmic

When talking about making a wedding video, you might hear people talking of a documentary or a filmic video. They are not very strictly defined and you might get different ideas from different people. Many times, the videographer will not make videos of only one category. If you want to know which category fits the videographer better, ask to see some samples from previous weddings that he has worked at. See if you like the final effect. If yes, then do not bother too much with the category and consider this videographer.

A “filmic” video usually means that the video is shot in 16:9 or in widescreen. With people preferring to buy widescreen televisions these days, videographers often shoot in widescreen nowadays. This kind of video will usually have dramatic effects in slow motion and saturated colour. The shots might also be very stable and moving, using jib arms, cranes, steadicam apparatus and so on.

If you pick a filmic videographer, you will practically star in your own movie, which will be shot professionally. The lighting will be beautiful, all the right angles will be considered, and only the most glamorous and best shots will be selected in the end. This may be the best moment of your life.

The limitation of this kind of shooting is, without doubt, the cost of the movie. Many people are required to make such a production, along with a large amount of high end equipment. In addition, there is the amount of editing time required. To make the video really filmic, the videographer will need to spend a large amount of time in an editing suite, so that the footage from various cameras can be put together, the music and the sound can be mixed, and titles and transition effects can be created, among other things.

If you are a camera-shy person, there is yet another limitation involved. The entire venue will be surrounded with lights, crew and equipment. You will be very aware of the cameras capturing your every move. Sometimes, you might even have to wait for the cameras to get into place and maybe even re-enact certain things so that the cameras can capture it properly.

A “documentary” video, on the other hand, means that the shooting of the video uses equipment that is less bulky. There might only be a couple of cameramen if you choose the documentary style.

One major limitation of the documentary approach is that the final video will be much rougher. If you want to know exactly how gritty the video will be, ask your videographer to show you samples of his work, as this will vary from one cameraman to another.

The biggest advantage of going with the documentary approach is that the cameramen have more flexibility of movement because of the lighter equipment. They can move around quickly and capture candid moments as they happen around you. The presence of the cameramen is also less obtrusive, and most of the time you will not even feel them around. Finally, the cost of this approach is much less as there is less high end equipment and less people involved. The smoothness of the final DVD depends on the time and effort invested in the editing process, and this varies across production houses.

Raw Video Versus Edited Video

When you hire a videographer, remember that you are paying for more than only one day. Production requires a lot of preparation, which can be quite time consuming. In addition, the videographer might put in up to 60 hours in the refining and editing of your footage after the video shoot. It could also be a lot less, depending on each production company. Ask the videographer the exact details of the editing that he provides, and see if you are willing to pay his asking price for the services he lists.

The simplest way to shoot your wedding video is to ask your videographer to give you the unedited footage, or the raw footage. In this case, the videographer will provide you the footage on a DVD from his hard disk or his tape, along with some packaging. While this option will cost you the least, you need to be prepared for the unfinished look of this video.

You can use any of the different software available in order to edit your own video. However, even if you invest patience, time and creativity to brush up your unedited video, the full potential of the video will be better unearthed by a professional editor. If you do not want to edit your video at all, you must realize that all shots will be included, without discretion. The audio level of your video will not consistent, and there will be no chapters, so you will not be able to skip forward to specific parts of the video with ease.

The videographer might also offer to give you the video after a “light editing”. This is basically a clean up, and he will remove some rough and irrelevant footage. He might add some dissolves in order to make the scene transitions softer. He might even add some chapters to the DVD, along with a little bit of music. This kind of editing will naturally cost you a little more than absolutely no editing at all. However, the finished product will be much nicer and more entertaining.

If you want to go all out, you can ask for a full edit. This will include titling, effects, even audio, colour correction, montages with music and so on. This kind of editing requires more time, and will therefore, cost you more.

There are other factors, as well, that you must consider before you hire the videographer. Can you sit through the first cut, and can you express your opinion on the final piece? Is the editor willing to re-cut the video according to your desires? Will the editor upload the video online so that you can go through the edit and share it with others? How many DVDs of the final wedding video will you be given at the end of the contract? Extra perks take up more resources and more time, so they will automatically add to your wedding video’s final cost.

Multiple Camera versus Single Camera

The majority of the production companies include either one or two cameras in their wedding video packages. If the company is high end, you might receive more than two cameras.

With more cameras, the angles, close-ups and coverage will also be more. The final product will be more dynamic as well. However, they also mean that you will require more equipment and more people. The cost will also increase proportionally, as a result.

If you have fewer cameras, the coverage will be less and the angles will also be less. However, the costs will come down drastically and the experience will not be as obtrusive.

You must also consider that more cameras will increase the amount of footage collected. This means more hours spent in the editing suite. This will quickly jack up the cost of your wedding video.

This article has hopefully explained the time, cost and expertise that the production of a wedding video requires. You might understand the difference in cost between packages and wedding videographers better now.

There is no single way to produce the perfect wedding video. As individuals, we all have different priorities. Your budget should reflect the things that are important to you. Make the choice wisely, as you can make a wedding video only once. There are no retakes to this important day in your life.