What are the 5 keys to a successful wedding film?

In September of 2013 the Huffington Post had an article stating that 98% of brides regret not budgeting for a wedding film. The author writes, "Like most brides, I budgeted for photos, but not wedding video. Like 98 percent of brides who make that decision, I regretted not getting a wedding video." So you have made the choice, you worked hard, you budgeted and now you are going to seek out a professional wedding videographer to film your wedding. Do they need drones? Should they produce a 1 hour film? Where do you start? What makes a quality film? Here are 5 things every film maker should master and you need to think about before paying a retainer!

1) Sound: Ask your videographer how they plan to capture sound. Be open to their strategy. Little things can be off in the video, but if the sound is poor, your film will truly suffer. Your professional wedding film maker should master utilizing professional lapel microphones, on camera microphones and command & lead the reception toasts. At SWWF we contact your DJ to set up a specific, professional microphone just for your toasts. We walk around and get ambient sounds of the location like a soft trickling fountain, waves crashing, wind rustling through trees. Sound is key. Does your film maker take it seriously?

2) Solid Camera Work: Did you know there is a psychology behind camera placement? One shot may give a feeling of vulnerability, another passion, whereas another opens and establishes the scene.  Does your wedding film maker have a shot plan? Do they inquire about the really important aspects of your wedding day? Seeing your Grandpa or Grandma walk in to see you in your tux or wedding gown could be a HUGE moment in your day. How does your film maker plan to capture it? We take all that into consideration when formalizing a shot plan and camera placement. Drones, gimbals, monopods, tripods are all tools that can be compared to seasoning to a recipe. Too much of one thing can ruin the meal. In the same way too much of one tool can throw your film off. Does your prospective wedding film maker have a foundation of really solid camera work?

3) Solid Editing: Just like with professional camera work, is the editing powerful? Editing is what makes your story come alive. Again, there is a psychology and plan with story telling & editing. You can have all of the greatest footage in the world but, if the edit is just thrown together, your film will suffer and no one will watch it. Years of experience and training go into editing, color grading, audio remastering and piecing together the amazing puzzle that is your wedding day. I am sorry, a one hour feature film will not be watched. There is a reason why movies that are an hour and half long take over a year to capture. An important question to ask is if they can confidently make a 5 minute, 10 minute or 15+ minute feature film or edit an entire ceremony. 

4) Contracts & License & Insurance: Does your videographer make you sign a contract & can they show proof of insurance and a FAA 107 Pilot License (if they utilize drones) if it is requested? Contracts are designed to protect YOU & THEM, so that you know what you are receiving and the videographer knows what they are receiving. Many venues require wedding professionals to show proof of Commercial Insurance and their 107 license. Ask them if they carry it because what if last minute they are not able to step foot onsite because they do not have insurance or worse yet, what if a guest gets hurt by a Drone or trips over a tripod?

5) Solid Relationships & Flexibility: The magical moment happens, the lighting is golden, the romance is in the air, it is time for the once in a lifetime shot. Who is shooting first, the photographer or cinematographer. Is your wedding videographer both assertive and flexible? Can they work well with your photographer? We do not think of your wedding day as a competition, we think of it as a team of professionals coming together to make your day the best that it can be. We pride ourselves with having amazing relationships with planners, make up artists, DJ's, and many photographers. In fact we partnered with (2016,2017) Bride Elite Award Winner Matt Blasing Photography and offer a discount for couples that utilize us both. Again, the ultimate goal is that our couples get the best for their budget. Having great relationships and flexibility is key to a low stress wedding day.

Feel free to comment on your must haves in a wedding videographer! We would love to hear what you thing too!