There are a lot of choices when it comes to hiring wedding professionals. Getting a true
is of the highest importance to ensure that your day goes off as smoothly as possible. My personal recommendations are based as much on personality as anything else, since everyone at our level of service should be 100% committed to your satisfaction. It’s very important that your vendors get along with each other, and even better if they’ve worked together before. Recommendations are vital – ask for them!
As far as videographers go, there are lots of styles, backgrounds and personalities. Who you choose should fit your needs best, so be sure to ask enough questions to put your mind at ease at contract-signing time.
1. How long have you been a videographer?
This should give you the basic background of the videographer. Someone with two years behind them doesn't necessarily have less ability than someone with ten years, but experience definitely helps. Request samples, completed versions of their work and references from past clients, if possible.
Travis's answer: " I have been working as a videographer since the fall of 1999, and I have been taping weddings since the spring of 2003. Ralph has been in TV production since the summer of 2000, and currently works full-time as an associate TV producer."
2. What type of cameras do you use?
There are many types of professional video cameras. Digital should be the preferred choice, as there will be little, if any, quality loss from the original tape to the final product. 3-CCD (or 3-chip) cameras are a necessity to fully capture the colors and crispness of the day.
With the rise of HD cameras, the options are now more varied than ever. However, just because an HD-Cam is offered doesn’t mean the final product is going to be better. The camera operator still needs to have the skills and experience to use the camera effectively.
Travis's answer: " My company currently uses Canon's High-Definition XH-A1s model digital camcorders. We also utilize the standard-definition Canon GL-2 model, which is what much of the of content on this website was shot with."
3. How will you capture our voices during the ceremony?
A wireless lavalier microphone should be the staple of all wedding videographers. The small, black microphone will be clipped on the groom's tuxedo, with the transmitter hidden in his inside pocket. The signal will go through a receiver hooked up to the videographer's camera, which will pick up everything the couple says to each other, and whoever is presiding over the ceremony.
Any videographer who will simply use the "on-board" microphone should NOT be taken seriously. It is simply not good enough to pick up the necessary audio. On occasion, a shotgun mic or boom mic will suffice, but your best bet is a wireless microphone.
Travis's answer: " We use Samsung, Sennheiser and Azden wireless lav mic systems for crystal clarity. Depending on the package and the surroundings, I can use up to three microphones during the ceremony. Often this will include one on the groom, one on the officiant and one on a reader or at the speaking platform."
4. Will my video be edited?
Much of what a videographer tapes are the minutes leading up to the moment worth preserving. An average ceremony and reception, with one videographer, can yield 3-5 hours of footage. Professional editing software, and the skill to master it, is absolutely essential.
Most wedding videos (depending on the length of your ceremony) are edited down to about 45-90 minutes. More than that is generally overkill.
Travis's answer: " A large portion of the Package Price is to cover my editing time. I personally spend as much time as it takes to put together a concise, interesting and entertaining video. Since I personally tape the weddings, my camera style and editing style go hand-in-hand to create the best product I can possibly offer. Currently, I utilize the definitive Final Cut Studio, as well as Adobe’s Creative Suite, including Premiere, Photoshop, After Effects, Encore and Audition."
5. How many weddings have you taped professionally?
While there are some fairly standard elements at most weddings, every couple's day is unique and special. The more weddings a videographer has done, the better (s)he will be able to anticipate what is going to happen next.
Travis's answer: " Since I began, I have taped over 300 weddings. Increasingly more of those weddings come from personal referrals, which are the best indication of customer satisfaction."
6. How (in)conspicuous will you be during our wedding/reception?
The best videographers blend in and keep their cameras at a comfortable distance to their subjects. People tend to either tighten up or go wild when they know a video camera is on them - neither one of these reactions are candid, nor are they what you necessarily want to remember.
Videographers should stay out of the way and let things take their natural course, taping things as they happen. Their job is to capture important moments, not intrude on them.
Travis's answer: " I do exactly as I suggest - I stay out of the way and let the events unfold naturally. This is what is known as a journalistic approach - observe and capture, but never interfere or manipulate."
7. Will the person I meet with and hire be the same one that actually tapes my wedding?
There are many companies out there, some big and some small, all hoping to give you your dream video. Every videographer is different and brings his or her own special touches and style to the shoot. If you really like the demo you viewed, and you connect well with a certain person, make sure that person is the one that will actually perform the services. Larger companies employ any number of people that could be sent off to do the job, so always ask to make sure you know who you're getting.
Travis's answer: " Either Ralph or I will personally shoot every wedding. BTL Productions is my company and I have a hand in every aspect of its operations. Ralph is the only camera operator I trust to do my job for me if the event requires it, and we have worked together for nearly ten years in the field. If we are unable to be present at the wedding personally, I will not book it. Any ideas, suggestions, desires or questions are all directed to me, and I will make sure that I handle every request, no matter what size, to complete satisfaction."