When a client tells me they don't want a wedding video I have to stop myself from screaming "Are you crazy?" But, I know they're not crazy. As a matter of fact, I can be pretty sure that they just don't want a bad wedding video.
After years of "blooper" shows depicting wedding horrors filmed by Uncle Harry, it's difficult not to cringe when you hear the words "wedding video". After all, we live in the "age of media" where all life's little occurrences and major events can be documented by anyone with general knowledge of how to operate a camera. There is no shortage of bad video footage; video which is often taken for free and given as a gift to the newly married couple. These homespun videos feature bad sound, terrible lighting, blurred images and enough unsteady and quick moving motion effects to make just about anyone dizzy! In comparison to a professionally produced tape, the amateur counterpart is really only successful at capturing embarrassing moments and unfortunate mishaps.
Professional videographers, on the other hand, specialize in recording and documenting this most special day in a way that will be cherished by all.
Many professional videographers are members of professional associations; recognized associations include the Professional Videographers of America (PVA.com) and the Wedding & Event Videographers Association (WEVA.com). Professional associations require members to be established in their field and adhere to a code of conduct. However, it is most important that a videographer have an occupational license (issued by the county and/or city in which their business is located) and adequate insurance coverage.
Seventeen years ago, I was interviewing vendors for my own wedding. Back in the day when wedding videos were relatively new to the market, they were proportionately expensive. I recall my own choice to spend over $1,000. for the best quality video I could afford as opposed to paying half that price for what I considered "inferior and unwatchable". I know some people thought it was frivolous, but I have never regretted the decision. During the first year of marriage, we watched that tape about two dozen times: we shared it with people who couldn't be at the wedding and we reveled in the segments that made us laugh. As time passed, so did many of our older relatives; their memory lives on in our wedding video. Now, we share the video with our daughter who is eight. By today's standards, the video is a bit cheesy--I must admit--but it is irreplaceable.
I always suggest to clients that they interview a few professional videographers and view some sample tapes. Where most amateur videos may be boring to watch--especially when you don't know the participants--an artistically produced high quality video (or DVD) is always enjoyable, heartwarming and meaningful.
Susie Weiss, a professional bridal consultant and member of the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) believes that "video helps to keep the memories alive". She prefers to see her clients who may be on a tight budget to opt for an inexpensive video package instead of deleting the video altogether. This can often be accomplished by requesting an unedited tape, or foregoing some of the more time intensive "montage" sequences.
The WEVA website (www.weva.com) offers a Brides Guide which describes the value of professional video and video styles, among other features. The WEVA site stresses that "talent, technology and time are three key factors which will affect the pricing of your video".
So remember this rule of thumb: You get what you pay for (which also explains why Uncle Harry's videos are free).