Reginald A Beltran
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Hiring a Wedding Videographer

You have been dreaming of your big wedding day since you were a little girl. Now the plan is in motion and you are actually making those dreams a reality. You make sure you find the dress you feel like a princess in, you splurge on hair and makeup, you select the finest spread with your caterer, choose the lavish floral arrangements, and you hire the best photographer you can afford.

You have heard of people hiring a videographer, and think, what is the point? I am already spending a small fortune on my photographer, and my Uncle Joe has a pretty nice camcorder, why don't I just have him make me a video?

According to a recent national survey, more than half of brides who had their wedding videotaped by a friend or relative would have it done professionally if they could do it all over again. Of those who did hire a professional, 95% suggest others do the same. Hiring a professional you trust gives you several advantages. For one, you can let Uncle Joe off the hook and let him take part in enjoying the festivities of the day. You invite your family for that very reason; why give him the pressure and responsibility of making sure every moment is captured?

Keep in mind a good professional wedding videographer is not only practiced and trained with the latest equipment, but a seasoned professional, like my team at 2Bridges, has acquired an intuitive sense of how to capture the little extras that really make a wedding DVD special. Not only do you get the standard, scripted events like your ceremony, cake cutting, and bouquet toss, but you see the little cherished moments you may never have known happened - the behind-the-scenes laughter, the stolen kiss, the loving gaze.

The best professional videographers will invariably use professional equipment you don't see in your local retail electronics outlet. The use of professional cameras and media gives you a noticeable difference compared to consumer-grade gear. The use of pro audio equipment and lighting makes a large difference as well. The professional edge is even more evident in videographers who use extensive custom editing in putting together your finished DVD. Seasoned professionals don't merely record the events; they capture moments with elegance and flair, resulting in more of a polished Hollywood-esque production than a home video.

But, you may be wondering, is it worth spending the extra money, especially when I am already hiring a photographer? Consider this: most of your wedding day expenses are spent on aspects of the day that are gone forever when the sun goes down. The food and cake are eaten, the flowers are taken home to wilt in a few days, the rented hall is cleaned out and readied for the next event, the hair comes down, the makeup off, and you don't plan on wearing the dress again any time soon. In contrast, the money you spend on a high quality wedding DVD is indeed an investment. Your love was made to last a lifetime, and your DVD helps capture all the memories of that special day for generations to come. Can you imagine being able to watch your parents' wedding and reception, perhaps even candid interviews, in a style reminiscent of a prime time television special? Imagine allowing future generations to see first hand what that special time in your life was really like.

Many brides comment that, when they watch their DVD for the first time, they get to see things they did not know even happened. You are so wrapped up in the day, making sure everything goes smoothly, to really take it all in. A professional DVD lets you not only relive the day, but to see it with fresh eyes, as an observer instead of a participant.

A photographer captures what your wedding day looked like. But a photograph can never capture the emotion behind the kiss, the choked-back tears of happiness during a heartfelt toast, or the unexpected humor of your precocious flower girl's antics. In fact, a good videographer will be more than happy to provide you will still images of any moment captured on the video if there is anything your photographer may have missed.

To make sure you are getting a good professional videographer that you can trust, make sure you ask the right questions and do your homework. You should always be allowed to see samples of the company's previous work before signing a contract. A quick, heavily edited clip on the internet may not be a true indication of what your finished DVD will look like. Ask to look at a full-length, completed DVD to get a better idea of how much detail will be involved.

Some videographers will try to do most of their editing while they are filming, with very minor editing to complete it. Look for a videographer that has a lot of editing experience and willingness to really customize your DVD with extensive post-production work. For a high quality production company, the time spent filming is the tip of the iceberg. Most of the work is spent in the editing suite in the weeks following your event. Anyone that promises you your finished video in a couple short weeks is not taking the time to make a really polished, detailed product for you. Like good food, good video takes time and it is always worth the wait to allow your videographer to really personalize it for you. By the same token, more is not better. Fancy, flashy effects throughout your video will give it a cluttered, disjointed look. Carefully watch the samples you are shown for tasteful, selective use of effects.

Ask, too, about the equipment your videographer uses. At the minimum, a professional videographer should be using 3CCD technology in their cameras. The better production companies will use professional-grade cameras. If they claim "broadcast quality", ask specifically what media they are using. Many companies will make this claim but shoot on miniDV, which would never be accepted for broadcast by any cable company. True broadcast quality involves DVCAM or Beta stock.

Finally, make sure your videographer has either solid training or extensive experience, preferably both. Great videographers become so by learning how to properly make the most of their equipment, knowing how to frame shots and capture fluid movements, and with practice, practice, practice. You are likely better off with a company that specializes in wedding video, as they have exhaustive experience with what specifically makes a wedding DVD truly great. Make sure you are getting the experienced videographer you are comfortable with, and that they are not contracting a third party whose experience is unknown to you.

When the fancy catered meal and lavish cake is devoured, the flowers have wilted, the dress, hair and makeup is but a distant memory, a professionally produced wedding DVD will make all the memories of your special day last a lifetime. And what better way to thank your loving, supportive parents than to give them a copy as a fitting thank you gift? A professional wedding DVD offers you something no photographer can - your memories will not simply be documented with still pictures and fading memories, but the day you've been dreaming and planning for years comes to life time and again, simply by pressing play.

If you're looking into hiring a professional to make a cinematic wedding video, make sure to check out my team of filmmakers at:


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