You know what my biggest regret is from my wedding? Not hiring a wedding cinematographer or filmmaker to document our day. I see these gorgeous films from the couples I feature, and they make me cry every single time. I so wish I had made one happen for us. At the time we thought we didn’t have it in our budget and that having great photos would be enough to capture our day. We were wrong. So I asked some very talented wedding filmmakers & Lovely Vendors, Munn Brothers, to share how to choose a wedding filmmaker that is right for you. I wish I had!
Over the years, we keep hearing married couples say, “We wish we had picked the right person to film our wedding” or “We wish we just had a wedding DVD to look back on to relive all the memories. But, we don’t.” Unfortunately, wedding films have gotten a bad rap. When most people think of a wedding video, they think of Uncle Reuben with his bulky shoulder camcorder, bright camera light, and his incessant voice over comments throughout the video. And, even in our media driven world, believe it or not, many wedding days go undocumented. Thankfully, more and more brides are seeing the value of their wedding day captured through the timeless medium of film. But how do you choose the right filmmaker to capture the most beautiful day of your life? My brother and I came up with twelve aspects every bride should consider before choosing a wedding filmmaker.
What are you looking for in a wedding film?
There are many styles and approaches to filming a wedding. Be sure you choose someone that you trust and are confident that they will deliver exactly what you’re looking for in a wedding film. An artist is only as good as their most recent work, so make sure you are viewing their latest weddings.
You will learn a lot about a filmmaker through the content on their website. Busy filmmakers keep their website content up-to-date and post videos regularly. You want your wedding filmmaker to be relevant and busy. Their website should be simple, to the point, and easy to navigate. Look for aspects on their website that builds trust and confidence with you personally, before even making the initial inquiry.
The inquiry is the first step in building a relationship with the filmmaker. Even though small business owners are usually busy, you should expect a response within 48-hours. If they don’t respond in a timely manner, then you should really question how much they value your interest in their services. This initial contact is so important because this is your first experience with the vendor and it should be smooth and easy from the beginning. If it’s not, continue your search. But, don’t leave the filmmaker hanging, even if they’re not within your budget or do not get back with you in time. Write them back within a timely manner and acknowledge you received the information. Doing so is considerate and appreciated by professional vendors.
It’s beneficial to you as well as the filmmaker to include not only the date of the wedding, but also the venue location, whether the event is indoor or outdoor, and a basic timeline of the wedding, if available. This information helps the filmmaker better understand your wedding day plans and if travel will be necessary.
A warm, congratulatory beginning is always appropriate and should always be expected, followed by the details requested in your initial inquiry. The filmmaker should not be selling to you or pressuring you in the email. Direct, concise, and thoughtful emails are what you should expect, with all your questions appropriately answered.
Always ensure there is a written agreement stating the amount that is to be paid and the film services that will be provided. Make sure you understand everything that is in the contract and do not hesitate to ask questions.
There is a difference between a wedding highlight and a wedding film
A wedding highlight is usually three to seven minutes in length and only captures snapshots of the wedding day. Some brides are completely content receiving a wedding highlight video. A wedding film is a feature length documentation of the entire wedding day, starting in the early part of the day and wrapping up with the grand exit at the end of the reception. Wedding films can be anywhere from forty-five to eighty minutes in length, require much more time in the post production process, and usually require a larger financial commitment. Be sure you understand what you are paying for when choosing your wedding highlight or film.
Communication is vital to any relationship; your wedding filmmaker is no exception. Don’t hold back any questions you might have concerning your wedding film. If they are professionals, they will gladly answer your questions in a professional manner. Expect clear and concise communication to your phone calls or emails throughout the entire planning process. You should receive updates regarding the progress of your wedding film and an estimated delivery date of the end product.
To meet or not to meet?
Meeting the filmmaker gives you a chance to express your wishes for the film and convey your excitement for the wedding day. A professional should be willing to make time for this initial meeting if it’s within a reasonable driving distance. If it is a destination wedding and it is not possible to meet in person prior to the wedding day, a scheduled phone conversation or Skype session provides alternatives to meeting the filmmaker, ensures everyone is on the same page, and all the details are addressed before the wedding day.
Is it one filmmaker or a team?
In our experience, two cameramen are a must for making a wedding film. It’s possible with one, but it is not ideal. With filmmaking, there always needs to be a backup, and the second cameraman provides just that and more. Two cameras are always better than one.
You want the entire ceremony
We believe the ceremony is the most important part of the wedding day. Ensure that your cinematographer offers at least one angle of the entire wedding ceremony and the groom is mic’d with a wireless microphone. The entire ceremony should be included with your wedding highlight or film package.
We have been filming weddings for seven years and continue to learn something new with every wedding we film. Ensure that your cinematographer has garnered enough experience to warrant your trust on the most important day of your life.
Make sure the wedding film is about you
At the end of the day, the wedding is all about the bride and groom. Look for a cinematographer that captures you and your spouse primarily. All the beautiful details provide secondary accents to round out your wedding film. But ultimately, the bride and groom need to be the stars.
And if that didn’t convince you, you have to watch those two teaser videos from Munn Brothers. They are so very talented and I so wish I had them as my own wedding filmmakers!