A video for a lifetime

A video for a lifetime

A beginner’s guide to wedding videography

Story by Michelle Theriault

Years from now, as you look back on your wedding day, what will you remember? With your own wedding video, you’ll have the chance to relive all those sights, sounds and emotions. You’ll hear the laughter and see how your parents reacted to you saying “I do.” You’ll witness how your future husband teared up when he saw you walking down the aisle. (You hadn’t noticed that; you were too busy trying not to trip.) You’ll watch your friends and family having fun.

So if you’re planning on recording your wedding day, keep in mind these tips from the experts.

On a technical level, you should look for videographers who can show you well-lit, steady footage, seamless editing and pristine audio, says Kim Walker, owner of Cameo Productions in Eagle River. When interviewing a potential wedding videographer, pay attention to their equipment, says Jamin Conn, who owns Envisioned Studios in Palmer. But, also pay attention to their experience: Many people have the misconception that anyone with a high-quality video camera – increasingly affordable on the market – will produce a professional wedding video. Not so, Conn and Walker both say. “It takes trial and error and years of experience to know how to do this stuff,” he says. Ask to see examples of their work to ascertain their style. Raw, unedited video or things that seem like they were made with iMovie’s default template are red flags, says Conn.

Videographers can take several different approaches – do you want a wedding video that’s more like a music video with many fast cuts, or a documentary? Do you want wedding guests to be interviewed by the videographer, or a more observational approach? Each videographer has a different style, says Walker, and it’s important that it jives with your own vision of how you want your day recorded.

Another thing to look for: companies that shoot using multiple cameras. Cameo Productions regularly deploys four or five cameras to cover a wedding, which means that fears about videographers stepping on grandma’s toes or blocking the view of the altar are probably unfounded. “That enables us to be in multiple places without doing a lot of movement at the ceremony,” says Walker. The bottom line: You want a video that follows a narrative smoothly, and isn’t just raw clips spliced together. You want “a production that tells the story of your day,” she says.

Cameo offers a “highlights” service popular with newlyweds – they can edit the day’s video into 4-6 minutes, which can be put on DVDs and sent out with thank you cards. Turnaround time is a week, and video can be sent to Facebook and iPhone as well. Having a videographer doesn’t mean forgoing a traditional still image photographer. In fact, says Walker, they should be able to work together. “We want to share everything that they are doing with the couple,” she says.

Aaron Weaver does videography and still photography but says the latter continues to be more popular. However, he says, he has seen his videography business boom in recent years. People spend enough time and money ensuring their wedding day is unique and special that they want to capture it in every way possible. After all, flowers wilt, food gets eaten and a wedding dress isn’t worn again. But video lasts. “Imagine how cool that would be for your children someday to be able to see the video of their parents marrying each other?” he says.

What about some moments that might be better forgotten – like a boozy and off-color groomsman toast? Do brides and grooms get a say in how the wedding video is edited? Make your wishes known, say all three videographers. Professionals will take your content wishes into account when putting the video together, but let them wrangle the technical side. After all, that’s what you hired them for – to record your wedding day in the best possible light.

Video provides a whole new dimension to your wedding memories. Along with the vows, and the recessional shots of a smiling bride and groom in one of Weaver’s recent productions, he captured a raucous and silly round of musical chairs at the reception, and the emotional toasts of groomsmen and friends. At the end of the tape, a guest, slightly enlivened by champagne, leans toward the camera and gives a funny – and fitting – sendoff. It’s this kind of moment, says Weaver, that video is perfect for.

“You just don’t get that with photographs,” he says.