a professional to videotape your ceremony and reception involves much more than
combing the Yellow Pages and selecting one based on price.
Michael Irving, owner of
Memories Video of East Bridgewater, has found that many couples rate the
importance of a video before the reception at "about 2 to 3 on a scale to
ten, but after the reception, it jumps to about 9 to 10!"
Capturing the action as it occurs, or as Tom
Lawler, owner of
Enterprises of Weymouth, calls it, "making an historical document of
what’s happening," is a philosophy shared by many of the area’s top
One way to ensure this is to make the
videographer become "invisible." Lawler accomplishes this by remaining
on the edge of the dance floor, not blocking anyone’s view, and uses his
camera’s zoom feature to record tight close up shots. "If you spend a lot
of time in their face, a lot of people are intimidated and become
uncomfortable," Lawler says.
Lighting is another major area of importance.
No one likes a bright light shining directly into their eyes, but in order to
best capture the day’s proceedings, proper lighting is necessary.
Videographers usually bounce the light off the ceiling, so that while the room
does have adequate lighting, it does not cause people to squint or hide their
Dennis Tavares, owner of
Images of Kingston, stresses that during the ceremony, many of the local
clergy have specific do’s and don’ts and many have strict protocol to follow
within their church. During the ceremony, Tavares uses available light only,
while at the reception lighting is used but kept to a minimum.
Irving has a good rapport with local clergy
and speaks with them before the ceremony, to learn of the location the
videographer will be assigned. All natural lighting is used as well as wireless
microphones usually attached to the groom’s lapel. This guarantees that the
vows will be recorded at proper volumes and will be heard on the finished tape.
Most video companies will have various
packages for you to consider, with each one offering different features, such as
a split screen so that the groom’s facial reactions upon seeing the bride
first enter the church will be captured. This requires the use of a second
camera, and while it does add to the cost of the package, it also provides
different angles, such as overhead shots to edit into the final tape.
A popular feature is to have a slide show of
the bride and groom, showcasing them in a montage of still photos from birth to
the present set to a bed of music of their choosing or of the videographer’s
choice. Lawler uses his computer to scan images from his camera directly into
his computer and uses this to make a closing montage of scenes from the
there are a number of different options available, depending on the skill and
expertise of the videographer. Tavares recommends that customers be comfortable
with the individual shooting style, and shoots weddings in "documentary
style" in that he captures events as they happen and doesn’t pose people.
Some customers have asked him to stage certain shots, but again, that remains up
to the preference of the individual customer.
Like most wedding services, videographers can
run the full range from new and inexperienced to seasoned veterans with many
weddings under their battery belts. Irving suggests that the customer look for a
company with full time employees who are well trained. His staff trains on at
least 15 weddings before they go out on their own, and on that first solo shoot,
they are accompanied by another videographer, just in case.
One customer told Irving, "Of all the
videotapes my daughter has, and she has all the Disney tapes, the one she wants
to watch over and over again is Mommy’s wedding." Lawler concurs.
"The real value of the videotape is 20 years from now, sitting with your
kids. They will get a real clear picture of what happened, and kids can see
their grandparents as they appeared at the wedding."
So how can you tell an experienced pro from
the novice? One way is to ask for referrals from your friends, or from others in
the wedding business, especially at the function hall hosting your reception.
Bringing backup equipment to the job, (such as additional lights, microphones
and batteries), is a must, as electronic mishaps do unfortunately occur.
is to see how state of the art the company’s equipment is. This includes
editing equipment as well as camera. For example, Lawler uses a digital camera,
which gives him a master tape he can use over and over again without a drop off
in quality. He says that the videographer must know what is of most value to the
bride. He sends the bride a rough cut of the entire wedding to the couple, and
lets them decide what is most important, limiting the tape to around 2 hours of
total time. He keeps effects to a minimum, as he feels that his customers would
"rather watch Uncle Joe dance, than watch Uncle Joe in strobe."
Irving’s Affordable Memories belongs to WEVA
(Wedding Event Videographers Association) which is an international organization
of video professionals. He adds that every state has a local association of some
kind, and that in order to belong to those groups, the company has to meet
certain requirements. While not belonging to a group should not be viewed as a
negative, belonging to one can certainly be a positive.
Tavares stresses the amount of experience he
has shooting weddings, and during consultations with customers, shows them demo
tapes of other weddings he has shot in their church and reception location. He
also offers a feature he calls Wedding Day Reflections, a summary of the
day in moving picture montages, taken directly from the actual video scenes, set
to music of the couple’s choice. This goes on the end of the tape, after the
credits have finished.
Keep in mind that while many of these extra
features cost more than the basic package price, they will give your wedding
video that extra special look, one which will make you want to see it often in
the years to come.