When planning their wedding, most couples plan on having a professional photographer. A minority (about 25 – 30%) also hire a videographer. While photography is important, it only capture moments in time. While photography can capture an image of you saying your vows, only video will actually allow you to hear them. I am not saying that you shouldn’t have a photographer. You should. A photographer can create an album that you can look at anytime, anywhere. But only a video will allow you to relive the day in full motion video and sound.
Perhaps one reason that more couples don’t hire a videographer is that video is a newer medium. After all, weddings are all about tradition. It has been traditional to have photography for decades. Your parents probably had a photographer. But, they most likely didn’t have video. Until the 1980s, the equipment didn’t exist for producing videos at a resonable cost. If there was any moving imagery back then, it was most likely film. And few could afford that.
Even if your parents were married 25 years ago and had a videographer, the experience was quite different than today. Back then professional video cameras were large, heavy, and required a lot of light. As a result, videotaping a wedding often involved rolling the camera around on a dolly, and lighting up the church and reception hall with LOTS of light. The finished tape that the couple got was just the view from one or maybe two cameras, no extras, mediocre sound, and not very interesting. Editing was very limited, as computers at the time were not powerful enough to edit video.
Things began to change in the mid to late 90s. First computerized editing software began to appear. This allowed the editors to do what is called “non-linear editing”. I won’t go into the details, but I will say that this revolutionized how we edit, and opened up creative techniques that up to that time were only seen in Hollywood. In the late 90s the first digital cameras hit the market. These produced a better image, worked well in low light, reducing or even eliminating the need for additional lights, and were smaller. The third big thing was the DVD. For the first time we could deliver a product with the quality of the original camera tape.
So today in 2007, we create a product that is more of a small movie, beautifully photographed and edited, rather than a plain “video”. We use motion, music and sound in sophisticated ways that videographers could only dream of twenty years ago. We also are able through the sensitivity of our camera’s sensors, able to shoot without lighting in many situations (although most of us use a small, low power on-camera light in dim reception halls). This allows us to be unobtrusive. Many couples (as well as the clergy), have told me that they hardly knew I was there when I taped their wedding.
As our industry as matured, we have learned how blend in and record the day without drawing attention to ourselves. I would say that the average videographer as quieter then the average photographer. But that is for a reason. Photographers have to organize people, pose them, and get the formal shots. We want to record things as they happen, without people getting nervous because the camera is on them (although we do pose certain shots at times).
We as a group are very open and willing to share techniques with other videographers. Through local associations (The Greater Philadelphia Videographers Association in my area), and national organizations like WEVA (Wedding and Event Videographer Assn Intl), and the 4Ever Group, ideas are exchanged freely. We have several active Internet discussion boards where some of the legends of the industry are active contributers. This free exchange of information advances the state of the art, and makes everyone better at what they do. It also raises the bar. Every year the winning videos at the WEVA Creative Excellence Awards, are more amazing. If you haven’t seen wedding video in the last few years, you don’t know what can be done. We have some incredible talent in our business. People who could make a mark anywhere in the media, but choose weddings. They choose to do weddings because they love it. Working with real people on one of the most important and happiest days of the lives is a thrill that we never get over. There is also the aspect of being the creator. In Hollywood, no one (not even the director), is more than a small cog in a big movie making machine. We do it all. Camera, audio, editing and DVD production. From start to finish, it is all ours.Well, enough for now.
Until next time . . .