Photo: Kisa Koenig Photography
If there's one thing that wedding planners all agree on, it's this: make sure you capture your big day on video. But it can be overwhelming to find the right videographer for your wedding.
"Confusion around wedding videography is rampant," laughs Francesco Spiezia, founder of Films by Francesco, "Plus with technology evolving at such a fast pace, it can be difficult to stay on top of what's new and what choices a couple has."
Whether you want something very produced and cinematic or a more organic documentary of your day, there's a video option out there for every type of couple. Below, Spiezia breaks down wedding videography to the basics, and shares insights on what might appeal to different brides and grooms.
Film vs. Digital
"Like photography, video can be shot either on film or digitally," says Spiezia. "But the vast majority of studios now will shoot digital. We are at an age where you can shoot digitally and get the look of film — in technical speak it means video cameras now allow us to shoot at 24 frames-per-second, which is what all motion pictures are shot at."
"But some clients might like the look of vintage film which has a nostalgic feel," Spiezia continues. "And that look can only be authentically achieved by shooting with a 8mm or 16mm camera on film. Of the two, 8mm gives you a grittier, more retro look. You'll see some studios offer this type of video, which is done in a completely old school way and sent to a lab to develop."
Aesthetic preferences aside, there are a few other things to consider when debating between film and digital. For one, shooting film is limited to how much film your videographer has on hand, so if you might not get every detail of your day. Secondly, film also comes with a higher price tag, thanks to the cost of materials. "If you want to shoot with film, you should plan to budget twice as much (if not more) than if shooting digitally," Spiezia advises.
Approaches to Shooting
Stylistically speaking, there are two main approaches to shooting video. "Your videographer might prefer to take a documentary approach, which is more voyeuristic and captures the day as it unfolds," says Spiezia. "He will generally stay in the background, use a handheld camera and not interfere or tell you to do certain things. He shoots the wedding as it is and the final result might feel like a memory of the day."
"The other style that has become trendy is more of a produced and stylized look," says Spiezia. "Compared to the documentary approach, this is much more of a dramatized depiction of your day. For example, you might hear the groom saying his vows layered under some different imagery in order to evoke a certain feeling. To achieve this controlled feel, the videographer will have to direct the behavior of the bride and groom a bit more and even use some commercial equipment. For example, you might have to say certain things into the microphone or pose for specific shots."
The final feel of your wedding video depends greatly on how your videographer edits the cut. Things like color, audio, music, and pace all play a big role in the feel of your movie.
The first thing you want to discuss is the timing, says Spiezia. "Do you want your film to be a chronological snapshot of your day or do you want there to be an element of time shift, where the movie might open up with the audio of the best man's toast while the visuals show the pre-ceremony setup?"
Also consider how quickly your video moves from scene to scene. Do you want a slow motion edit, which allows you as the viewer to find and locate all the details of the shot, or do you want a faster edit, in which the videographer controls how you take in the imagery?
See More: Photojournalist Wedding Photos
And of course, music, which ties the whole film together. "I like to surprise my clients by using a soundtrack that they might not have expected, but that I think captures the feel of their unique wedding best," says Spiezia. "But if you have a certain song that is meaningful, adding that can make the video very intimate and personal."
At the end of the day, Spiezia emphasizes one important point: video comes down to a matter of taste preference. So find someone whose vision and style matches what you like. "Just as you wouldn't hire Woody Allen to direct a Mission Impossible movie, you shouldn't use a videographer whose work doesn't match up with how you envision your story unfolding."