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Laura Hunt

Wedding Topics: Creating Memories With Videography

Jewel Savadelis, Savadelis Videography

Jewel Savadelis is the other half of Savadelis Video, owned by her and her husband Chuck.  Recipients of the prestigious Aegis Award for Excellence in Videography, they are among the leading videographers in the Bay Area.

When I realized that much changed since I wrote my advice about videography, I asked Jewel to share her professional knowledge and bring us up-to-date.

     Videos are as important as photos to capture your wedding. Failing to have professional video is the biggest regret couples have expressed to me after the wedding. Video often catches people and events you may have missed in the whirlwind of the day.

In addition to capturing the sights of your wedding, video can capture the sounds, the activity, and the emotion of the day. Share your wedding day with those unable to attend (such as elderly grandparents or your own future grandchildren). Even those who did attend will see it in a more intimate way.

Professionally produced wedding videos have come a long way in the last decade, due to the advancement of cameras, and the enhanced skills and styles of the videographers. Professional cameras have excellent low light capabilities, so there is no need for blinding lights that can ruin the ambiance. These days, the highest quality videos are broadcast quality.

The perception that video is obtrusive is erroneous. A widely held misconception that more cameras mean more intrusion is simply not so. In a restrictive setting, such as a church, multiple cameras allow the videographers to remain stationary and unnoticed as they film events from a variety of angles.

Some videographers produce surprisingly stylish and artistic pieces. With excellent editing, videographers can produce tasteful and touching movies that capture the feelings of the day.

Why should you pay for a professional videographer when friends offer to do it for free? Take a look at this 2-minute movie to see what can happen when an inexperienced amateur shoots the wedding video.  (Note: media player download links at bottom of page.)

Broadband (DSL/Cable): Windows Media or Quicktime
Dial-up Connection: Windows Media or Quicktime

When you listen to the sound in this 45-second video you will immediately understand what difference professional equipment and experience can make.

Broadband (DSL/Cable): Windows Media or Quicktime
Dial-up Connection: Windows Media or Quicktime

Here are six basic criteria with which to evaluate videography:
  • steady camera
  • sharp focus
  • good exposure
  • color balance
  • crisp sound
  • capture the moments worth capturing

Professionals also have access to excellent camera positions (with a good view of the bride and groom at the altar), rarely run out of batteries, use professional tripods so the picture is rock-steady, and understand the flow of the day. They are practiced at anticipating where the key activities will take place, and they will be there before the action starts.

An amateur doesn't have the experience to anticipate the flow of the day and often is playing a game of "catch-up." The result may be a video in which the first part of a speech is missed, some of the first dance is out of focus, and other important parts of the day are not fully captured. If the amateur is a guest at the wedding, he has social obligations and preferences for the day. He may be eating, drinking, and chatting rather than filming some of the lovely moments of the day. There also is the possibility that he will shoot what is of interest to him rather than what is important to the couple.

How to Identify a Professional?

1. Does the videographer belong to a local professional association such as the Bay Area Professional Videographers Association (BAPVA) or the national association, Wedding and Event Videographers Association (WEVA)?
2. Does he/she keep and enhance skills through seminars and workshops?
3. Can he/she answer technical questions clearly?
4. Does he/she have a resale license and liability insurance?
5. Does he/she bring backup equipment?
6. Does he/she have the BRO seal of approval?

 Choosing the right videographer:

• Ask who will be shooting the wedding and who will be editing the video; ask to see samples of that person's work.
• Evaluate DVDs for basic criteria. (listed above)
• Ask to hear the real sound recorded at a ceremony. Music sometimes can be used to mask bad audio.
• In samples, is there a nice mix of scheduled events and unscripted candid moments?
• Does the music match the images? Are the images cut to the beat of the music? Is the music unique or something you've heard in every other video?
• Make sure you see videos that actually were delivered to clients, not just the best from a variety of weddings. "Demos" may or may not be indicative of the quality you will receive in your video.
• Before the wedding, tell your videographer who and what is important to you.
• Choose a videographer whose style and manner of working appeals to you.
• When you find a video that touches you, you've found the right videographer.


• View as many samples on videographers' websites as you can to become familiar with various styles.
• Have the videographer attend the rehearsal. The best videographers will take the opportunity to pre-plan their camera positions in order to get a good view, yet remain unobtrusive.
• Confirm the following items in your contract: date, location, arrival time, total amount of coverage time, number of DVDs, the name of the videographer assigned to your event, and price.
• Inquire about other events the videographer has scheduled before and after your wedding. If your wedding runs late, he may have to leave before the end in order to cover the next event.
• If you are planning to get married in a church or synagogue, find out about rules concerning videography.
• Consider the benefits of multiple cameras. This will give more angles, make for a more interesting video, and will increase the chances that every important shot will be captured, even if a guest walks in front of one camera.
• Ask about the option of having your wedding shot and edited in high-definition.

Money Matters:

• The price of an excellent video will be similar to that of fine photography.
• It depends upon:
• Amount of editing (Editing will take two to ten times as long as shooting the wedding.)
• Quality of finished work.
• Length of time of finished piece. It may be much more time consuming to make a well-crafted 45-minute cinematic piece than a 2-hour documentary.
• Number of cameras and hours of coverage.
• Amount of customization.
• Most of all, the talent of the videographer, and how in demand he/she is.
• Make sure you are comparing apples to apples. That is, compare the same amount of coverage with the same number of videographers. Watch for the behind-the-scenes type of attention and service you will receive. The marks of the true professional may be hidden but will make a difference in your experience and in the final product.

Note: You can get or update your media player for free by clicking the images below.
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