What you Need to Know Before You Search For a Wedding Filmmaker

In todays world, wedding planning takes lots of hard work, tears, organization, phone calls (and not to mention stress!) in order to create your fairy tale ending. Perhaps you are now looking into a potential wedding filmmaker to capture all the details of your day, but you are just not too sure exactly what you are looking for, how much you need to spend, or even how a wedding videographer works... Well, lucky you- I am here to shed some light on a few things there is to know about what wedding filmmakers can do for you, what they can't do for you, and how they do it. Lets jump into it.

Having to book so many vendors for your wedding day is not easy, and can take a very long time if you are looking for a specific and perfect fit for you and your future wedding day.

Having said that, lets move on to the first question when you are looking for that perfect videographer:

What is the budget you are working with?

First and foremost, you need to know the budget you are working with if you are looking into decent quality wedding videography. The reason why the words decent and quality are in bold, is because there is a huge difference between cheap and not-so-cheap wedding filmmakers. I am going to be completely up front here... You should be looking to spend from anywhere between $3000-$7,000 on a quality wedding filmmaker. And this is solely based on how much work, stress and time that is involved with wedding filmmaking, as opposed to just taking out a camera and aimlessly shooting.

Bottom line, a wedding filmmaker can choose to charge the way they do because it's a tough job. It really is. In some ways (quite a few ways) it can be more challenging to film and produce quality wedding films than it can be to just photograph a wedding. No, we are not downgrading the hard work that goes into wedding photography. A photographers hard work will not go unnoticed. But as a filmmaker, you need to worry about many more things than just  using your camera on automatic and pressing the shutter to get amazing pictures every single time. It's more than just being able to slap your photographs in Light Room and batch process multiple photos at the same time to edit them all quickly.

In all honesty, if you are seriously considering hiring a wedding filmmaker, your budget should (in our opinion) prioritize the filmmaker rather than the photographer, because there is much stress involved with wedding filmmaking. If you are looking for quality film, you can't expect that to come out of someone who charges $1000 for their services.

"But I can just book the student videographer I found for a lot less money..."

Again, if you are looking for quality, you probably (most likely) will not find that with a student. If you are willing to sacrifice quality for a price tag, that is completely up to you. If you are sincerely looking to hire a wedding filmmaker who charges outside of your budget, unfortunately, from a wedding filmmakers perspective, you probably will not find much luck if you are looking for something that is under $2000.

What are you looking to get out of your wedding filmmaker?

If you are here, we assume that you have been on youtube or vimeo or perhaps even facebook, and have been inspired by a really visually appealing, tear-jerking, smile-inducing wedding film. Or maybe you are just afraid that you will regret not hiring a videographer, like 98% of couples do after they get married. But before you go out and aimlessly contact all of these wedding filmmakers, you need to ask yourself exactly what it is that you want to get out of your videographer before contacting anyone.

What type of product are you looking to have as an end result?

Every wedding filmmaker out there is not going to offer the exact same thing, the exact same quality, or the exact same price tag. Some filmmakers specialize only in short, 3-5 minute films, some only offer one package that includes full day coverage and a 12 minute film, and some offer multiple packages with different options. Here are a few examples that you might have as options with some videographers:

1. The short, 3-5 minute Highlight Films that you see displayed on 99% of wedding film portfolios. Depending on the filmmaker, these films can range anywhere from 1-8 minutes long. 
Highlight films are suitable for those looking for short but sweet and to the point films that highlight only the essential and best moments of the wedding day. They are great for sharing with friends and family.

2. There are the Ceremony & Speech Edits (raw footage, essentially), which includes your ceremony from start to finish, as well as your reception speeches. These can range from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours long.
Ceremony & Speech edits are suitable for those who are wanting to look back on their wedding in full detail in the years to come. They are great for recollecting.

3. There are Heirloom Films, which run anywhere between 6-8 minutes, depending on the filmmaker. These films are much like Highlight Films, but have the benefit of being longer.
Heirloom films are suitable for those who want something in between a C&S edit and a highlight film, but want something that is still engaging. They are great for sharing with friends and family.

What is needed to create these different options?

When it comes to the different options, whatever you choose as your package is what your filmmaker is going to shoot for. Seems obvious enough, right? But here's the catch: if you hire a filmmaker only for a 4-5 minute highligh film package, this means that the filmmaker is only going to film what he/she needs to create that highlight film. So, if you go back to them a year after your film is complete and ask them to make you a feature film or even a ceremony and speech edit - it simply is not going to happen. The filmmaker only shot enough footage for what they needed for your highlight film.

At the end of the day, being a wedding filmmaker is really hard work. We hope this article sheds some light for you in regards to the topic, so you can understand the standpoint of a wedding filmmaker. Who knows- maybe this article will help you start your own film business ;) Until next time, take care!

Michael Kalman