What Makes a Great Wedding Film Anyway?
What you should consider while looking for a wedding videographer
This Article is long overdue! It’s time to get down to detail on what makes a wedding film great. Why pay more, or pay less, for your wedding film company? There are so many choices out there. How do you know what to choose? I mean the OBVIOUS choice is JL Wedding Films of course!
Just kidding. In this article we are going to point out MANY qualities that you may find in wedding film companies that may, or may not, be signature to our brand. At JL Wedding Films we hope to be chosen for your wedding, but perhaps there is another company out there that is a better fit for your wedding. That’s okay, we are here to educate you, and provide as much information as possible so you can make an educated choice and know what to expect.
So let’s begin.
Most of you out there are familiar with what 4K is, but if you’re not, what that means is that the resolution size is 4096 x 2160. It is a step above HD and is now the standard for Netflix and every other streaming services.
Most of us wedding film companies are shooting and providing our finished product in 4K. If a company isn’t providing you with a finished product in 4K, and in HD instead, then perhaps check the difference for yourself.
Google or Youtube “Weddings in 4K” and see if you want to consider paying more for the difference or not. It is highly recommended at this point in time you have your wedding shot in 4K. It’s becoming the standard and HD will soon enough be obsolete. Even 4k may be rendered obsolete just like other old formats have become, but no matter what comes out in the future, 4K still has a sharp resolution that will stand the test of time.
Have you seen those wedding films that have the smooth buttery motion going across the screen while the camera follows the bride and it looks like a movie? Or when you see the camera slide across the rings for a nice and close up?
That’s stabilization. It’s the same kind of equipment that is used in movies, just on a smaller scale. Any high end, or even middle range, company will utilize these mechanisms for a few of the most highlighted shots of the day.
The reason WHY our footage looks so good today, is hardly because of the quality of the camera, but mostly due to the lenses being used. There are two types of lenses a good company will use: prime and zoom lenses.
Prime lenses are fixed focal length, which means they don’t zoom in and out, allow more light to enter the camera, and has a shallower depth of field, which gives you that movie, blurry background look.
Zoom lenses are exactly what the name suggests, you are able to zoom in and out. These provide some of the wider stabilized shots you might see, along with some shots zoomed in.
Both serve their purposes and a good company may utilize both as needed. If you’re unsure if your company is using high quality interchangeable lenses just like the photographer would, be sure to ask them. They should be happy to provide you with that information.
Here is where we differ slightly from other companies.
Extremely high end wedding film companies will usually film their raw footage in a flat picture profile. This means that the picture that is shot originally is almost black and white and color is added later. What are the upsides and downsides of this?
The upside is that your highlights are going to come out absolutely amazing! The colors will pop and the quality is typically far superior.
The downside is that your raw footage is not often provided to you. It isn’t for viewing purposes as the footage isn’t fun to look at. It’s dull, it’s not stimulating, and doesn’t make much sense to watch.
Another downside to this is that ANY company that does it and specializes in it, will be more costly. The reason being, is that it takes much more time to edit and export the video.
Here at JL Wedding Films, we don’t shoot in raw flat, because we pride ourselves in providing you with your raw footage. So instead, we shoot everything with a standard color profile to give you a natural look, with a little tweaking done later on in the editing process. As you can see from our films, the colors looks great, and we are still able to achieve a film-like look. This also brings the cost down for the client without sacrificing quality. That’s not to say we won’t ever do films this way, anything is possible.
To a degree, the use of Multiple Camera’s is a standard these days for just about every wedding film company. If yours isn’t using at least one extra second stationary camera to capture another angle during the highlights of the day. Buyer beware. What do I mean?
It’s 2021, and camera’s (Even high quality ones) are small and easy to carry. Every professional videographer should be able to shoot your wedding highlights, such as ceremony, first dance, parent dances and toasts with 2 cameras. One being operated by them, and the other being stationary for a second angle (Also as a backup of course).
This is essential for today’s industry. No matter how small the package, the filmmaker should always be shooting with a second stationary camera for the highlights. It is important for you to ask the question, “Do your videographers shoot with a second stationary camera?”
Multi Camera Persons
Of course, some companies and certain packages come standard with multiple camera operators. This definitely produces a much better product, especially if you have a large wedding and a multi location dynamic to your wedding.
Having a second stationary camera is great as mentioned in the last paragraph, but having a second camera person is the best option, even if you have the budget. It’s also EXTREMELY important for Orthodox weddings, perhaps even going for a 3 camera person option for Orthodox weddings. I’d consider it as essential for the best results.
It also adds a multi talent approach to your film. The second camera operator could be using different looks, equipment and styles to capture those extra shots and that could be a great thing! I have a devoted blog post for multi cameras you can view here if you want more information on the subject.
Without getting too technical, simply put, a good wedding videographer knows how to utilize natural lighting from the sun, and their own lighting from their lighting equipment they use. Shooting against a window, excessively grainy or dark footage of the reception, and always having a light shining directly on the subjects are all signs of amateur lighting.
So be sure to ask for sample footage so you can see the quality they produce.
The Highlight Film
Last but not least, the highlight film is maybe the biggest selling point for any company. Couples almost always want a short highlight film to show friends and family, rather than just having raw footage or a long edit.
GREAT quality editing can be seen here in our featured film https://vimeo.com/469138144 for Leighann and Kevin.
Producing clips to the beat of music, choosing the best shots, and great soundbites are the fundamentals to a well edited highlight reel. In other words, the flow of the video, along with implementing vows and speeches is important in a highlight film. Long gone are the days of just copy and pasting cross faded clips back to back as a simple montage. Today’s wedding film has to actually tell a story in a visually pleasing way, and our highlight film for Leigh and Kevin demonstrates that very well. It also helps allot that they in particular had letters that they read to each other.
Now you know the questions to ask, and what to look out for when choosing a company to shoot your wedding film. Some of these principles could be applied to choosing a photographer as well. Something we will be writing about in the future.
As a wedding film company we are always happy to answer questions like these and work with couples on what they need and what they don’t need. Not everyone needs a second camera person, and not everyone needs something as high budget as color correcting. It’s all relative to your wedding, what your budget it is, and what you are looking for.