1. Why should I have a wedding film?
Good documentary photographers are great at freezing emotions, concentrating them in one moment. However, nothing beats cinematic storytelling. Sound and motion are incredibly powerful and humans are hardwired to respond to them. It’s not cheap, so you really want to want it.. But if you're unsure, definitely get one.
3. Why are your wedding films so expensive
To be fair, I have never had a client asking the question quite like that - but it’s a question that comes in some way regularly. We all like a bargain and I get that. However, this is my sole occupation and I dedicate my life to it and most my couples tell me I’ve become quite good at it, so, as I see it I must earn a comfortable living. Often clients don’t understand how much work and expense goes into a wedding, both in kit, expenses, learning and editing time as well. If you think the average wedding film is 25 minutes long and I spend, just in editing, about 1h-1h30 for each minute of film, each film will be about 25-35 hours. Actually, that’s one of the reasons explaining the difference between the prices of the Highlights and the Feature Film packages.
4. Do all your films have voiceover?
Not all, but most of them do. Capturing location/live sound is incredibly important for my films. Although recording good quality sound in the field is difficult and hard work, I still think it’s totally worth. For me, human speech is the lifeblood of a film. Along with ambient sound along, human speech (wedding speeches, wedding vows, interviews, etc.) drive the film narrative forward. And as I once told rather sarcastically to one of my colleagues, “I’m not in the business of music videos“.
5. Why do you say you pose people - there are shots on your films which are not exactly candid?
I am mainly a documentary wedding videographer. Although I create cinematic films, these are the product of documentary camera work observing and filming what's going on. However, there are certain weddings where we need to create some cinematic content to help bind all the documentary parts of the film into one coherent, romantic, aesthetic product. Most of the times that's done during the photographer's couple shoot. During those photographs I sneak in and create the stuff I need whilst the photographer is working. Sometimes, the couple have a really good, unusual love story on how they met and I really want to feature that in the film - that's why I do interviews or have the couple reading a letter to each other, etc. The idea is that this stuff cannot take any more than 5 minutes and doesn't contend with the wedding schedule. If it does, I won't do it. As much as I want to create an impressive wedding film, I'd rather do it out of documentary content.
8. Why can’t I choose the music for my film?
I know it seems counter intuitive. It’s your film, you should have a say in it. however, the music most of us like to listen to regularly cannot be fully licensed without spending thousands of pounds per track. I know there are colleagues cutting corners and using them anyway, but I don't do it - it’s not fair for the artists and definitely not worth the hassle. I use fully licensed music from independent producers available online at sensible prices, generally from musicians working hard to produce music content without the backing of a big record label. With copyright laws being evermore enforced across the internet, I don't want my couples running into copyright infringements nor I want to be part in one. For this reason, whilst I do welcome your music suggestions, I go to great lengths to choose the music appropriate to the film and the feel of your day that fully complies with the law and respects artists' hard work.
6. How long are your delivery times?
Generally 4 to 8 weeks. It can take more depending on the season (the contract limit is 5 months and it’s designed to cater for absolutely extreme situations); on how busy the year was; how much work I have going on, etc. If there's one thing wedding films differ from photography is the post production. As I said above talking about costs, the editing takes the biggest chunk of work. And of course there’s time figuring out the creative structure of the film. The one thing to bear in mind is I don’t keep a film in the editing suite because I want to, it’s because I’,m trying to find the unique storytelling line for it or because the editing poses specific challenges out whatever else. Trust me. It’s my absolute best interest to deliver films as soon as possible, provided they’re thoughtfully edited. There are companies who specialise in high volume wedding film output. Mine is a very personal product. For this reason, I don’t outsource my editing or even my shooting, unless there’s an extreme emergency and there is no other option. I often say the editing starts as I press record but it’s true. As I film, I start thinking about film structure and about the story I want to tell. It’s not really a matter of trying to make sense of a bunch of footage and audio - any audio visuals fresh graduate could do that. This is about vision. But it’s also about trust. For this reason, I keep you up to date and update you regularly. If you don’t hear from me because I’m in the hottest period of the season just email me and I’ll get back to you. I don’t take it personally if people chase me. After all, it’s their precious memories we’re talking about.
9. Do you use the same music in all films?
The shot answer is no. Each film is different and the much is chosen for each film individually. This is not to say it can’t happen two films sharing one of two tracks of music, but it’s normally a random occurrence. Music and image have to go together in harmony. Think of the soundtrack not as the toppings available in a ice cream parlour (strawberry, chocolate, caramel) but as the spices and condiments of a complex dish. There are hundreds of spices but there’s a reason why a certain kind of dishes calls for a certain set of spices. The same goes for music. Not all music accompanies wedding films well, although the right kind of music very much depends on the kind of wedding, the environment and the footage captured.
7. What do I get with my film?
Depending on the package you choose, you can have a 3-5 minute highlights film, a 8-10 minute an 8-10 minute documentary film or a long-form 20+ minute wedding film. Any of these packages include simple cut full ceremony and speech films as a default. Obviously, fully edited cinematic versions of those are also available. Please enquire for more detail!
11. Can I ask for changes to the finished film?
You can, but within reason. Although this requests tend to be very rare, I totally understand a wedding film is a personal document, so I want the main characters (you) to be fully comfortable with it. The film is supposed to show you (mind you, the real you) in your very best. Therefore, if there's anything that makes you or any of your guests, friend or family uncomfortable, let's talk as soon as possible after delivery and find a solution.
12. Will you publish my film? And an I have it private?
I publish a small selection of trailers from by best wedding films. The trailer is only 1-4 minutes long and crafted to generate curiosity about the films they're about. However, if you still would rather not have it published, please let me know and I'll keep you off-line.
10. Do we have to provide you with a meal?
You don’t have to. But it’d be greatly appreciated if you did. It’s customary in the wedding industry for couples to pay for a meal for suppliers who are with them all day (photographers, videographers and some times musicians/make up artists). Caterers already have mechanisms in place for this to happen. The meal is either your wedding dinner (which is lovely) or some other hot food prepared on purpose and normally served at the same time you guys are eating (which is when I put my cameras down anyway). Many couples get confused why would they have to pay to feed a supplier - after all, most people going to work have either to pack a lunch or go out to eat. That’s a fair question. Indeed, a videographer is not a guest, nor do I want to be treated like one. The reason I ask for a meal is because frequently it’s not practical (or even possible) to haul food with me all day. I’m with you around 11/12 hours on a wedding day and it’s not really reasonable to expect me to go on snacks for that long. Also, providing me a meal prevents the need I might have to leave the venue during your wedding dinner to go and fetch a meal - which some times can only be obtained after a good trek.
13. What equipment do you use?
Even though I love talking about cameras and lenses, these are just tools to create. One should focus on the latter rather than on the tools themselves. If you still would like to know, I film with Panasonic GH5 cameras and an assortment of fast cinema lenses and record sound with a number of microphones, both on camera and off.