There is a growing trend for couples to opt for the ‘shoot your own’ wedding packages; these are offered by editing companies who will loan video cameras for your guests to capture your wedding day for you. This obviously is a lot cheaper than having a videographer at your wedding for the day, and allows you to have the footage professionally edited. I am often asked to give my opinion on this, so I thought I would put down my thoughts once and for all. I guess this might sound a little biased, but I will try to be as balanced as I can, and if anyone wants to argue for the ‘shoot it yourself’ industry then I am happy to publish the reply.
Guest – The great thing about having your guests film your wedding is that they will be with you every step of the way, they’ll know you and your guests really well and can get shots that a videographer would not even consider. You’ll also probably have numerous cameras so will get 3-4 points of view. The camera’s are also with you all night, so you will get a lot of Evening Reception shots.
Videographer – Your videographer will have filmed lots of weddings, so will know what will look good in the final wedding film. He’ll know how to take cinematic shots and have the equipment to get them (sliders, steadycam, etc.) His camera will also be of considerably higher standard than those your guests have been given so shots with blurred background (shallow depth of field) are captured. Also, if your venue is dark, his camera will capture footage which is clear and not grainy or dark. He will also have a high powered zoom to get those close up shots.
Guest – The guest video camera will be closer to the action and will capture your guests in a very natural way. Guests will know the person operating the camera, so will often do spontaneous and unexpected things that are quirky and fun.
Videographer – Most modern professional video cameras use shotgun microphones, so will have much better sound quality. I also use remote microphones (lapel microphones etc.) in order to get the best possible audio which can be heard clearly on your final DVD. Poor video can be watched, but poor audio will frustrate an audience very quickly.
Guest – This is very dependent on your guests, but the cameras will come into their own at the Evening Reception. Your videographer will probably leave about twenty minutes after your First Dance, so won’t get Jimmy’s famous rendition of ‘My Way’, John’s ‘caterpillar’ across the dance floor, or a toilet viewing of Auntie Sam’s new tattoo.
Videographer – He will get all of the shots he needs to make a cinematic film of your day: establishing shots of the venue, Ceremony and Wedding Breakfast venue, cake, etc. All the footage he captures will be useable, and he’ll get special dispensation from the Registrars or your Vicar, to get the best position to film your Ceremony.
Guest – You will have four people with cameras, so hopefully you will capture everything, from different angles.
Videographer – Will shoot with two cameras to ensure he captures everything, He is also a professional, therefore it is unlikely that he has forgotten to press record. His camera will also be on a tripod, so his arm won’t ache half way through your vows or speeches.
If I were to sum up the choice between a ‘shoot your own’ and hiring a professional videographer, it would be this: if you want something that records the day and what happens, consider getting your guests to film it, however if you want a cinematic film that tells the story of your wedding, and captures every detail with audio which is clear, then consider getting a professional wedding videographer. I guess you have the same decision to make about your photographer too!
If you’ve had a ‘shoot your own’ wedding video, or a professional videographer, and want to argue for or against it, I am happy to publish your reply.