The most obvious place to start with this question is to explain why I started filming weddings. That is a topic in itself, but to summarise; from my experience of planning, having and looking back on a wedding - it is the only thing you MUST include in your wedding plans.
When the chocolate fountains, photo booths and candy carts are all packed away, the dress is left hanging in a wardrobe, and your honeymoon has been and gone - you want to have something special to be able to relive that special day.
The one thing that will show you the whole day in an emotional and immersive way is a well made wedding film.
Before you say it - yes photographs are also important, and there is no way to guarantee great frozen memories without hiring a professional photographer, and I would always recommend hiring one for your wedding day. BUT, not everyones budgets will stretch to both a photographer and a videographer, and because of traditional value placed on a photographer, videography will be left off the list when choosing how to save some pounds.
As I love both videography and photography equally, and we offer both separately, or as a package together, I can say what I am about to say without sounding prejudicial and with an objective opinion, because the truth is Photography is less work, and in the mainstream market a professional can charge more for it!
Photography has never been so accessible to all, with the improvements in camera phone technology and the growth of prosumer camera models. If all you want is a few nice snaps of your nearest and dearest in a well lit room or outside the church or in the hotel gardens then you can probably rely on those taken by your guests, or better you allocate the roll of tog to a trusted member of the wedding party.
Whilst I would not recommend this, it is an opinion for those on a tight budget. So if a budget only allows for EITHER photographs or a film, then I would put my money on a filmmaker before a photographer. Don’t worry, I will explain myself with more rational!
In ideal lighting conditions, with low expectations of creative flair, most camera phones will produce decent results. No - they won't replace a pro photographer charging you thousands of pounds, but they will capture a moment, and in the hands of a sober person who knows how to take a decent shot the photos probably won’t be far off what a photographer charging you a couple of hundred pounds will produce.
Without boring you with technology, a high end smartphone is just about on par with a several hundred pound point and shoot when it comes to a typical snap. Add to this the advances in consumer editing apps, even something as simple as Instagram, and you can turn your jpegs into lovely snaps - not amazing photographs, but adequate budget memories.
Now filming it on the other hand is a little more involved, and this is why I am personally not a fan of those ‘film it yourself’ companies.
I’m not claiming that videography is rocket science, but in order to get the kind of results with moving images that you would like to get, you do need to have a particular set of equipment and an idea how to use it.
To start with, the issue of available light is a bigger deal, because you can't use flash with video, and it's harder to correct exposure through editing than it is with photography. So this means knowing how to film in darker conditions like churches or barns etc, having camera equipment that can compensate better for darker conditions, and knowing how and when to use constant artificial lighting without blinding everyone or killing the vibe is key to getting good results.
Then there is the stabilisation of the footage. Believe me, unless you want that 'Blair witch project' look to your wedding it takes more than holding your camera as 'still as possible' to make it look nice. We use a range of stabilising equipment, some that keeps the camera stationary, and some which makes it move smoothly in a controlled way, and allows us to get those breathtaking beauty shots that you may have seen in our films.
But the biggest issue for live event film making is the audio. Recording clear dialogue involves a lot of planning and extra tools which your average wedding guest just won't have access to. Microphones, sound recorders, and knowing where to place those devices to obtain good results takes planning and experience.
A professional film maker will have use of equipment that takes care of these aspects of film making. But an even bigger factor, and one that will turn well recorded images and sound into an emotional, immersive film, is the editing.
Imagine if you wanted a professional function band to perform at your wedding, but because you were trying to save money you asked your mate to bring his guitar and play a couple of numbers - it's not going to be the same is it (unless your mate is Ed Sheeran). It is going to be the same situation if you don't pay for a professional to produce your wedding film.
This is where once the day is over they use their experience and artistic ability to create something interesting and emotional to watch. It's not just about correcting exposure, colour and adding contrast. It requires cutting, creating transitions, choosing the right clips and the right music to tell a story.
When carrying out research to start my business I read lots of blog posts, forums, and Facebook group posts all about what people wanted, what they loved about their wedding and what they regretted.
The overwhelming recurring theme was that couples who had a wedding film thought it was amazing, and those who didn't said not having one was their biggest regret.
Now let's discuss the practical reasons why you want to have your wedding filmed:
First of all your wedding day will pass by so fast. Ask anyone who has tied the knot, they will tell you it flew by, and they probably missed so much of it and missed interacting with so many people. Your wedding film will show you all of those things you didn't get to see, and all those people you love - enjoying themselves at your wedding.
Imagine being able to remember the mannerisms and voices of relatives who have now passed, or showing your kids mummy and daddy getting married when they are a little older. This is the best way to preserve these memories for the future.
What about watching your partner getting ready, your loved ones arriving at the venue, or that 3rd party perspective of your vows and first dance. If you are looking for the best possible way to relive the magic, emotion and beauty of the day - it is to have it filmed.
We would encourage any couple getting married to have a videographer, even if you don't choose us because we feel it's so important. But the great thing about Your Story Films is we offer both photography and videography in one package- so you don't have to compromise!
The easiest way to conclude our blog post is to ask a couple of simple questions.
How much does your wedding day mean to you?
How much are you spending on your day altogether?
How important are the memories of that day in relation to everything else?
If your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and you are spending thousands of pounds on one day, then surely you want to re-live it and have the ultimate memories to look back on. If you think about the cost of hiring a wedding filmmaker/videographer compared to what you will spend on food, drink, decorations, entertainment and clothing - that will leave you nothing after the day has finished. Then the services of a wedding filmmaker are amazing value for money and probably should be at the top of the list!
We are extremely passionate about telling stories. But we are also passionate about educating people about the benefits of having a wedding film, because we know how much they will appreciate it once the day is done!
Have fun planning your wedding, and if you want to see an example of how those memories come to life in film, please take a look a look below.