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Choosing A Videographer

by Ken Williams, Shield Productions, Opelika, AL

Since the quality of recorders and video equipment has improved dramatically in recent years, it should come as no surprise that video taping is becoming as traditional as photography. Video taping the wedding helps to preserve a very precious memory that the bride and groom can review- enjoy- and share with family and friends for many years to come.

Sifting through the Chafe'

Quality is what matters.... Price is secondary

Find a good videographer, then pick the package you can afford.

Ask to see a sample tape and ask what type of cameras are being used.

Things to look for...

  • Professional video equipment.
  • Smooth and steady camera work.
  • Spontaneous and natural shots.
  • Seamless editing techniques.
  • Good coverage of the ceremony.
  • All the important parts included.
  • Clean titles not too many flashy graphics.
  • Good color and a sharp picture.
  • Good Audio.

Professional video equipment. Good color and a sharp picture.

Consumer level cameras available at the local department store can't produce the quality needed to video-tape, edit, and make copies. Above this level are many variations. Some 'so-called' professional videographers use a standard video format (VHS or 8mm) and provide the original to the bride and groom. Copies made from this tape will be of sub-standard quality. A true professional uses a hi quality format. (SVHS, Hi8, BetaSP, DV, etc.) Copies made from this type or tape will be better quality and every copy will be the same.

Smooth and steady camera work. Spontaneous and natural shots.

No matter how good his cameras are, a videographer must have good camera skills. If you get sea-sick watching the demo, it's time to move on. Look for those special shots that 'make' the moment.


You'll have to do your homework. Many videographers have different packages based on what you want included in the video. Remember, the more he tapes, the more he has to edit onto the master copy. Extras may cost you so ask up-front.

Clean titles not too many flashy graphics.

Flashy graphics may be great for MTV, but you want the focus to be on you. If you notice the effect, it takes the attention off of you!

Good Audio.

Most 'on-camera' mics are not enough to capture good audio. Wireless mics and wired hand held mics are the best way to achieve good sound.


There are various types and qualities of wedding videos, along with a wide range of prices. Personal preference and budget will determine the best type of video to use. Rules and regulations concerning videotaping vary according to the ceremony site used and may affect the way your video will come out.

The following list describes three popular types of wedding videos:

Straight-shot Footage.

The Videographer only uses one camera, starting at the beginning of the ceremony and capturing highlights the reception using only in-camera editing. Since there is no post-editing, and only one camera, it is the least expensive option. With in-camera Titling, He can add a special touch by putting the couple's names and wedding date at the beginning of the tape. This format has the quickest delivery time. He can also add music, usually for an additional charge.

Nostalgic Format.

This type of video can be as long and as nostalgic as the couple wants to make it. The Videographer usually starts by showing photographs of the couple as children; then progresses to photos of romantic; fun times they have shared together; followed by scenes from the ceremony and reception; sometimes ending with shots from the honeymoon (This may delay delivery of the final tape.) For photo sequences, music is copied to the master tape then still photos are dubbed in at appropriate points creating just the right mood. The other events surrounding the wedding are then added to the master tape. This format needs to be post-edited and requires more editing time. Therefore, it costs more.

Wedding Documentary Format

This type of video documents the day. The segments of the day's events tell a story similar to the way the events occurred. It usually starts with shots of the bride and groom getting ready, then progresses through the ceremony and reception, capturing spontaneous moments and interviews with family and friends, then ends as the bride and groom leave the reception. This video format is the most popular, most commonly used, and is the best value. Many videographers use two to three cameras to obtain better quality. Then post-edit adding titling and music to create a smooth visual effect.


Written By: Ken Williams, Shield Productions


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