Videography – Styles and Length


Cotton Mill wedding Absolute Photography

Photo courtesy of Absolute Photography (with Turquoise Video Productions caught in the act!)

Videography for weddings occupies this strange place in the planning process for most couples.  It seems to be one of the services that gets shelved under, “if we have the money…” – which, let’s be honest – it’s pretty rare to have extra money during wedding planning.  Here are some of our thoughts on whether to include videography in your budget, styles of videography, and what the finished product might look like!

Do we even want videography?

If videography is something you’re debating about, we always suggest that our clients think about videos from when they were little.  Do you ever watch old home movies?  Do you post more videos than photos on social media?  If the answer to either of those is yes, then videography is probably a smart investment for you.  If no, then videography might be something you decide to skip.  Either way, we suggest budgeting for videography from the beginning, because a professional videographer usually will cost as much or nearly as much as a professional photographer.  That’s a big expense to absorb at the end!  It’s tempting to turn to friends and family or (gulp) Craigslist to find a videographer on the cheap.  In these instances, you will get what you pay for, because the value of a professional videographer is not only in the quality of the product (steady filming that isn’t grainy, good sound quality, etc.), but the expertise of the editing.  Additionally, you’ll want to book a videographer early in the process to ensure that you get someone whose style fits yours.

Styles and lengths

Much like photography, you’re going to run into a number of different styles among videographers.  Using some broad generalizations, we can narrow these down to the three basics:

  • Documentary: Documentary videography is very similar to photojournalistic photography, in the sense that your videographer is looking to capture the day linearly.  Your video usually will show the day on a straight timeline from prep to exit, without cutting back and forth between events.  Documentary videographers also tend to include interviews with the couple, family, and guests.  Your finished film might be anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes in length.
  • Cinematic: Cinematic videography is on the rise right now, featuring a style that uses more sound overlays, cuts between events of the day, and sometimes special effects to create a more emotional, story-driven video.  Your finished film might be anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes in length.
  • Traditional: Traditional videography involves minimal editing, and is the closest approximation to the professional equivalent of popping a camera up on a tripod and hitting record.  This style is actually quite difficult to find at this juncture, because it allows the videographer little to no room for the artistic side of telling the story of the day.  Your finished film is usually 2 to 3 hours in length.

With the advent of digital video cameras, most videographers are able to edit a little bit faster, so many videography packages include a teaser or highlight film that gets delivered 2 to 6 weeks after your wedding.  Teasers are like a preview to the main film, and usually run 3 to 10 minutes in length.  Delivery time on your final film will vary wildly from videographer to videographer, but a general time frame would be 3 to 6 months after the wedding.

As with photography, the most important thing when hiring a videographer is to find someone who you, personally, like.  We want you to love them as a person as well as their style and art, so that they can get the best film of you on your wedding day!

One Response

  1. April Cook
    | Reply

    I would love to have a videographer at my wedding. I think it’s a great way to capture the emotion and excitement of the day. I like your description of the different style that can be used. I think cinematic could be fun, but a documentary type might feel less dated when you watch it in the future. Thanks for this great information!

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