Wedding Video vs Wedding Films - What's the difference?

When you’re shopping around for a wedding videographer in Roanoke or anywhere for that matter, you keep hearing lots of those buzz words related to our industry, the wedding video industry that is. Years ago there was just wedding video, today it’s wedding films, wedding cinema, wedding video, then you have a full list of operator names like wedding videographer and wedding filmmaker.

What does all this mean? Are they one in the same?

Well, today I’d like to share with you the subtle differences between the names. But rest assured they are in alignment with your overall need, having video at your wedding. Let’s begin shall we?

Wedding Video

The wedding video by far the most commonly used term and it’s the oldest among the others talked about here in the blog today. Years ago it covered having your wedding and reception videotaped.

Fast-forward 30 years from the 1980’s and today it basically means that you will have a document style video of the wedding ceremony and reception.

Not a lot of bells & whistles with regards to story telling. It doesn’t mean it’s bad or that you can’t have multiple cameras at the ceremony to switch between to, actually there is a lot of effort and though that goes into the video.

Today, its the most common and most basic for of recording your day. For both a wedding film and a wedding video, pros will be bringing high end gear, think of cameras that are far more expensive that what you can get as a local department store and much more of it too.

For example, when I come to film, I’m bringing about $9,000 on average worth of gear to the wedding. With that, I can make a video, a film or many times I’m doing both.

Wedding Film

Wedding film on the other hand it a bit different. Typically wedding film is where a story is driving the video and it’s called a film because it’s going to reflect much like watching a short movie at the theater.

Now, there is no actual film being used, that’s long gone.

The gear used is identical to a wedding video, it’s just going about it in a different way. Many companies such as mine offer both wedding video and films, you can choose a more doc style edit or get a feature film and tells a story, usually narrated by the couple or someone close to the couple. Much more thought goes into making a short highlight film (video) because of that storytelling process and usually it’s more expensive. Couples getting married though tend to love this the most because they can share it with friends and family on places like social media and YouTube.

Wedding Cinema

Ah, this is where things get tricky. Wedding cinema is also a wedding film BUT the gear used in the storytelling is high end, much more so than the wedding video or film. I want you to think Hollywood level production with more than 2-3 people at the wedding, cameras that are $100k in price each, lighting everywhere. A true Hollywood cinematic production.

What is misleading is that some companies call themselves a wedding cinema production house, but they have nowhere near the level of staff and production gear to be true to the cinema name. It doesn’t make them wrong for using the word cinema, it’s just misleading.

Many times companies will use the word cinema to make it seem more prestigious than it really is. Unless they’re rocking a couple of ARRI or Red cinema cameras, they’re most likely a Wedding film or wedding video house instead.

Wedding Videographer

The term is the most commonly used one within the wedding industry. That stems back to the 1980’s when VHS and Beta camcorder became more common place, although still highly expensive reaching easily $1,000 or more. When these people became a common staple in higher end weddings the term videographer took shape from photographer, replacing photo with video.

In 2019, it’s still the most common term for our profession.

Wedding Filmmaker


The wedding filmmaker term came in the early 2010’s when wedding videographers were coming into the marketplace and wanted to differentiate themselves from other competitors.

The term sounds more prestigious and people tend to think more high end with the term. But truth be told, it’s the same as a wedding videographer, it’s just a fancier way to say what we are.