Wedding Video vs Film vs Cinema, What's the difference?

So, you're in the process of wanting to get a wedding video for your big day, that's awesome, video is honestly one of the most important services that you can invest in for the long haul of your marriage. Being able to see, hear and relive the day with your spouse is an amazing thing, but for those new to weddings, there are several terms out there that you might have heard, wedding video, wedding film and wedding cinema.

While they all sound similar, there are major differences in them and today I'm going to talk about them and help describe them in better detail, so you'll know when you're searching for a wedding videographer or filmmaker such as myself.

Wedding Video

Often called a wedding videographer or wedding videography, think of this term as being a simple form for your wedding. Video is just that, a straight forward, multiple camera video shoot. Think of your wedding ceremony here. Some people will tie the words traditional or documentary with wedding video, but in a nutshell, it's a simple way to capture the wedding ceremony and perhaps the reception highlights.

 It's very easy to edit in post-production because it's literally an A-B-C happened, and A-B-C was put down in post-production. Yes, there is editing and some color correction in a video, but its more traditional in the world of capturing weddings.

Usually, the wedding video will have various montages, the ceremony and can include reception highlights. The wedding video can range from just the length of your ceremony to 2 hours in length is you opt for reception footage.

Wedding video is still in demand in SWVA and the Roanoke Valley and it's a great way to relive the wedding in a longer format. Pricing for wedding video ends to be on the lower end than films and cinema, normally about the $1,000 or less in our area.

Wedding Films

Unlike wedding video, wedding films on the other hand are entertaining pieces with various lengths that show many elements of the entire day. Wedding films can range from just a few minutes up to 20 minutes in length. Typically, wedding films will have 1-2 filmmakers and the focus is on the entire day, just put into a much shorter video than a wedding video itself. There is audio, normally but the couple reading letters or talking about each other with cinematic music behind the video, slow motion shots, etc. The wedding film tends to be heavily color graded and adjusted to give it more of a movie type look, wedding video is color graded but usually lightly.

Typically, the ceremony will be recorded with a couple cameras and mic setup, but only a couple shots will be used in the film. What you'll mainly see is 5-10 second clips of the decor, the venue, the couple together, dancing, interviews and many things in between. This is usually what you see when you come across a short "trailer" on social media. It's considered modern and most wedding videographer's have become filmmakers or offer films in their services.

Of the 10 or so wedding production companies in the Roanoke and New River Valley, 8 of us offer both wedding video and wedding films, the other 2 just offer wedding video. Pricing normally starts at $1,000 and can range into the $3,000+ for our area but some parts of the country see $5,000-$10,000 for the same level of services. A popular wedding filmmaker in the United States is Matt Johnson from Texas.

Wedding Cinema

This term can be mis-leading at times because cinema is basically a high-end wedding film with 3-6 production people. Many wedding video companies might toss out the word cinema but be a one- or two-man shop.

Wedding Cinema brings an elevated production to the wedding film and usually tends to be very expensive, commonly $10k-$30,000 or more for a wedding cinema feature film. Yes, that’s $10,000 to $30,000+.

Instead of using a few $2,200 cameras and production gear, wedding cinema cameras can easily range into the $25,000 range. They do produce a much more cinematic like look than wedding films, but there is a dedicated audio guy, lighting guy and usually 2-3 cinematographers for the wedding.

In the Western part of our state, we do not have any true wedding cinema production companies although we have a few that call themselves wedding cinema houses or wedding cinematographers.

Believe it or not wedding cinema has a high demand in many markets domestically and internationally too. People such as Ray Roman travels the globe and his pricing starts at $10,000 for a base film, not including any belles and whistles, travel, etc.

Wedding Films by Gabrielson & Roanoke Wedding Video

Here at my company, I offer both wedding video and wedding films under two brand names.

First, Roanoke Wedding Video is my production service where I record your ceremony and optional reception for a video, a simple, edited video. Great for those on a budget or just wanting a normal shoot.

Second, Wedding Films by Gabrielson is my film side of the business, making smaller, more exciting and emotional films for couples.

I also offer whats called “collections”, where you get a package that has both a video and a feature film. These money saving packages allow you to get the best of both world all while saving some money in the process.

In SWVA we only have wedding video and wedding films, no cinema. Most couples will choose either the more traditional wedding video or wedding films which are shorter and more emotional. If you’re shopping mainly by price, wedding video will most likely be your best bet.

So there you have it friends, the differences in the wedding terms and what each one of them means.