Why Hiring a Professional Matters in Wedding Video

Hi friends, thanks again for visiting my blog and checking out my wedding films. One thing that I’ve seen year in and year out from time-to-time is couples will ask a friend to video tape their wedding for them.

Sure, that’s always an option, but that’s not always a great idea. Today, I’d like to explain why and even show you a sample of a wedding I filmed professionally all the while an amateur filmed the same wedding. You’ll be able to see and hear the difference.

But before we get into that, let me share with you a few reasons why you’ll want to spend the money on a professional wedding filmmaker, be it me or someone else.

Experience

Carole, my wedding film assistant was recently telling me what she wasn’t happy with the way she filmed versus the way I filmed. Well, I’ve been doing this since the mid 1990’s, started filming weddings in 1999, Carole’s only been helping me for a year. Her level of experience is going to be a lot different that mine.

And here’s my point, when you either hire someone fairly new to filming weddings or get a friend to do it you’ll most likely have things they’ve never encountered before, and you’ll need to know how to best handle them.  While Carole is still learning the ropes, it’s going to take her a couple years of following me around to really know the in’s and out’s of filming a wedding and that’s normal, I did the very same thing when I first started in the business, I was the assistant and l learned through example.

Speaking of example, let me give you a good one that you can perhaps relate too.

During your wedding, let’s say there is a power outage and the microphone(s) that you’re using at the venue or church go out. What would the videographer do? Well, that’s happened to me before a couple times over the years, it’s darker and you can’t hear from the back very well.

Luckily, I know to use battery powered lav microphones and I have lights that if needed I could use on the service if it’s indoor. But better yet, as a professional, I would turn up my ISO on the camera and widen my view some to let more light in, thus making the video less grainy if possible. It’s something I learned over the years. A newbie or amateur isn’t going to know to do that nor care much if at all.

Gear

There is a HUGE difference between a professional DSLR and a cheap one you can buy at a place such as Best Buy. Having great quality video gear is one of the keys to being able to produce good video.

Take the Canon Rebel T7 for example, it’s about $400 right now and it’s the bottom of the barrel as a DSLR. It’s a great beginner video camera that you can use to learn how to film or take images. But it’s horrible in light (with the kit lens), doesn’t autofocus when it records video, has poor battery life and only shoots video in 1080p at 24 or 30 frames a second. It also doesn’t have an audio input for wireless mics or shotguns and it has a poor battery life.

Now take what I use, Panasonic GH5 or G85’s. These are pro grade mirror-less systems with great low light capability, in body camera stabilization, microphone inputs and outputs, dual SD card slots, large battery life, able to have battery grips for super long battery life, great low light lens that produce great bokeh, and the list goes onward.

Now, they look sorta similar when you put them next to each other, from someone that knows nothing of cameras they look the same. But a $1,500 camera vs. a $400 camera is a big price difference and with that, you get a lot of pro grade elements to help make great video.

After all, its more than just point and shoot.

Audio is Key

You can have the BEST video clips in the world and without good, clear, audible audio, it’s literally nothing. You see video is a double medium, you see it and you hear it, without both together it doesn’t have the same effect.

Getting your uncle to film the wedding or hiring someone newbie for $300 is not going to get you clear audio, you need to invest in systems like wireless lav mics, audio recorders and pro grade XLR recorders to capture a clean, crisp sound.

The Example

Take this for example. I was passed over to film a wedding for a couple for someone that only charged them $400. Well, I asked if I could come anyway and film their wedding ceremony at no charge, the couple agreed.

They person they hired used a Canon Rebel T4 and a tripod from best buy. I used a Panasonic, GH4, Manfrotto tripod with fluid head and a wireless lav mic. The difference is clear as day if you watch the clip below.

This is what you get when you hire someone without the professional grade gear and experience to be able to be behind the camera.