Now, I'm not an advocate of DIY wedding video; not because I'm a videographer, but because it never comes out as you had hoped and becomes a video that you never want to watch. Sean and Dawn's original footage really brought this point home. Sean said they watched it a few times and shared it with their kids. It was and unexpected gift from a guest and it's nice to have, but nothing you would feel compelled to watch. This is one very big reason that engaged couples opt out of video for their wedding. These home video style wedding videos are what most people associate with wedding videos in general and why many couples see videography as an unnecessary expense. One of the biggest reasons people give for not getting a video is that they will never watch it.
As I was editing Sean and Dawn's video, I was getting upset for them. Their guest was not a professional and I'm sure she did the very best she could, but the most important parts of their wedding are not clear, cut off or missing entirely. Their vows are inaudible and cut off. Their kiss at the alter is also cut off and shot from a bad side angle, so you can't really see Dawn, just Sean's back. The first dance is mostly the feet of the shooter running to a better location, only to reach the destination and get two shots of the first dance with them alone on the dance floor. The cake cutting footage has the photographer in front of the bride and groom. The dances are shaky, in silhouette, out of focus or in a constant pan from side to side. Definite home video material. This is the primary reason why you should hire a professional to film your wedding. Hiring a professional is not only about the editing of the finished product. It's an important part, but so are the things you don't think about or may not know about; how the shots are framed, the way the sounds are captured so they can be heard clearly, anticipating the next move and being in the right place at the right time, knowing what shots are important and being sure to collected them all and doing it all without being noticed or getting in the way of your other professionals.
Though the shots in their original video are not what we would shoot and many were short clips, I'm not the type to back away from a challenge. I was determined to make something special for our friends to celebrate this important anniversary with; a video that I hope they will enjoy watching instead of leave on a shelf. It was a lot of work, far more than it is to edit one of our originals, but for the sake of preserving their memories, it was well worth the time and effort to us.
I thought it was important to share this story because there are so many engaged couples that struggle with the question of whether or not hiring a videographer is worth it. The sad truth is that video is never really appreciated until after the wedding is over. Even couples that hired us often tell us after they get their video back that lots of things were more important to them than video when they were planning their wedding, but these couples also tell us that there is no greater way to remember their wedding than to watch their wedding film.
I guess one of the best way to answer the question "Is a professional videographer worth it" for you is to watch the clips below. Two of the clips are from the 20th Anniversary Film I edited for Sean and Dawn and the other two are 3 minute clips from their original footage. Would you be happy if you ended up with a video that looks like the original footage? I know, that is a VHS and you can use a new HD Camera to film yours so it will look better, right? Even with the new cameras that are available, you can end up with a bad video because it's not just the quality of the equipment, it's the people behind it. When you hire a videographer to film your wedding, you are hiring experience, equipment, talent and creativity that will deliver you a great finished film.