Different Kinds of Wedding Videos and Costs

Image: Bride poses for a selfie with some of her friends at a wedding.

Not all wedding videos are created equally. I don’t necessarily mean some are so much better than others from a technical or creative standpoint, but rather that different approaches and techniques require different levels of planning and execution.

Since lack of knowledge sometimes leads to misunderstandings, I will try to explain the differences in the different styles and types so that you have a better understanding of how they may impact the planning and financial aspects of your wedding.

How much will it cost?

I often get asked “How much do you charge for a wedding video?”, and I always say “Well that depends on what kind of wedding video you want.”, which is always followed by a pause as the person tries to envision what it is they actually want. As I mentioned in the opening, the “type” of video you want (see more about types below) can have a big effect on the planning and the cost.

In my case, I divide my time into 4 hour segments and bill according to how many of these a client needs. This is true for all of the video work I do from wedding to corporate.  A simple video of just the ceremony for instance will generally require a 4 hour block.  If you require a full cinematic masterpiece that covers your entire experience from the crack of dawn until the last dance of the evening then of course you will probably need at least 12 hours or even more.

image: woman sits at desk and uses calculator
Have you budgeted for a videographer?

“But Todd” you say. “My ceremony is only 90 minutes long! Why are you charging me for 4 hours?”.  Well for starters, we often show up at the rehearsal days before the actual wedding so that we can get a feel for how your ceremony will play out. This usually takes an hour or two. Then we have to account for travel, setup, and tear down time. Again, this depends on the complexity of the shoot but we generally we allocate 30 minutes on either end for this.

So let’s figure it out. Your ceremony is an hour and a half, we spend an hour at the rehearsal, and we need an hour to deal with our gear. So that’s three and a half hours not including travel time. All of this has to be taken into account. Not to mention time spent on the phone and in person communicating and planning with other photographers, venue managers, wedding party members and family members. Four hours barely covers shooting a 90 minute wedding. In fact, I would say shooting a 90 minute wedding often takes more than four hours when you add it all up.

“But Todd” you say. “My ceremony is only 90 minutes long! Why are you charging me for 4 hours?”

We haven’t even talked about the actual editing part of what it takes to create a wedding video. This of course depends on the style and approach which I will get into now da once.

What are the different styles of wedding movies and videos?

There is great debate and grey areas when it comes to what makes a movie a certain style. I will focus on two main styles that are actually mixes of a number of other styles. Confused yet?  There are many different styles  and lengths of wedding movies and I don’t want to overly complicate things in this article, so I just want to break things into two general areas – modern style and traditional style.

Modern Style

Let’s call style number one the “modern style”. You may have seen this style already on some of the many popular YouTube videos. This style tends to be more cinematic and stylistic and have more of a movie style look and story telling element.  Dramatic, cinematic music accompanies sweeping drone footage and slow motion effects to create a dreamy, highly stylized wedding experience.

image: woman in beautiful sun dress stands on beach look out at ocean
Modern wedding videos are like watching a Hollywood movie!

These range in length (there are no real rules here) anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes or so and feature more professional level types of effects, camera movements, possibly aerial or drone video and other specialty features.

The editing in modern style videos is also done on a more professional level and may or may not follow the actual timeline of events. The editor chooses how to tell the story based on the available footage and how the day played out and often builds the story around key interviews or speeches that your videographer has captured.

Traditional Style

This style is more along the lines of just putting a camera on the tripod (or sometimes not even) and hitting record and just simply letting the camera roll, capturing things in real time as they happen. You may have seen this style if you have an aunt or uncle who had a wedding video done years ago, and if you made it through all 3 hours of it god love ya.

Camera work in these types of videos is strictly utilitarian.  Little attention is paid to things like camera position, framing, angles, lighting, sound, composition and all of the things that go into the more modern style videos of today. Think shaky, blurry and all over the place.

There is very little editing done to these movies and they can run anywhere from 1 to 3 or even 4 hours. Be careful here. Some people think “Wow, I’m getting a 3 hour video for the same price as the other guys 15 minute video!” and think they are getting a great deal. However, it’s the artistry and story telling ability of the modern short format movies that you pay for. Something classy or funny or cleverly edited is better than just a bland video. Something you want to show off on Facebook – not stuff into a shoe box never to be seen again.

Different types of formats

So we talked about the different basic styles, and within the modern style there are many different types or formats.

  • Engagement Video | 1-3 minutes – Sometimes referred to as a “save the date” video or announcement video, these are basically very short one to three minute videos that proclaim your love to the world and announce your upcoming wedding date. They can be very fun to do and people love to share these on Facebook or Youtube.
  • Sameday Video | 3-15 minutes – This is a quick edit of your wedding day that is usually shown later on that evening at the reception. It includes highlights and perhaps snippets of speeches and interviews. Generally not as complex as a longer format.
  • Highlight Video | 7-20 minutes – Similar to the same day video but generally more edited and polished. All of the best moments of your day edited into a highlight reel.
  • Journalistic/Documentary | 50-90 minutes – Now we get into the big productions. This approach relies heavily on interviews of friends and family to help tell the story of your past, how you met or fell in love, and weaving them into the beautiful camera footage. These can be highly cinematic as well.
  • Cinematic | 15 to 45 minutes – As mentioned above, documentary style can be cinematic and visa versa. Cinematic style tend to focus more heavily on music and other sound effects as well as special camera and editing effects. Think of the beautiful couple standing on the hilltop, dress billowing in the wind as sweeping panoramic drone shot takes you away into a world of roman… Well you get the picture. It’s all very dramatic.
image: silver stopwatch
Wedding videos can range in length from minutes to hours!

How long will my video be?

I have given examples of what the typical running length of some of these videos/movies might be, but there are some more factors to consider. There is no set time. The length is determined bu the amount of activities that happen on your wedding day, and the things captured on film.  Everything about movie making is so personal and open to interpretation both on the part of the movie maker, and the wedding couple themselves.

This is another common question, and again, there is no right answer here. There are so many factors. Some people have very simple weddings with only a few guests while others have giant productions with multiple scheduled events that take place over a couple days. If there is a lot going on at your wedding, thus providing your camera person with lots of things to film, then your wedding video will end up being longer just because there is so much more to see. Of course the opposite is also true. If there is not much going on and not much to film, your final video will be shorter.

The most important thing to remember is that you can choose what styles best suit your needs.

Also, sometimes your family or wedding party or guests aren’t in the “‘Yay I’m on film!” mood. In this case it becomes more difficult to get good footage because people tend to shy away from the camera, or in some extreme cases, even sabotage the film crew in some way. Again, if the videographer finds themselves in this situation, they generally take the hint and retreat away from the action so as not to upset certain participants. In this case as well you will end up with a shorter film.

Of course the opposite is also true. If your wedding party is filled with gregarious, fun loving, exciting people who have no issues being on camera then there will be lots of interesting content, interviews and other goings on captured on film that generally make for a longer wedding film.

Remember, in the modern “short format” or “highlight” or “cinematic” style videos, each shot has to tell part of the story and have a certain look or it can’t be used in your video. It often involves the camera crew maneuvering around to various locations getting all sorts of different camera angles.  It may also include a few choreographed scenes and situations. This of course takes more skill, is more time consuming both during the shoot and during the editing afterwards and so is generally more expensive than the more traditional style “set the camera on the tripod and forget it” style.

Speaking of longer format traditional style…

One thing to keep in mind about your wedding video is that not everybody wants to sit through 2 hours of boring, unedited footage of the aisle of the church and not much else. People nowadays just don’t have time for it.

I heard this put a great way not too long ago. A great wedding video should be no longer than the time it takes to look through the average wedding photo album. Think about it.  The average wedding album probably takes 15 minutes or so to browse through? Would you want to spend more time than that looking through someone else s wedding photos?

Conclusion

As you can see there is a lot to think about when it comes to wedding video or movies. Short format cinematic movies are more fun to watch and share with friends than the longer traditional style. Yet longer traditional style are great if you do not want to miss a single moment and you generally will not be sharing the movie with anyone outside your immediate circle and family.

At Skyreach Media Wedding Videos we offer a mix of the two styles with a shorter highlight video and a longer version that includes full vows, speeches and interviews. All included in the same price. *Conditions Apply

The most important thing to remember is that you can choose what styles best suit your needs. As you can probably tell, there are no set rules and you are only really limited by your budget. What the video costs is highly dependent on the type of video you choose to go with. A good videographer should cost at least a much as a good photographer so don’t forget to budget for that. More and more people are seeing the value in getting a professional wedding done and planning for it right from the get go.

*Conditions: You must choose premium audio add-on or it must be included in your package to capture full versions of speeches and vows.

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The nice folks over at The Knot have put together a great assortment of different styles of videos. Go check them out to get even more ideas of what your wedding video might be like. (This page will open in a new window.)

Go check those out, then come back here and get in touch with me and see what we can come up with for your special day. I love making movies and telling stories and I want to tell your beautiful story. Let me tell it and you won’t be disappointed.

Here’s a short teaser we did just a while ago,  proving that even a simple two minute video can have great emotional impact. See if you can watch til the end without shedding a tear.

Author: T.W.

Videographer and photographer living in Newfoundland and Labrador Canada.

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