Wedding videography is probably the most under-rated special event service but it is also the service that most brides are thrilled they budgeted for. See our blog article for reasons why you should consider hiring a wedding videographer. So if you think that a realistic budget for your wedding video is around $500, please keep reading. You will be shocked at how much money and effort, experience and expertise is required to produce just one wedding video and why the average price of a professional wedding videographer is closer to $2000 and can range upwards of $7000.
Video Equipment Cost
The cost of a professional video camera can range from around $900 used to $2500 new just for the camera (lenses and accessories extra). Lenses for the new DSLR cameras being used today can range from $89- $1400 dollars with each lens having a particular use; so a videographer might choose to have more than one for close up and for more distant shots for example. In addition to this equipment, add wireless microphone systems for $150-200, back up battery packs $45-55 each, and memory cards $35-97 dollars each. Add equipment such as tripods and chargers, cables and headphones to monitor sound, lights and omni-directional microphones and you can see how costs skyrocket. Keep in mind, all this does not take into consideration the time it takes to learn how to operate the equipment, maintain it, and the artistic know-how of framing shots learned through hours (and usually years) of on-the-job experience.
The Big Day
A videographer’s job does not start the moment you walk down the aisle. The day before your wedding, videographers check their equipment, batteries, chargers, cables, microphones and other gear to make sure it is working properly and is charged and ready to go. They carefully pack their equipment and should have back-ups packed as well, in case of unforeseen events like technological difficulties, incompatibilities, or damage during transportation or the event itself. Hopefully your videographer will arrive at least 30 minutes early to set up and start shooting. Professional videographers are highly-skilled service people and so their time is money. Expect to pay more for them as you ask for more hours, not just because of their expertise but because more equipment is needed and more editing will be required once your day is done and they go back to their editing studio.
This is where hiring a professional can really really pay off and where you may choose to spend some extra money. More editing and attention (adding music or choreographing shots, getting a highlight video, editing the shots into a specific order vs. the order they were captured by the video camera, etc) costs more than just the raw un-editied footage with all the background noise and people talking and beginnings and ends of lining up shots. Some people are fine with raw footage but most like some sort of clean-up edit at the very least.
Basic video editing requires a way to get the footage from a camera, into a computer, and then into video editing software. This may sound simple (just three steps right?) but technology can be a wonderfully terrible thing! Ask anyone who works with computers on a regular basis and they will tell you three steps is three opportunities for things to go wrong; for example will the camera video format be compatible with my editing software or will I have to convert it, will I need to synchronize several camera angles, will the video and audio levels from each camera need to be adjusted?
And, as you might have guessed, editing video requires additional equipment, computer programs, and software. Computer cost: $3000+ for a fast enough computer capable of storing and processing the commands of video editing programs, editing software like Final Cut X: $300 without tax at the Apple Store, plus any other program add-on like video stabilization, video synchronizing, audio enhancers, etc.
The Finished Product
If you would like your wedding video on DVD or Blu-ray, more equipment and software is needed including DVD burners, DVD authoring programs, DVD artwork creation software, and finally printing of the label. Always remember, more steps=more opportunities for technical difficulties! Some brides want their footage on a portable drive or uploaded to the Internet for sharing. Again, more experience and programs are needed for these services (formatting the drive, video uploading service subscription, file sharing, etc.)
After reading this you may wonder why anyone would want to be a professional videographer! Hopefully this article will help explain all the behind-the-scenes effort and experience you are paying for when you receive your finished wedding video on DVD!