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A Videographer’s Thoughts: The Wedding Videography Myth-buster

We had some fantastic feedback from our readers about our recent Myth-buster post on wedding photography and so we thought it was about time we attempted to bust our way through some of the myths surrounding wedding videography too! Wedding videography has undergone a lot of major changes in recent years and there are many misconceptions surrounding wedding videos that we hope this post will try to clear up! These ‘myths’ may of course be true statements for some videographers, however all we are saying is that we feel they should not be considered a general rule to be applied to all wedding videos. Of course we welcome others opinions and if you feel there are any further myths you would like to be busted just let us know!

The Myths


1. Wedding Videos are boring and you’d probably only watch it once or twice

Wedding videography has changed enormously in recent years, and rather than just a long recording of the whole ceremony which most people probably will begin to tire of watching, wedding films now encapsulate the whole day and are cut to music with interesting, dynamic shots that capture your attention every bit as much as the photographs and that you will want to watch again and again, as will your friends and family!


2. Longer is Better

The longer the film is the less likely you (and your friends and family) are to actually watch it. I remember watching old family videos and being instructed to “just fast forward through this boring bit” and with a wedding video there should never be a boring bit. If you look at wedding videos online most are around 3-7 minutes long – enough to create an exciting film that makes a huge impact and is interesting to watch even for those that have never met the couple. Most videographers also offer longer films for the couple, but even then couples have told us that anything over half an hour can start to drag. Think of it like going to the cinema – you might absolutely love a film, but how often have you come out of a film saying “it was great, but it was just about half an hour too long”? How ever much you love a film there is still an optimum length and going past that is only detrimental to the overall film. Trust your videographer to know the right length – you’re not paying for the amount of footage, you’re paying for the quality of the footage and the artistry of the way it’s put together.


3. Wedding Videos are just a recording of what happened on the day unlike photography which is a more artistic art-form.

In the past this has sadly probably largely been true. The size and lack of manoeuvrability of video cameras along with the limitations of commercially available editing equipment meant that for many years wedding videography largely involved one or maybe two cameras just filming the ceremony from fixed positions simply producing full and lengthy footage of events. Nowadays many videographers will give an option to have the full length ceremony and speeches as a separate film within their packages, but for most the main emphasis is on shooting more like a photographer – capturing shorter clips and little magic moments using photographic techniques which, when edited together, can create a beautiful and highly cinematic style of film which tell the story of the whole day.


4. Videographers always use huge cameras that are far too obvious and intrusive.

Although some videographers do still use large shoulder mounted cameras (although even these are now much more discrete than they were), probably the most popular type of camera for filming weddings at the moment is the digital SLR – the exact same type of camera your photographer will almost certainly be using. The only noticeable difference is that videographers are likely to have some form of stabilisation device and perhaps other accessories like microphones attached, but most will keep these as discrete as possible.


5. Videography companies always use big camera crews

Again this is true of some videographers and at large events such as Indian Weddings it’s not uncommon to see a large team of videographers talking to each other on radios to get the right shot. However a lot of videographers shoot either on their own or in a team of two, it just depends on their style of filming.


6. You can use whatever music you want for your wedding video

This statement is actually more or less true, however there is a huge amount of confusion around this topic and even from contacting PRS (the Performing Rights Society who govern music licensing in the UK) on three separate occasions in the last 6 months I have received three different accounts of the rules governing the use of music in wedding videos. However, after further conversations with PRS reps this morning it appears that the rules have been clarified at last… Please note we do not represent PRS in any way and this should not be taken as absolute gospel. We take no responsibility if any of the following proves incorrect or does not apply and any videographer should be sure to discuss their own individual license needs with an official PRS representative.

According to conversations earlier today, as long as they hold the appropriate license videographers effectively have the blanket right to use any song from any publisher within their films as long as the original track has  not been adapted in any way (terms and conditions as always apply!). However for most videographers they must hold two separate licenses:

The first is a Limited Manufacture License which grants the right to use music for publication of the video on DVD/Blu-ray (as long as not more than 120 minutes of music are used and you’re not producing them in their thousands or selling them on through a third party!). You can find out more about the Limited Manufacture License here:

The second license is a Limited Online Music License if the film is to be published online in any form. This is an annual license and again effectively gives blanket rights to use any song the videographer wishes (again highly subject to terms and conditions) for online use. Please note that PRS only cover the UK rights, and so you may find that worldwide streaming sites such as Youtube or Vimeo may block the use of the music in the video in certain countries or block its use entirely (although they are generally more likely to simply include a link to where the viewer can purchase the song). The videographer should possess both separate licenses if publishing both online and on DVD. You can find more information about the Limited Online Music License here:

There is a third license which may be required by any videographers offering a same-day edit service where a first edit of the film is shown to the guests on the day of the wedding: some form of Public performance license. This license effects the playing of any recorded music to the public and the videographer should contact PRS to see if this applies to them.

However, regardless of whether the videographer has the right to use any type of music it’s important to remember that the music is about 50% of what makes up the video, and although many videographers will encourage you to suggest some music you would like to use, the music will define the style of the entire video and the person editing the video is better placed to be able to make editorial decisions about which piece of music will best compliment the style, tone and pace of the footage in front of them.


7. The videographer can record the band playing music on the wedding day and use it in the film.

This is again technically true assuming they have the licenses detailed above, however it is common courtesy to check that the band in question are happy for their performance to be used and it should be noted that recording a band to any kind of quality is extremely difficult in a live setting, even if there is a dedicated sound engineer on hand who is there solely to record the music and not something that a videographer is likely to have time to do properly on the day. If you really want the live music from the band recording it is highly advisable to ask the band to arrange the recording and send it to the videographer for them to sync to the video later. Again use of this music should be entirely at the discretion of the videographer as the music may simply not fit the style of the film or the mood they want to create at a given point of the video.


8. You can get a good discount by only having one videographer and some unmanned cameras

Some videographers find that they can shoot quite happily with just one person and some videographers always use more than one. This just depends on the style of their films and the type of shots they’re looking to get. Often a second videographer focusses more on getting shots of the guests and also worries about setting up and recording the sound whilst the other films the bride and groom, sometimes they just like to capture lots of different angles during the ceremony and need to ensure someone is always filming even whilst the other is moving between positions. An unmanned camera does mean there is a second shot they can always cut away to but is no substitute for having a human brain behind it to adapt to events (or the fact someone’s unexpectedly just stood in the way of the shot) and give the footage a spark of artistry. Trust your videographer to know how many people they will realistically need.


9. Videographers always use big obtrusive lights on top of their cameras

Sometimes videographers need to supplement the available light in the room and may use a camera-mounted video light similarly to how your photographer might use flash. However camera sensors have now developed so far that they are much better at coping in low-light situations and many videographers do not use additional lighting or only use it in extreme situations.


10. Photographers and Videographers don’t work well together.

This completely depends on the individual photographer and videographer. The problems tend to come when the photographer or videographer keeps appearing in the others shots or where both wish to be in the same position at once. However good professionals recognise that both services are important to the client and work together to ensure each has the opportunity to get the shots they want.


11. Having a video is something you can decide about at the last minute if you have left-over budget.

Wedding videos are often one of the last things that brides and grooms book very late in the process, but it’s important to remember that it’s generally harder to find a videographer you like than a photographer as there are generally fewer around and, because the editing times tend to be much longer than those of a photographer, many are only able to take relatively few weddings on per month. If you want to ensure you have a great videographer you should be looking to book them just as early as your photographer.


12. Your Wedding Film will be ready at roughly the same time as the photos

Again this may or may not be true depending on the videographer (and the stated turnaround time of the photographer), but broadly speaking a wedding film of the whole day is likely to take longer to edit together. A photographer will undoubtedly have more shots to go through and select and then edit, but each shot taken by a videographer is going to be at least a few seconds long and each will need to be watched and re-watched, cut to the exact right length, put in the context of the film, matched to the music, processed etc. With more than one camera filming the day it’s not uncommon for the videographer to have to watch over 10 hours of footage and they will have to watch most of those clips over and over. Depending on the speed of their computer videographers also spend many hours simply waiting for video footage to render (generating a watchable preview of the file) as the size of the files involved is so huge. The result is that even a short film may take 2-3 weeks of solid editing before it’s ready, and that’s assuming that the videographer only has one film to be working on at the time.


13. Wedding Videography is hugely overpriced

Top quality wedding videos are expensive. However it’s important to remember that you’re not paying your videographer just for their work on the day, you’re paying them for the 2-3 weeks editing work afterwards, for the standard of their work, for the quality of the incredibly expensive equipment they need to own in order to create such a high quality film, and for the additional costs such as obtaining music rights that are built into the package. Smaller companies may only be able to shoot 2-3 videos per month simply to allow enough time for them to edit them together, and there is often more than one person working on each wedding who needs to earn a living, particularly if they are doing it full-time. Like anything else the price you pay is reflective of the quality of the finished product, the costs of putting it together and the skill, experience and professional standards of the videographer.


So there we have it, we hope that our little myth-buster helps to clarify a few facts and help you to dispel any false preconceptions about the art-form! Please feel free to contact us with any further myths you feel should be added in the comment section!

  • James Brown - June 10, 2013 - 7:44 am

    Wedding is special day and I would like to thank you for sharing this post as it has really helped my niece get a better opinions of wedding.ReplyCancel

  • Barry - August 22, 2014 - 11:00 am

    Great article, I especially was interested in the music licensing.

    The editing time is really time intensive and I most people simply don’t appreciate how long it takes! The amount of times I’ve heard, ‘oh just take a few clips through the day’ without realising just how much effort that takes!ReplyCancel

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