1. Experience. This is, by far, the best index to gauge how likely it is that your wedding film will turn out as a compelling work of art. Experience means how long the photographer has been shooting video, what percentage of their professional time is spent shooting video and how many similar projects they’ve successfully shot.
There is simply no substitute for time in the craft.
These days, just about every handheld device seems to shoot video. But that doesn’t mean the people holding those devices are videographers in the sense most brides are looking for. This relates to experience, because a lot of people who have plenty of experience shooting still photos magically became “videographers” when their little cameras started shooting video. The only problem—they have absolutely no other background in video; and that’s a huge separation point.
A bride to be on Maui should look for a videographer that has experience shooting only video. That’s because such a videographer has almost certainly taken the time to learn fundamental rules of video that the converted still photographer has likely never heard of. Concepts such as: Master shots, audio beds, sequences, speed edits, natural wipes, ramp edits and on and on. Trust me, the crafts of video and still photography are very different.
A wise bride to be will recognize that the videographer with real experience will undoubtedly perform better than someone who has only sort of done video work.
2. Formal education/training. If you’re planning on hiring a video crew for a Maui wedding, you should at least think about the videographer’s formal training. On Maui, there’s a good chance that the person toting that little DSLR “video” camera has no formal training/video-education.
Is it possible that the 1 in a million videographer that you found is a virtuoso who needed no formal training to be brilliant? Remotely. But that’s about as likely as getting the Wailea Grand Hotel to call you and say, “Hey, we’re under booked. Would you like to stay here for free tonight?”
Formal training is important. That’s where most videographers learn the essentials of the craft. That’s where systems and standards are drilled into the student’s head for so long that they don’t even need to think about the fundamentals while shooting. Instead, they can use that mental band-with to consider how to best produce your story.
3. Equipment. The type of equipment a videographer owns will not ensure that you get a good product. On the other hand, sub-par equipment is a pretty good indicator that you might not have found a real professional.
In other words, all the of the best equipment in the world won’t do your videographer any good, if he/she doesn’t really know how to use it. Or, more likely, the videographer just doesn’t know how to get the most out of that equipment.
Conversely, if the person you’re considering for the job has no real cinema gear, it’s likely that person is not the committed video professional you will want to produce your wedding film. Often, such videographers have small “hybrid” cameras that shoot still images and video (with an emphasis on the former). Those hybrids are great tools for certain jobs. But they just aren’t as capable of delivering the big visual results most people want in their wedding videos.
The same is true about audio equipment. Often, the underexperienced videographer does not understand the craft well enough to purchase high quality audio gear. This can make all of the difference. The value of rich full sound versus tiny and wispy stuff can only truly be realized when you’ve found yourself on the wrong side of bad audio gear. Avoid the video
grapher who has not properly invested in his company—and ultimately—your wedding film.
Here are some helpful questions for you to ask as you interview videographers.
How long have you been doing wedding videos? What else do you do? Do you consider yourself more of still photographer or videographer? When did you start shooting video professionally?
Do you have a degree in film and/or video? Where did you do your internship? Have you ever been employed as a videographer by a large company (by whom)?
How do you define cinematographic equipment? Why does your gear qualify as cinematographic? Are your cameras dedicated strictly to video (versus hybrid). Do you use a Glidecam? A stabilizer? Do have a jib for wedding shoots?