Tips on Hiring a Wedding Filmmaker
I wanted to give an overview of what prospective clients should look for in hiring a filmmaker as there are so many great companies out there.
When you are going to interview a filmmaker or inquire about booking, be sure you have seen a few samples of their work online. Ideally you would be calling them because you like the footage you saw, and the quality. However, here are a few things you may want to talk to your filmmaker about before making the final decision:
1) Will they be shooting in Standard Definition or High Definition? Some people do still shoot in Standard definition and have not upgraded to better quality cameras. There is ZERO excuse for filming in Standard Definition unless that is the look you are going for. You may not notice this when watching clips on their site. ASK. You need to know up front what you are getting. Thinking forward, you are going to want your video shot in the best format possible for archival purposes down the road (unless you are having someone film Super8 or 16mm of your wedding on purpose, which is awesome, and a different discussion.)
2) Wireless microphones and off camera back up audio. If the person filming your wedding is not using either of these, you may be missing a HUGE piece of your story and your day. Audio is equally important as video. Professionals will pick up a whisper of a vow, where having your cousin run a home camcorder from the fourth row back is probably not going to get the job done.
3) Is the company or individual you are hiring the person who will actually be there shooting? This can be a disappointment the day of your wedding if you are not informed up front if the studio/company/etc is sending an associate. Be sure to know in advance so everyone is on the same page. There are a lot of great companies in the New England area with multiple shooters, and I personally recommend them when I am booked, they are all wonderful to work with, just know up front who that person will be.
4) It’s ok to ask a lot of questions, but at the end of the day you are hiring a professional filmmaker because you genuinely like their work and style and have trust in their abilities. If you try to micro manage the film aspect of your wedding, the filmmaker will be more focused on getting your list of specific shots and may miss key moments that in the end, would have meant a lot more to you. Educate your filmmaker on what is important to you but don’t overwhelm them with so many details that they can’t do their job.
5) Turn around time. If you can’t get in writing or on your contract a confirmation that your wedding will be done in 9 months or less (ideally less then 6), you better find out what else that filmmaker has going on. Backlog is a huge issue with a lot of visual artists, but after filming your wedding it is important that they start working on your project right away so that they can remember and recall the vibe, the feelings, the emotion of your day. The more time that goes by the more of that feeling may escape the memory of the person working on your film.