Should I film my wedding?
The biggest regret couples have after their wedding is not having a professional video created of their big day. In fact, couples that do get professional video, from us at least (especially those couples on the fence), wind up finding it was BY FAR the best investment they could have made on their wedding day. Video is the only way to relive one of the most important days of your life. Imagine having a well produced video of your parent's wedding, or even grandparent's wedding. It would be priceless. Weddings are one of the rare moments in life where two families come together to celebrate life. We look at wedding videos as more a 'family-documentary' than anything else. Because that's what they really are.
Why shouldn't I just have my Uncle Charlie do it for free?
Although Uncle Charlie has the best of intentions, does he have the proper equipment to do the job right? Does he have the stamina, know-how and experience when it comes to filming a wedding? Can he anticipate the important events and know what to film and when? If he doesn't, you're probably not going to be happy with the results.
How do I know which videographer is right for me?
Well, it depends on what you want out of a videographer. We blend into the background and you'll hardly notice we're even there, yet deliver a high quality cinematic presentation of your wedding day in full HD on multiple DVD copies and master digital files for download. Most other videographers use SLR (photo) cameras to record weddings, primarily because they've been trained to use them in school. In our opinion, SLR's are great for studio work... we even use them for interviews, TV commercials and in other applications. But for events like weddings, SLR's tend to force videographers to stay in one place, be close to the action and heavily rely on tripods or elaborate gimbles and lots of lighting. For weddings and other live events, we use true professional video cameras that produce the same stunning video footage, yet allows us to be very mobile without multiple tripods or a ton of lighting and also allows us to keep our distance with fewer videographers needed to film. Many guests even mistake us for photographer's assistants, if they even notice we're there at all! We also try to make the decision making process as easy as possible for our clients. We coach those clients on what to expect from us leading up to and including your wedding on our Preparation Page.
Will you or your crew be an eye sore at our wedding?
We're not invisible, but we do leave a very small footprint. Smaller than the photographer usually. Since we use modern video cameras and not SLR's for live events where being discreet is a priority, we can keep our distance yet still get great close-ups. Our cameras are smaller than a football so they're not these big, clunky shoulder mounted monsters some might typically associate video with. We will only use an on-camera light for darker filming situations, usually at night-time receptions. And even then, the light isn't overpowering and will only light up any subject matter right in front of our cameras. The biggest compliment we often get from our clients after their wedding is how they didn't even know we were there!
How do you work with photographers?
We take a lot of pride in the fact that about 1/4 of all couples that book with us did so on the recommendation of their photographer. In a nut shell, photographers LOVE working with us. Half the time we know the photographers at any given wedding already. If we don't, we ask them where they plan to be during important events and do our best to stay out of their way. Our goal in working with your photographer(s) is to cooperate closely with them and other wedding vendors to smoothly capture all the events on your special day. We do our best to stay out of the way during the ceremony and reception. Each of us are working in YOUR best interest and we make it a point to know what we expect from one another and how we can support your photographer throughout the day the best we can. We not only want to give you the best video possible, but want to make sure you're also getting the best out of your photographer.
Who will be our videographer if we book with you?
We have five main 'crew leaders'... Matt Buerhaus, Sandy Buerhaus, Brandan Buerhaus, Julia Buerhaus (my wife!) and Greg Birch. Our colleague Jim Andrews will also head things up from time to time on a busy weekend. When a second shooter is required we pull from an experienced group of family members to assist one of our main shooters. We all film exactly alike but Matt handles all editing duties. If we only have one wedding on any given date, you'll get Matt personally. When there's multiple bookings videographers will be assigned based on the amount of coverage that is needed, where weddings are taking place, etc. Bottom line though, you'll be getting one of our own videographers who film regularly for us throughout the year.
Are you experienced with different cultures?
You bet. We're experienced with any denomination of Christian faith, from Catholicism to Presbyterian, frequently handle Jewish ceremonies and are also well experienced with Hindu-Indian and traditional Asian cultures such as Chinese and Japanese weddings, as well as traditional Greek, African and other cultural ceremonies. With 1200 weddings under our belts now, we've handled them all! Especially here in the DC and Baltimore regions where there's vast diversity. That aside, we're really only there to document the day as it unfolds. So no matter what denomination your ceremony might be, the approach is pretty much the same.
A national or regional chain video company or a newcomer is cheaper, why?
You've probably come across them when searching for a videographer. Some chain companies offer photo, video, DJ's, lighting and a whole lot more. They'll tell you that they can't guarantee who your photographer or videographer will be, but they use the "top 1%" in the profession. Frankly, that's BS. The top 1% have their own businesses and are leaps and bounds above what you'll get from a national chain. Usually the chain company will send film or photo students to capture the footage and then have different film students do the editing... and they won't even pay them in most cases, instead using them as an intern. Don't believe me? Check out their reviews on Wedding Wire. As for newcomer's to the industry, they come and go every year. Most find it's not for them and move on. But the industry will always be saturated with newcomers with very little experience charging cheap rates. Usually their clients wind up not being too happy with any results. Be very wary of national chains and newcomers. If I had a nickel for every re-edit I've done on footage produced by a national chain or newcomer, I could probably retire early. After paying me or another reputable editor to re-edit a video, a couple will spend way more then they would have if they just would have booked with a reputable pro to begin with. This is true across all professions in the wedding market, so try to avoid newcomers with little wedding experience or national chains if you don't want any headaches.
Other companies are more expensive than you, why?
Our pricing is 'middle-of-the-road' for the market we're based in. A typical wedding project can take between 20-40 hours to complete depending on the complexity of the project. Some videographers will charge $4000-$6000 to do the same thing we do in our Silver Package (which is around 2k). The really expensive folks likely do not do what they do full time. They usually have a 'regular' job during the week so the wedding video income isn't that important to their well being. If they book 5-10 events per year, they're happy. It's more of a side job. The DC area can also support those rates (DC has the 2nd highest cost of living and average salaries in the nation). We do this full time and cater to the entire region. Could we charge more and only cater to DC? Sure. But that's not our end game. We want to film for any couple within reasonable driving distance. Couple that with this is our full time job, you'll find our pricing to be very reasonable for the product and experience you're getting. Simply put, if we were too expensive we wouldn't get enough business to make this our full time job.
How do you prepare for our special/wedding day?
That's easy! Go to the Preparation Page where I've outlined the whole nine yards for you! Easy stuff, really.
How does the booking process work?
Pretty simple! We just need to know what package you'd like to go with and where your wedding is taking place. We'd then provide you with a simple, single page contract via PDF document through email with instructions on what to expect next in the process. Once we receive your 50% deposit, you're all set!
Can I set up a face-to-face meeting?
Absolutely! Most folks book right through email or after a phone call, but I completely understand some folks still like the good old fashioned face-to-face meeting. It's very hard to do that between April and October each year as we're very busy with filming and editing during that time, but I can usually video chat during that period. Once we're in the offseason, scheduling actual face-to-face meetings in the Bel Air, MD area is usually not a problem. We can also be found in person as dozens of wedding shows we do each year. That calendar can be found here.
Will bright lights and long cables overpower our special event/wedding?
We use a very discrete setup, involving no cables or overpowering lights. The HD digital video our cameras and editing software produce is better than the current High Definition standard and our cameras do an excellent job of picking up quality images in very low-light situations. In some cases we don't even have to use any lighting. But if we do, it's usually during a dimly lit reception and the light is not overpowering at all. It's just bright enough to light up our subject matter within 10' of the camera.
What about catching our vows clearly?
On all shoots we use professional WAV (MP3) wireless microphones on the groom which have no drop-out issues that UHF transmitters can potentially have. They also won't interfere with any house wireless system. That one mic picks up whatever anyone says around him clearly. All anyone would notice of that set-up, if they notice it at all, is a tiny piece of black foam on the groom's lapel. Any readers are picked up clearly using on-board 'shotgun' microphones on our cameras. After the ceremony we always remove the wireless mic from the groom. As a bonus, we'll send you the resulting file via download within days of your wedding just for fun! Of course, if a couple would rather not wear a mic that is totally fine, just be aware your vows may not be picked up clearly in the video, if at all.
What's the benefit in having two videographers?
Two videographers come in handy, most importantly, during your ceremony. Especially those ceremonies held in churches that might have strict restrictions on how photographers and videographers can shoot. Although not always necessary, a second videographer will allow the main videographer to film more discreetly as it isn't necessary to check-up on the second or main camera on a tripod as frequently. At the reception, if you're into guests leaving a message on camera, it's especially important to have a second videographer who can solely focus on that while the main videographer focuses on things like your first dance and toasts. Second videographers also can give the main videographer a break during the reception during random dancing, thus obtaining more footage of the reception as a whole. It's almost humanly impossible for one person to hold a video camera all night without arm strain.
How many hours of footage do you shoot?
On a typical full day shoot, we'll wind up with anywhere from 3 to 8 hours of raw footage. Each event is unique however, and this could widely vary depending on the schedule of events within any given day. That doesn't mean we're only with you for 3 to 8 hours. With all of our Wedding Video packages, we arrive an hour before your ceremony is expected to start and are with you up to 12 hours (or more) on the day-of depending on the package you book with us. Additional hours can be tacked on based on hourly rates if necessary and can be added to your package at any time, even on the wedding day.
What should we expect with editing?
You should expect to laugh, cry and in most cases, be totally blown away with the quality of editing we provide for your video. It's one thing to just film the wedding, but the real art lies at in the editing. All of our videos come with a cinematic introduction montage of events leading up to the wedding itself. The 'main events', like your ceremony and reception, are presented in real time with what appears to be multiple camera angles. We like to get the ceremony in full on the video, but in some cases we cut out 'down time' to make room for other goodies throughout the day. With some of our upper end packages you get all of your raw footage on a separate disk so if some of those down times aren't in the fully edited video, you'll find them on the raw disk (which can also be purchased as an extra in our lower-tier packages). All of our videos are also capped off with a Highlight Video, which is great to show folks who don't want to sit through your entire video, and we artistically edit other events like pre-ceremony activities and your formal photo shoots set to the music of your choice in your completd video.
If there's a problem with the finished video, can you fix it?
Absolutely. Problems are rare but could include a misspelled name, a faulty DVD that creates playback issues, an exporting snaffu that causes playback problems with the DVD. We even send your video as a download in advance of the DVD's. You can also sit in on the final stages of the editing process at my home studio to tweak things if you'd like! At the end of the day, we want you to be satisfied with your wedding video:)
How long will you take to finish our video?
4-20 weeks depending on the season. Average turnover time is between 8-12 weeks. It is not uncommon for other editing studios and even photographers to take in upwards of 12 months or more to deliver a final product! I'm the head editor and do the vast majority of editing, including all final and creative editing. So as the wedding season progresses, we get busier! Typically there's shorter turnover times early in the year (March/April) and longer turnover times later in the year (September/October).
How do you deliver the video? Can you do DVD?
We deliver all videos via a free online download from Dropbox (no account required to download videos from there) as MP4's. You can take an MP4 and copy it to your own thumb drives. We recommend formatting the drive for ExFat (so it will work on most platforms... MAC, PC, most TV's). We also have DVD, thumb drive and SSD drive a-la-carte options.
How soon before our wedding should we book with you?
Popular summer and fall dates fill up quickly. We recommend booking as soon as possible as it is not uncommon for couples to book a year or more in advance. We basically operate on a first come, first served basis. But with up to four crews for any given date, we also get a lot of last minute bookings. So it's really relative for us. If we are booked up though, we also work with a professional pool of videographers in the Maryland area that we can refer you too.
Do you travel?
Of course! We've had the pleasure of filming up and down the east coast of the U.S., have been to the west coast, gulf coast and other parts of the lower 48, and have traveled internationally for corporate clients. Small travel fees are associated with anything we can drive to in a reasonable amount of time (anything more than around 2 hours away from Bel Air, MD), and as long as travel expenses are covered for anything requiring a flight, we'll film just about anywhere in the world!
Now for some legal mumbo-jumbo (this info is denoted on any contract signed with us)...
-We require 50% due at contract to hold your date. If for whatever reason you cancel your date or contract with us, any deposits already paid to that point are non-refundable. Reason being, chances are in the time you had been booked with us we had to turn away other clients... IE... lost business.
-If the date is changed due to the weather or other reason, chances are we'll have a crew available to film on the new date and we'll honor the original contract for that new date. No problem.
-Although we've never missed a wedding for any reason (1200+ filmed as of 2019), if we vanish and don't film your wedding or event for whatever reason, you'll get all of your money back. No questions asked. To me this seems foreign, but folks do ask... 'what if you guys don't show'. So, here's the answer! Rest assured, we plan on showing for any event we book:)
Those points aside, we still are human and will more than likely return any deposits in the event there's a major tragedy that's preventing the wedding from happening. But to protect our butts, we have to put an official policy out there so there's no gray area from a legal perspective. I personally HATE the business and legal end of our gig, but just like any other business, we gotta put some sort of policy out there.
So, there you go:)
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