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Should I film my wedding?
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. Couple's that don't have video on their wedding day find that to be their biggest regret, not having a well produced video.
What's your approach to filming? Will you be in the way?
Hands off. That's the short answer! We're there to capture the day as it happens naturally. We don't script anything... require no personal time with the couple... and our cameras are equipped to keep our distance. With a footprint typically smaller than an average photographer, you'll hardly know we're even there (as our hundreds of reviews will attest to). No professional should ever be in the way of guests and have equipment that allows them to keep their distance, so we film from the perimeter during main events. For more details to our approach and what to expect, check out the information on our Preparation Page.
What's included with your packages?
A lot! Way more than most other videographers. Check out our Pricing Page for a detailed breakdown. Most videographers will only provide you with a 10 minute 'Short Film' of your day, and that's it. Those that do offer your ceremony or important reception events in real time will usually try to charge more for that (?!). Part of it is, that's just the way the industry has gone. Part of it is because of the equipment they use (more on that below). We believe that we should not only capture your day artistically, but we should also capture all of your main events in their entirety for you to enjoy later. We not only offer a Short Film of your day (that you'll get shortly after the wedding), but also a 'Full Length Film', which encompasses your entire day with all important events in the video from start-to-finish. You'll see your entire ceremony, see all of the important events from your reception, all in real time, along with a number of other video montages of all things pre-ceremony, post-ceremony and cocktail hour, etc., along with another shorter Highlight Video at the end. All of which is set to the music you choose. ANY music. Yes, Shania Twain and Coldplay are okay! Your video is made for private use so anything goes. And if all that wasn't enough, we also include all of your raw footage, drone coverage (where it's allowed), professional audio and more... all at no extra cost. Outside of potential travel charges, the pricing you see online for our packages is bottom line.
Other videographers are more expensive than you, why?
With a big family team, it gives us the flexibility to offer a range of packages to help cater to all budgets. If it was just my wife and I, sure, our pricing would start a lot higher. But since we can handle multiple events on any given date or weekend thanks to our family team of videographers available, we can offer very reasonable rates. We also believe that a well produced video of your wedding should be affordable, and should be done as if we were filming for our very own family. We're not going to overcharge family, and we're not going to overcharge you. A lot of other videographers don't have a team of videographers and also usually only film weddings on the side. It's not unusual to see pricing in the 5-6k range for video with those folks. We live in one of the wealthiest regions of the country, so some vendors will try to take advantage of that. But they're usually only going to film 10 or so weddings per year at those rates, and they're okay with that since it's usually not their main source of income to begin with. If you look for videographers, or any wedding vendor, that does what they do full time (doing weddings every weekend), chances are you'll find their rates to be much more reasonable.
What type of equipment do you use?
We use true professional video cameras. That might seem obvious... but don't be fooled. Most videographers are not using true video cameras. They're using SLR cameras, the same kind of camera your photographer will be using to take photos with. SLR's have their place in the video realm... we use them in a studio setting... but would never use them at a live event. They're very unstable for 'run and gun' shooting, typically requiring elaborate gimbals, if not having to be on a tripod at all times. Most only work well with a 'short' lens... meaning they need to be near their subject matter. They can't smoothly zoom in or out of a shot and are typically not great in low-light situations, requiring a lot of additional studio light. But the biggest drawback is they simply can't film for a long time. They can't film an entire ceremony in most cases. That's why most other videographers will only provide a 'Short Film' of the day (a highlight video) and nothing else. The true video cameras we use have none of those drawbacks. They don't need elaborate gimbals... film great in low light... can film from 5 feet or 50 feet away and get the same shot... are great in low-light situations... can film all day long without stopping and, the best part, multiple cameras can be operated by a single videographer. SLR's usually require multiple operators for multiple cameras, which costs more $$$ for you in the end.
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 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 and other professionals.
Who will be our videographer if we book with you?
We have six main 'crew leaders'... Matt Buerhaus, Brandan Buerhaus, Julia Buerhaus, Sandy Buerhaus, Wade Buerhaus 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. With a big family team, we also have plenty of back-up in the event of an emergency or illness.
Are you experienced with multicultural weddings and inclusive?
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 same-sex weddings. We'll film for anyone and any faith! With 1500 weddings under our belts now, we have a vast amount of experience with just about any type of wedding or event. 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 denominations or type of ceremony you might have, 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 an editing house overseas do the editing... and they won't even pay them in most cases, instead using them as an intern. 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 very low 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 that type of footage, 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.
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.
What's the difference between 'cinematography' and 'videography'?
Absolutely nothing. 'Cinematography' is just a fancy word for 'videography'. Folks who are usually really expensive will use fancy terms like 'cinematography' and call their pricing an 'investment' (which basically means 'really expensive').
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. If some of those down times aren't in the fully edited video, you'll find them in your raw video included with all 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 fully edited 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 glitch in the video file, etc. Whatever the case may be, we're happy to fix any errors!
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 for the same date.
-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.
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. We're always happy to work with any couple that has to cancel or make dates changes to their wedding. Having a big family team gives us that flexibility. We're proud that we didn't miss a single event due to COVID, and we were also able to reschedule every wedding that had to be postponed during that time without missing a single one.
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