One Videographer? The answer is a hard NO.
Updated: Oct 7, 2021
This is the question we are asked more than anything when potential couples are looking at our wedding film packages. "Can you just send one videographer? We are on a budget and if you only send one videographer we might be able to fit you into our budget."
The quick and short answer is yes, we could send one videographer, but we don't do that. We have done this in the past at the beginning of our ventures into the wedding world and we have come across various wedding videographers/filmmakers who will only send one person.
We have many, many, many gripes with just "sending one person." We have been to enough weddings to see all the moving parts. Even though many weddings share venue spaces, have similar schedules, similar events, and even similar colors, they are all different.
This will be semi long, but we will breakdown the parts of the day and why we don't send a single videographer/filmmaker.
Getting ready and pre-ceremony stuff - The first reason is simply logistics and timing. Rarely do engaged couples get ready for the wedding together. One might be at an AirBnb down the road while the other is with family in a hotel room. It's only logical that since they are both getting dressed up for the same event that they are likely getting ready at the same time! Sometimes couples are able to stagger the schedule, but really it doesn't allow for much time. If you see cinematic clips or beautiful photographs of other weddings, most likely the camera people at that wedding had an assistant to help move things around or were able to spend more time with each side of the wedding party. Things we have come across when couples stagger the schedule. - If one side is running late or early, we end up with an unequal amount of footage. Maybe we have captured a good usable amount of footage of the bride getting ready, but her hair stylist was running behind after touching up the bridesmaids and by the time we get to the groom (or other bride) he is completely dressed and some of the groomsmen have dispersed because of their extra time. - Dress shots. Everybody loves a cool dress shot, but we do have to carry the dress, the shoes, the rings, the bouquet, and our cameras and possibly lights. It's worth having extra hands for this. By oneself, this would prove difficult and will actually take more time!
Ceremony - This is the important moment of the day! A single videographer could capture a ceremony with a single camera. This person would have to have the smoothest hands in the world and then it would have to be edited down to cut out any moments of extra movements by the camera operator when they move to their next position . Will we see the brides face as she walks down the aisle or will we see the groom as he sees her in her dress for the first time? -He or she could set up one or two additional cameras and just hit record right? -Yes, but what if your cousin standing at 6'4 arrives a little late and stands in front of the camera after it's already been placed! He is most likely focused on you. The officiants usually say "please stand" right before the bride to be walks the aisle. This camera is now unusable for the majority of the beginning of the ceremony and probably the end as well. The sole videographer is busy trying to capture clean cinematic footage of you and probably won't know his second camera is unusable until later! There are a lot of moving parts during the ceremony and people can be unpredictable. -Even though you took the time to put a sign up that says "quiet ceremony" and "no phones or cameras", you have an aunt with the new Iphone 13 who is determined to also record the entire ceremony. She holds the phone up directly in front of the camera. YES, this has actually happened to us with a static camera! -Focus. All you have to do with a static camera is hit record and autofocus right? Even though new AI focus technology has greatly improved the last decade, there is a chance that depending on what the camera sees, the auto focus could be incorrectly focusing on the wrong subject-say the archway behind the couple so the couple is just a little blurry the entire ceremony! - One could set the manual focus to a position to where the couple "should be standing during the ceremony" (but with no assistant, who is the stand-in?). What if the particular way the sun hits the area, the officiant guides the couple a few feet forward from where the manual focus is set? A blurry video of the couple saying their vows or exchanging the rings? -Technology isn't perfect. Reasons to avoid a single camera ceremony. -what if the memory card on one camera fails? That footage is now gone. -what if the camera battery, fully charged, decides it is its time to go? -What if a cloud moves and blocks out the sun or vice versa. The static camera is probably over or underexposed and is now unusable. In the very sunny state of New Mexico, this actually happens quite often and exposure has to be compensated throughout the ceremony. -Autofocus failure, or manual focus that can't be corrected.
Reception - Receptions carry the same inherent risks mentioned above. We like to capture the person giving the speeches as well as the reaction to the speeches. We have had Dj's, other photographers, family members step in front of static cameras and it is totally worth the extra money to have someone there to manage the equipment and shot!
We have been vendors at well over 60 weddings, large and small, in multiple cities and even states, and we have found that the best away to capture your big day is to always send two videographers. The video is not only better, but it is a back-up/safety precaution just in case one camera misses a moment or somebody inevitably accidentally steps in front of one shot, the other camera probably captured it.
Thanks for tuning in! We are happy to discuss this topic in more detail if you so desire!