philadelphia wedding video

Wedding Vendors & National Chains

Found a Wedding Videography Business Online? Look Closely At The Details

Planning a wedding can be a challenging and exhausting search, albeit one that can have awesome rewards. Referrals can be great, a friend who recently was married and loved their DJ or photographer (yes, even video!), and were flattered by the results? Heck yeah, sign up! Ever attended a wedding and fell in love with the venue and thought ‘”This is where I wanna get married!”, it can help a massive amount of time and visiting with venues, taste testing foods etc. Literally weekends are saved. My cousin, she fell in love with my brothers chocolate cake:)

However sometimes, you’re just left flat. No recommendations, none of your friends provide you with glowing reviews of a particular vendor. Often for various reasons, you don’t get much feedback on a few. Maybe they felt the rates were too high, maybe no one danced the night away, or maybe the Photo Booth was stuffed in the corner and kinda lame, whereas they wish they had video to relive their day.

Typically, couples go to sites Google, The Knot, or Wedding Wire to begin their search. Which is the obvious choice, most industries have become this way. However, there’s a caveat: Alot of these companies are not located near Philly.

Yeah, may not be earth shattering to you, and likely you kinda knew that, which is fine. However let me tell you why I feel this is a detriment to the industry. Wedding videography is a tedious process, keeping up with the bridal party, lugging gear around (tripods, which photographers don’t carry), setting up from location to location. Photo sessions, 1st dances, toasts (audio, which photographers aren’t concerned with), first look etc. Everything requires being there in advance, a steady camera, and ready to go. Rarely is one offered a ‘Oh, wait a minute’, one or two of these becomes a major turnoff the the couple, and possibly other vendors (photographer, DJ, Maetre Die). Then the dance floor opens up, you cut the cake, and its just fun time from there.

However, that’s just the first half of the workload. Then, it becomes editing. Now, let me explain, editing is not simply polishing it up, or trimming it here & there. In fact I once read where a couple purchased a unedited video package then was devastated it wasn’t that good nor set to music. Editing is shooting 2 or 3 takes (if possible) of various scenes, then later choosing the best of them, assembling clips and segments of the day (bridal prep, first look, ceremony, bridal party photos, entrances/1st dance/toasts) and then dancing, and setting it to music.

Myself, I try to give the extra and time the edits to the music.

However what do these national chains do?  Well, it’s not exactly an industry secret that the videographers tend to be just that, videographers. Once the wedding day is over, they ship off all the clips from your day, and that’s the end of their workweek.

So who edits it?

Dunno. In house editors I presume. They may be really skilled at it. And fast. Admittedly they are possibly faster than me, although they are likely editing numerous wedding per month. Definitely don’t base your decision on speed. It is a question I get asked often, what’s your turnaround time? (For me, 6-8 weeks). Wouldn’t you want your editor to be the person who attended your day? Or at least have pretty significant input? To know who the funny bridesmaid was, the moment the groomsmen cracked a joke during the toasts and to cut to a reaction shot of the bride laughing? To know grandmom was out on the dance floor around 9:30? 

Now you wouldn’t want your editor to miss these events, would you?  I’ve actually seen a few of these ‘edits’ and I gotta say, more than anything, the dance floor segments, which I love, and love to edit btw, come off as lame. Just extended 12 second cuts with little excitement, lasting about 3 minutes long, fade to black. Weddings over. I once did an afternoon wedding where the dancing started around 1pm. People slowly migrated out to the dance floor, and by 4pm they were still partying, guests were undecided if they wanted to leave or keep going. Guess what? They kept going. Stayed till 5pm ending and danced their rear ends off, having fun. In that full length video I had 200 different clips in the dance floor scenes alone, 2 song choices were used, nearly 9 minutes long. It was epic! And I was so glad the couple got the chance to relive nearly every moment of their day.

 

That is what I like to provide. Cause I’ll tell you what you can’t get with a national vendor. Me. Me, someone who cares about your day, carefully plans out the shoot and shoots nearly every moment knowing how it might be of use in the final edit, then crafts a carefully developed wedding video to best reflect upon your wedding day!

Christine & Ralph

Congrats to Christine & Ralph for having their awesome Philly autumn wedding. Starting off at the Morris House Hotel we did bridal prep in their lovely bridal suite. Onwards to Philip Neri Church in Queens Village for a lovely Catholic ceremony. On a beautiful (and busy) fall day, they took the limo on up to South Broad Street, for a shot of the couple with City Hall as our backdrop, “Hello Honkers!”. I got the chance to work with the laid back but skilled Jon Oler on a bridal party shoot at the nearby Washington Park, making for a nice setting of greenery for the backdrop, as well as red brick.

Lastly it’s back to Morris House Hotel for the cocktail hour and reception. Introductions and First Dance started off the evening, followed up by toasts by Ralphs brother & best man, Christines 2 Maids of Honor, and a ‘Romano Familia’ toasts by Ralphs sister, welcoming Christine to La Familia Italia. Or something like that. Guests enjoyed themselves and the outdoor setting led for plenty to be out on the dance floor getting their Uptown Funk on. Great autumn night for a wedding.

Congrats Ralph & Christine!

Reflections On 2015

I finished my last edit of the season, and they’re all off & in the mail for happy couples to reflect back on their wedding night, and relive their day thanks to the hard work & effort I’ve put in to it. However the thanks really should go out to them & all the couples I’ve had the privelege to work with this past season, as it was a successful one in many ways. That said, I thought it would be good to reflect back on the past wedding year, and point out some of the moments that have stood out for me.

First up, the business has grown. Not in a corporate or staffing way per se, but in getting to do what it is I like to do. Shoot weddings and impress couples with the highlight reels, and full lengths. Whether it’s capturing events and parts of the day they forgot, didn’t see, or just are completely surprised about (Eagles Pep Band comes to mind). Doing it more means experience in getting to do it better. Whether it’s experience and preparedness, additional funding for equipment, learning new tricks, and familiarity with venues and various settings and shooting conditions (outdoor ceremonies, barn weddings, rustic theme, eclectic weddings etc).

Second thoughts coming to mind, my gear is set. I shoot using full HD camera with a backup HD/DSLR style interchangable lens. And with that, the lenses are a full stack. In addition I have a glidecam & slider, and I know how to use them. Making changes to any of these in the past meant having to tweak and rebalance alot, however now my glidecam is fully balanced to the camera for optimum stabilization. Thus getting you the best shots.

Thirdly(?), I got to meet up with and work with some tremendous vendors. Some of whom I truly feel are some of Philadelphias Best Of. Photographers Josh Dehonney & Dawn Snell pretty much bookended my season, as one of my first & last respectively. Also got to work with the perennially awesome Kate Duffy. Also for the first time I worked with Nate Desch, a Reading PA area phtoographer who is vastly experienced and works throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Great photographer, nice guy too. And I got to work with 2 great DJs, Adam Moyer & Cleveland Morris. And had an interesting wedding at the very nice venue La Massaria in Gilbertsville, PA. A nice location with a very nice & accomodating staff. Beautiful scenic location as well.

Other thoughts, I’ve proudly been charitable. As stated in my blog I shot a Quinceanera for a girl in Camden, NJ who was not only a great girl, but came from an amazing family. He quinceanera video was badass, and while they were tremendously grateful, it was great having met them. Some things aren’t fair in our society, and I’ll leave it at that. Had a great stretch of weather, not sure I had any full on downpours, although a September wedding down in South Jersey which hoped to be outdoors had to move it inside with about 15 minutes to go before the ceremony start time. Inside, outside, inside etc… Lovely. Had no weddings this July:( so I don’t recall if the heat was bad although the June/August weddings that I recall didn’t seem all that bad, compared to previous wedding seasons. Having said that, it’s a good time to point out that this is work, and by work I mean labor. Running around, carrying heavy bags & gear, timeframes to rush to meet, catches up to me. In November my back was crushed, just felt nearly gone. I finally had to visit a chiropractor, for the first time in my life (Shout out to East Falls Chiropractic, holllerr!). It helped tremendously, not just in realigning it, but in determining that taking an extra moment to just take a break, stretch, reposition myself before lifting bags, or hoping into my car, or sitting down when I arrive home etc can all be measures to help improve myself and my body. It’s my offseason now, so it’s time for the gym.

That said, 2015 was a really great year. I thoroughly happy with all the couples who chose to have me shoot their wedding video, but also in the end products I was able to create. Many great highlight videos are available to view on my site here, many more to come in 2016!

Cheers