How your wedding videographer can film your personal love story

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Please introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Chelsea Alderman, I've been working increasingly in the wedding industry for the last eight years. I am a video artist running a production house called Sea Monstrosity Pictures. The name comes from my roller derby background. For other types of videos I make, I use myself as a human dolly on skates, which has become possible as film equipment has gotten smaller over the years. It's possible to make videos now that are as stunning and dynamic as the movies. I specialize in music videos and independent film but doing wedding videos are often my favorite shoots. I started by doing free videos for friends’ weddings straight out of college and have been building my business since.

How did you become a wedding videographer?

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I love being a part of a love story. It's like being able to be the documentarian for someone's real-life rom-com.

I became a wedding videographer at first because as a filmmaker I needed practice with my cinematography. I stuck with it because I genuinely love filming weddings. I know there are filmmakers who do weddings only because they have the equipment but it's genuinely a favorite of mine. Weddings tend to come with great energy and beautiful production design and it makes for great footage. I love being a part of a love story. It's like being able to be the documentarian for someone's real-life rom-com.

How would you describe your style?

I'd describe my style as indie-film cinematic. And I have a very distinct way that I color grade my videos. I shoot on a handheld stabilizer so I am able to move with the action but everything stays smooth. There are techniques I use in music videos and film that definitely bleed over to my wedding videography style. I love to collaborate with couples about how they'd like their day to be shot, especially when people want to get creative. I'd love to shoot more distinct and unusual videos in my career if I am able to. I've heard of couples who want to do skits and parodies, wanting their wedding video to be shot like an episode of The Office which is honestly an amazing idea.

What is the importance of a wedding video?

The importance of a wedding video overshadows that of any other method of preserving the day. Clearly, I'm not biased... With a photograph, the feel of the image can change as you change over time. It's amazing to have stills and sure, our human love for photography will never go away but with a moving video, the atmosphere stays with how the day was. That is why there are movies that transcend generation. You can hear the voices and feel the mood. You can travel back to that time. With photographs, you can see and remember who was there but with the video, you can remember what happened. I have had clients tell me that there are things they would not have been reminded of on that day if it had not been for the video.

What is the purpose of a pre-wedding video?

The pre-wedding video is sort of like engagement photos but in video form.

The pre-wedding video is sort of like engagement photos but in video form. You have the medium to showcase your love story, how you met, and give your friends and family an insight as to who you are as a couple. I like the concept behind pre-wedding videos a lot. They can be like a movie trailer for your wedding to get people excited about the event.

How should a couple pick the right wedding videographer?

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A couple should pick a wedding videographer who they really vibe with.

A couple should pick a wedding videographer who they really vibe with. If you have a specific vision, it's important that you see eye to eye with your videographer because on the day, you are going to be enjoying your wedding, you aren't going to want to worry about what the videographer is doing. You also want someone who keeps in touch and is easy to get ahold of.

What are the typical services/packages offered by wedding videographers?

Most wedding videographers offer different lengths of videos and prices usually reflect the length. There are long versions and highlight reels. I'd say the average cost of a wedding video is around $2000. Other factors that might affect the price is the quality of the equipment, for example, drone footage would make a package pricier. It might seem like wedding videography is expensive, especially to couples who don't know what to expect. But you have to understand that what you are paying for is not only the time of the videographer to shoot and edit the video but also it is a cost of every other factor of the production. Most videos can be shot in 4k now, in high resolution so the video won't age as the screens you'll watch the video on improve with technology over the years.

The cost might also be affected if you'd like to have the raw footage, which some videographers either charge more for or won't do at all. This is because couples often don't understand just how raw untouched footage can be and a videographer might not want it out there representing their work. Personally, I offer the raw footage to my couples at no additional charge and this is because you're going to have this footage forever. I'll put together a beautiful video for you and we'll part ways, you or I might never know what else you'll want to do with the footage later in your life.

I'd say the average cost of a wedding video is around $2000.

If you could ask one thing of the grooms and brides that would make your job at their wedding easier, what would it be?

If I could ask one thing of the grooms and brides that would make my job easier is to work with me about what we're doing about audio. I want to be able to capture the day as genuine and as non-obtrusive as possible on my part. It's common and completely fine for a couple to not have a specific vision for a video and give me the freedom to just do my thing, but with audio, we have to nail down a plan. Clipping lavalier microphones to the brides or grooms don't work for most weddings, someone has to wear an audio box and a wire, which can often get in the way of a gown. I also wouldn't want you to spend time on your big day getting wired and unwired. Audio can make or break the quality of the video and I like the vows to be captured just as clearly as the visual.

What locations, backgrounds, or places result in best videos?

Personally, I think outdoor settings are the best. Wide open areas like mountain weddings are my favorite. Couples should definitely plan on having a photographer as well, the staged looking shots I get are during posed shots with the photographer and in between poses. The vows, the kiss, and the first dance are my "must do" scenes to shoot. You'll want to go over with your videographer what is important to you. I know that the way that I shoot, I'm following action and motion and personality like people dancing at the reception. If there are people who are more important to you so that they be in the video, mention that to your videographer. I also appreciate you pointing out to me during the event if there is something happening suddenly that would be important to you.

Which parts of a wedding will be filmed and which ones will not?

Without specific direction, I try to get coverage of absolutely everything just to have it. It really depends on the friends and family of the newlyweds what parts of the wedding are filmed and which are not. I love the style of friends and family speaking straight to the camera sending wishes to the couple, but sometimes the vibe I get from guests is that they are not comfortable on camera, which is completely fine, everybody's family is different about being filmed. If you don't have an eye for video aesthetic, that's perfectly fine, just find a videographer whose look you like and they will show up and do their thing. But you are going to want to go over with them what is going to happen on the date that they need to pay attention to, what is going to be sentimental to you so we can keep a lookout for what's important.