Why wedding videos cost so much

Wedding video prices

Reasons why wedding videos cost so much

For those of you who have ever wondered why wedding films cost so much, I’m here to help you understand that.

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I have no doubt that most, if not EVERY bride wonders why wedding videographers charge so much for their packages. And, yes, that is a very good question. So let’s break it down by discussing three broad categories that go into creating a wedding video.

Let’s talk equipment, expenses (i.e. fees) and time.

Equipment

The type of equipment and the quantity of the equipment will wary from videographer to videographer but will most likely include the following:

  • Multiple cameras which are necessary for multiple views
  • Multiple camera lenses for capturing footage at certain distances at a certain size
  • Audio recording equipment such as individual small microphones and recording device(s) and cables to connect to the DJ’s sound system
  • Stabilizing equipment (things such as gimbals) and stands for the cameras. These help make your footage smooth when you watch it back.
  • Filters for the cameras to counteract harsh light in outside weddings
  • Camera and microphone batteries
  • Lights for reception settings
  • Light stands
  • Possibly 1 or 2 extra videographers (though a quality wedding film CAN be done with just ONE videographer)
Camera equipment for wedding videography

ACCESSORIES

This is a short list that does not take into account the cases that are used to carry all this equipment, the wear and tear of the equipment requiring replacing parts (i.e. stickies for the microphones, battery chargers, etc) and other little bits and pieces that, can quickly add up.

This also does not take into account the quality of the equipment. If you’re wanting a 4K picture, you can trust that your cost is somehow going to reflect that. Camera bodies, that means WITHOUT the camera lens, can be as much as $5000 and even higher! Some are vastly more expensive than that.

Hence the saying, again, “you get what you pay for.”

Camera equipment expenses for wedding videography

Now, listen, I’m not trying to be rude. I honestly am not. But these are things that MANY people (including myself before I got into videography seriously!) are not aware of.

BE CAREFUL of “Red Flag” Wedding Package Deals!

So if you find that “deal” where you get a highlight for 6 minutes, a full ceremony edit, all day coverage, audio vows recorded, for only $1200, be very, very careful. Someone who is producing high quality wedding videos is highly UNLIKELY to charge that amount because it wouldn’t even cover their basic expenses, let alone allow them to make any profit.

For a quality wedding videographer, they are having to charge not only a price to cover their expenses, including the cost of equipment use, but their time, effort, and experience to produce a quality film for you. It has to be worthwhile for him or her to produce your wedding film because the cost on the back end is not cheap!

COSTS | EXPENSES

Let’s move onto fees.

Depending on the element, fees can be recurring throughout the year or an annual fee. Here are a list of things a videographer will be paying a fee for when it comes to producing each wedding film.

  • Music license fee per song (can be upwards of $60 per song, the better the quality, the more expensive the song)
  • Insurance for equipment (which some venues require before allowing videographers on their property). This is typically an annual expense.
  • Renting fees (for any extra equipment, like multiple cameras, specific lenses). This is cheaper than owning the equipment since a lens for a camera could be $2000 or more.
  • Fees for editing software. Yes, the software that is used to edit videos/films do typically have a fee associated. Some pay this monthly, others annually. And let’s not forget the computer equipment that we utilize to apply this editing software!
Costs of videography editing software
Videography editing software costs of subscription
  • Delivery costs. This can include digital or USB methods, shipping, etc. This can be costly, meaning the more films or the longer the films are, and the better the quality of the films, the more storage that is needed to deliver these films. The more storage, the more expensive the delivery method fee.

Again, these are part of the main expenses your wedding videographer has to account for in the prices they offer for their wedding film packages.

TIME

This is a HUGE one.

While it make take 4-10 hours to obtain the footage of your wedding day, it will take SO MANY more  hours to edit into a cinematic wedding film unique to you and your day when it comes to highlight films.

Storage | Backup | Sorting

First, all that footage has to be stored safely, sifted to remove the poor footage, and synced with the audio recorded during the ceremony, toasts, etc. Then the main music of your film has to be found, which can take hours (depending on the wedding videographer). They have to search reputable sites known for providing licensed music to find the song or songs that will be the perfect match to your wedding day.

Then that footage has to be compiled into a “story” according to the music your videographer has deemed a best fit for you. This can be or more songs, depending on how long your film is. You’re talking 4-7 minutes, easily 2 songs. Longer than that? You get the point. 🙂

Editing | Color grading

So then, after all that footage is compiled, it has to be color graded.

This means giving your film a certain color/look that is specific to the wedding videographer’s style. You’ll see some with a light and airy look (beautiful but not my style), versus a rich and deep color look (my style). Of course, there are all types in between, but that would probably be the two extremes to reference.

That means every individual clip of footage has to be looked at, edited, and formatted to the overall story and music. It’s tedious!

And for those videographers with type A personalities, this is a process that takes a while to do and definitely part of the reason why their costs are considered expensive… especially if you’re looking at a high quality product.

Editing Audio | Sound Design

Then comes the editing of the audio. The videographer will be editing the audio of what was recorded during the day in correlation to the music licensed for the background. The goal is to make it seamless and where you can clearly hear vows or speeches without the background music overpowering. This is also a huge time-consuming process.

Some will go the extra mile to sound design, meaning putting the sounds of nature into the film, where appropriate. And any other sounds that help bring your film to life (i.e, what is called “foley” for sound effects) for each clip that’s being played.

For example, here is a sneak peek of a wedding where there is no sound design added (i.e. foley, sound effects, etc). Just music for the audio. My intent with this sneak peek was giving it an old school “film” look, hence the grainy overlay and reel-like edges. 

After watching, you can see that it is difficult to grasp the “feel” I planned for this wedding sneak peek. Whereas in the actual final film, the sound design is included and though took much more work, brings the entire short clip to LIFE. 

WHEREAS in the actual final film, the sound design is included and though took much more work, brings the entire short clip to LIFE.

Now tell me which wedding clip is better?!!

Hands down, you’d choose the one WITH sound design versus the one without!

For another example, I had a wedding where there were outside chandeliers blowing in the wind. For that particular clip, I added a “chimes” audio sound that truly made it come to life as if the sound of each glass lightly hitting each other as the wind blew, was captured when I recorded the footage.

Spoiler alert… it wasn’t.

But those watching would never know! I mean, now the secret’s out. But this is all a part of a time-consuming process to make YOUR film as high quality as possible.

*You can watch the final highlight film below (or on my youtube channel) to see how their whole wedding film came together. Time stamp 3:42 is where the chandelier/chimes sound effect shines!

THEN think about doing this all over again for a full ceremony edit, etc. This is why videographers will charge what seems to be a high price for a “small” video. I know some brides cannot believe the cost of a 4-5 minute highlight film of their wedding day. But if you take into account ALL of the above, this is why you will see certain differences in the quality of the films produced and their associated prices. I know, a lot of food for thought!

These are why wedding videography packages are expensive!

In summary, my advice is just to keep all of this insight in mind when you are shopping for a wedding videographer. You can read more about these and other factors that contribute to the cost of a wedding video here. There are other things we could discuss such as the quality of equipment, resolution, travel expenses, etc, but these are my top three main catgeories that I feel are most important for you to know about.

Basically, if you want a high quality wedding film, double-check with your significant other and see what you’re willing to pay for it. If that doesn’t mean much to you, then there are many options out there but I’m sorry to say, I’m not sure you’ll be happy with the product!

This is just a small snippet of the process and thus the resulting costs of wedding videography, but I hope you found this helpful! If you have questions about it… let me know. And if you’re wanting to keep the costs down but the quality high, check out my blog on “affordable” wedding videography. There are some options to consider there.

For now, I wish you the best in your wedding planning.

Cheers,

~Ruth Elaine

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