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Submitted by Kimberly Johnson Orphan Studios Video Production Atlanta, GA

Choosing a professional wedding videographer can be complex and confusing. With so many terms like, “digital,” “non-linear editing,” “DVD authoring,” …how do you choose and feel comfortable with your decision?

Your special day is arriving (and quicker than you realized) and the last thing you need to worry about is whether or not you have hired the right professional to capture your day. Of course you’ve visited their website and viewed their demo, but is that enough? The answer is “no.”

No matter whom you choose you will not know the professionalism and skill of the videographer until AFTER the ceremony.

First, let me clarify a few terms before I go any further:

Non-linear editing – use of computer vs. VCR. This does not necessarily have any effect on the final footage, its just one method of editing.
DVD authoring – if a videographer provides this service, your final product should look something like you would rent at “Blockbuster Video” with menus and chapters. This is a lot more than just transferring footage to DVD.
Digital Video – this is a process of how footage is captured. Digital and analog do not necessarily dictate quality. There can be bad digital video just like there can be bad analog video.

Now that you have some knowledge of the video industry terms…there are a few questions you should ask yourself when choosing a professional videographer:
a) Did the videographer seem knowledgeable?
b) Was the videographer able to answer all of your questions to your satisfaction?
c) Was the videographer professional, i.e. did he/she come prepared to your initial meeting with price lists, contracts, demos, etc?
d) Was the videographer attentive when you asked questions?
e) Does their product and service justify the pricing?

A professional videographer should be familiar with all industry terms and products. He/she should be able to describe in detail the services they are providing.

Regardless of pricing, contact the videographer directly and see EXACTLY what they are offering. Each option should be clearly outlined and easily identifiable on their demo, instead of just a way to pad their pricing for a few extra moments in your video.

Don’t get caught up in “price wars.” If you have to question the pricing AFTER you have been provided a detailed description of their service, then look elsewhere.

Always ask for a copy of a wedding demo. Most videographers are happy to send this to you free of charge. It’s not really important to receive a demo that encompasses an entire wedding. Just look for key elements that are important and will help ensure your receive the best product. Such as:

a) Was the picture clear?
b) Was the camera steady?
c) Were graphics and music included in the demo?

Also, be aware of whether or not you prefer a DVD or VHS copy of your wedding. Some videographers only offer VHS copies. Your best option is to go with someone who offers both. Additional copies of your wedding should also be available at any time after your wedding date at a reasonable price. Make sure you ask how much additional DVD or VHS copies are or if they even offer additional copies at a later date.

The bottom line is “you get what you pay for.” Remember, your wedding day is a unique, on-time moment that can never be recaptured. Don’t cut corners for a cheaper product and then have regrets that can never be rectified.

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