Chicago Wedding Videographer

Videography vs. Cinematography


Video cameras are everywhere. Go to a school play and a parent is bound to have a video camera in their hands. Attend a parade and you’ll probably see someone pointing their video camera at the activity. See someone talking on their cell phone? That phone might have a video camera, too! They’re everywhere. The decreasing cost of consumer video cameras and editing software (bundled with many computers now) has made the entry into video production more realistic for many. But just because the tools are out there, it doesn’t necessarily mean the person behind the equipment will know how to create a cinematic movie.

If someone gave you a paintbrush and a blank canvas, could you paint like Monet or van Gogh? Similarly, if someone gave you a video camera and some editing software, could you create the next Spielberg movie? Probably not. Each of those artists has a style and technique that is unique to them. Just like those artists, our style and technique of capturing weddings is unique to us.

We often get asked, “What is the difference between wedding videography and wedding cinematography?” It’s a very good question and brings up a philosophical debate between the two. When you’re watching a home video versus a movie, you know the difference. The shooting technique, the image quality, and the storytelling are all different.

We believe that videography is the capturing of a moment in time from beginning to end. Videography is not creative and it doesn’t use any sort of storytelling. It is purely meant to capture the entire event from beginning to end without much artistry. The video camera used with this technique is usually a tape-based camera with fixed lenses that has a lower resolution and smaller tolerance for low light situations (compared to the camera we use for cinematography) . The type of editing used with this technique can have very little cut out of the final DVD, and little to no dramatic camera angles. Have you ever seen “that videographer” at a wedding…the one who is wearing a cumber bun, has a huge tripod on wheels, and a massive light on top of their camera that lights up the entire dance floor? Have you watched a long, boring wedding video?

Cinematography is much different than videography. Cinematography is an art. It blends shooting creativity with storytelling. The wedding trailers you see on our website and blog are all shot with a cinematic style. We start out at the beginning of each wedding with a blank canvas and fill that blank canvas with all sorts of moments. When we shoot cinematically, we capture a moment (the bride and the groom smiling at each other, a guest wiping her tears, etc.) and then move around to get other interesting/creative angles. While our cinematographers are moving around to capture those different angles and perspectives, they are not recording the entire event. However, there are some parts (vows, speeches, etc.) where we will capture the entire moment. Much like a still photographer, when they are moving around, they are not shooting still photos the entire time. When we are moving around, we are not shooting video the entire time as well. But this technique allows us to get those interesting shots that make your wedding film unique and interesting to watch. You can talk with us about what is important to have captured in its entirety and when we can move around to get those creative angles. For this technique, we use a digital file-based DSLR camera with interchangeable lenses that can get some amazing depth of field shots. When it comes time to edit your wedding film, all those moments we captured are then interwoven with meaningful soundbites into a seamless storyline of your day. This will create a visual masterpiece of moving imagery.

Cinematographers are using many of the same tools used to create the movies you view in the theater, the advertisements you see on TV, and the television shows you watch online. Videographers are using much of the same equipment that you may find in a consumer electronics store or a high school video production department. Our studio uses HD video cameras, camera cranes/jibs, dollies, camera stabilization tools (such as the Steadicam), lighting kits, wireless audio equipment, tapeless workflow, professional editing, DVD authoring, and coloring software (to name a few). Knowing what cinematic tools to use and when to use them is the quality of a good cinematographer.

To clarify, we don’t think that videography is bad. There is a place for it in the wedding industry. We just think that the consumer should be educated on the difference, because there’s a huge difference between the two.

Depending on what package you choose, your wedding film will be about 15-25 minutes in length. In addition, you will most likely receive DVD bonus features of the vows, reception speeches, and first dances. Each wedding is unique and each couple has their own requests, so it is good to talk with us before your wedding about the vision you have for your wedding film. No two weddings are the same. This cinematic style of capturing your day is what gives our wedding films a unique look and feel.

On our website, you will often see video and film, movie and video, videographer and cinematographer used interchangeably. In fact, the wedding industry (vendors, planners, venues, etc.) quite frequently uses the term, “videography”. This isn’t meant to confuse, but it is important for us to use those words in our website so that people can find us through search engines. A lot of consumers are still not aware of the difference between wedding videography and wedding cinematography. Thus, they will be looking for a cinematic trailer or wedding film of their special day, type “Wedding Videography” into a search engine, and end up with a list of companies who do wedding videography.

We want to get out there and educate brides that your wedding video doesn’t have to be long and boring. It can be an interesting and compelling piece that you are proud to show your family and friends. You worked hard to plan your wedding. Why not have a wedding film that truly captures your day and is uniquely you?



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The Royal Wedding Without Video?


According to The Knot’s most recent Real Wedding Survey, in 2010, U.S. couples spent 5% of their wedding budget on videography. When you compare this percentage with other parts of a wedding budget: 45% reception venue, 11% band, 20% jewelry, 9% photography, you can quickly see that video is towards the bottom of the list. In fact, it has been said that videography is usually one of the last priorities on a bride’s checklist.


Can you imagine having the Royal Wedding without video coverage? There would be no internet clips, no live television broadcast…no moving imagery whatsoever. You would only have still photos and a bunch of written quotes to remember this amazing day. Granted, this wedding was on a much larger scale than most, but the idea of not being able to re-live that day without video is astonishing. Then, why are so many brides foregoing video?

Imagine….One of your Father’s favorite prized possessions was a photo of you. You were three years old and peeking out the window (on your tipy toes), waiting for your father to come home from work. Fast forward to your wedding day. Your Dad gets up at your reception for the much-anticipated Father of the Bride speech. You had no idea that your Dad was saving this photo for all those years. In the middle of his speech, he starts to break down and cry, handing over that photo to your new husband. Amazing moment, right? Check out this wedding trailer, because that’s exactly happened during this wedding:

Can you imagine not having this moment on video? Think of all the wonderful things that will be said during your ceremony and the reception. Without video, those memories will be…just that…memories. Just to be clear, we’re not against photography. In fact, quite the opposite. We think photography is a good compliment to cinema. However, a wedding film can capture the moving images and audio that still photos can’t.

When sitting down with your wedding budget, make sure you allocate enough for wedding cinematography. Many wedding videographers charge between $500-$2000 to videotape your wedding (for the difference between videographers and cinematographers, view this post). Wedding cinematographers can typically charge between $3,000-$10,000. There’s a reason why cinematography costs more (probably a topic for another blog post), but if you talk to our clients, they will say that the wedding film they received was one of the most important things they have to remember their wedding day.



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