So you’re planning on booking a wedding videographer. You have offers for solo and two videographer teams. Which do you pick? Which will suit you better? We want to answer your questions. Over the years, most couples we have met haven’t been aware of the value that a two wedding videographer team can bring to their videos or their wedding day. In fact it’s the most valuable thing we offer at Onphilm Productions that regularly gets overlooked. Here I’ll tell you why two is better than one.
It’s well known that the majority of wedding videographers are solo shooters, the quintessential one man band. But at Onphilm Productions , we aren’t most wedding videographers. Since the start, we have always filmed each of our weddings with two top-class wedding videographers, usually myself and Sue. On occasion, when one of us hasn’t been available (which has been rare thankfully), we’ve hired in another top videographer we know and trust as a replacement. But the principle has been that we always want to have two videographers at every Onphilm Productions wedding. For us two videographers isn’t an option, it’s a necessity and here are the reasons why we think you should also want to have a two shooter team, instead of one.
1. Two Different Locations
The most obvious reason is that we can be in two different locations at the same time. On any given wedding day, there is so much going on, that usually one shooter cannot physically capture it all. The bride might be getting ready at home and the groom in the hotel a couple of kilometres away. With two shooters we can split up and cover both. After the wedding, all of our couples have enjoyed being able to see what the other was up to that morning; the fun, the nerves, the build up. Being a two shooter team has also meant we’ve been able to stay longer during preparations than a single shooter. A lot of single shooters need to leave well before the bride puts on her dress, so they have enough time to set up properly at the ceremony location. However, as a two shooter team we can capture the bride getting into her dress and even the reveal to parents, as our second shooter has gone to the ceremony venue with the groom and has been able to begin the setup process early. But two locations isn’t just important for preparations, it’s important for ceremony, drinks reception, photo shoot and reception - pretty much the entire day. While I’m filming detail shots of the room, Sue is out capturing cocktail hour. While Sue records the priest giving a reflection after mass, I’m filming the beautiful exterior and interior of the venue. While I film the bride walking down the aisle, my second videographer is filming the groom's reaction. Who wouldn’t want both of these shots in their film?
2. More Cameras, More Angles, More Creativity
Two videographers means there is more latitude to employ more camera’s and get better angles throughout the day. Particularly for things like ceremony and speeches, where we can achieve much better results as a two person team than a single shooter typically can. We can also be more flexible around your photographers and officiants on the day, as we don’t rely so much on our static camera or even our own camera. If one of us ends up in a bad angle or gets blocked somehow, we always have a great alternative angle with the second shooter that we can use instead. And it’s not just quantity of camera’s or angles that two shooter teams help with. With two shooters we can can balance the number of ‘must get’ shots, with the more creative yet risky shots. It gives us a greater quality selection when we get back to editing, and that ultimately means a better finished product for you and your loved ones to enjoy for decades and generations to come. Two shooters also means when we do shoot together, for example during the couple portrait session, we can get our shots in half the time, leaving you and your partner more time for mingling with guests before dinner.
3. Extra Pair of Hands
There are a lot of moving parts in wedding videography, particularly when compared to photography. There are generally more camera settings to think about while recording, there is also audio (which could be a job by itself) and there can be additional support gear to think about (lights, tripods, static cameras, etc.). Having an extra pair of hands means that these extra functions of filming are easier to deal with, particularly when a problem occurs. It means that one shooter can look after the issue, while the other keeps recording. For us, an extra pair of hands extends even beyond filming. I can’t count the number of times Sue has been able to clean a groom's jacket of makeup because I’ve been there to cover her, or how many times I’ve helped a bride fix her veil and dress in the middle of a shot while my second shooter kept recording. Having two shooters results in an extra pair of hands on the day to help you and partner with whatever help you need, without impacting on the level or quality of moments captured on film.
Every professional wedding videographer should have a backup system in place, not only for their footage after the wedding, but also on the day. Camera’s fail. Memory Cards fail. Videographers get sick. A two shooter team means that you have full redundancy in place on the day should something happen to one of the shooters or their gear bag. And while it’s not shouted from the roof tops by professionals, bad things can and do unfortunately happen on wedding days. Videographers have fallen into water, ruining their gear. They’ve ended up in car crashes on the way to the ceremony. I’ve known of videographers where their only camera stopped working for unexplained reasons during speeches. By booking a two shooter team you are giving yourself extra protection in the event of an unforeseen issue which could impede a solo shooter from continuing. The two shooter team will be more likely to be able to continue to record your special day.
5. Creates a Better Overall Atmosphere
Single shooting wedding videography is stressful. Ask any wedding videographer which they’d prefer, single or two shooter, and nearly all will say they’d love to have a second shooter. Why? Because besides the increased quality of the video they are going to be able to deliver to you, having two shooters will mean that the hidden workload will be shared between two. What do I mean by hidden workload? Gear loading/unloading, finding parking, liaising with the venue coordinators, charging batteries, getting tripods set; are all examples of what I would call hidden workload. While one shooter is capturing you greeting guests after the ceremony, the other is packing up gear from inside the ceremony room. While one is filming you arriving at the reception, the other is parking up and unloading gear for the evening ahead. This hidden workload consists of tasks that every videographer must do, but for one person that can add up to a time-constrained, stressful aspect of the day. And when your videographer or photographer (who are with you most of the day) is stressed - it’s more likely that some of that stress will rub off onto you and your guests, not something we want. Two shooters reduces the workload stress on one individual, and as a two shooter team here at Hitched Films we’re confident we can handle any scenario thrown at us while still being positive, cheerful and adding to your day.
It’s important to be aware that not all two shooters teams are the same. On occasion I’ve come across packages where a second shooter is only $100 or $200 more expensive than the solo shooter option. If you see this, alarm bells should start ringing. After tax, travel and business costs are deducted, that is leaving very little to actually pay the second shooter who at that rate is in all likelihood going to be inexperienced and maybe even a liability to the day, instead of an asset. I want to emphasize that the points I’ve made above are only valid if the second shooter is a genuinely talented, motivated and professional videographer (not a student who is learning or someone who has never/rarely shot weddings before).
Booking a two shooter team seems the right choice then, right? So why don’t all videographers have two shooter teams? Well there is the obvious one. A single shooter is always going to be cheaper than a two shooter team. But cheaper is rarely better. As you have read above, a good two shooter team should pay for itself multiple times over, both on and after the day. There is also the fact that it’s actually quite hard for a lot of single shooters to find good second shooters. It took us a long time to find reliable and talented wedding videographers we could trust to perform at the level expected for Hitched Films. There just aren’t many out there, and for a lot of single shooters it’s simply too much extra work to find, book and maintain consistent second shooter relationships. A good, consistent two shooter team is a rare thing to find.
So the next time you are comparing videographers, make sure you take time in understanding whether you are being offered a single shooter or a two shooter team as part of the package. And if they claim to offer a second shooter as an add-on, don’t be afraid to ask to see some of the second shooters previous wedding work/profile, so you can be sure you are paying for a good quality shooter and a personality that will match your day.