Searching for a Videographer on the Cheap

Last time, I told you about why we wanted a videographer. But deciding you want one and actually finding one are two totally different situations. Luckily, we are not nearly as particular about our videographer as we are about our photographer. Neither of the Blue Whales wants to have a feature film of our wedding. We just want someone to do a good job of documenting the day with good quality picture and audio.

So a few weeks ago I set out to find a videographer.

The first thing I discovered is that the variety in quality of wedding videos is much more dramatic than the quality of wedding photographs. Maybe it’s because wedding photography has become such a staple for every wedding that the very low quality photographers have just been pushed out of business. But I saw some seriously bad wedding video samples. What really blew my mind is that some people had the worst websites, and yet they’re supposed to be technologically savvy enough to make a great wedding video! I don’t think so. If your website isn’t up to snuff, ain’t no way I’m trusting you to make my wedding video.

[Edit: There used to be a picture here, but I took it down based on the comments.  I give in easily.]

But I guess the good news is: if you’re just looking to have someone record your ceremony and you don’t care if it looks like you got married in the ’80s, there are plenty of options for you!

Even though the Blue Whales don’t want our wedding video to win any awards, we’d prefer that it not embarrass us. So as much as I feel like The Knot is not a completely reliable source of good quality vendors, I started looking there when I got too overwhelmed with just using Google. (I also consulted WeddingWire, but whereas The Knot could benefit from listing a few more people, WeddingWire just lists far too many. Way too many.)

Rather quickly, I came across two companies that seemed pretty good: The first was Edwin Hammond, who owns Hammond Video Productions, and the second was Duct Tape Productions. Both are fairly affordable, but the second is a little more expensive.

I actually slightly preferred the videos from Duct Tape Productions. But I didn’t end up booking them, and it all come down to customer service.

Every time I contacted Edwin Hammond, he replied within one day with a very professional and friendly email. I asked him soooooooooo many questions, and he was always friendly and appeared happy to answer them. He even suggested that he send me a copy of a DVD of a recent wedding so that I could see what kind of product I would get. And when I asked him questions about changing some of his standard procedures (like putting a mic on our officiant instead of on Mr. Whale), he was more than happy to explain why he does things one way but that he’d be willing to work with us to do it a little differently.

Other the other hand, Duct Tape Productions was slooooow to email me back. And they never did things that they said they would. I asked to see a clip of a ceremony, because the only thing on their website was highlight reels. And they repeatedly said they would post one. But they didn’t. And then they said that they did post one. But it still wasn’t there. The last straw was when I asked if they could mail me a DVD of a recent wedding video. I got an enthusiastic email saying they would love to, and they would drop it in the mail the next day. But they didn’t ask for my address”¦I didn’t respond to the email with it, because I wanted to see if they would realize they didn’t have it. I thought they might realize when they went to mail the DVD. But I never heard from them again. And after that, I quit trying to make contact”¦I just checked their Vimeo site, and it appears that they are still legit and making wedding videos, but they were just too flaky for me to trust them.

So I booked Edwin! And I’m so pleased. He films weddings ALL THE TIME, which I can tell because there are constantly updates on his Vimeo site. And he’s been nothing but completely professional. And he’s affordable. So many wins! Here is one of his getting ready highlights videos. This one really captures a lot of the reasons I want a videographer. There are so many emotional moments at the beginning that just truly couldn’t be captured any other way.

Emily & Jason Perez Wedding Video Sneak Peek from Hammond Video Productions on Vimeo

I can’t wait to see how our video turns out. I think it’s going to be awesome!

BLOGGER

Mrs. Blue Whale

Location:
College Park, MD
Wedding Date:
May 2013
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  1. Guest
    Miss Demeanor, Guest @ 4:30 pm

    “What really blew my mind is that some people had the worst websites, and yet they’re supposed to be technologically savvy enough to make a great wedding video!”

    There’s a huge difference between the skills needed to design and program a good, user-friendly website and the skills needed to film and edit a wedding video. You do not need the former to do the latter. Nice try, though.

  2. Member
    miss-care-bear 193 posts, Blushing bee @ 5:48 pm

    Ok. People need to calm down. I didn’t see the picture so I won’t comment, but Miss Blue Whale was simply explaining her point of view. And while I agree that web designs skills don’t translate into video skills, it’s about being professional. If somebody can’t be bothered to at least have a decent website, which is basically the modern portfolio, then how are we supposed to trust them with our weddding memories.

    So happy you found somebody that you love Blue Whale!!!! I’m currently in the process and it’s so hard! Would you mind sharing what you spent?
    BTW, I totally love your blog BECAUSE of your cheeky attitude, makes me feel like I’m talking to a friend. Don’t let a few negative comments deter you!

  3. Member
    Mathis13 242 posts, Helper bee @ 12:06 am

    I contacted Duct Tape as well!! They are actually located within a 15 minute ride of my venue. I’m not going with them for other reasons, but they were very responsive to my initial contact. Still, it seems customer service for every videographer I have contacted in GA has been awful! Even a guy who my extremely dependable photographers and wonder coordinators absolutley LOVE has let weeks go by without responses or sending information. That’s makes me think more than twice about booking you if I have to beg you to send me information after we emailed, talked AND texted!

    I really want a videographer, but I feel like throwing my hands up with the whole ordeal.

  4. Member
    Mrs. Blue Whale 633 posts, Busy bee @ 6:46 pm

    @Blonde17Jess and @Miss Care Bear: Glad to hear I didn’t offend EVERYONE :) Thanks for the support!

    And Miss Care Bear – We booked his “Silver Package”, which is $1395 for a full day of coverage and the final video is about an hour long. I thought that was a pretty awesome deal!

  5. Guest
    Liz, Guest @ 7:21 pm

    I read all the comments after reading the edit line in the post, was horrified and wanted to offer some support. I don’t understand why online review land, especially regarding weddings, has to be a only feel-good, nothing-has-ever-gone-wrong group hug. Vendors put themselves out there through multiple avenues to win your business. If there methods are ineffective, they should know. I was very clear with the vendors I hired about what set them apart and won us over, and did e-mail those we did not go with to let them know the deciding factors. It drives me crazy that another bride couldn’t have let me know about the amazingly pretty venue with the terrible event coordinator ahead of time.

    And I strongly agree with the need for tech skills. While these skills do not directly affect their ability to operate a camera, they do affect their ability to communicate with me beforehand, to share images with me afterwards, edit these images in a modern way, and assemble an appropriate album. If it is clear to vendors that their sub-par sites are losing them business with a certain audience, they need to assess whether it is worth learning those skills, hiring someone with those skills, or losing business with that audience. I’ve read many vendor blog posts about the importance of updating your skills and staying competitive. What passed for great work ten years ago is not what it requires to stay competitive today.

    I have no qualms about not going with vendors who didn’t contact me back quickly because no matter how hard it was to wait for an answer while we were interviewing vendors, I have gone on to talk to those I went with every week or every other week by phone, even multiple times a day when hashing out specific details. Someone who is not reliable by e-mail is not someone I can work with.

    And I don’t think someone judging you by your avatar picture like another commenter suggested is ridiculous. Most photographers and florists I talked to were very open about seeking out a certain type of bride and wedding and had suggestions of other vendors to go with if they were not a good fit. It’s a competitive world for brides, too, as anyone who’s been informed their date is no longer available has found out. Popular vendors know their weekends will fill and don’t want to work with someone who makes them miserable.

    I just want you to know there are brides out there who agree with you. People are judged for what they put out on the giant expanse of public internet. No one had a problem attacking you for your unpaid posts, but rush to the defense of someone who is putting themselves out there as a professional videographer. It doesn’t make sense.

    (ps: I’m a no first look bride too, and it made me feel so good to hear about SOMEONE going the “unpopular” route. I ended up going with the one photographer I interviewed that supported no-first-look. The other three all pressured me into a first look at our initial meeting.)

  6. Guest
    Leah, Guest @ 7:17 am

    @Liz: “I’ve read many vendor blog posts about the importance of updating your skills and staying competitive. What passed for great work ten years ago is not what it requires to stay competitive today.”
    The way the video business works is quite different, actually, because of the extremely high cost of equipment and (relative) lack of technological turnover. In this world, the best cameramen (or women) are often older and don’t keep updated websites or any websites at all; they work almost exclusively by referral. So while you have a point about other fields like photography or web design, it doesn’t really apply to TV or videography.

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