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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comments

  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Jessica, Guest @ 9:56 am

    It is extremely rude to post a picture of that poor man who is just trying to make a living and then say, “If you look like this, you’re not good enough to tape my wedding.” I mean, truly tasteless. Please consider removing that little tidbit from your post. You’ve included a link to his website, so if he has a tracking system, he’ll be able to see the linkback to this post of some girl shitting on his appearance. Shame on you.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    MissPinkKate, Guest @ 10:17 am

    @Jessica: Agreed! And I don’t get what the problem is with him, either- he appears to be a well-dressed, handsome gentleman!

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    Leah, Guest @ 10:19 am

    I agree–this is someone’s business and, whether it’s your style or not, it’s in very poor taste to link to him directly as an example of “what not to be.” You can make the point just fine without the link or photo.

  4. Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 10:29 am

    To be clear, I don’t have a problem with the guy himself. But using a grainy, poor-quality picture as your primary method of advertisement doesn’t really say much for the quality of the product he would provide me. (Also, all images Bee bloggers use must be credited, so I am required to provide the link to his site.) If he’s actually a great videographer, maybe this will make him realize that he’s not doing a very good job of advertising his product.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Jessica, Guest @ 10:40 am

    @Miss Blue Whale:

    So let’s say you email a videographer, and he says a picture of your email avatar. It’s a grainy picture of you, but you like it. And he posts to his website, “If your picture looks this, don’t bother emailing me. I won’t be interested in covering your wedding.” It’s pretty crazy you’re a grown adult who can’t see that this is offensive to him.

    This man does not base his appearance on what it will take to get YOU to hire him. Your profile says you are a graduate student. What qualifications do you have to tell this man how good his advertising is? His advertising is fine. You mocking his appearance is not.

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    MissPinkKate, Guest @ 10:55 am

    @Miss Blue Whale: This entry still makes perfect sense without linking to any specific business you choose not to deal with, for whatever reason. I hope you’ll do the right thing and take the link down.

  7. Member
    shaynapunim 654 posts, Busy bee @ 10:55 am

    “The first thing I discovered is that the variety in quality of wedding videos is much more dramatic than the quality of wedding photographs.”

    I was shocked at the poor quality of the majority of videographers I found in my area. I eventually had to go with an OOT videographer. His travel fee will be well worth it, to have the quality I want.

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    Catherine, Guest @ 11:11 am

    I see there is a trend with your posts here on WB… where you feel you can’t get your point across without unashamedly, and without provocation, digging at a company, “trend,” what have you. Needless to say, I will not be perusing the rest of your posts. Good luck with your wedding planning.

  9. Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 11:13 am

    I’m giving in. An edit is forthcoming. Just waiting on the behind the scenes Bee techs to get in there.

  10. Member
    Truc 43 posts, Newbee @ 11:21 am

    I am just appalled. I’m glad that the techs are taking the picture down, but it shocks me that your response is so petulant.

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    SMDC, Guest @ 11:25 am

    Wow… way to try and ruin a business! You need a better filter. This is a very public and popular wedding site– so when you search him, this post will likely come up. Poor guy doesn’t deserve your flack without even knowing his quality. He has 5 stars and 26 reviews on Weddingwire, so I’m not sure he deserves your ire.

  12. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:48 am

    I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who chooses vendors based on their email response time! I know it may be silly, but I really feel like if you’re trying to solicit business, you should be quick to respond to brides’ inquiries. I want vendors to appreciate that I’m going to pay them a lot of money, and in return, I respond quickly to them as well. Communication is a key aspect of customer service, in my opinion, and customer service is almost as important as the quality of the product/service. It’s been a recurring theme in my wedding planning thus far. And I agree with you, I would also probably judge someone based on their website, especially a vendor that I’m hiring for their technical skill!!!

    PS. Chin up, no one is a perfect blogger and you can’t make everyone happy. I, for one, appreciate your cheekiness, even if it irks other people. I know not everyone loves me either. Fabulous people can be polarizing personalities! :)

  13. Member
    kat2822 23 posts, Newbee @ 2:07 pm

    @Catherine: This is absolutely not a trend in Miss Blue Whale’s posting. I went back through her posts to try to see what you were referring to about her “trend” of making digs at companies and that’s simply not true. Her posts are pretty comparable to those of all the other Bees.
    @Jessica: What makes Miss Blue Whale qualified to judge his advertising is that she’s a consumer, a bride, i.e. the person he’s targeting. If it ain’t workin’ for someone who is clearly well-entrenched in the wedding world, then it just ain’t workin’.

    For real, everybody dial it back.

  14. Member
    seabeeny 68 posts, Worker bee @ 2:13 pm

    One of the things I like so much about Weddingbee is it generally is a pretty positive place for people going through something so stressful, so I have to agree that I’m really disappointed that you went so negative in this post, but then also that you seem so argumentative about being negative in the first place. I can’t imagine that any of the posters here are trying to bully you or make you “give in easily”, but rather see that while dealing with something stressful like searching for a videographer (something so daunting I didn’t even attempt to do it!) that maybe you were being a little hurtful. Not everyone’s style is right for everyone (that’s why we have so many videographers/photographers/florists/etc.), and I think when you’re putting yourself in a public place like the Weddingbee blog, there’s a way to state what is and isn’t your taste without being mean, especially in regards to physical appearance, you know? Anyway, that said, glad you did find a videographer whose style gels with you! Like I said, it seemed kind of too overwhelming for me to even wrap my head around, so I didn’t, and I do kind of wish we’d had SOME video, of at least just the vows and then the toasts. Oh well!

  15. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 2:16 pm

    Your videographer does great work, what an exciting find! Also, I totally judged vendors on the quality (or lack thereof) of their websites. I realize not everyone shares my vision of what is stylish or professional, but it definitely factored into my decision making!

  16. Guest Icon Guest
    Vinnie, Guest @ 2:42 pm

    I find it interesting that the Bee is supposed to be this kind place where not even the silliest bastard on Earth is allowed to be mocked but her you are, regularly crapping all over traditions that other brides have used and now here, crapping all over this man and his appearance. And then you have the audacity to act like some sort of childish victim in response. Honestly Weddingbee, why do you allow this nasty person to continue blogging? It violates the spirit of your ENTIRE COMMUNITY.

  17. Member
    mswallaby 2061 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:56 pm

    I’m glad you found a videographer you like! It’s just like the photographer, someone you spend your whole wedding day with, so it helps to find someone who you get along with and who will be kind on your wedding day!

  18. Member
    lealorali 4827 posts, Honey bee @ 3:08 pm

    I think we are being a little harsh to Miss Blue Whale. She was just saying that an unprofessional photo on the web, to her, can signify an unprofessional business person.
    I think there is enough sugar coating here on the Bee. I like Miss Blue Whale’s details and specifics. I think it sheds some light on how frustrating wedding-planning can be.

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    Jessica, Guest @ 3:42 pm

    @lealorali:

    Maybe you didn’t see the photo before she removed it. It wasn’t unprofessional. It was a man in a tuxedo with a video camera and she evidently thought it funny or offensive and chose to plaster his image and business name in her post mocking him. I agree there’s too much sugar coating here, which is exactly why she was called out for it. She was flat out wrong and nobody was too harsh to her. It was very much called for.

  20. Guest Icon Guest
    Crystal, Guest @ 4:01 pm

    @Jessica: I did see the picture before it was taken down. And I think her point was that if someone’s business is to provide high quality images, then putting up a picture that’s grainy and low quality isn’t a very good sign of the product that they’ll provide.

    She even says she “doesn’t have a problem with the guy”. I don’t think Miss Blue Whale takes an issue with a guy in a tuxedo with a video camera. It seems like her problem was with the QUALITY of the picture. And I agree. If I want someone to provide me with a professional video, I also wouldn’t trust someone whose main method of advertising is through pictures that look bad.

  21. Guest Icon 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. Member
    bluewhale 638 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!

  25. Guest Icon 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.)

  26. Guest Icon 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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