The Definitive Wedding Videography Guide: Which of These 5 Styles of Wedding Film is Right for You?

If you’ve been researching Wedding Videography, you’ll likely have heard the terms “Highlight”, “Cinematic”, “Feature” or “Documentary”. We understand it can be hard to choose between each style. So we wrote this handy little guide to help you understand the differences between the films that we produce!

1) Highlight Film: Short, Sweet & Engaging Wedding Videography 

A Highlight Film is the staple product of the wedding videography world. It might also be known as a trailer. For some videographers it’s a simple montage set to an uplifting piece of music. For us, it’s a carefully assembled narrative illustrated by the very best visuals from your day. 

We’ll chose a single, perfect piece of music that ties together all of the audio-visual elements that we have captured.  Often we’ll identify a theme or emotion that sums up the experience of the wedding and emphasize that through the vows and speeches. The Highlight Film may be short, but it’s the kind of video you’ll be watching, sharing and watching again.  

2) The Cinematic Film: Character Driven Storytelling 

We can confidently say that 5-7 minutes is the perfect length for a typical 10-12 hour wedding. This length allows us to work with multiple themes and emotions. We’re able to expand important moments and use multiple pieces of music to “change gear” throughout.  The Cinematic Film raises the bar on typical Wedding Videography. It is our signature product and it’s typically what our clients book. 

When we set out to make a Cinematic film we’re thinking, “what can we do to learn as much as we can about this couple?”. We want to create a film that says something about you, not just your wedding day. We want a stranger to be able to watch your wedding video and feel like they got to know you. 

Our Cinematic Films are different to most other wedding films because we REALLY pay attention to detail. Our focus is on doing all we can to produce the best wedding film possible. We spend ages assembling the perfect soundtrack, crafting a narrative and adding multi-layered sound design. In short, everything that we would put into making a “real” film is replicated when we make your Cinematic Wedding Film. 

3) The Feature Film: So Much More Than a Wedding Video 

Our Wedding Feature Films build upon the Cinematic. At 10-12 minutes, we’re able to delve deeper into the story telling and let scenes “breathe”. We find these films work best for multi-day or longer weddings. They’re also great when we’re working with a couple who really want to go all out in creating a legitimate short film. Often we’ll incorporate a “Lifestyle Shoot” where we film the couple outside of the wedding day and perhaps conduct an interview session. 

We love interviewing couples for our Feature films. It’s an opportunity for us to get to know our subjects better and to capture unguarded, candid moments. Much of the audio that we use to establish the narrative is scripted. The vows, letters and speeches have all been pre-written. But when we’re just recording an open conversation we get to hear a fresh perspective. It just adds a layer of vulnerability and honesty to the film. Not all couples are comfortable with the idea, but if you’re thinking of having a longer film, we’d definitely recommend it. 

Adding in a Lifestyle shoot, or footage from a pre wedding event means we get to see the couple outside of the wedding day. This helps to expand their world, adding texture and more layers to the story telling.

4) Same Day Edit: Re-live Your Day Before it’s Over 

We probably put together 2 or 3 same day edits each season. They’re great fun and we love the fast paced production and high pressure delivery. It takes us back to our days editing highlight segments for News and Sport TV.

We always recommend Same Day Edits as an addition rather than the main focus of a film package. This is because the editing time is far reduced from our normal films which are designed to be a keepsake forever. They also don’t include coverage of the reception or speeches.

Having said that, Same Day Edits are often a highlight of an evening and create such a buzz within the room. You’ll have an awesome video to watch and send to friends as soon as your wedding is finished! 

5) The Long/Short Documentary Film: The Best Way to See it All 

Most coupes will add one of our longer-form videos to their film collection. It’s a great opportunity to see more (or all) of your vows, speeches and other important parts of your day. Both videos are chronologically edited with events unfolding as they did at your wedding. The documentary edit includes the full ceremony and speeches to live sound with the rest of the day edited to music. The short film includes the key parts of the ceremony and the rest of the day edited over a music bed. We pepper the speeches throughout the video to create a more narrative experience. 

Shangri-La-Toronto-Wedding-Videography

Bonus: Raw Footage: Peace of Mind at No Extra Charge 

We don’t charge clients for raw footage as it takes 30-40 minutes for us to copy it onto a hard drive. Why would we want to extort extra fees from people we want to have a great relationship with? We simply ask you to provide a hard drive and have an understanding of what raw footage is. 

The raw footage that we provide to you is unprocessed and straight from the memory cards of our cameras. It means that there’s an extra backup somewhere in the world, which is always a good thing. It gives you piece of mind that you have everything we filmed in your possession.

However, raw footage isn’t synchronized, edited or colour graded video. There will be moments where the camera moves or is out of focus while we set up our shot. You will only hear live sound from the camera’s microphone, and not from the microphones we attach to you. The image you see will likely lack vibrance because we shoot our films with a “Log” or “flat” colour profile. This maximizes our ability to manipulate colour in post production. Finally, in order to produce films of the highest quality, our cameras are set to capture high-bit rate 4K video files, which require powerful computers to play smoothly. 

This clip below gives you a quick insight into the differences between raw footage and synchronized, edited and colour graded clips from a documentary edit. 

This has been a long post, but we think it’s important to help couples understand the options they have available to them. You can learn more about our wedding videography services by contacting us HERE. Or just go ahead and check out more of our wedding films HERE.

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