Why do wedding videos cost more these days?
Now to be clear, I’m not talking about old school “wedding videography” which is technically referring to the non-creative video documentation of the full ceremony, reception etc....I mean the process of creating an Art Film about your wedding day! It’s easy to conflate the latter as the former, but they are about as similar as a butterfly to a caterpillar.
Unless you had experience shooting and editing video, you most likely wouldn't know a whole lot about how to make a wedding film at the professional level. But how do you know your lack of experience with film production is not being taken advantage of and you are not overpaying?
We broke down what goes into each wedding film. But not everything can be measured in dollars or hours. For this reason we’ve created two different categories.
The first is Intangibles, the qualitative costs of production you can’t quantify. The second, are tangibles, costs we can reasonably quantify in dollars and hours.
1. Intangibles - immeasurable costs of production Skill Set: Your hiring us for our knowledge of how to use professional equipment to create a movie quality experience. A skill set we’ve been honing since childhood and graduated University with degrees in. Experience: It’s not enough to understand the art and science of film-making. Weddings are a very different animal than other types of video production.With just under 300 weddings under our belt your paying for our extensive experience in capturing weddings.
Demand: A recent survey of wedding film-makers in the US found the average number of weddings a year was 14 per company. We’ve averaged 50 weddings a year over the last 4 years. Our 2018 prices have been set higher as we are trying to limit the amount of weddings we take on and in turn this will allow us to focus more on each project and more importantly get them to our clients sooner after the wedding. Admit ably, the waiting has truly been the hardest part of working with us (thanks for your patience!). By doing less weddings we will change that. Our Style: Why do so many couples choose us each year? The way we tell stories is a bit different than any other company you will find. Your paying to have your story told from our perspective. Our Service: Our clients appreciate our prompt and transparent communication throughout the process and beyond. We will fit right in on your wedding day and even add to the fun with our easy going personalities. Paying for the Date: Unlike other trades where a service can be planned at the convenience of the service provider and customer, weddings have a rigid time frame and a limited number of dates per season. As with all services you hire for your wedding day, your paying a premium to reserve your date. We acknowledge this by offering an incentive to off-season (Nov-April) dates.
2. Tangibles - measurable costs of production
Equipment costs: For the last 3 years our company has invested well over $10k a year into newer and better production equipment, so we can stay on top of our game and keep producing our best work ever. Cameras and lenses, high end computers, hard drives, professional software, SD cards, tripods, stabilizers, lights, drones and countless other accessory equipment. P.S we have big plans for camera/lens upgrades in 2018! Taxes & Fees: Like all business we need to pay local, state, and federal taxes. Taxes take a BIG chunk of our total revenues. On top of taxes there are those pesky 2.9% fees for accepting electronic payment. All of which needs to be factored into our prices.
Music Licensing: As a professional video producer we can’t just use any song we want without violating copyright laws. Music licensing must be purchased per song each use, as well as maintaining yearly subscriptions. Advertising: Like all business we have to spend money to make money. Weddingwire, the Knott, facebook, instagram, thumbtack, wedj.com, are all places we advertise and it cost thousands per year. Not to mention the time it takes to create promotional material.
Insurance: We carry liability and equipment insurance on all of gear. Correspondence & planning: From initial inquiry, booking, to planning for the wedding, we can expect to put in at least 2 hours per project before we even pick up a camera.
Drone licensing: Love those aerial views?! Us too! But you have to be a licensed FAA UAV pilot to fly one legally for a wedding. We don’t currently charge extra for drone footage, but you still benefit for the time and effort it takes to make it happen, legally.
Equipment Prep time:Charging endless batteries, cleaning camera sensors and lenses, clearing and testing SD cards, testing audio equipment and organizing it all neatly where it goes inside of the case. This process takes up to 1 hour per wedding. Travel: Built into each quote is the cost of travel. We charge the IRS recommended rate of 55 cents/mile for the driver and $10/hr for passenger travel time. Additionally, in the rare occasion we need to stay overnight on location, understandably there will be additional charges for accommodations. If a company states they do not charge for travel within a certain radius it simply means they have pre-built that cost into their package, not that it's not there. Logistics: If your getting ready at a salon downtown, having your ceremony in a countryside chapel, then a reception barn 30 minutes away, it’s going to really complicate the shoot for us compared to an all in one venue. *Pro tip* If you have an all in one venue you automatically save $100 off your quote for this reason alone! The Wedding day: Each shoot ranges from 8 - 12 hours in length and between both filmmakers there is a minimum of 16-24 skilled labour hours that go into any given wedding day. Data Transfer/backup: Each project can take up to 500 GB of hard drive space yikes! That is a lot of storage! It takes roughly 1 hour to accomplish this.
Edit time: In the edit is where we spend most of our time. While the length of edit time required varies from project to project due to different factors such as what final products a client has ordered, but we can expect to spend between 30-40 hours into most edits when all is said and done. That's more than than double what most photographers will spend editing their photos! Film editing is WAY more challenging than photos! Combined with pre-production and the wedding day a total of 45-60 hours goes into each project.
So is it worth it? I think the sentiments of an elderly woman who commented on one of our wedding films says it all…….
Sincerely, Jared Project manager, Lead Filmmaker, Editor Life on Earth productions