San Francisco Wedding Video FAQ, Videography Information, Bay Area Videography Information, North Bay, South Bay, East Bay

Wedding Videography

Video Madness has been a part of more than 2500 Bay Area Events. We are committed to preserving memories by marrying The Art of film and documentary with the Technology of cutting edge digital tools. Your special moments deserve to be filmed through the prism of Art & Emotion, not the sterile eye of techno-centered Videography. We also believe that our job is to capture your day, not create a spectacle with huge light trees, intrusive presence, or searchlights that blind your guests. We strive to become less visible so that you become more so. Arrange to see the difference. Contact us today...

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What is "Cinematic", why all the fuss, what should I know?

Much like the advent of "photojournalism" in photography, the rage in hip videography terminology is "Cinematic". Just like photojournalism, there is no standard definition. It is a bit more of a marketing term than an artistic one. However, it usually contains some or all of the following:

- Narrative Storytelling. Using audio bits from throughout the event to help tell the story through words, images, and emotions. This can be as simple as floating the vows over highlights, or weaving complex audio throughout the production.

- Limited Slow Motion & Effects. Typically more modern short film narratives use little or no slow motion. There is, however, often a great deal of time spent on color grading. This is the alteration of the basic look of the film. It can be very compelling.

- 24p. 24 frames per second, progressive, is the speed of Hollywood Films. It has been forever. So shooting in this frame rate is often the choice for those trying to mimic the film look. There is much debate as to whether 24p is very different from 30p or whether frame rate in the modern era matters at all. Regardless, there is a look to the footage that is distinctive to many.

- HD-DSLR Video. While Narrative Storytelling, Color Grading, More Cut Shots, & sparse use of Slow Motion are part of the artistic palette, perhaps the most effective method to achieve a more film like experience is the use of HD-DSLR Video cameras. HD-DSLR Video is video footage shot with high end photo cameras. They have a look that is much more film like than HD Camcorders. The Canon 5D Mark II is the current full frame leader.

- Sliders, Gliders, & Cranes Oh My! Other tools can also add a cinematic flair to the finished product. A Slider is a set of rails, some very small, some large, that the camera can glide on giving a sense of motion that can be quite effective. A Glider, Glidecam, Steadicam, etc, is a rig designed to allow one to kind of gyroscopically mount the camera for free-floating footage. Can be very dramatic if you don't mind the gear. Cranes are rarely used at weddings but can be used in some events or traditions. Essentially the camera sits atop a large pole or tripod and can be see-sawed up & down. All cinematic tools should be contemplated and decided upon prior to the event.

There are also significant warnings to be issued in the same vein.

- The Long & the Short of It. Many "newbies" are talented professionals. This section is not about them. Without a lot of explanation suffice it to say that creating an effective documentary, up to two hours in length, is a dramatically different challenge than creating a 7 minute short film. What this means, in other words, is that one might create a 7-minute film that is effective with or without the quality sound, continuity, and composition to create the whole story.

- Can You Hear Me Now? Quality audio is a major separator between good and great videographers. Getting enough sound for a short film is not the same as for the entire event. Be aware.

What does quality Videography cost in the Bay Area?

Times change. Quality doesn't. It is hard to make a case for quality video in 2011 that is not HD. HD is here to stay. We adopted it early, in 2004, and have shot and edited more than 600 events in this new format. We are also delivering HD content on Blu-Ray High Definition discs and Media Streaming files as well..

We have also added the new, premium HD Cameras. For those who want the very best we are proud to be the first company to offer true 1080p filming of your event.

In addition, HD-DSLR Video, like utilization of photo cameras like the Canon 5D & 7D add tremendous value to any package. They are as good as it gets.

For an instructional video that explains 1080i, 1080p, etc try:

Stripped down packages with simple editing will cost about $1000 - $2,000. Packages that include more extensive editing will be about $2000 and up. Premium packages will be $3000 or more. Can you find cheaper? Yes. But in Weddings, one Golden Rule is always true - "You get what you pay for".

What should I expect from a Demo DVD?

Much is made in planning books about seeing "whole tapes". This makes very little sense, and we never send out someone's entire wedding. Your wedding may be entirely different. A small piece of major features in a variety of locations is far more useful. Indoors, outdoors, bright light, low light, one camera, multiple cameras, you should see the Videography company in a diverse range of situations. A sample of your own location may also be useful. Watching entire productions is rather tired advice, is less than exciting, and does not serve you as well as a broader based sample. Length should be 30 to 60 minutes. It is also suggested to visit the Video Company and/or have a DVD mailed to you. You will learn much more.

How many cameras should I utilize at my ceremony or reception?

Multiple cameras are most useful in restrictive churches or temples. These facilities often restrict camera positions so having more than one camera can be a plus. This has little to do with the number of guests you invite. Multiple angles are always a plus, so decide how many angles you wish to pay for. Be aware that many home-based companies feature one spouse that can shoot reasonably well but often feature a very inexperienced spouse for your second camera. Also, the spouse's camera may be cheaper or less capable. This is no bargain. Stationary unmanned cameras are also worth something, but not much.

Are all digital cameras alike?

No. We can discuss the difference with you.

Should I hire a studio owner/editor or use a larger company?

Medium sized companies (approximately 4 or so shooters) seem an ideal choice. One-person companies may have less capable second camera persons (like spouses, etc). Also, if they should take ill they are without regular backup. Very large companies are prone to loss of quality control. Medium sized companies tend to have better equipment and specialists at work. Shooters are trained to shoot, editors are highly trained experts, second cameras or backup personnel are available and trained. Quality is more easily maintained by keeping staff small. But for the entire production to be in the hands of one individual and one mind is a risky strategy.

What kind of coverage hours should I arrange?

Your wedding video is a priceless family heirloom. Arrange for as many coverage hours as you can afford.

Are big screen presentations a good idea?

Yes. They add another entertainment feature for your guests, can elicit powerful emotions from everyone present, and will be one of the most unforgettable moments of your day.

Should I feed my Videographer?

Well, not until the wedding day, of course, but the cost of one more meal will allow your Videographer to remain in your ballroom while eating. This makes him available for any spontaneous moment. Also, it never hurts to treat your vendors like guests. The stronger the bond, the more personal the work. You make the call.

What should I know about lighting?

Avoid obtrusive, overpowering lighting. Top notch digital cameras don't require massive lighting to produce a quality picture. Making your guests more comfortable will produce better content and only a slightly softer picture than dramatic, intense, lighting.

Can't a friend tape my wedding for me?

Sure. He can cook your meal, take your photos, and perform plastic surgery for you as well. Don't go there.

What are Master Files/Tapes and should I purchase them?

These are the digital tapes or files recorded in the camera the day of the shoot and the digital tape master version of the edited, finished product. No better version of your footage exists. Buy them OR your masters in HD format. Absolutely.


The latest development in videography is capturing HD Video from high end Photo Cameras. These DSLR's produce some very beautiful and unique images. The 5D is great in low light, and the very shallow depth of field is a great look. But there are real limitations. Recording is limited to 12 minutes at a time. Audio must be gathered in a different way. Stability and focus are very challenging. Hence, the best use of these cameras if in addition to capable HD cameras or using multiples in experienced hands.

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San Francisco Wedding Video FAQ, Videography Information, Bay Area Videography Information, North Bay, South Bay, East Bay