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Bar Mitzvah / Bat Mitzvah and Jewish Wedding Planning and Resource Guide

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Photography and Videography

Finding the Right Videographer
Video can recreate the life of an event in a way that captures the action and emotion of the day. It is often one of the most important elements in planning an event.

Early event videos were crude by today's standards, but today's videos are quite advanced and professional, thanks in part to the Wedding and Event Videographers Association, WEVA

Videography is a serious profession, not just a hobby. Professionals now have the latest video and computer-based editing systems and often produce network-level results. Digital Video Disk (DVD) is growing as a special event video distribution medium. Here are some issues to consider when choosing videographers.
  1. Ask for sample videos. The number of cameras, lighting, microphone placement, artistic ability, technical qualifications don't mean that much if you don't like the videpgrapher's work. Look for smooth camera work, natural editing, sharp sound (remember to consider the location).

  2. Request at least 3 references. Are past clients happy with the results? Were they happy during the event? Was he/she easy to work with? The professional should be technically competent, likeable and easy to work with.

  3. Ask for membership with professional associations, such as WEVA.

  4. How many weddings or Bar/Bat Mitzvahs do they video each year?

  5. Ask for an explanation of what "Unobtrusive" means to them. Wireless microphones? Low-level lighting? Multiple cameras? How will being unobtrusive affect the final production? For instance, there may be a tradeoff between external lighting and accurate color reproduction.

  6. Ask for proof of insurance.

  7. Determine what end product (ie tape, DVD, basic, montage, music, full Hollywood production, etc.) you want. Different budgets and expectations require you to consider quality, type of end product, level of editing, budget, and the extent of coverage. When you have this defined for yourself, searching for the right videographer is easier. Is a "love story" intro for a wedding video important to you? Or do you have to have a pre-event birth-to-now collage, set to music? Price and capabilities are affected by these needs. For instance, while a 30-40 minute composite video may seem "less" than a full event video, it involves the same amount of shooting plus more extensive editing.

  8. How are services billed? By the hour, flat fee, packages with options?

  9. How do they coordinate with the wedding photographer? The two need to work closely together without interfering with each other.

  10. Tell your brother to leave his video-cam at home. Consumer cameras today often deliver grainy footage and muffled sound. Amateurs also lack the experience to plan and coordinate to blend with the flow of the event, and they can be plagued by insufficient battery capacity, insufficient or excess equipment, poor lighting and sound. There is no substitute for a professional who comes prepared with the right knowledge and equipment, understands the religious tradition, and is focused on creating your video rather than being a guest. Most problems with intrusive video occur with non-professional videomakers.
Finding the Right Videographer
By Gordon Kosanovich of Count Video Productions 847-483-5450

Choosing the right videographer is not as difficult as it sounds once you understand the differences between companies and their styles of production. Most people seem to believe that all videos are created equal. They most certainly are not. So many people choose by price alone and are extremely disappointed with the finished product.

Also, referrals can be a hazardous road to travel. Not all people have been exposed to the differing qualities of video productions that are available. And sometimes trusting a neighbor's taste and judgment is not the best choice.

The two styles that are most prevalent in the industry are documentary and story. The documentary style tends to be a long, rough 4+ hour production with very little editing. Most people don't understand what a documentary is: a documentary captures and delivers a very long version of your day. It can be far less entertaining than what you might believe. We've all grown up on television and movies with a strong story-line feel. But it seems that a lot of event videos do not hit that mark. It's important to see 2 or 3 different styles: the documentary and the story styles are very different. Generally speaking, the documentary style is more cost-effective but certainly nowhere near as entertaining as the story style.

Story style production takes your day and your most important moments of the event and builds it like a television show where it tends to be more condensed and more powerful. Keying in on the most important moments. These productions generally have 30-40 hours of editing time invested to create something that is more like a good drama production. The finished product will have a more concise and to-the-point plotline, so as not to bore your viewers, but to move them and have them become emotionally involved with the storyline, your story.

Today, the equipment being used in video production is excellent, making it far less a concern than it once was. What makes a video truly entertaining with a great story are 3 elements: (1) a talented and creative camera person; (2) perhaps most important, how much time is spent on your project in post production (there's more to editing than an opening title with some photos and highlight ending); and (3) the communication prior to the event to understand your likes and dislikes.

In selecting your videographer, the fundamental rules apply. Do they have a legitimate business location, such as storefront or office? Be cautious of those individuals who don't take their profession as seriously as you do; who don't devote full-time attention to their work. Make sure that the company is fully insured, will accept major credit cards and allows for client input. Do they have back-up equipment with them at the event? Are they with you for the entire day and evening without charging for overtime? Will you receive all of your unedited footage without extra charges being applied?

It's important to see more than just a demo tape. Demo tapes can be very deceptive. By previewing a real, edited event video, you get a much greater sense of the company or person that you're dealing with and their abilities to convey your story. Videos can be wonderfully entertaining and not dull if you choose the right company. Keep in mind best price does not mean best value.

Professional people work together well. Your videographer and photographer will work together if you have professional, respectful companies. When you hire people with part-time standards, you don't get much professionalism. This will not only affect your video, but your photos and your memories as well.

If you select properly, your video should entertain you like a good movie or a good television show, and not some long-winded boring documentary that you'll only sit through once. With a good story, you'll look forward to reliving the day and your event by watching your DVD.

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