Archive for the ‘Why Videography?’ category

What I Can’t Tell You In A Thumbtack Quote (but wish I could).

September 13, 2014

by Roger Resler

So you’re looking for a wedding videographer. You’ve input your data into “Thumbtack” and are now getting responses. What factors should you consider as you wade through the quotes you’re receiving?

Thumbtack limits the typed characters in our initial quote in order to ensure that each quote you receive will be as brief and to-the-point as possible. But this severely limits the information vendors can provide there. The question of which wedding videographer to hire is not exactly like choosing where to eat tonight. While couples these days are generally tech-savvy, most do not often ponder things like 1080p vs 1080i, stabilization, white balance, color correction, synchronization, audio capture, etc.

Of course I want you to choose my quote (or provide me with more information so I can give you one). Nevertheless, even if you ultimately decide to pass on my quote, there are still some things I can share with you that might help as you consider hiring a wedding videographer.

1. Is price really the most important factor?

Is the lowest quote always the best quote? What is more important to you: to have a great wedding video or to get a wedding video at a great price? Obviously the best answer is both. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to get a great wedding video and get it at a great price. While price is certainly a key factor, it’s not the only factor and, in fact, it’s probably not the most important factor.

2. If price is not the most important factor, what is?

When considering something like which brand of tortilla chips to buy, the difference in quality may not overrule the difference in price. When considering larger purchases, like a car for example, then the balance between quality vs. cost becomes more of a challenge. Again, we tend to want both quality and a “good deal.” The quality vs. bargain dichotomy can be especially challenging, however, in the case of a wedding video because hiring a wedding videographer is probably not something you’ll do very often.

3. So how do you know if you’re getting high-quality?

That’s the real question. This is especially problematic if you’re like most people who don’t spend hundreds of hours each month working with video. You probably watch TV or go to the movies, so you know what really good cinematography looks like, but you’re probably not up on the intricacies of what it takes to create it. That’s where the demo comes in. And that’s why I encourage you to watch at least a few of our videos and compare them with those from the “other guys.” I could speak all day about the technical aspects of what it takes to produce one of those videos but nothing could better convince you that you’re getting high-quality when you hire Arizona Wedding Video than simply watching our videos.

There’s one caveat to that.  People’s tastes vary greatly. That’s what makes the world interesting. So while you may or may not like the striking tattoos on the bride (for example), or maybe you don’t like country music (or whatever it may be), keep in mind that the video you are watching was custom made for the tastes of those in the videos. Your video will be tailor-made to fit your tastes.

4. Arizona Wedding Video is built on the idea that – even though they’re both important factors – quality outweighs cost in the decision to hire a wedding videographer.

The bottom line is: Your wedding is not just another ordinary day. It’s not that we’re  just looking for an excuse to charge exorbitantly high prices (which, if you shop around, you’ll see we don’t do anyway). But it is the notion that there’s really some truth behind the phrase: you get what you pay for. I don’t know of an easy way to produce high-quality video that doesn’t involve a lot of detailed work. If I did, I’d probably be watching movies on my yacht right now. (I don’t have a yacht, by the way).

I can’t speak to the content and “value” of the other quotes you received through Thumbtack but I do know how much time, effort, patience and expertise is required to produce a high-quality film. (Consider how long it takes a large team of professionals in Hollywood to produce a movie).

A client recently told me that she did receive lower quotes through Thumbtack but when she followed up on them she discovered that the price would be higher if she actually wanted what she had asked for in her request. Obviously, the low quoted price was just a (deceptive) means of hooking a potential client. At Arizona Wedding Video, we don’t do things that way.

If that’s what it’s come down to for you, and you believe you will get a great video at an even greater price than our quote, then by all means, hire the other guys. But before you do that, could I ask you something? Could you please shoot me an email ( with the details? If there’s another company out there that can do what we are doing for a significantly lower price, I am genuinely interested in hearing the details. If it’s true, then, by all means, hire them. I suspect it’s more likely that we’re comparing apples to oranges. If that turns out to be the case then you’re better off finding out before you make a once-in-a-lifetime decision. In the end, you win either way.

Happy videographer hunting! : )

Roger Resler is the founder of Arizona Wedding Video

“Because your wedding is not just another ordinary day.”

Last But Not Least.

December 3, 2013

by Roger Resler

I’m not usually a reader of the Huffington Post but an article posted there recently got my attention. In it, Kellee Khalil notes “3 Reasons Your Wedding Budget Should Include A Videographer.” Given the fact that I am a wedding videographer, it’s not terribly surprising that I wholeheartedly agree with Kellee. While we often think of Hollywood movie directors as being well-paid, glamorous and highly sought-after, Kellee hits the nail on the head when she points out that wedding videographers are “often dropped to the bottom of the have-to-have [wedding] vendor totem poll [sic].”  

Having been a wedding videographer for nearly a decade now, I have found that not only is a wedding videographer often relegated to the bottom of the “have to have” vendor totem pole, he or she may not even appear on the pole at all. I have to admit I’ve often wondered why – especially given the fact that I have never heard of a wedding where there was no still photographer. Going back to the Hollywood analogy, while still photos are certainly hot items for magazine articles, news shows and internet blogs; it’s the movie that makes the movie-star. So you’d think couples, who want to preserve memories, would want the same for their wedding. Some do. Many don’t. Why not? So far as I am aware there is no scientific data available to help answer the question, but here’s my somewhat educated guess.

For starters, aesthetics. When a bride… and let’s face it, it’s almost always the bride who’s into making wedding decisions… when a typical bride thinks about her wedding, she thinks about her dress, colors, flower arrangements, a beautiful setting and maybe sweet music playing in the background. She usually already has a fairly detailed image in her mind. That image is always a very beautiful scene that does not include video cameras, cranes, tripods and lights. So the equipment necessary to capture a wedding on video is not conducive to the beautiful image a bride has in mind for her wedding and in fact she may think it detracts from it.

Next: mood killer. Who wants a cameraman with a blinding bright light poking a camera in your face for hours on end on your wedding day?

Next: quality. While there are a number of great examples of really high-quality wedding videos available online these days, the image of the amateurish, shaky, blurry and poorly edited wedding video of bygone years is difficult to dispose of.

And finally: cost. Let’s face it, most wedding budgets are finite. Despite the exorbitant prices couples are paying these days for venues, dresses, catering and other “wedding necessities” budgets are often still tight. While a bride almost never thinks it is acceptable to cut a still photographer from the budget, many brides don’t think twice about cutting a videographer.

So that’s the reality we wedding videographers face. In my experience roughly 50% of couples want and budget for video. About 30% are pre-disposed against it, and the remainder could go either way.

So one might wonder why videographers get booked at all? It’s actually fairly obvious when you think about it. The point of hiring either a still photographer or a videographer is simply to capture memories. Still photos capture brief moments in time. True, they are often very beautiful moments, but they’re moments, nonetheless. When done right, video captures the entire wedding experience. It captures millions of pictures and the sound to go along with them. So you not only see a beautiful moving image of your tears as you were saying your vows, you also hear the sincerity in your spouse’s voice. You see and hear the cheers of your friends, you experience the emotion in your father’s speech and you very often see things you would have missed otherwise.

As Kellee points out in her article, those captured experiences are a time-capsule that can not only be re-experienced by the couple, but can also be enjoyed by family and friends who couldn’t make it to the wedding and even by future generations.

In many ways the analogy of wedding videographer to Hollywood movie director is seriously unfair. Give me a budget of $50,000,000, cast auditions, professional script writers, the perfect venue, ideal shooting conditions, custom wardrobe, months to shoot and two years to edit and I will produce the most amazing wedding video you’ve ever seen. In the real world, wedding videographers have one chance to get everything perfect regardless of whatever conditions we are shooting under. That’s why we do need multiple cameras, several microphones, tri-pods, lights and camera-cranes. We do our best to stay as unobtrusive as possible. And, even if I do say so myself, we often produce a pretty amazing product that  is highly valued by the couple for the rest of their lives and remains a family heirloom for generations to come.

Roger Resler is the founder of Arizona Wedding Video

“Because your wedding is not just another ordinary day.”

Here’s some questions & answers about videography

February 24, 2011


I’m hiring a professional photographer, isn’t that enough?

Not really. While we agree that wedding photos are great, they simply cannot capture the combination of motion & sound and the resulting emotion that video offers. With video, you not only see a snapshot of the bride’s entrance, you can also see her smile develop or perhaps you will see the tears in her father’s eyes. You will hear the vows, recitations, special music or poems at the ceremony, as well as the message given by the minister. You won’t miss the cheers of your friends and family at the reception, and you will hear every word of their speeches, hear their laughter and see the tears of joy. You can not only see, but re-experience your first dance, cake cutting and bouquet toss. And most likely, you will see many things you simply would have missed otherwise. If your wedding is like most, it may even be one of the few times you have all your family members together in one place. Why let all that slip into a distant memory when you don’t have to? In short, nothing captures these unrepeatable events like a professional video. And there’s no better time than your wedding to take advantage of it.

My photographer can also shoot video, shouldn’t I just have him or her do it?

While there are some companies that offer both photography and videography, we focus exclusively on video and refer our clients to photographers we have worked with. The reason is simple. While they seem similar and are indeed complementary, photography and videography are really two different arts requiring different equipment, software and techniques. Companies that offer both will generally either do one or the other well but usually will not do both well, unless they are large enough to offer completely separate staff and equipment.

What drives the cost of professional video?

What many people don’t fully understand is that while we are, of course, very busy during the wedding itself, working hard to capture every detail, once the day is over (and unlike many other wedding vendors like caterers or dee-jays), the majority of our work still lays ahead. It’s not simply a matter of transferring video from one camera to a DVD or Bluray–in fact, it’s never that simple! Instead it involves downloading and synchronizing the footage from four cameras and multiple audio sources, color correction, detailed editing and adding in special effects, rendering (and re-rendering!) video files and DVD menus, burning multiple DVDs & Blurays and making copies, and designing & printing DVD packaging. When you consider that if the ceremony was one hour, it will take four hours just to download the footage from the ceremony into the computer, you can begin to understand that there’s simply a lot of work behind the scenes! That’s why it’s imperative that when you hire a videographer, you are hiring someone who loves what they do! And we do!

I found a videographer who is less expensive than you. What gives?

We have found that sometimes inexperienced, start-up companies may offer lower rates as an incentive to get your business. The problem, of course, is that their inexperience can often result in poor quality video or audio or even missed coverage. Most of these companies tend to go out of business within the first two years. Also, some companies may only offer coverage with two or even only one camera. You simply can’t produce a professional grade DVD with footage from only one camera. And two cameras only offers the bare minimum coverage for professional grade. We always shoot with at least 3 to 4 cameras to ensure a wide selection of shots to choose from during editing.

Well then why are there videographers who charge more?

On the other hand as you shop around, you will likely encounter companies offering packages that are much more expensive than ours. Does that mean they offer better quality? Well we sure don’t think so! It is difficult to imagine what they could possibly do to improve on our coverage and service! Of course it’s easy to simply charge more. So if you really believe you must pay more than we are currently charging in order to get high-quality service, just let us know and we’ll be happy to charge you what the other guys do!

Why not just let my uncle Charlie capture my wedding?

Another thing many couples often don’t realize is that there is a huge difference between hiring a professional videographer and simply having uncle Charlie videotape their wedding with his consumer model camcorder. While uncle Charlie certainly means well, his one consumer model camera on a tri-pod (hopefully it’s on a tri-pod!) in the back of the room simply cannot produce professional results.

What do you do that’s better?

We shoot with 4 professional HD cameras, one of which we often mount on a 12 foot camera crane (called a jib). It allows us to get the camera well over people’s heads (even from the very back of the room) for unobstructed views. And it also rotates and moves up and down for some really dramatic looking footage that looks fabulous on the bride’s entry as well as the couple’s first dance, etc. Another of our cameras is mobile which allows us to capture all kinds of great shots including, of course, a shot of the bride as she enters the room and walks down the aisle. And our remaining two cameras offer reliable steady shots from two different vantage points. During editing, we can choose which shot we want to go with at any given point and this is what allows us to produce a very “watchable,” professional grade DVD and Bluray.

Our cameras also offer 3-chip color reproduction and operate well in low-lighting conditions. They also offer optical image stabilization and 20X zoom. Most consumer model cameras do not offer these features and the picture quality suffers as a result.

We also make use of high quality wireless mics and digital audio recorders to capture high quality audio (as opposed to the one cheap mic built-in to uncle Charlie’s consumer model camcorder) and we are often granted permission to tap directly into the house mixing console for excellent audio.

When you add it all together, it becomes clear why so many couples these days are hiring a professional videographer to ensure that the sights, sounds and emotions of their once-in-a-lifetime day are professionally captured and preserved.

Isn’t four cameras a lot? Won’t that many cameras turn my wedding into a movie set?

Well you might feel like a movie star, but we’ve never had a couple complain that we were too intrusive. In fact, most couples tell us they barely even noticed we were there. Our job is to capture events as they unfold, not become a part of them! As explained above, two of the cameras we use at the ceremony are stationary (with no operators) and we place them in discrete locations. Another camera (with an operator) is placed near the back of the room or wedding area and it also is not mobile. Unless the wedding requires special coverage, only one of our cameras is mobile and this allows us to get shots of the wedding party and the bride as they enter. When the bride is about halfway up the aisle, our mobile cameraman moves out of the way and to the side and then eventually to the back of the room or wedding area. We’ve found that for receptions, three cameras are generally sufficient to get the kind of coverage we need.

Do I have to pay everything upfront?

No. We require a $250 deposit to reserve the day. Then half the remaining balance is due anytime up to or on the day of the wedding. The final payment is due when the DVDs and Blurays are ready (generally 4-6 weeks after the wedding).

I don’t have a Bluray player so I don’t want to spend extra for HD that I can’t play.

These days, some couples have Bluray players (or Playstation III’s) and some don’t. In either case Bluray is here and is rapidly replacing standard DVDs. The color and clarity of HD Bluray is amazing. So we have decided to offer one complete, HD Bluray copy with every package. There is no extra charge. So you get the standard DVDs that come with your package as well as one free Bluray with additional copies available. That way, even if you don’t have a Bluray player right now, chances are you will down the road. And then, you’ll be able to watch your wedding again… like you’ve never seen it before!

What else makes you unique?

Because we love what we do, we treat every wedding with the same care we would if it were the wedding of a close family member. In fact, by the time the day is over, we often feel like family! Beyond that, one unique and popular item we offer is a digital photo frame. This is included with our Ruby and Diamond packages or as an option. We preload the frame with anywhere from 200-700 digital still photos that we take directly from the most candid moments of our HD video footage. During editing, we have the ability to go through the video frame by frame until we find the perfect shot! In some cases we can even capture special moments from the video that your photographer missed! The frame plugs in to a power outlet and then displays a repeating slide show. It’s becoming a very popular item!

Roger Resler is the founder of Arizona Wedding Video

“Because your wedding is not just another ordinary day.”



No Regrets

February 1, 2011

by Roger Resler

After life has run it’s course and you’re looking back on it all, what will you regret not doing? Well hiring a professional videographer to capture your wedding may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but, then again, you never know!

I was speaking with a mother-in-law-to-be about her son and future daughter-in-law’s upcoming wedding. It sounded like it was going to be a major affair. An outdoor wedding at a very fancy venue, 400-500 guests, one of those huge, lushly decorated tents, fancy DJ and a big band, and even the possibility that Sandra Day O’Connor might perform the ceremony. (Apparently she is a personal friend).

Okay, she had my attention. Being a wedding videographer…. well, let’s just say, you know what I was thinking! I couldn’t not ask her… so, when opportunity finally presented itself, I casually asked: “So have you hired a videographer yet?”

“No,” she said with a genuine air of disappointment, “and they don’t want to!”

I shouldn’t be surprised at this response. I am, after all, a trained professional. Nevertheless, after hearing for the last ten minutes or so about how special—no, how unique—this wedding was going to be, I have to admit, when I popped the question I was not expecting a flat out, “No, we don’t mess with your kind!” Okay so that’s not exactly what she said, but that’s pretty much what I heard.

The truth is, this mother of the groom was on my side. She wanted a video of the wedding. She understood the value. Apparently her son and future daughter-in-law did not. Nevertheless, realizing what was at stake here (I mean if this would have been a fishing expedition, it had all the makings of developing into “the mother of all ‘the one that got away’ stories”) –realizing what was about to take place, I immediately deployed counter-measures. “How can they have Sandra Day O’Connor officiate at their wedding and not capture it on video?” I asked, expecting the profundity to work it’s magic.

“I know! I’ve tried to tell them!” she said. As it turns out, money—as it is roughly 99% of the time—was apparently not the issue. She had even offered to pay for videography! What?! (Are you feeling my pain yet?) You can’t be serious, I thought, but somehow managed to hold back. “They don’t want the cameras there and they think they would only watch a video once anyway.”

Ouch! M-a-n! Hit the cameraman when he’s down!

I have to admit, I was ready to confront the ole’ “we just don’t have the budget for video” ploy (even though we just spent $30,000 on the world’s best photographer—not that I’m bitter)  but this?! They don’t want video cameras there? They will only watch it once? I admit, she got me with that double salvo. I was mortally wounded and struggling to work up an on-the-spot-come-back but the hopelessness of the situation began to dawn on me. My fish was going to swim away and leave me with nothing but the tale and no amount of smooth talking was going to reverse the situation.

I don’t know whether mom finally prevailed and they hired a videographer or not. But the entire conversation made an impact on me. Besides giving my ego a serious shellacking, it hit home (as if I needed reminding) that there are couples out there getting married that simply don’t want the service I provide. But is that really the case? Or is it something they might actually come to regret someday?

When you consider that for substantially less than the cost of an arm and a leg, you can hire a professional to digitally video tape your wedding using multiple high-definition cameras, combine the results with music, effects and menus to produce what just a few years back would have cost a small fortune… well, we simply live in a remarkable age.

So why isn’t every couple standing in line to hire a videographer? It may be that the image of the low resolution, over-exposed, blurry, was-he-shooting-from-the-deck-of-the-Titanic(?) wedding video that never ends still prevails in the minds of many brides. Or it could be that today’s brides are simply over-exposed to technology. Or, maybe they simply think, we’ll only watch it once, so why go to the trouble? (No doubt they think exactly the same thing about their $30,000 wedding photos **rolls sarcastic eyes**—but I’m not bitter!)

That brings us back around to the concept of no regrets. While there may be some elements to your wedding that are simply beyond your control, the fact is not hiring a professional wedding videographer is not one of them. It comes up time and again. I don’t even need to cite statistics. Just do a google search if you doubt me. One of the top regrets for most couples after the wedding is that they did not hire a professional videographer. So why didn’t they? Well, unlike our money-is-no-object mom, they usually reasoned: I am on a tight budget and I just can’t afford video. Given that I drive a Kia minivan, I get that. In fact what couples are spending on weddings amazes me. But what I don’t get is how could they spend that much, put that much effort and planning into this once-in-a-lifetime day and then not preserve the memories on HD video?

Is it really just a matter of, we’ll probably only watch it once?  That’s not what my clients are telling me. In fact I recently heard that one bride was recently “caught” by her husband watching the video repeatedly because she loves the way she looked in her wedding dress! Another bride lost her brother to a car accident a few weeks after the wedding. She watches the video as the last happy memento she has of her and her brother together having a good time. There are many reasons to re-watch a wedding video. For one thing, virtually every couple I provide DVDs to tells me we captured things they would have missed otherwise.

If your wedding is captured on video, you won’t miss the vows, recitations, special music or poems at the ceremony, as well as the message given by the minister. You won’t miss the cheers of your friends and family at the reception, and you will hear every word of their speeches, hear their laughter and see the tears of joy. You can not only see, but re-experience your first dance, cake cutting and bouquet toss. And most likely, you will see many things you simply would have missed otherwise. If your wedding is like most, it may even be one of the few times you have all your family members together in one place. And when you have children you will be able to share the magic of your wedding with them. Why let all that slip into a distant memory when you don’t have to? In short, nothing captures these unrepeatable events like a professional video. And there’s no better time than your wedding to take advantage of it. No regrets. Here’s one that doesn’t have to be.

Copyright © 2011 – Roger Resler, Arizona Wedding Video, LLC. Phoenix, Arizona. , all rights reserved. Phone: 602-618-2033 (All original blog entries on this site may be reposted elsewhere without prior approval provided this  information block as well as a link back to this blog are included).

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Roger Resler is the founder of Arizona Wedding Video

“Because your wedding is not just another ordinary day.”