November 3, 2020

How Many Hours Do I Need?

Most wedding cinematographers create packages with predetermined amounts of time. It is common to see a 6-hour package, an 8-hour package, and a 10-hour package offered. We offer an 8-hour package, a 10-hour package and a 12-hour package. Naturally every cinematographer is different so sometimes you’ll see a little variation, but 6, 8, 10, and sometimes 12 (like us) are the most common.

For most couples it doesn’t matter how far out you are planning. It can be extremely difficult to envision the flow of your wedding day and know how many hours you want your cinematographer there for. For this reason I wanted to create this post to provide some professional insight on how packages of certain lengths “fit” into a wedding day. We hope you find this helpful.

6 HOURS of time can be a good fit for smaller, more intimate weddings. The entire day takes place at a single location. These are usually simpler weddings minus elements such as a first look and may have minimal dancing at the reception. Often times the bridal party is limited to a best man and maid of honor. With 6 hours I can usually get some of the finishing details of you getting ready, the ceremony, cocktail hour and the beginning of the fun of your reception. We do not offer a 6 hour package as a standard, but can create a custom package for couples planning an intimate wedding.

8 HOURS of time we view as the “minimum” amount of coverage needed for a “typical” wedding. These weddings most often take place entirely at the same venue. With 8 hours there is time for some limited travel time if the ceremony & reception locations are different. These wedding days are more traditional. They usually do not include a first look. 8 hours usually gives me a comfortable amount of time to capture all of your details (your dress, shoes, jewelry, etc.) and final stages of you getting ready. Naturally the ceremony, cocktail hour, and larger portion of the fun at your reception. What we usually do not get are any stages of makeup being applied and coverage will usually end 1-2 hours before the reception ends.

10 HOURS we view as the “perfect” amount of time. With 10 hours of coverage you don’t have to worry as much about how much of preparations to film, vs how much of the reception. With 10 hours of coverage including elements in your day such as a First Look, or maybe a longer ceremony, or multiple locations, is a breeze. Couples often think 10 hours sounds like a long time. Please believe me that wedding days tend to be longer than most couples think. !0 hours truly is the perfect amount of time for most weddings. 10 hours typically gives us the perfect amount of time to capture all of your details (your dress, shoes, jewelry, etc.), you getting ready, first looks, the ceremony, cocktail hour, and most if not all of the fun at your reception.

12 HOURS of coverage is what we describe as our “full day” coverage. This length of coverage is perfect for those couples that want coverage from preparations through and including a send off. 12 hours of coverage is also helpful when there are multiple moments of travel, for couples wanting a First Look, if you’re planning a longer ceremony, or simply want to party late into the night. Couples selecting this length of coverage often have larger bridal parties and have a full reception with all the traditions. Think traditions such as toasts (usually multiple), bouquet and garter toss, multiple special dances, a dollar dance, anniversary dance, cake cutting, etc. They also tend to end with a special finale such as confetti, fireworks or sparkler exits.

One question we often get is when discussing how much coverage is needed is “why do I need longer video coverage than my photographer said I needed?” – meaning for photography of course. Well the answer is both simple and not so simple. Lets start by talking about getting ready shots. For video/film to get makeup shots we need to be there as makeup is being applied. While we don’t necessarily “need” makeup shots of each member of the bridal party, we do love getting shots of the bride’s makeup being applied. These can be beautiful and artistic moments. As wedding day filmmakers we love having varied content for your film. Varied content tells a more complete story and is more engaging to watch. Some brides will suggest or ask about staging these shots. Thats were the difference comes in between photo and film. For photography is super easy to stage a shot of makeup. The photographer can have the makeup artist hold a brush near your face and take a photo and just like that they have a “makeup shot”. For film its not nearly as convincing. We need that brush moving. This can have the untended consequence of altering the makeup so its not something we recommend. Without a moving brush it just looks super silly and fake. Another reason you may need longer coverage is we like to get a good mix of guests partying with you at the reception. Some guests are a little slow to step on to the dance floor. So by having a couple of hours (minimum) of coverage after dinner it greatly increases our chances of getting as many of your guests on film as possible.

Our promise to each and every couple is do our very best to capture as much as I possibly can on your wedding day. It’s just another reason that I create specific timelines for each of my couples weeks in advance of their big day. Our promise, if I suggest that we add an extra hour or two of coverage, I am not trying to make more money. With over 20 years of experience I just know that key moments will be missed if we are trying to squeeze your wedding day into a timeline that is too small. Open and honest communication is always the key to success if we are trying to figure out if an extra hour of added coverage might make the day perfect.