W4 Wedding Films

Chris and Amy are an award winning duo who have been capturing weddings on video for over a decade. 

Quick reference:

Where are you based? Camberley, Surrey and Chiswick, West London
Twitter: w4weddingfilms
Facebook: w4weddingfilm
Favourite Bijou Venue: Botleys Mansion
How many weddings do you do a year? 30-40
Average price/cost: £1245

Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Chris and together with my partner Amy I run W4 Wedding Films.
Our background is in the Arts and film production, for over 10 years we have worked in TV, film and theatre. We have been fortunate enough to create wedding films for many wonderful couples during this time and wedding videography is now the area we specialise in. We recently had the honour of being voted the most popular videographer in London and Surrey by the Wedding Industry Experts Awards, and have also been lucky enough to win several awards from the Institute of Videography.

How would you describe your wedding videography style and what makes you unique?
Our aim is to create a cinematic wedding film that we hope you will want to watch again and again, rather than something you watch once and put in the loft!
Our style therefore focuses on camera composition, sound, camera movement and colour grading and sound mixing.
For example we have a range of discreet equipment that can offer subtle camera movements, such as the steadi-cam and glide tracks. These mimic many of the movements that you can see in TV and films and adds to the professional and impressive look we believe your wedding film should have.
We are unique in our ability to capture the spirit of the day, telling each couple’s individual story and the moments that make up their day.

How would you describe your working style? Will you have an assistant on the day?
Whilst we use the latest camera and sound equipment, our working style is to remain unobtrusive during the day. We believe the best wedding film will have footage that is natural and ‘in the moment’. We never pose people or set up shots and we believe it's this approach that gives a true reflection of the day and the special moments within it.
We use long lenses and radio mics to help capture all the important shots without the couple and their guests noticing we are there and feeling self-conscious.
If we haven't worked with your suppliers before (e.g. photographer) we will get in touch with them beforehand to establish contact and discuss the logistics of working together on the day. We always enjoy working alongside photographers and we always keep in mind their shots and positioning too.
I work with couples from first contact, all the way through to personally filming and editing their film. However, depending on the package chosen, I can also be assisted by Amy on the day. It is just the two of us, no part of the process is outsourced. By using two videographers we can cover more of the day, for example one of us can film the bridal preparations whilst the other is filming the Groom and guests’ arrivals.

What type of equipment do you use?
We use a range of equipment to capture the day. We film on Canon C 100 cameras with a range of professional lenses.
To add subtle movement and enhance the cinematic feeling to the film we use stedi-cam, sliders, and monopods. However we are keen to stress that whilst we use these throughout the day, we are able to remain very mobile and discreet. In fact many couples and their guests comment that they didn't notice we were there, which we take as a great compliment!
One thing that sets us apart is our approach to sound. It's incredibly important to record the vows, speeches and other moments in crystal clear audio, so we can use discreet lapel mics and take feeds from the venue’s soundboards (if applicable). This enables us to get great professional sound, without having to be too close or imposing with a large microphone.

Do you shoot in HD? What format with the final version be in?
All our filming is in HD. The finished film is provided on DVDs and USB as standard. All DVDs are personalised with bespoke labels, navigation menus and come in presentation cases. Our highlights films (shorter versions of your main film) which come as standard with several of our packages, can also be uploaded online so you can share them with family and friends and of course if you would like them password protected, we can do that too. We can also provide Blu-rays if required.

What can you offer couples? Can they customise the package with you?
We have a range of packages available which cover various parts of the day. However, as every wedding is different, we are happy to create bespoke packages for couples according to their requirements.

What parts of the day do you usually capture?
Our most popular option is the ‘All Day’ package. We start with bridal preparations in the morning (or evening guest messages if you prefer) and film throughout the day with two videographers until 9:30 PM. This includes a highlights film, multiple copies on DVD and USB and your full Ceremony and Speeches as additional special features.

How long does it take you to edit?
On average it takes between 2 to 4 weeks to edit a film.

How long with the final version usually be?
We generally produce the popular ‘short form’ edit. This is on average a 15 to 25 minute cinematic film (depending on how much of your day is filmed) set to the couples choice of music and often with parts of the vows and speeches included, often as audio playing underneath footage from the day.
We also then provide the full ceremony and speeches as separate features on the DVD and USB. So in total, couples will receive about 40-140 minutes of footage in total.
     
How far in advance should couples book you?
There is no set rule. On average couples will book around a year in advance, some more, some less. It’s always worth getting in touch to check our availability as outside of the peak wedding season, we can sometimes have late availability.

What information do you need from the couple before the wedding day?
A few months before the wedding we will send out a fact sheet which talks about how we work on the day and our logistics. At this time we also send couples a short questionnaire to find out some of the key timings and details. This enables us to be fully prepared for the wedding and to be in the right place at the right time without having to ask you or your guests on the day.

What are your favourite trends?
We are excited about how the view of wedding videography is changing. Long gone is the idea that a couple will receive a long VHS tape filled with blurry and shaky footage filmed by someone with a massive camcorder and big lights shining at them and their guests! This view is being replaced due to the emergence of professional videographers creating cinematic, bespoke films. The focus is now on getting footage that can complement your wedding photos but not by merely replicating the same types of shots. This is why many videographers will now choose to employ techniques and tools to find unique and interesting shots or movements whilst still keeping discreet and telling the story of the day.

What are you expecting to see become more mainstream/more common in the next year or two?
The use of two videographers at weddings is becoming more commonplace and is a great way for couples to maximise the moments that can be captured during the day. Using more than one videographer at a wedding means footage can be taken in different locations at the same time, for example one operator can be at the Bridal preparation in the morning and the second covering the arrivals at the ceremony venue and the Grooms preparations there. When working at a wedding using two videographers, we always remain discreet and will usually be in different areas or rooms capturing footage.

If you were getting married, how would you choose your wedding videographer?
Many of our couples find us through recommendations or partnerships with venues or wedding planners, so this would perhaps be the first option for me. However, if I was searching without any such suggestions I would like to see the videographer’s work, watch a few of their films and see if their style fits with what I was looking for. I would want to pay attention to the sound quality and check to see if all of the films on their site were of a similar standard. Then I would like to know a little about their experience and background, perhaps asking if they were a member of the Institute of Videography. Finally I would like to speak with the company and see if they were people that I would be happy to have at my wedding. We love to speak with our couples and those who enquire about our services, we are happy to chat over the phone, in person or via Skype.

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