Wedding Cinematography Questions and Answers

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Choosing Your Cinematographer

  1. Cinematic vs Traditional Films

    Contrary to what some traditional videographers may tell you, cinematic style does not mean your film will be a short summary of clips that sacrifices coverage for artistic shots. Much like a movie, cinematic style focuses on the events of the day and transforms raw footage into a film that moves you and takes you back to how each moment felt.

    Traditional videography is a great fit for those looking for non-stop coverage of the day. However, an aspect to consider with so much footage is that it’s difficult to find the time to watch a video of your day that’s multiple hours long. Another aspect to consider is that traditional style is now considered an older style and may not mesh well or accurately reflect the modern, indie or elegant wedding you’ve spent so much time creating.

    Both styles can be great options, but it’s an important difference to distinguish to help you find the film maker who fits your vision.

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  2. Licensing, Insurance and Tax

    We are fully licensed by the City of Sacramento (#1022228) and carry business photography insurance. California tax applies in addition to our fees only to those residents of California who have their films delivered on a flash drive. Brides and grooms from out of state, or those who regardless of residency have their films delivered only online, do not need to pay sales tax.

    When selecting your videographer (or any vendor!), ensure the business is operating legitimately by being licensed, insured and charging tax.

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  3. Travel Fees

    There are no travel fees if your venue is located two and a half hours or less outside of Sacramento (Napa, Sonoma, Silicon Valley, Grass Valley, the Bay Area, Tahoe/Reno, Chico, Merced and more).

    If your venue is more than two and a half hours away, we bill $1 per mile, one way only, and we may require a hotel accommodation the night of the wedding if our exit time is after 8PM.

    Venues four or more hours from Sacramento require airfare for two from SMF with travel time billed at $50 an hour, one way only, hotel accommodations for the night before and night of the wedding, and a rental car.

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  4. Destination Weddings

    There are no additional fees for destination weddings however reimbursement for travel and/or accommodations may be needed. Please be in touch to discuss your destination wedding details.

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  1. Do we need to schedule a meeting?

    In most cases my clients do not request meetings as communicating via email is excellent for making arrangements, answering questions and is easy to refer back to. However, you’re welcome to schedule one free consultation for up to one hour via phone, Skype or in-person meeting located within a 30 minute drive from Sacramento. Additional or out of town meetings are billed at an hourly rate.

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  2. How soon should we book?

    To ensure availability and pricing it’s best to book as soon as possible. Your date is held once I’ve received your signed contract and reservation fee of 50% of your total amount due.

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  3. How do we reserve you for our date?

    To get started, reach out to us with a few quick details about yourself and your wedding day.

    • Select your films and coverage

    • Complete your wedding questionnaire

    • Receive and review our contract

    • Sign & submit your 50% reservation fee online

    • We’re officially booked!

    • Final 50% due 30 days before the wedding

    • Get Married!

    • Watch your film in 2-4 weeks!

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  4. What methods of payment do you accept?

    We accept debt cards and good old fashioned checks. You are not charged a fee for paying by debt card.
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  5. Is gratuity is customary?

    Gratuity is not required but always appreciated. Approximately half of our clients choose to give gratuity of 10% – 15%.

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  6. A relative or friend is covering the cost of our cinematography, who signs the contract?

    Contracts must be signed by both individuals getting married regardless of who is making the payment. The couple is the recipient of the film and the primary the subjects of the film so it is between the three of us to agree on the services, terms, and what you’ll be receiving.

    The only situation where we deviate from this rule is if the cinematography is a surprise and either one or both of the people getting married has no idea they’ll be receiving our services until the day of the wedding.

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Music and Audio

  1. Will you mic us or our celebrant?

    Yes, your celebrant and one of you will be mic’ed. We use a clip-on lavalier mic for your celebrant and one lavalier mic hidden under the collar of the shirt of the groom (or whoever will be wearing a collared shirt). The lav mic will not be visible during your first look. The lav cable is attached to a wireless Wifi transmitter clipped to the back of the waistband and does not show in photos or video.

    During editing, we only listen to the audio for the first look and ceremony. We do not listen to the entire recording to respect your privacy (and it would take hours to listen to!)

    During the ceremony and toast speeches we also use the audio from your DJs soundboard.

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  2. Music selection and copyrighted music

    Music and visual stylings are customized to the genres you specify. The music for your film is selected after the wedding while we’re processing your footage. We listen to dozens of songs in search for the perfect fit musically and lyrically to match the feel of your wedding, your personalities and the pacing of the footage.

    We comply with copyright laws using music that is license free so the music used in your film is 100% legal to use and share with friends and family online.

    While there are still a lot of cinematographers who choose to use music without obtaining a license, this practice is against the law and on a more personal note, Facebook and YouTube automatically remove videos with copyrighted music. This aspect of not being able to share your wedding highlight film with friends and family on Facebook or YouTube is often over looked and is something to consider when selecting your cinematographer.

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  3. Will music play over the whole video?

    In your feature film music only plays during wedding detail shots. During the ceremony, first look and toast speeches only the mic audio is present, no music plays over at those times.

    In your highlight film one song will play throughout and will be lowered in volume during any speaking parts.

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  1. Can we pause and resume our coverage time?

    Once our coverage time starts we cannot pause it due to breaks in the day’s schedule, however we almost always use every bit of break time to capture footage of the venue, wedding details, take time lapses or travel to the next location and setup. We utilize as much time as we can to continue filming throughout the day to maximize the amount of footage available for your film.

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  2. Can we have just one cinematographer?

    It’s necessary to have two of us so we can properly manage both video and audio components, and with two cameras running we’re able to provide you with continuous coverage of events. We connect with the venue’s audio system and mic the groom, so one cinematographer sets up and monitors the audio equipment (and is filming) while the other of us is managing video settings, placements and timeline details. This enables us to provide you with the best quality audio, video and experience.

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  3. Do you need to tour our venue before the wedding?

    It’s very common that our first visit to a venue is the day of the wedding. In fact that is the case at every wedding we work at unless we’ve filmed there previously. Photos of the venue are researched beforehand, and we also arrive anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour early to ensure we’re on time and also to walk around the venue before getting started. Rest assured we will be able to navigate your venue very well once we start filming.

    If you’d like for us to visit your venue, we offer one free consultation meeting for up to one hour, located within a 30 minute drive from Sacramento, and we are happy to meet at your venue if you’d prefer. If you’d like to schedule a venue visit after our first meeting, or if your venue is further than a 30 minute drive, the meeting will be billed at an hourly rate, including drive time for out of town venues.

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  4. How will our ceremony be covered?

    Depending on the number of cameras you select, your ceremony will be coverage in one of two configurations:

    Two Camera Setup

    Camera One sits in the aisle and capture a shoulders-up view of you both with your celebrant. In ceremonies of less than 200 guests we’re often able to setup behind the last row so as to not distract any guests.

    During the processional Camera Two will film down the aisle. Once the ceremony begins, Camera Two captures a side view facing you and your celebrant near the first row of guests on the outside aisle. We may also capture some footage of your guests enjoying the ceremony, time and situation dependent.

    Three Camera Setup

    The addition of a third camera allows us to capture the opposing angle to Camera Two. This camera is placed on the opposite side of Camera Two, near the first row of guests on the outside aisle.

    Please note: We do not move around during the ceremony, we do not film behind you and your celebrant, and we do not stand in the aisle during the processional or recessional.

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  5. How will our toast speeches be covered?

    Audio is captured from your DJs soundboard. One camera captures footage of the speaker, while our other camera captures footage of the newlyweds.

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  6. Do you use external or artificial lighting?

    We are natural light videographers and do not use artificial lighting unless it is needed during the reception. Venues commonly like to keep the room dimly lit for ambience, so during the toasts, dances, bouquet toss and cake cutting we may use a video light on a stand—the light is only used during these events and will not be left on otherwise. We discuss lighting placement with your photographer to ensure it benefits them as well (it also makes focusing easier and faster for them so it benefits all of us).

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  7. Will you pose us and make us do strange things?

    Not at all! It’s our philosophy to film the day naturally as it unfolds. Some cinematographers are very stylized and will create poses for you and your bridal party to do or act out, these can look very cinematic but we take a much more natural approach letting you enjoy your day without interuptions.

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  8. Can I make copies of my film?

    Absolutely! On your flash drive you’ll find two files that are your highlight and feature films. These files are in a .mp4 format in full 1080p HD quality. You can share these files with family and friends numerous ways and since the file is an .mp4, there’s no need to rip the video like you would if it was a DVD.

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Flash Drive Films

  1. Why flash drives instead of DVD or Blu Ray?

    Films on flash drives are the media of the future. DVDs are becoming a thing of the past. Since 2012 Apple computers no longer use DVD drives and Windows computers’ DVD drives are on their way out. DVDs also get scratched over time and not all players can read BluRay discs. Having your 1080p HD film on a flash drive future proofs it against changing technology, wear and tear and is compatible on a wide variety of media.

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  2. Do flash drives include chapter markers?

    They do! Films on flash drives include chapter markers just like DVDs so you can skip ahead to your favorite scenes.

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  3. What devices can play my flash drive?

    Along with computers and laptops, most flat screen TVs, Blu Ray players, game consoles, tablets, Rokus and more can play films on flash drives.

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  4. How big are the flash drive and storage box?

    Flash drives have magnetic caps and are 2.375 inches in length, 1.125 inches tall and .375 inches thick. Storage boxes are 3.5 inches in length and width, and 2.312 inches thick.

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  1. Turn around time

    Our standard delivery time is two to four weeks, however we do offer options to expedite the delivery of your film as quickly as ten days. We limit our filming availability so we’re able to deliver your film to you as quickly as possible.

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  2. Can we request edits to our film?

    Absolutely! Edits requested by the bride(s) and/or groom(s) are available at an hourly rate.

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  3. Do you offer raw footage?

    To provide our clients with the best viewing experience, we do not offer raw footage, however we instead offer unlimited films, and for shorter films we can add additional footage to your film. These films are edited, color corrected and are viewable via one easy to watch file.

    The best way to see more footage of your day is to increase your film length at the time of booking. For up to six months after the wedding, you can request that additional footage be added to your film (not available for unlimited films). Additional footage starts at $500 and includes up to four hours of editing. Additional editing time is available at our hourly rate.

    We do not provide actual raw files. Why not?

    1) We shoot in a “.raw” movie format made up of thousands of images, not playable in any video player. If we provided you with raw footage, you would not be able to watch it.

    2) Raw footage is HUGE! Our weddings are typically 80GB made up of hundreds of clips. It would require a hard drive just to give it to you and per California tax laws, we would be required to charge tax on your entire original booking amount. In addition, nothing kills the magic by having to click through hundreds of clips just to watch your day. By receiving a documentary film, you have one video file of your entire day, so you can sit back and enjoy the moments.

    3) Our footage is proprietary, per our contract it cannot be edited by anyone other than Muse Juice Media.

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