Wedding video length

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    • #47294

      Is there a standard/norm/guideline as to how long a wedding video should be ? I have been reading through many of the posts in this “Wedding and Events” forum but I can’t find a thread where this gets mentioned.

    • #194753
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      Whatever it lands at. Ceremonies vary greatly and that will always be the bulk of the running time, half anyway. Time-trimming can come from the reception and any montages that you create.

    • #194754

      Grinner, thanks for the response.

      It was mentioned somewhere in one of these forums that documentaries must not be too long otherwise the viewers may loose interest. I see that documentaries are generally 1/2 hour or 1 hour in length depending on the subject. Does the same not apply to wedding videos ?

      What are the lengths of the wedding videos that you havecrafted ?

    • #194755
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      Apples to oranges. Truth is, the only people who are interested in watching a wedding video is the groom once, the bride twice, and the mother of the bride 3 times. lol

      Again, the ones I’ve done have varied. Last one was exactly an hour with everything… that’s with a half hour ceremony. There are no rule of thumbs though. Some receptions are more action packed or relivant than others. I hate to say use the force but that’s what editors do… they make it feel right and if it’s feeling wrong, something hits the cutting room floor. It’s not to ask this question up front if you feel the client is savvy enough to understand rather than get worried by it. Many times they’ll tell you straight up “make it short and entertaining then just give us the raw footage”.

      Never cut the ceremony though. I say that, and certainly there is nothing wrong with fixing a stumble or long beat while someone is mentally searching for words…. BUT often those moments are highlights in the bride’s mind and you’ll hear, wait, where’s thart wher uncle Bob farted? I’m not kidding, dang near every time I’ve cleaned up the ceremony itse;f, I’ve had to go mack and make it sloppy for em.

      That said, dude don’t bore em with the reception. Hit the highlights. Obviously the vail, the cake, the first dances, ect. but I like to put a little snip of each song and kind of make an evening montage. This way they don’t feel like I missed anything and I don’t send folks running from the TV with a long boring reception they were glad to leave in real life. Transitions are easily done with quick well wishes testimonials from attendees. I don’t even ask their names anymore. If they are there I figure they are known so I just grab whoever sticks out and ask them to give some warm wishes to the bride and groom. I get these before and after the ceremony as well.

    • #194756

      Grinner, your last response has answered a whole lot of other nagging questions. Thanks for sharing your expertise. In addition, I shall be purchasing the “Wedding Videography” dvd from this site soon.

    • #194757

      Mine vary by time. Depending on whether it is a protistant, orthodox, or Catholic wedding.

      If it’s Orthodox then it usually ends up filling 2 DVD’s worth mostly because the ceremony is over an hour. If it’s any other type, it’s usually 1 DVD’s worth with a total of about 1 hour 45 min total.

    • #194758

      In weddings the ceremony can vary in length as other posters have stated and there are afew things in the ceremony that aredisposable. Some editing to eliminate them in the longer ceremonies is probably appropriate. As grinner stated the reception has a few essentials that must be captured if they happen(entrance of wedding party, cake-cut, toasts, first dances, garter/bouquet toss, etc). I’ve had receptions where there was no garter toss, etc. Unless youhave it in your contract to stay at the reception for hours on end and to capture the last dance and the wedding couple leaving at the end, you probably won’t be there longer than hour or so. This depends on how well the reception is run by the hall or DJ. Good idea to check with them about the schedule so as not to miss anything. Make friends with the photog so each of you can give heads up about this.

      Back in the day, shooting live on the fly with VHS I usually pretty much filled a 2 hr tape with the wedding and reception, handing the couple the tape at the end.Now I usually plan on providing 2(less than an hour each)DVDs with menus. One with the ceremony and one with the reception. If the ceremony fills the first then the second might contain montage, short feature, etc. This part is flexible. I haven’t had any feedback about this but I like to use the menu to break up the DVDs into watchable bites. I feel that this allows whoever is watching an easy option for seeing only the part they want.

    • #194759

      My interpretation is: Documentary style, creative or Hollywood style, and short form.

      Essentially, in my interpretation, when a client wants pretty much EVERYTHING that happens, this is a documentary production and requires little more than what some would consider a “cleanup” edit but little else.

      Creative productions can involve all matter of approaches such as time shifting and special montage sequences with voice tracks or music segments to condense the traditional reception elements such as cake, garter and bouquet, the formal dances such as B&G, Father/Daugther and Mom/Son, maybe the bridal party segment and, if any, exhibition dances. Grand entry and live toasts (maybe also truncated and using scenes from the ceremony to enhance) a one-song dance clip, etc.

      There’s also those segments, if you offer them, that the bride and/or groom pay extra for: love story, bridal elegance, pre-ceremony prep for the bride, and sometimes the groom, creative interviews and creative montages of the formal photo shoot.

      The short-form goes by many names but essentially, again in my interpretation, is live vows and rings, with pretty much everything else incorporating montage, voice tracks and/or music.

      The documentary style can run, as has been indicated in other responses based on ceremony/reception length, one to two hours.

      The Creative styles, again depending on add-ons and other elements, can run upwards of an hour.

      The short form, by virtue of its intended purpose, should hit less than 45 minutes and mine are usually 20 to 30 minutes total.

      There’s no locked formula, however, as each production has its own personality and each couple has their own preferences. For those who have a policy of providing or selling RAW (cleaned-up edited) footage IMHO the creative process is much easier and shortening the productions is an excellent approach since the clients will also have pretty much everything you shot.

      On the other hand there are many in the industry who are not inclined to provide RAW footage for a number of valid or vain rationales. To each his own. Again, IMHO, RAW is RAW (cleaning up not required) and “cleanup editing” is EDITING plain and simple, not to be confused with simply burning off a DVD of the footage “as is” and how this is delivered should be priced accordingly.

    • #194760

      I agree totally with Vid e o Man. This is typically what I do as well. I break mine up with nice custom menus with everything listed in order or by category.

      They can either watch an individual clip, or I add a “Play All” button so that it runs through the entire Reception, or Wedding.

    • #194761

      For me the length of the wedding video completely depends on the type of wedding I’m filming. Sikh, Hindu, Muslim, chinese or other Asian weddings tend to are usually 3-5 hours in length. Church or Catholic weddings would be approx. 2 hours long. Civil weddings are less than this.

      The main ceremony and speeches are always included and a 15-20 min montage of the day. Asian wedding videos are considerably longer because they have lots of dancing added to the DVD’s and the wedding ceremonies can be up to 2 hours long. But my main sections are edited right down to make them watchable and interesting. Too much footage can be dull. What goes into the video is at my discretion with the rest available for purchase on a hard Drive.

      I always make sure the wedding dvd has a chaptered menu so that the couple can navigate through their wedding video nice and easily. If they want to watch full sections or highlights then they can choose easily.

      Beautiful Life Wedding Video and Photography


    • #194762

      To all the contributors, I thank you.

      I thought that wedding videos were meant to be edited to show only the glitzy bits. Now I’ve learnt that some clients want it warts and all. I’ve learnt that there aren’t really any rules. The contracted videographer is dictated to by the client’s requirements. I now also know why wedding videography converts to the lowest hourly rate.

      Earl, thank you foryour academic analysis. Grinner, eventvideoguy, vid-e-o-man and BLWeddings, thank you foryour ‘hands on’ testimonies. Now, if I get involved in wedding videography I will never have the luxury to say “..I didn’t know.”


    • #194763

      Actually, Eugene, my academic analysis is based on producing an average of 20 weddings a year. While I prefer to do just about ANYTHING other than weddings due to the extremely low income-to-hours ratio compared to just about ANY other type of gig, they remain a necessary evil … for me anyway.

      I am, in fact, putting together a BASIC or “Meat and Potatoes Guide” to wedding video production and marketing book along similar lines of content to my current funeral production and marketing book, “They Shoot Funerals, Don’t They” which is available. The wedding resource and production book should be ready by May, 2011 and will include support materials on DVD & CD, as does the funeral book. The production outline will soon be shared on my video production and marketing blog at the link in the first paragraph.

      Your comments at the end of this series of responses show a “spot on” realization of the realities of wedding video production and editing. Good luck in whatever direction you take.

    • #194764

      Your welcome Rohlux.

      However, wedding videography doesn’t have to be low rates. When you get to the higher end of weddings then wedding videos can pay very nicely. My average client pays 1500-2000 per wedding video. A client the other day ordered my biggest package ever at 4,000. So when you get going it can pay extremely well.

      With regards to the content of a wedding video, you simply develop your style and this evolves over time. There are so many different ways of putting a wedding video together. As long as you have the wedding ceremony and the speeches as a start then what else you add is really up to you – depending on your preferences. But above all, aim for quality, constantly improve your films and be extremely passionate about what you do and you should be OK.

      Beautiful Life wedding Video and Photography

    • #194765

      I have had very few go over 1 hour in length with a standard 20-25 minute ceremony. Throw in a catholic mass and anything goes..


    • #194766

      How long is a piece of string? Weddings are very personal. It’s about client expectations and I always talk to the ‘happy couple’ face to face well before. Then you can determine, manageand planthe format ofthe finished product to match their expectations against what youcan deliver foryour properly budegted rate. That will go a big way to determining length(e.g. just a straight forward capture and a short edit of the ceremony or something more involved covering the whole day with build-up and receptionincluding, amongst other things, interviews with family and friends, etc). The more intricate the expectations, the greater the need to plan your finished presentation, perhaps deciding ona different presentational solution for the DVDinstead of just one movie covering everything from start to finish.

      I hope this is useful for you.

    • #194767

      I only do documentary style weddings and like someone before have found most of the weddings are 1:45 to 1:50. They include too much stuff for anybody but the most interested parties (bride and her mother and maybe sister(s) ). My DVDs have menus and scene selection as well as many chapter points. Most customers are interested in the little details and mild embarassments that one might think should be edited but I have found they are part of the unique character of the event to the interested parties.

      My biggest value contribution to the video is to deliver a level of technical skill of camera use and quality and sound track that UncleRoy could not deliver. The editing is chronological and I make little attempt to manage the time of the final video. On a rare occasion I will “fix” something that did not go as well as it should have or do stills to music bits.


    • #194768

      I would not stick to the mandatory video length, but I would rather try to include in the video the most remarkable events.

      Best regards,


      Photographe mariage Luxembourg

    • #194769
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      there is nothing mandatory in a wedding video and very little that’s remarkable. Truth is it’s usually an after thought (hence no budget put aside for video) and more often than not, they’d be best off just letting uncle bob shoot it. I can tell you when you edit these to make them watchable the first thing you hear is “where is the part that such and such happened!?” That said, the ceremony is left alone other than cutting the different shots together and doctoring up the audio. The creativity comes witht he reception. This is where you can make lil music videos, photo montages, ect. To me, it’s where their money goes and what sets a pro video apart from uncle Bob’s. It’s ironic… the still photographer is the first to be called… before the cake chic even. They have no problem giving thema couple grand to snap some stills and hand em to em but when a video dude says 4 grand they look at him like he’s crazy. The crazy thing is, there are many who will do it for less than 10 bucks an hour rather than stick to their rates… bringing them right back to uncle bob quality… who will do it for beer.

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