Your Documentary Wedding Videography Questions Answered

Our couple’s questions answered: all about documentary wedding videography

Your Documentary Wedding Videography Questions Answered

Our couple’s questions answered: all about documentary wedding videography



The word ‘documentary’ might evoke ideas of David Attenborough style voice-overs but when it comes to the world of wedding videography the word documentary reflects a rather different style of filmmaking. So what is documentary wedding videography and how does it all work? Read on to have some of your documentary wedding videography questions answered…


1. What is a documentary wedding videographer?

Similar to a documentary photographer, a documentary wedding videographer does not direct or alter the scene in front of them but captures natural imagery just as it happens

This may be the simplest definition but there’s of course rather more to it and you can simply click here to find out about our documentary wedding videography approach in much more detail.

2. Will my videographer need time with me to capture some directed moments?

Some videographers do ask for “couple time” in order to create some posed imagery as part of the filming process. Documentary wedding videographers however typically do not direct any of the action of a wedding day and capture the story candidly as it unfolds.

Personally for us, it is important for our style of filmmaking that our couples stay in the moment at all times and so do not pose or directly interfere with any moments at all on a wedding day.

3. Do I need two videographers for my wedding?

There are various factors that go into the decision of whether having two videographers is appropriate for your wedding. Typically, your videographer is already likely to be working beside at least one photographer and so sometimes having only one videographer can be preferable in order to limit the number of cameras around you (and the potential for getting in one-another’s shots). However videographers are at times more likely to have additional equipment to set up (e.g. sound recorders or camera tripods) which can take them away from the action for certain parts of the day and so it is often preferable to have a second videographer to continue shooting whilst any setup is taking place. The length of film being provided is also a factor here as longer films may require an additional shooter to provide additional angles and allow filming to take place in more than one place at a time (e.g. during the bride and groom prep).

For us personally, we recommend two shooters for our longer feature films and for larger events (or weddings with lots of planned activities). For our highlights and film short packages we generally recommend that one videographer is the ideal fit in most circumstances.


4. Do I need a drone for my wedding?

Drones can offer some truly unique angles on a wedding day and are commonly used by some videographers to showcase a wedding venue from the air to set the scene for the wedding. As with all tools of cinematography though their use is a stylistic choice and not fitting to every style of film. It’s important to note that the use of Drones is highly regulated and for commercial purposes should only be carried out by a qualified operator and subject to aviation restrictions. In some situations drones can also be fairly noisy and distracting and many videographers choose not to use them for these reasons.

Here at York Place we generally don’t use drones principally for stylistic reasons. Our films are based on creating a sense of intimacy and offering to some extent a ‘guest’s perspective’ on the wedding day and so try to frame our imagery around more natural camera positions. Consequently we feel that the use of drones in most cases is likely to be inconsistent with our style of filming and break the intimacy of the wedding videos that we strive to create.

5. Can I Choose the Music for My Wedding Video?

Sound and music are incredibly important parts of virtually any wedding video. It is often the music that sets the tone of the film, the pacing of the action and in some cases even the style of the edit. A well-crafted wedding film will generally use sound and/or music to heighten and lower the emotion or excitement at the appropriate moments in tandem with the visuals and is an essential tool in the film editor’s arsenal. Consequently, whilst some videographers will look for input on the choice of music for a wedding film, many will not for creative reasons.

It is equally important to note that the use of any music is subject to copyright restrictions which, in most cases, will restrict your wedding videographer to the use of pre-cleared royalty free music and mean that many of the more well-known popular tracks may be effectively unobtainable due to the high expense and time consumption involved in licensing popular music.

For us personally we actually see those apparent restrictions as something of a creative opportunity. The music you listen to every day can easily become synonymous with more than one thing – e.g. perhaps the song you played as you got ready for your wedding day might later become the theme of a TV advert and its constant repetition in this new context changes the meaning of the song for you. A well known song is also likely to come with different connotations for different people, e.g. other family members.  In using pre-cleared music created by emerging artists from specialist film websites we can create a soundtrack that is truly unique to your wedding film and to you as a couple and can act as a spark to your memories equally as powerful as the visuals themselves.


6. Does my videographer need to make a site visit to my venue before the wedding?

For some filmmakers it can be important to have filmed in (or at least previously visited) your venue prior to a wedding day. This is usually principally the case where there are logistical concerns in terms of the placing of tripods, jibs, gliders etc, or where the style of the videographers is to include a significant amount of directed imagery and additional time may be needed to scout potential backdrops and locations in advance of the wedding.

Documentary wedding videographers however tend to use minimal additional equipment and do not direct or pose the scenes within their films and so in most cases will not need to have previously visited your venue in person. Indeed due to the spontaneous nature of the documentary style it can in some cases be counter-productive to have planned camera placements or movements in advance.

For us personally our films are all about people and reflecting the unique individual personalities of our couples and so are unable to plan shots in advance. Therefore for us it is never necessary for us to visit a venue in advance of a wedding.

7. How will a documentary wedding videographer work alongside my photographer?

Whilst it is a good idea to think about how well the styles of your wedding photographer and videographer might align, professional photographers and filmmakers should always be working together to ensure that you the couple get the best possible photos and videos from your day.

Documentary wedding videographers tend to work quite well alongside a broad stylistic range of photographer as they do not require additional time for posed imagery and do not tend to use bulky equipment which can otherwise be in the way of photographs. However it is important to remember that the documentary style is based on capturing spontaneity and so to get the best out of your documentary wedding film you should ideally look to choose a photographer who works in a broadly similar style for the majority of the day.

Whilst we of course share an overarching style with our fantastic documentary wedding photographers Dom and Liam and so work seamlessly together, at York Place Films we’re fortunate to work alongside a wide range of different styles of photographer and work as flexibly as possible to accommodate any photographic requirements.

You can read about some of the differences and similarities between wedding photography and videography here

Want to know more?

We hope these little summaries help to answer some of your questions about documentary wedding videography but if you’d like to find out more about reportage videography or indeed photography you can check out our range of articles below! Alternatively just click the button to be taken to our contact page and get in touch with any further questions you might have.