Reel Love



Photo by Hunter McRae Photography

Wedding planning by Weddings With Leah

We live in a society of instant gratification, where the value of even the most important event in our lives is measured by the time it takes to upload and the number of “likes” it generates.

It’s no wonder wedding videography is evolving in ways unimagined even 10 years ago.

Local wedding videographers say the industry has had its share of recent challenges. For one thing, says island photographer Rob Kaufman, the sagging economy has forced brides and grooms to pare down their wedding budgets, and “videographer” seems to be one of the first line items to go.

“People feel like they’ve got that covered,” Kaufman said. “We have great videographers down here, but they get the brother to do it or the uncle to do it, and clearly that’s not the same thing.”

In an age where just about everybody’s phone doubles as a digital camera with video capabilities, it’s easy to think you can save money by relying on a friend to capture the magic of the moment. But filming on a single tiny camera 30 feet from where you’re exchanging your vows ends up missing a lot. For instance, the vows.

“Audio is the biggest difference between a professional and an amateur videographer, and we work really hard at that,” said Mike Ritterbeck of Hilton Head Video. Ritterbeck says at least once a week he gets a request from someone who has amateur footage from their wedding day that they want edited into something watchable, which often isn’t possible. “The footage is horrendous, it’s out of focus, and it has poor audio.”

Those who do opt for professionally shot video footage of their nuptials increasingly want something that won’t just get shoved in a drawer and viewed once every few years, but something shorter and more stylish that can be shared instantly with friends.

“Our trailers are really popular. The most popular package that we have comes with a trailer,” said Marianna Player of Absolute Wedding Films in Chapin. “That’s what everybody wants.” A trailer is a 3- to 5-minute highlight reel that can be posted to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube so friends and family can fawn over what happened on your big day.

Kaufman and Ritterbeck both have been doing a similarly short video, which Kaufman has dubbed “fusion videos,” for the last few years. The technique includes still shots interspersed with 8- to 10-second video clips of certain moments from the day that had the most emotional impact. The result is a 6- to 7-minute video that can easily be shared on social media sites.

Still another trend is the save-the-date video, a sweet, simple video clip that highlights the couple’s history and engagement and finishes with the wedding date. Couples email friends and family a link to their video in lieu of mailing traditional save-the-date cards. So far, Player’s company has done only one such engagement video, but she says the trend could gain traction.

“They do that in other parts of the country, and—I’ve lived in South Carolina my whole life, so I can say this—it kind of takes South Carolina a little while to catch on,” she said.

What Ritterbeck is hoping will catch on first is the importance of a full-footage video of your wedding.

“We do wedding photography also, so I understand the importance of photos, but in the photo you don’t get Grandma talking, or you talking to your dad,” he said. “A lot of brides come to us later and say ‘Oh, I should have done video at my wedding.’”