Cinematic Wedding Video verses Documentary Style
- what's the difference?

Choosing a wedding videographer to film the most special day of your life is a decision that should be taken with the same care and research as you would with choosing your dress, rings, cake and venue; get inspiration and ideas and see what best suits your style and budget.

Whilst some people may have been recommended a certain wedding video company, many have not and it is to those people this Blog article is aimed.

A quick search on Google, Bing or any other search engine for say; 'yorkshire wedding videos', 'harrogate wedding videographer', or 'wedding videos' will provide you with a long list of companies who film wedding videos. A little clicking and reading their websites will provide you with examples of their work and maybe even prices.

One of the phrases Bride and Grooms may see appear on those websites is 'cinematic wedding video' or they may see 'documentary wedding video' used. These phrases are typically used to describe two very different styles of wedding video, but occasionally can be mixed together and thus become a little confusing. Let me explain the difference and why Red Lime use the phrase Cinematic Wedding video to describe what we do.

Cinematic Wedding Video
As the name suggests this style is trying the emulate the look of a film in its appearance. Many or all of the shots will be carefully framed, the lighting considered and when edited, the look and the way the story is told is designed to enhance the emotions of your wedding day. The wedding videographer will use shots that are not always of the people, but may include the details that make up your day; flowers, shoes, signs etc. The story may not be a linier one and instead cut back and forth to build the story and emotion and tell the story in a unique way.

Documentary Wedding Video
This style of wedding video typically results in a liner story of your day. What happens, in the order it happened. Often the framing and composition of the shots is less important and thus is more focused on capturing what happened. The style is people focused, and may include shots of the groups being photogaphed by the photographer as part of the story.

Let me explain with some examples
Take the example of say, Louis Theroux. In any of his documentaries, he is telling a story in a linier fashion (as he goes from place to place, person to person). The tv program is less concerned with creative shots and angles, lighting and composition than is it on telling the viewer the story.

Now lets consider a recent TV Drama; we could choose Broadchurch, Sherlock or many others. The story is important as it is in the documentary, but the viewer is taken on a visual journey too. Each shot is carefully crafted and often the aspect the director wants your attention on, is in focus - leaving the background out of focus. The reason for this 'shallow depth of field' (blurry background) is that it concentrates your attention, and helps build drama and tension.

Yorkshire Wedding Video - Red Lime Harrogate

So how does this work for Wedding video?
What you want from your wedding video depends on what you prefer; Documentary Wedding Video or Cinematic Wedding Video. Documentary style can easily be seen to work a Wedding day, but how do you film a cinematic wedding video if a tv drama is carefully planned out, has a huge budget and require re-takes?

It is a skill and experience that enables a wedding videographer to see the best angle, to see how the light is falling, and how to edit the results to archive a wedding video that reduces you to tears (good tears!)

Just like a good photographer can create an amazing shot from unexpected surroundings - its all about skill, creativity, and seeing beyond what is there.

Equipment also plays a part. whist not always the case, you typically find that wedding videos that are of a Documentary style are filmed with camcorders, whereas Cinematic Wedding Videos are filmed with DLSRs, Mirrorless Full Frame Cameras etc. Camcorders are quick, easy and have auto focus. They have a big depth of field too. By contrast DLSRs and Mirrorless cameras offer the wedding videographer full control over the shot in a way a camcorder simply cannot.

So where do they cross over?
A cinematic wedding video is often between 5-10 minutes long; long enough to capture your beautiful wedding day in a succinct format, that will be watched in full many times over. It's also easy to share - which is great for family and friends to watch online. Documentary wedding videos are likely to be 30-60 minutes in length - not as easy to share as the files are big and unlike the shorter cinematic style - may not always be watched in full, to the end or many times over.

Some wedding videographer's may offer an option of a 'documentary edit', and whilst their typical style is cinematic, they offer this by incorporating larger sections of footage from the ceremony and speeches etc. The finished video is visually very cinematic is style and is perfect for those looking for a longer form edit a great product - although it may be a costly choice.

Our approach at red lime is what we believe to be the best of both worlds.

We shoot and supply a Cinemetic style Wedding Reel video that is between 8-10 minutes in length. This provides a sharable video that showcases all of the day, the people, events and the stars - The Bride and Groom to their best. We find most of our Bride and Grooms also want a record of the Ceremony, Speeches and First Dance. So we film these parts of the day in their entirity and using multiple cameras. This gives the couple a special record of the vows they made surrounded by family and friends, the entertaining speeches without a word missing and that first dance as husband and wife. Without a doubt these parts of the day are special, but none more so than to the couple and there family.

Your Wedding is YOUR special day, We would love to be your first choice for your yorkshire wedding video, We are happy to customize our packages to fulfil your day, the way you would like.

January 2017
Written By: Carl Syres






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Red Lime is a small family business based in Harrogate,
North Yorkshire providing high quality video for weddings,
music video and commercial video. We also provide
photography services for events.
With over 30 years in the design industry; a critical eye for
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