A wedding video can be 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 8 minutes, 10, 20, 60, 120. You might get 1 videographer, you might get 2. Some companies even offer 3 videographers. You might need 6 hours of coverage, you might want 8, maybe 10? Some couples even just want 4 hours. You get the point; a wedding video can really vary depending where you go.
One thing you might not completely think of is just how much time is spent after the wedding to make your video. Whether it’s a short 5 minute video or a long 60 minute video, there’s a lot of work that happens behind the scenes to make your video come out the way it is. Here are a few samples.
I’ll spoil this article and tell you how many hours it takes now. Nah, maybe not. Keep reading.
So after the wedding is over, the first thing I do when I get home is take the memory cards and back up all the footage to a hard drive at my desk. All the videos, the audio, everything. Depending on how long the wedding day was and how much we shot, this takes about an hour. That night I might even back it up to a 2nd hard drive so I have it in two places. If I do that, it’s another half hour. Other times I’ll back it up again the next day instead of that night. Point is, I want to make sure all the media is safe and on my hard drives so I can clear my memory cards and have it stored properly. Now it’s ready to edit.
The next thing I do is sort through all the video. Every clip we shot gets looked at, every single one. We are usually at a wedding about 8-9 hours. Now, we aren’t recording every second of the day but we are shooting a lot, and we have multiple cameras, so there is a lot to go through. I go through all of it and pull out the best pieces of every clip. Some clips have nothing I see that I want to use, some have 3 or 4 good parts, it all varies. This process takes about 10-12 hours. Now I have gone through all the clips, found the best pieces and I know what I like. The next part is putting the ceremony and reception together.
We usually shoot the ceremony with 3 cameras, sometimes 4. We also have audio from wireless mics. This needs to get synchronized so we can easily switch between camera angles when we want, and see the ceremony all put together with each camera angle. Depending on how long the ceremony was and how many cameras we used, this takes an hour or two. Then there’s the reception. Now we don’t record the entire reception but we have the introductions, the formal dances, and the toasts that need to be synced up. Similar process to the ceremony so this takes another hour or two to organize that and get it put together. Now we’re at about 12-16 hours.
Now the footage is sorted through, ceremony and reception are organized. Time to find music! No joke, sometimes this takes me 30 seconds, sometimes it takes me 2 hours. I might find the song that sounds right the second I start looking, and I’ve also had times where I played through songs for almost 2 hours and didn’t find the right one. It’s one of the most important pieces.
Next up, edit the video! Now it’s time to take that music, and put some video over it. What I’ll do is listen through the vows and the toasts for the best pieces and I pull those aside so I know what I want to use. That takes about and hour or two. Then I start putting clips over the music, and I mostly go in order of the day. I’ll put in some clips of the bride getting ready, her bridesmaids, getting hair done, makeup, etc. Then I go through and put in pieces of the toasts and vows that match and make the most sense to me. I might show the actual footage from the ceremony or the reception of them speaking or I may keep it on them getting ready. Then I do the same thing for the groom. The way I edited my videos is basically two halves; I show the bride and groom getting ready, go into their first look if they have one, then to their ceremony, and that’s the first half. If you’ve never seen my videos, it might seem like the video is over at the end of the ceremony. But it’s just a short 2 second pause and then I go into the 2nd half of the video.
The 2nd half of the video is the reception; so I show some footage of decorations, the cake, the venue, then the introductions of the wedding party, and then the bride and groom getting introduced. Then some clips of them dancing, then their parent dances, the cake cutting, and then the video is finished off with a 2-3 minute montage of people dancing and having a blast at the reception. This whole part takes about 10 hours. Now the video is edited from start to finish.
Last but not least, similar to the icing on a cake, I do the color correction. Throughout the day of the wedding we are changing settings from indoor to outdoor, changing lighting settings, etc. So the footage might look off in color, or be dark in some areas, too light in other shots, things like that. Color correction is where that all gets fixed. We brighten up things that are too dark, tone down areas that are too bright, and fix colors that are just not set right. For a 5-10 minute highlight video, this takes about 1.5 hours. For a 20-40 minute video it takes close to 2-3 hours. Now the video is done! About 25-28 hours later, the video is ready to send to the couple.
(If I’m doing a longer video in addition to the highlight, it’s another 6-8 hours of editing. This is the time of adding more ceremony footage, removing certain parts and adding more in other areas, adding more to the reception.)
It’s quite the process. When I first started doing wedding videos, it actually took me 35-40 hours to edit the video. That’s a whole work week for most people, pretty crazy. But after many times of doing it, figuring out better ways to do things, getting more efficient, I got to where I am now.
I hope you enjoyed this article. This is a craft we as wedding videographers take our time to perfect and we really put our heart into it. At least speaking for myself, it’s something we do because we love it. Getting the reaction emails of “OMG this is amazing I cried! Thank you so much!” or “Thank you so much Mike, we are truly grateful we had you capture our day this is more than we could ask for” is something that really means a lot to me. It makes it all worth it and it truly brings me joy. I actually did a screen recording and voice over of me editing a wedding video once, if you would like to see it, go here. If you have any questions for me or if you are looking for a wedding videographer, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out my work on my wedding video section.
Thank you for reading.