Wedding Films: Cinematic Vs. Documentary

Cinematic Vs. Documentary: Choosing the Right Wedding Film Direction

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Jessica Hickman, one of the beautiful brides we've worked with, opted for a cinematic wedding film.

Planning for a wedding is daunting

It's difficult, messy, expensive, and exhausting. So many decisions, both large and small, go into every detail. Searching for the right wedding vendor to suit your needs can be very stressful and downright tedious! Do you search for them online using The Knot or Wedding Wire? Do you attend the Rocky Mountain Bridal Show to peruse vendors face to face? Do you opt to use a vendor recommended by your venue? Beyond figuring out where to look for a vendor, you must ask yourself perhaps the most important question of all: Do they offer a product that you absolutely love? 

Too often brides fall for the myth that the very best is the most expensive. I can't speak for the entire wedding vendor community, but I can absolutely say that this idea is false in the wedding film industry. The wedding film industry is one of the most diverse wedding industries on the market. Of the handful of small wedding filmmaking companies out there, I've yet to come across two companies that create the same film styles. That said, there's tremendous opportunity for brides and grooms to shop around and find a wedding filmmaker who creates films in a style that you'll fall in love with.

I'm going to discuss two of the most prominent styles of wedding films: cinematic and documentary, and the pros of each, so that brides, grooms, and families can make a better informed decision on what to look for when booking your wedding filmmaking company.

 The heartwarming first Mekelburg-Carlson family selfie. This shot was possible because they chose the cinematic film style.

The heartwarming first Mekelburg-Carlson family selfie. This shot was possible because they chose the cinematic film style.

Cinematic Wedding Films

Rather than saving "the best" for last, I thought I'd save you the time and just jump right in! Cinematic wedding films are Foster Creative's specialty, and they are the wedding film direction that most prominent wedding filmmakers take when creating their films. Also called wedding feature films, cinematic wedding films are created to be easy and enjoyable to watch over and over again, for years to come. Usually on the shorter side (3-8 minutes), these films are created to evoke strong, joyful emotion. Cinematic wedding videographers film using tools and techniques that capture moments in very creative, artistic ways.

When Foster Creative is filming for cinematic videos, we'll use a variety of different cameras, lenses, and camera stabilization tools to capture beautiful, moving compositions. When editing our footage, we select many short clips, cut them to the pacing of our background track, add beautiful animated text to introduce the couple, and enhance the footage by adding extra smooth stabilization, correcting colors and adding a creative filter. All of which goes into creating films like this one we created for Matt & Kari Hohn of Manhattan, KS!:

 

Cinematic Wedding Film Pros:

  • Short enough to keep everyone's attention
  • Long enough to include every important wedding moment
  • Easy to watch and share
  • Lots of room for the both the couple's and the filmmaker's creativity
  • Evokes strong emotion to bond the viewer with the couple
  • Can often create a story narrative
  • Bonus: Foster Creative's Specialty!

 

 Kyle & Becca, the moment after they were pronounced husband and wife. This shot was possible because they chose the cinematic film style.

Kyle & Becca, the moment after they were pronounced husband and wife. This shot was possible because they chose the cinematic film style.

Documentary Wedding Films

Documentary wedding films are a great option for those with tighter budgets, looking only for simple documentation of their ceremony and reception. Much less work goes into creating these films on both the filming and editing side of the production, making them a good choice for those who want to guarantee that their major moments are captured using solid video and audio gear.

Often documentary wedding filmmakers will use equipment sparingly, using only a camera and tripod, with a variety of different audio equipment at the filmmaker's discretion. Here's a good example:

Documentary Wedding Film Pros:

  • Usually cheaper than cinematic films
  • Ability to look back at your ceremony and reception exactly how it happened
  • Often a quicker turnaround time, compared to cinematic films
  • Bonus: Foster Creative INCLUDES documentary coverage of the wedding ceremony as a bonus video for every couple who books one of our cinematic wedding film packages!
 Dayton & Lizzy Dekam, during their first look, swelling with emotion from reading notes they created for each other. This shot was possible because they chose the cinematic film style.

Dayton & Lizzy Dekam, during their first look, swelling with emotion from reading notes they created for each other. This shot was possible because they chose the cinematic film style.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to selecting a wedding filmmaker, my best advice is this:

  • Are they within your budget?
  • Have I watched their films? If so, do I love their filmmaking style?
  • Do they create wedding films in the style I want most?
  • Am I emotionally connected with the filmmaker's style?
  • Can I picture my whole family sitting down to watch my wedding film for years to come?

If you answered yes to all of the question above, then I have great news... you've found your wedding filmmaker. If you think Foster Creative might be that company, please discover more of our cinematic films right here.


Steven Foster founded Foster Creative in 2015. He's the lead salesman, marketer, videographer, and video editor at Foster Creative.