It’s no secret that planning wedding is no simple or inexpensive task. One category that has frequently been overlooked but is rapidly gaining popularity: a videographer. Do you really need a videographer at your wedding? While at the end of the day it comes down to personal opinion, we believe the answer is a firm yes! Afterall, you only live your wedding day once, so we love having a video to capture even more moments to relive for years to come. We caught up with the extremely talented Dmitry Gordievsky, owner and main cinematographer at Embark Films to learn a little more about him and his company, but also to hear his thoughts on why wedding films are so special and what the filming process is like for couples!
PI: What made you want to start your own videography studio?
DG: I believe it’s something that just happened naturally. I didn’t have some crazy goal of doing weddings specifically. I created wedding films because it came naturally to my style and my personality. I’m super dramatic and love getting to know people much deeper. When I found that I can mix cinematics, love, and storytelling into wedding films, I was hooked.
PI: What’s your favorite part about capturing people’s big days?
DG: My favorite part about a couple’s big day is seeing the two personalities collide. You get two see these two amazing personalities just mix and bounce off one another all day. You get to see how freaking happy they both are when they see each other on this day that they’ve been cultivating since day one of their journey as a couple. You see the best of everyone all in one big day and you’ll never get to experience something like that anywhere else.
PI: How did you develop your style of shooting?
DG: What I found out is that I love to capture the real thing candidly. I hate forcing couples to do something that isn’t really them just for the videographer’s or photographer’s own benefit. Capturing the couple from afar in their natural self creates a film that represents the couple for who they really are and it also lets the couple breathe and feel at ease without having a camera in their face every second.
PI: How did you learn to videograph on a professional level?
DG: Consistency and actually loving what I do. Editing every single day for 10 years, sacrificing time with friends and family, no vacations, constantly investing into myself; all of this cultivated a very hard work ethic which in turn helped me take every wedding very seriously and really focus on my craft. It then grew into a professional running studio with a highly dedicated team so we can meet more amazing couples and create even more beautiful wedding films.
PI: Were there any videographers that inspired you to become one yourself?
DG: I’m proud to say that I became a videographer on my own terms because it’s something that I naturally got interested in. The moment I picked up a camera and found out that I can edit things with music, my life changed forever. I literally felt so alone because, at the time, no one ever talked about videography. It was just a random hobby. It was later on in my career that I started to research other wedding filmmakers and fell in love with their creative style. They taught me that there is absolutely no limit to creating amazing films.
PI: As a video production studio, what are the different roles/jobs that make up your team of professionals?
DG: I remember the days when it was very simple. Just answer that one God-given email, schedule a meeting, book the couple, film their wedding, edit and create their film, done. Now it's on another level. With more and more requests coming in every year, the workload became unbearable and my focus on the client was fading, which for me, was a HUGE problem. My problem was that I said “yes” to everyone and didn’t ever want to say “no.” After a lot of testing, trials, and learning what it takes to grow and manage a video production studio, we are now a full time running, and striving to become an honest company.
CEO (Me) - Lead cinematographer and editor. Handles client meetings. Keeps track of sales and marketing. Trains new videographers and editors.
Director of Operations - Makes sure the studio is flowing properly every day and finds new ways to do things better.
Assistant - Helps answers emails and delegates which email goes where. Whether it’s a wedding or commercial film request.
Artist/Interior Designer - Creates new beautiful packaging ideas we can offer clients and creates backdrops for photographers to use in our studio rental
In-house Photographer - Capturing all the behind the scene action during weddings or in the studio
Social Media - Posts content on a daily basis. Engages followers. Also keeps track of analytics and SEO
The Wedding Videography Process:
PI: What do you think the biggest pro is to have a videographer at your wedding?
DG: You get to relive your wedding day! You will never want to forget the day your closest friends and family were by your side as your married the love of your life. There is always something funny, crazy, or emotional going on during a wedding that I believe should be captured and cherished forever. Plus, you get to be a celebrity for the day.
PI: Can you explain what the process entails for having a videographer at your wedding?
DG: Do your research! Look at multiple videographers to help you figure out what films and style you are naturally attracted to. Go with your gut as they say. Schedule a meeting with the videographer to get to know them personally, after all, the videographer you choose is going to be with you 100% of the time during the wedding. Ask core questions! Talk about their style and what makes them stand out from the rest. You want a videographer that you connect with and someone who actually wants to be a part your wedding day, not an awkward person with a camera. Talk about money! See if they’re willing to work around your budget. Humble videographers are the best videographers. They care more about you and your wedding than how much money they are getting. You don’t want to be treated like a number. After you booked your videographer, stay in touch! Make sure they are updated with everything. On the day of the wedding, trust them to do their job. You should never feel like you have to make sure the videographer isn’t doing their job. Feed them! Make sure they are well-fed… trust me.
PI: What are the most important things a couple should know before choosing a videographer for their wedding?
DG: Remember that you are hiring someone that sees the world and your wedding completely different compared to another videographer. Express why you love their style. Videographers and artists everywhere love hearing what someone loves about their work. I would love to tell you that videographers treat every couple the same but that's far from the truth. If you throw money in their face, they will treat you like a job. But if you formulate a relationship with them, they will film you and your wedding with such love and care. Let's not forget about price. Videographers of all kinds think very highly of themselves. Some will charge you $5,000 for work that is $1,000 and others will charge you $1,000 for work that is worth $5,000. Don’t judge a videographer’s skill based on price. Compare their work with other videographers in the area and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
PI: How does the collaboration between the videographer and the photographer work?
DG: Contrary to popular belief, videographers and photographers don’t really like each other. They never contact each other before the wedding and don’t plan things out together. It's like a cat versus dog kind of relationship. Why is this? Because you can’t really tell what the photographer and videographer are like over the phone, that's only done in the moment, and in person on the day of the wedding. I think everyone has just has bad experiences in 1 of 100 weddings and then base their opinion of videographers or photographers based on that one activity. We just usually try to work well together once we meet on the wedding day. But professional vendors know how to work well together without even saying a word and are prepared for anything. Plus, most vendors are really uptight and have a huge sense of pride where they believe their job is the most important. Either way, we just try our best not to get in each other's way.
PI: What are the best methods of saving and sharing your video with friend and family after the wedding?
DG: I believe you should always have an electronic copy online, whether it's on Google Drive, DropBox, or any other online storage site. This allows you to have access to your wedding film at any given time, anywhere in the world, straight from your phone or computer. You should then have a hard copy of your wedding film stored safely in an External Hard Drive sitting in your home. In case the internet dies, you will always be able to access your wedding film using a computer or laptop. We offer couples both electronic files and a box containing a flash drive and an external hard drive.
PI: What are the things the couple should think about before the big day that should be shared with the videographer?
DG: No detail is too big or too small. Have a list of every specific detail or moment that you want to be captured. Never assume the videographer will capture absolutely everything. Videographers do their best to capture everything but can sometimes miss something if they were unaware or unprepared. Something important to you might not have been as important to the videographer but the videographer would have never known that so it's best that they know what is important to you. Simply saying “capture my entire wedding” is pretty broad. Be specific and the videographer will be prepared. Not to mention that many weddings have many different cultural rituals and traditions, like honey sugar being sprinkled on the couple's heads during the ceremony and honey being poured on their pinkies…. Yea that's a real thing.
PI: What are some ways you might approach a camera-shy couple to help them have a more enjoyable experience while on film?
DG: It’s normal being camera shy. Heck, even I am camera shy and I work behind one! It all depends on the videographer’s personality. They should be able to make you feel comfortable and break the ice. If the videographer can’t do this, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. I have a sense of humor and like to make couples laugh and even forcefully make things awkward so that I am the one saying what everyone is thinking. In the end, I remind the couple to always be themselves, to never change who they are for the camera, that I am there to make sure they look good, and that I would never make them look awkward on camera. Couples want to be assured that everything they are doing is fine.
PI: What are some of your favorite techniques or ways to shoot a wedding?
DG: I focus on blending in with the crowd and to be as minimal as possible when it comes to camera gear and equipment. Since I like to film things candidly, I point and shoot very quickly so the couple or person doesn’t even know they are being filmed. I constantly focus on making sure the couple doesn’t feel pressured having a camera being pointed on them. You’d be surprised what people do when they notice a camera on them. Some people even stop breathing.
PI: What does a videographer offer to a wedding/event that a photographer can not?
DG: Videographers add flavor. They bring life and excitement to your wedding. They can even make you cry from happiness. Videographers take control of your emotions and express them in your wedding film. Nothing against photographers, but they capture beautiful moments and remind someone “how good they looked.” But once a person sees that picture, they have to remember what they felt during that moment. With a videographer, you can literally see, feel, and experience that moment all over again. We pull on your heart strings and give you goosebumps.
PI: Do the bride and groom go through the editing process with you after the wedding, or do they just see the final product?
DG: Our couples can go through the editing process with us after we send them the first draft. Couples always trust our creative process and honestly, isn’t that why you are hiring the videographer in the first place? But after we send the first draft, clients have the option of giving us their feedback and letting us know if there are any shots or moments they would like added, removed, or replaced. We do our best to get it 100% right the first time but love working with clients to make sure the film is exactly what they want and more.