Videography is something that many couples I work with are torn about. On one hand, anyone who’s seen a good wedding video knows how absolutely amazing it would be to have a video heirloom of their wedding to watch and be a able to relive all of the memories and emotions of the day. On the other hand, it’s expensive. Though I’ve never been married and therefore don’t have firsthand experience with this dilemma, I can totally sympathize with it. But here’s what you should know: none of my couples who chose to have videography be a part of their wedding have ever regretted spending the money on it. So keep that in the back of your mind if you’re struggling with this issue currently! Moving on…
Remember those good wedding videos I just referenced? Inkspot Crow is pumping them out like it’s going out of style. Their wedding videos are chock full of emotion and they capture every single important moment and thread those moments together to tell the story of a wedding day flawlessly. I could watch them all day and I know almost none of the couples in their videos. I do know one, however – I was lucky enough to work with Philip and Mackenzie (the husband and wife team behind Inkspot Crow) on one of our 2015 weddings on Cape Cod. In addition to being amazing to work with prior to the wedding, Philip showed up on the wedding day and was professional, organized, and perhaps most importantly, was totally obscure but still managed to capture it all. That’s basically the vidoegraphy trifecta, and these two have managed to perfect it.
Tell me a little bit about yourselves and about Inkspot Crow!
Philip and I founded Inkspot Crow Films in 2010. This spring we’ll film our 100th wedding! We balance running our company with raising our two kids Pax & Bea (and dog Charlie) in Brevard, NC. We spend most of our summers in mid-coast Maine. Philip is lead cinematographer (shooter) and taught me everything I know about shooting. He also edits our films. Most of the time, I’m shooting weddings alongside Philip but we have two cinematographers who work with us regularly as well. I handle the “behind-the-scenes” for Inkspot Crow: client relations, logistics, marketing, finances, etc. We truly love our jobs!
What made you want to become a wedding videographer?
Philip and I (MacKenzie) brainstormed Inkspot Crow Films while on our honeymoon. We had awesome photos from the day (my sister is photographer Meredith Perdue), but we hadn’t hired a videographer because we’d only been exposed to cheesy wedding films, and that didn’t appeal to us.
After our wedding day, my sister sent us a video by SharkPig in California. It was the first time we thought of wedding films as being artistic and we kicked ourselves for not having a video of our own wedding. At the time, Philip was teaching high school English and I was working on pre-reqs for nursing school. Philip had taken a semester in LA to learn about film production, so he knew the basics and could teach me. We thought filming weddings and using a unique editing style would meet a need on the east coast and would fit with our work/school schedules well. We filmed a few friends’ weddings to build a portfolio and the rest is history! Within a year we were both able to leave our jobs (I decided against nursing school!) and pursue filmmaking full time.
What types of clients do you love to work with?
We love working with couples who are enthusiastic about each other, their wedding celebration, and about the vendors they’ve chosen to work with. We love working with clients who have watched a few (or more!) of our films and can tell us why they like our style. Working with couples who appreciate our efforts (both on the wedding day and in the edit) is so special and makes us work harder. We love filming weddings with an outdoor component…natural light is preferred. We love working with a good planner- to keep us in the loop before and during the celebrations and someone who can really lead the vendor team to create a smooth wedding day.
What’s your favorite piece of equipment?
Well Philip would say his audio recorder (Tascam) and wirelss mics. Good audio is SO important to our films – capturing a special toast or your vows and incorporating those into your wedding films is a signature part of our work. And the difference between great audio and poor audio quality is HUGE in the professional level of a wedding filmmaker. I would say my favorite piece of equipment is my Zeiss 85 lens. I love using it while capturing a bride getting ready- perfect for dress details and eye expressions. Such a beautiful lens.
What does a typical wedding day look like for Inkspot Crow?
Well, our work begins long before the wedding day. We work with the planner (and often photographer) to finalize timeline information, weigh in on first look location, contact the band, officiant, and rehearsal dinner location about getting an audio feed for our recordings. We spend a good deal of time before each wedding prepping gear: charging batteries for cameras and audio, cleaning, packing. So, lots of logistics before we even set foot in our car or on the plane.
Having a video chat with the couple a few weeks before the wedding is a super important piece of our process. Rather than use this time to discuss logistics (luckily we have planners for that!), we spend time getting to know them as a couple- what they do together, where they spend their weekends, how they met, what they are excited about during their wedding weekend, about their families, etc. It makes it so much fun to show up on a wedding day and to have already built rapport with a couple. We’ll be with you for most of the day on a very important day of your life, so it’s crucial you feel comfort with us. This time together also gives couples the chance to ask us questions.
When the wedding day comes, we eat a protein-fueled breakfast/lunch and GO! Typically I’ll join the bride/maids to film them getting ready and Philip will join the groom and his friends. Before the ceremony we are working hard to capture moments and one of us sets up audio. We split up a bit after the ceremony again so I can film cocktail hour and Philip typically joins the couple during their portraits. Really, it’s “go go go” until the dance floor opens, when we usually take a short break to eat and then join the party to film some of the festivities on the dance floor!
Take me through everything that goes into delivering an amazing wedding video, from the moment the client inquires until the wedding is over?
Well as I mentioned above, a lot of work goes into the wedding before the weekend even arrives (meetings, video chats, timeline review). We work tirelessly on the wedding day to make sure we capture as many important, meaningful moments as possible while still keeping a creative eye throughout the day. It’s a balance of left-brain/right-brain for sure. Crazy enough though, most of our work begins when we get back to our studio and begin uploading and editing the film(s). Philip typically spends one full week (35-40 hours) editing a 4 minute film (from organizing footage to color grading final products). Most clients get a 4 minute film and a Feature Film, so it’s not uncommon to spend 2-3 weeks on each wedding after the wedding day. Once the films are done we package everything nicely on custom USBs and DVDs and mail it off.
I always tell my clients to select two or three main priorities for their wedding and focus their resources on those items. If a couple is prioritizing videography, how much should they expect to invest for an awesome wedding video?
This is hard to say because I am not very familiar with the pricing of other videographers in New England. Most couples working with Inkspot Crow spend around $7000, but this is not our starting point. For local weddings (NC or Maine in summer) we start around $5200.
Editor’s note: if videography is a priority for you (and you’re getting married in New England), you should expect to invest between 5 and $10,000.
What are some ways couples who are on a tight budget can still work with a videographer?
I can definitely understand tight budgets and our work is not in everyone’s budget. A few of our clients have asked for Inkspot Crow as their wedding gift from parents or to each other. So, being creative with where the money is coming from can be helpful. If that’s not an option, and you like someone’s style but they are out of your price range, ask them if they know of any new, upcoming or lower-priced filmmakers who you should consider. We hear from new wedding videographers frequently so we can often direct couples with limited budgets their way. But I also think you ‘get what you pay for’ so consider this closely when choosing someone to work with on your wedding day.