Why are Asian wedding videography prices so high?
'Why do Asian wedding videographers charge so much?'
'Why are Asian weddings so expensive?'
'Add Asian to the title and the price triples!'
It's true, Asian weddings are an expensive affair. According to the Financial Times, the average spent on British Asian weddings ranges between £50k-£70k, while spend for western weddings is only £17k-£20k.
What about the videography?
Prices for Asian wedding videography can range anywhere between £500 to over £5,000 per day!
That is expensive! But why?
In this post I am going to break down the costs associated with Asian wedding videography.
The prices are high however they might not be as bad as you think. I will provide some useful guidance on how you can analyse Asian wedding videography packages and find affordable yet high-quality videography.
There are many factors to consider
The prices put forward by Asian wedding videography companies in the UK are influenced by a number of factors, including time, equipment, travel, competition and the word 'Asian'.
Let's take a look at the following:
The word 'Asian'
Time, time and time...
Weddings take a long time to edit. I can't emphasis this point enough. The time it takes to film, edit and produce a wedding video is often overlooked.
Filming time isn't too bad
There is a simple formula to assess the number of hours an Asian wedding videographer will be filming for:
Ceremony duration + 4 hours due to everyone arriving late!
Additional run-over time always needs to be taken into consideration, especially for Asian weddings. Even with this in mind, the above calculation will only give you half the picture.
The time spent filming is much shorter than the time needed to edit the film. Good wedding videographers will spend many hours working on every little detail.
Editing time gives you the big numbers
The wedding trailer is one of the most important parts of the production. This is often the main video content that will be shared with the client's family, friends and all over their social media.
The trailer is also used by videography companies to promote their business, giving prospecting clients an idea of what they can do. As a result of this, much time and effort goes into the detail of every frame.
Let me show you what I mean
Have a look at this wedding trailer I produced. Pay particular attention to the detail in editing; focusing on the shots, angles, sound and story.
Did you notice that the video was in-sync with the music? Take another look. Small details like this play a huge role when editing a wedding trailer. This trailer took four weeks to produce, and it's only a short trailer. A full feature-length film will take even longer to complete, ranging from 3-6 months.
Burning the film
In order to pass the film onto the client, it needs to be put onto some sort of medium. Back in the days, the wedding video was recorded onto a video tape, which was later replaced by DVD.
Standard DVD is no longer able to support some of the high-quality video that modern cameras are capable of producing. As a result many videogrpahers will offer their work on Blu-ray DVD or a USB, with the trailer being made available online via YouTube or Vimeo.
The process of burning onto DVD, Blu-ray or uploading online can take many hours, and will often be left overnight. A good Videographer will invest in high quality equipment in order to ensure the process runs smoothly. This can also contribute to the costs.
TIP: Make sure you ask about the format of the final film. a standard DVD is great to have as a backup but the quality is just not good enough, unless the film is spread over multiple discs. Look for videographers that offer Blu-Ray or USB.
How much equipment does a cameraman really need?
Just a camera right? Wrong.
In fact a professional wedding videographer will need a number of devices to ensure they are able to capture the day in detail.
Here is a list of some of the items I use for example. Click on each one to see the current price on Amazon:
Modern day cameras are much more expensive than they used to be. Long gone are the days of large over-the-shoulder video cameras. These are now considered old fashioned and do not possess the capabilities to get the modern cinematic film look.
What do they use these days?
Most videography companies will use a DSLR or similar video camera that allows them to shoot in manual mode. Putting the camera in automatic mode will not get the desired professional look that you see in many modern day wedding videos.
Throughout the day the videographer will be adjusting variables such as the shutter speed, Apature, ISO and lense. Did you think they simply point and shoot?
TIP: Ensure your videographer uses a DSLR or something similar, that will allow them to shoot in manual mode. More importantly make sure they are capable of using the manual features and are not just going to film in automatic mode
Some good Canon cameras for filming weddings include the Canon EOS 5 Mark III, Mark IV, Canon 70D and Canon 60D. Some videographers use models from less well-known brands. In short all these cameras are fine, it's more about the editing.
The visual element of videography is easy to understand. Cameras record pictures that look good or bad. Less obvious is the money spent on the audio.
A good wedding videography will not rely on their built-in camera microphone for all of their audio. Many DSLRs simply do not have good quality mics. The cameraman should purchase an external add-on such as a Rhode mic or H4N Zoom Mic.
Mic vs Mic
Let's take a look at an example.
The videos below are taken from a Nikkah I filmed in 2016. Both videos have an identical visual, however the audio has been made a variable.
Video A - Professional Mic
Video B - Standard Camera Mic
Did you notice the difference? Even if the camera's own microphone is high-quality, the distance between the camera and subject cannot be improved or we will have an extreme close-up video. Much of the background noise is therefore heard.
Good Videographers purchase external mics that are either clipped onto the subject or put close to one of the speakers. This adds to the equipment cost.
Cost to keep the camera still
Keeping the camera still is of high importance to professional videographers. Nothing looks more armature than a shaky camera, no matter how high quality the video. Money is spent on Tripods, monopods, sliders and dollys (Tripod wheels).
In some cases a company will hire a crane to help capture aerial footage.
Bring in the camera crane
A crane can give the videographer some Bollywood-like footage. While this is a great feature to have there is a huge cost associated.
Most companies do not own their own crane but rather hire one. A crane can cost over £450 to hire. Not only do they need to hire the crane but an additional videographer is also required to operate it. This means that profits will now be shared amongst the camera operators, and as you might expect, the overall cost sores.
TIP: Although a crane can get you some good footage, you need to ask yourself whether the additional costs are worth it? I personally recommend looking for storytelling and editing over fancy equipment. A camera on a monopod can be held up just as high as a crane!
The drone shot
Similar to the camera crane, a drone allows the cameraman to film from a height, much greater than that of a crane.
There is cost associated with buying or hiring a good quality drone as well as another operator. In this case the cameraman needs to be capable of flying the drone, which can be difficult to find, adding to the cost.
TIP: A drone can only be used outdoors. What if it rains? It's a risk that might pay off, but just remember that a drone is likely to add over 1.5k to the cost.
Travel there, travel back
Not only does the cameraman travel to and from the venue, but often they would attend the house first in order to film the morning preparations. The travel time between home and venue can vary.
Not only does the travel time need to be taken into consideration but the cost associated with the travel should be calculated too. Someone who is registered with HMRC will be able to claim some expense on travel costs, but this does not mean it will be fully reimbursed. They still need to take this into consideration when charging you 'the client'.
Tip: A UK wedding videographer must legally be registered with HMRC, either as a sole trader or LTD company. Make sure they are registered before doing business.
Some companies voluntarily register for VAT. This is perfect for the company director. They charge their client an additional 20% and only pay back a portion to HMRC, making a profit. Most businesses can claim back VAT so are not too concerned by this, but hang on, you're not a business!
If a company is VAT registered they MUST charge their clients an additional 20%.
TIP: Double check this with your videographer before signing the deal. This is extra expense that provides you with no benefit.
Labour - How many videographers are required?
The cost associated with Asian wedding videography will increase in line with the number of camera operators. The below is an estimate based on a sample of data collected from videography websites.
Multiple videographers are a great way of ensuring that no moment is missed, however the prices sore as more staff are added.
TIP: Try finding a videographer who works alone but uses multiple cameras. They can set up one static camera while moving around with the other. This ensures no action is missed and keeps costs low.
Let's Google 'Asian wedding videography', how many results are there? 10? 500? 1000? more?
There are lots of companies offering Asian wedding videography in the UK. Competition for work of this nature is extremely high.
Most weddings occur during the summer, from May to August. What happens outside of these months? Do video people simply stop earning?
In most cases videographers work full-time jobs in order to earn a steady income. This means that the videography is more or less bonus work for them. Find someone who is passionate about film, they might not charge very much but will produce a high-quality product.
Marketing Costs Money
As shown above, many videography companies pay to get onto the first page of Google search. When you type in 'Asian Wedding Videography', the top results are actually ads. This is known as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising.
PPC is not exclusive to Google, the same concept is used on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Bing, LinkedIn and so on. Videography companies are often in a bid war, increasing the amount they are willing to spend in order to get into position one. Think about it like bidding on ebay items.
How much does PPC cost?
So how much does it cost these companies to be in the top position for terms such as 'Asian wedding videography', 'Pakistani wedding videos' and 'Cinematic wedding videography'? The answer is it varies on a number of factors, but I will give you a rough idea.
It is not uncommon to spend over £400 per month on the terms above. Now lets add the social media PPC costs and you are looking at over £700.
If a videographer gets one booking per month, they cannot possibly afford to charge less than this.
Experience costs more
The more experience a person has the more confidence they have to charge a higher rate, knowing that they will produce a good quality product.
Why are some packages so cheap?
Think about this. If someone has little experience they have no way of knowing whether their work is going to be liked by others. They may be unsure about whether they are going to capture everything or miss a key scene. As a result they charge less.
I was recently contacted by a former client who wanted me to edit her wedding video. I was the videographer for her pre-wedding event, and she chose another company to film her main wedding day.
The other company were 'affordable' and came with two cameramen, however the editing was so bad that she had to pay me to re-edit their work. The film missed key moments, there was no cinematic trailer and the cameraman could be heard shouting all the way through the film.
Next time you see a cheap package, question whether it is really affordable.
Connecting Asian wedding videos with social media
Experience not only ensures a videographer will do a good job, but it can help them invent new ideas in the business instead of imitating everyone else.
Through my experience I discovered that people were getting more interested in sharing their wedding videos via social media. So I invented a solution known as Marble Clips. These are short wedding clips that can be shared to social media with ease. I provide my clients with a copy on USB, along with the full film.
Look out for innovation when searching for an Asian wedding videographer. A videographer with good ideas may charge more, but it's worth it.
Before I discuss the last point, I want to highlight that it is not just Asian wedding products and services that are expensive. Take a look at this ring!
Tell me about the word 'Asian'
I agree, add the word Asian to the event and the price triples.
There is no escaping it, a videography company will need to know the event type in order to assess whether it is something they can film.
Unfortunately many people are aware of the stats I discussed at the start of this post, that Asians are paying more for their wedding services.
This is partly down to the sheer size of Asian wedding functions, but also because there is sometimes competition between the families of who can hold the bigger function.
Asian wedding videographers are aware of this and in some cases simply increase the prices for that reason.
How can you ensure you do not fall victim to this?
Throughout this article a number of tips have been provided on how you can analyse and assess wedding videography companies. The key points can be summarised below:
Check their work
Ensure you watch the full list of trailers available on their website. Asses the attention to detail and method of story telling.
Ask how many cameramen (or camerawomen)
A good company will have either multiple cameramen or multiple cameras with one operator. Ensure your film will be recorded with more than one camera.
Check if they are registered
If they are not, question why. It is a legal requirement that all companies are registered with HMRC.
Avoid Paying VAT