The Differences Between a Cinematic Wedding Video and a Documentary Wedding Video: What You Need to Know

When choosing a wedding videographer, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make regards the type of video you actually want. Understanding the differences between a cinematic¬†wedding video and one with a more documentary¬†approach is key, as it will help you pick the technique that is best for you and what you’re looking for from the end result.

The Cinematic Wedding Video

A number of core qualities both define a cinematic wedding video and separate it from one shot in the documentary style. You can expect qualities like:

  • Subjects that make direct eye contact with the camera
  • Staged slow motion, sliding, gliding scenes and other techniques
  • A bulky equipment setup. For the best results, a cinematic wedding video will require things like a camera rig with a big lens, a slider, a Steadycam, tripods, multiple crew members and more, creating a significant footprint during your event

In that regard, a cinematic wedding video is very similar to a photoshoot. The wedding filmmaker will guide you, create certain situations and interactions and will ultimately require more “face time” with you in order to create the most cinematic look and feel possible.

The Documentary Wedding Video

A documentary wedding video, on the other hand, is by its very nature less intrusive. While the camera is present during the entire day, the filmmaker will not be guiding you or recreating certain situations or events Рhe or she is merely there to capture the events of the day exactly as they unfold. Slow motion, sliding, gliding scenes and other more cinematic techniques achieved in the process of naturally unfolding events and not being staged.

Because of this, a documentary wedding video will have an overall natural look and feel to it. There will be no eye contact with the camera – the camera is intended to be the eye of the viewer. In addition to a minimalistic camera setup, the documentary wedding filmmaker will go completely unnoticed. They are an impartial, third-party observer that has no effect on the day, but is merely there to capture even the smallest details exactly as they occurred.