Get to Know a Wedding Videographer: Valerie Barnes Film

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Today’s wedding videographer interview is with the smashing Valerie from Valerie Barnes Film, based in New York. Make sure to check out a few of her videos below!

Tell us about your company, how did you get started?

I started my business in 2000. I wanted to create films that were inspiring, evocative and honest in the way they represented a couples’ wedding story. Films that took the viewer on a journey filled with poignant imagery accompanied by a soundtrack of music that made this journey feel timeless. I also wanted to connect with my couples on a personal level — learn who they were, what they liked, and how this influenced the look and feel of their wedding day. In this way, when I arrived to film, I knew what to look for when making shot choices. I could only realize these ideas by creating my own business.

Prior to 2000, I was a filmmaker freelancing for other wedding companies and was not impressed by their work, the intention of their work, nor their manner of relating to couples. These companies were wedding factories with the philosophy of “book as many weddings as possible and hire many shooters, no matter the talent level, to cover these events”. Creating a film that told the couple’s personal story and respected the integrity of storytelling was of no interest. The end result was a cookie cutter product that looked cheesy and sounded cheesy. In other words, “a wedding video”.


Love at Stonemill Gardens from Valerie Barnes Film on Vimeo.

What are some things couples should look for when looking for a videographer?

Do research. If you want a certain aesthetic, you need to look for the filmmaker whose films match your style.

Meet the filmmaker. This is so you can establish a comfort level beforehand, view their portfolio and confirm that they will be filming your wedding. Your filmmaker will be with you for at least 8 hours so you had better like them. You also don’t want to be greeted on your wedding day by a stranger.

Ask questions. Learn how they work on the wedding day and how they work with you after the wedding day.

Understand the package you ordered. What is included and what is an additional cost.

Book at least 9 months in advance. Your wedding film is priceless because it will be in your family archive for generations. Make it a top priority.

Budget appropriately. If you want a quality film, then set aside a budget for having a quality film created.

What is your favorite part of the day to capture?

When the bride and groom get dressed on the day. I love the anticipation that fills the air and the nervous excitement felt by all. I also love this part of the day because this the moment I record a short conversation with them that I include in their film. I love listening to their stories.

How do you feel videography has changed in the last few years?

There has been a shift in the way wedding films are now perceived and a shift in the talent level of filmmakers. In the past, few filmmakers wanted to document weddings — they preferred working in production houses or making independent or commercial films. They did not hold wedding films in high regard, rather connected them to “cheesy” churned out products with low production quality.

With the introduction of the 24fps camera, these filmmakers began crossing over into the market. Then, Canon and Nikon ignited the industry with the DSLR cameras which were affordable, recorded in High Definition, and came with the option of using various cinematic lenses that could capture stunning imagery with incredible depths of field. All of this opened the floodgates. There are many more filmmakers shooting weddings. Creating cinematic wedding films can now be realized.

Today, we identified as cinematographers or filmmakers. Yesterday, we were videographers.

The soundtrack has also been given new life. There are more sites available to purchase licensed music and filmmakers are seizing this opportunity to score their films with non-traditional music.


A Vineyard Wedding from Valerie Barnes Film on Vimeo.

Do you have advice for wedding videographers just starting out?

Be passionate about filmmaking. Filmmakers that work with me are passionate about filmmaking. They bring the same enthusiasm and desire of creating a stunning piece of work no matter if it is a wedding film or another project..

Learn from someone who’s work you respect. Intern with them. Filming a wedding is not easy. It requires a lot of energy and alertness because many unpredictable situations will present themselves and you must adjust on the spot. It’s definitely not a walk in the park.

Know your value and your talent. A wedding filmmaker wears many hats — director, cinematographer, producer, stylist, audio and lighting person, editor, music researcher – honor your worth and translate this into the amount charged for your service. When filmmakers underestimate their value and underprice themselves, then clients or other wedding professionals don’t respect the industry’s value.

If you were to make a blooper reel, what moment that you’ve captured would make us laugh the most?

You know, I have friends who keep suggesting that I do one, but I have no interest! I love to laugh but I’d prefer to laugh at other’s bloopers, lol.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Convincing couples and wedding professionals that a wedding film should be considered a top priority rather than a last minute addition. The magic of sound combined with moving imagery is an experience that will leave an indelible mark on your family and friends and will carry over for generations. Put it at the top of your list and dedicate a healthy budget to it.

Educating couples and other professionals about what is involved with making a film. They just don’t know the time involved and talent needed in order to create a quality film. When I’ve explained to my couples the many hats I wear on the wedding day and then during the editing process, they respond “I never thought of it like that.”

 Thanks Valerie! For more about Valerie Barnes Film, check out her WeddingVideoLove profile, or head straight to her website. You can also follow Valerie on her blog, Facebook or Pinterest!

Any questions or comments for Valerie? Leave them below!

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