What to choose: a cinematic or documentary wedding video?

Videography is an important part of every wedding, as no couple wants to miss the chance to save their important date when such a possibility presents itself. As with various types of wedding photos, the majority of videographers will offer two styles they can shoot the celebration: cinematic or documentary. In this article, we would contemplate both of them, so you would be able to select the one for your liking.

What is a cinematic wedding video?

Cinematic wedding videography implies the usage of stylistics, storytelling and editing that are inherent to movies. Cinematic wedding film won’t give you a chronological playback of the whole day, but rather a creative overview driven by a certain theme or story. 

Storytelling is especially important for these kinds of videos, as it creates a plot which will unite the scattered shots into a full-fledged, unified film. In cinematic style wedding video, you will also see different camera work techniques, for example, drone shots, slow motion, voice-overs, etc., which would give it a more exquisite look.

The big benefit of this style is flexibility: the only limits are your imagination and the skill of your cameraman. If you desire to have a fun video instead of classically touching one, or you want to go more extravagant and break all old-school patterns for ceremony shot, or you want to center it around certain aspect of your love story, cinematic wedding video grants the capacity to experiment and stand out from dozens of resembling ceremony tapes.

How to make a cinematic wedding video?

The most obvious route for the couple to obtain a cinematic film will be to hire a professional who will be able to shoot a film. This way, you won’t need to worry about the result or control the videographer during the celebration, as you might do if you ask a non-pro (for example, someone from your relatives or friends) to shoot the event. A cinematic shoot is more technically demanding in every way, from uniting every moment of the day into an exciting story to using different cinematic techniques efficiently and creatively. Hence, only a professional will be able to deliver quality, satisfying results.

The key would be to select the right specialist. Check local wedding videographers in your area, select the ones whose portfolio seems to match your expectations and wishes, meet them offline to see if you really click together — the cameraman will follow you on every step that day, so you should feel easy to have them around for such a long period during such an important occasion.

What is a documentary style wedding video?

Documentary style wedding videography implies that the film is going to be a play-by-play recording that covers the day from the very beginning to the very end. These videos won’t be polished as much, there won’t be any extra editing, voice-overs, interesting effects or creative edge. It also may lack storytelling, as the documentary style wedding videographer will give a linear recording of the event without any talking head shots or other techniques you might see in cinematic-like video. 

Though a documentary wedding film wouldn’t be as creative and unusual as the first type we mentioned, it is still a great and valuable memorabilia. If you want to remember the marriage ceremony in details exactly as it was, a documentary would be able to rewake the smallest details in your mind and convey the festive ambience. 

At the same time, some specialist might still use some movie-like techniques, while following the documentary style and structure. In this case, it would be a more of photojournalistic approach, which will make your video more engaging.

The main differences between the two styles

The major difference between cinematic and documentary films concerns the structure,  stylistics, and creativity level used to depict the events of the day: cinematic videos are more creative, figurative, polished, while documentary ones are pretty much straightforward and realistic. 

However, they differ in other aspects too, and these distinctions can also influence your final choice. Usually, documentary-like videos come out much longer, as they follow the day as it goes, while cinematic ones are shorter, because the specialist might cut out some shots during the editing to preserve the concept or stylistics of the whole film. 

In terms of pricing, documentary would be cheaper, as it would take less resources from a cameraman to shot and edit the video. Movie-like stylistic will demand more profound skills and more time, which will increase the cost.

You should also understand that having a specialist who shoots a documentary would be less tense and intrusive: they will just capture the developments as they unfold almost without interfering. Cinematic shot will most likely require a videography crew that will move around for better angles, carry around a lot of equipment. They might even stage some moment to ensure the quality of the scene or require repeating something to get a better shot. 

But no matter how, documentary-like style is more common for wedding films: almost every old-school and the majority of modern videos just simply follow the couple from the morning to the evening. In turn, a cinematic film would build a wow-effect and depict the day in far more intriguing manner in comparison with conventional tapes.


So, cinematic vs documentary wedding video: which would be better? Truth be told, there is no right answer to that question. Each ceremony is one of kind, and the expectation vary from couple to couple. For someone, an extravagant, vivid movie-like film would be the best, while another couple might dream for a detailed documentary style wedding video to send it with relatives who couldn’t attend or even show later to their future children. 
Thus, weight up the pros and cons of every style, understand your expectation, make a choice and apply to our wedding videographers in Miami: Vanilla Brides would be happy to ensure a coverage of your big day in any of these two styles!