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Prom Videography: Tips to Make it Worth the Expense

The standard still photos with the prom couple or a group shot with friends, all set against a theme-appropriate backdrop, has been part and parcel of prom since time immemorial. These days, though, more and more schools are expanding the memory-making potential of prom by hiring pros to do videography. After all, if photos can elicit fond sighs five years after prom night, what more if you have a cool video? Let’s check it out and see if prom videography is right for your school’s big affair.

Prom Videography Basics

Prom videography is very similar to videography done for weddings, Sweet Sixteen and Quinceanera, and other celebrations. The main difference, however, is that in prom videography everyone—the entire student body—is the focal point. Other than particular highlights like the crowning of the court, there’s no one individual person or couple that’s the focus of the night. Prom videography aims to capture the prom fun that was had by all, from start to finish, and including as many prom-goers as possible.

Shooting from Start to Finish

While each videographer will have a slight difference when it comes to shooting style and other preferences, there’s a general outline that’s followed when visualizing how the entire prom videography will play out.

  • Many videographers start shooting during the latter part of the setup, usually in time-lapse, to give the students a super quick peek at what went into getting the prom venue all set up.
  • After this, the videographer usually takes some shots of people as they enter prom, capturing both couples and groups.
  • All throughout the night, the videographer shoots as much as he or she can using as many angles as possible to gain enough footage of the event, which will, later on, be edited and spliced to make a long or short narrative.
  • In between footage of people will be artful shots of the finer details of the setup—think close up shots of the table centerpieces, or a quick slide throughout the buffet—with a memorable song or playlist of the prom committee’s choosing making for a cool background.

Sounds so much better than just a plain old photo against a backdrop, right? If you agree, here are some important things you need to know when it comes to hiring a prom videographer.

  1. Figure out the going rate: Do your research and find a ballpark figure of how much prom videographers usually charge, as well as what their individual packages include. Instead of averaging the rates of all videographers that you find in the directory, limit the numbers game to three or four companies that are known for their quality work. After all, you don’t want to waste time getting the details of videographers who won’t deliver the results you want.
  2. Learn who’s who in the industry, and compare against your prom budget: Get approval from the prom committee regarding the budget for videography, and see which companies fall into it. At the same time, keep the upper limit open in case there’s a better videographer that’s just a bit above your budget but might be willing to negotiate the current rate. Which brings us to the next point…
  3. Don’t be afraid to negotiate: The rate for prom videography is never fixed. Even if you get wind of the rates that the videographer charged School A vs. School B, the costs are usually tailored to fit the needs of each student body and matched competitively against what they’re willing to pay. Videographers usually have packages in which, if you meet a minimum amount, they can throw in a service or two either for free or at a discounted rate.
  4. Determine how long you’ll need the videography service: Most prom videographers charge by the hour. Your budget will determine if your school can afford to have behind-the-scenes footage of prom or if the clock will need to start ticking once the first promgoer sets foot in the venue. Ideally, you should have enough time to cover the most important parts of prom such as the program and the time when attendance is at its peak.
  5. Inquire about the delivery of the final product: Some prom videographers do a same-day-edit of their shoot—meaning at some point during the evening, they’ll present a preview of what they’ve gotten so far. Because they’re professionals, this footage is expertly edited within a short period to give you the videographer’s point of view of prom. Other prom videographers don’t offer this service and simply give you a beautifully edited long version of prom a few days or a week or so after it prom night.
  6. Ask about their copying service: Prom videography is usually memorialized in a DVD that’s turned over to the prom committee after the prom. If you don’t want the task of making hundreds of copies of this precious DVD upon request of your schoolmates, you can ask the videographer if he can also furnish multiple copies for distribution.
  7. Find out how many videographers will be present: The more cameras running in, out and around the venue, the more angles of the same hilarious moments—as well as more uproarious fun!—will be captured on film, making for better choices of footage to include in the final product.
  8. Raw versus final copy: Make sure to inquire whether or not you can secure a copy of the full raw footage of prom, in case this is something you or anyone else would like to have. There may be some precious footage in the raw copy that didn’t make it the final cut.
  9. Ask to see samples of previous prom coverage: Let the videographer point you in the direction of his Vimeo or YouTube channel so you can check out some of his previous work at other schools. This is important because it will give you an idea of the kind of work that he or she does. With this, you can determine if this is indeed the prom videographer with the style you are looking for and fits your budget!

For more pointers and advice on how to make this year’s prom spectacular—especially when it comes to making you look spectacular—check out our other blogs: https://sparkleprom.com/blog/