Search for common answers — or filter FAQs by category.

Have a question about Vanilla Video?

Questions about Vanilla Video

General Videography Answers Database


Vanilla Video™ Support

Vanilla Video Questions

How much does a typical wedding video cost?

No wedding is the same, and packages are completely customizable. With a single videographer at your wedding, prices can range from $100 - 1.5k or more. For two videographers, a range of $600 - 2.8k is more common.

Do you film my sport?

Yes — we can film any sport. Whether it's basketball, hockey, soccer, football, baseball, lacrosse, badminton, tennis, golf and much more.

How much does a typical music video cost?

A high-end production music video like those on MTV, VH1, BET, or Vevo will start at 3.9k and quickly go upwards depending on complexity.

Do you film my event?

Yes — we can film anything. Weddings, parties, graduations, sport games, speeches and much more. We can film any event for you.

What if my game goes into over time?

Our videographer knows to stay longer and will unless you've directed us otherwise. If over time wraps in 5-10 minutes it's no big deal. However, if your event runs 15 minutes later than expected we will have to hold the footage and bill you an extra half hour. Upon payment, we will release the footage for digital delivery.

Can you film in the rain, snow or outdoors?

We cannot film in the rain — especially if there is lightning, hail, strong winds or dangerous weather conditions. We can film in light snow, sparingly. Otherwise, we are able to film outside without issue, weather permitting.

What if I want to film multiple sport games?

You'll have to contact us or call (866) 948-4336 for assistance with ordering.

Do you travel to the city?

Yes. We service Chicago, Wisconsin, Northwest Indiana and all cities and suburbs in-between. We can travel within 100 or so miles of Willowbrook, IL.

How do you get sound for my musical performance?

We have a few options. First, we'll always take live sound with a professional stereo mic. Next, we'll either plug into your mixer or the venue's audio system. We can mix the two audio channels in editing, cut one or the other, or layover your professionally recorded studio track if you have one (and have permission to do so).

Can I use my studio recorded track in the video?

Yes. As long as you have the proper licensing to do so. Purchasing a song from iTunes, Beatport, or another music seller is NOT sufficient. You must be the original copyright owner for us to use a professionally recorded track in your music video.

How far in advance should I book?

Please see our availability page for more information. We generally recommend booking once you have all your final details ready, e.g., Time, Date, Duration.

What if I have multiple events on different days that I want to film?

We can film as much or as little as you want. For events spanning multiple days, you may create new orders for each day. Alternatively you can contact customer support for assistance with ordering over multiple days.

What happens if my event runs later than expected?

You can always ask our videographer to stay later, in half hour increments. We do encourage you to determine duration prior to filming, as we may not always be available to stay later than originally planned.

Can guests speak into the microphone / camera?

Yes. We can do best wishes from guests (sometimes referred to as "confessionals" to the camera), and provide a handheld microphone for guests to say something.

What are your wedding packages?

See our wedding page for wedding packages.

Where can I find more wedding information?

You can find us on Wedding Wire and other wedding vendor websites.

How many cameras / videographers do you use?

We have a one videographer to one camera rule. We generally do not allow for or use static un-manned cameras. You can order as many videographers as you would like, but recommend a maximum of 5. If you think more than three videographers are necessary, you should contact us prior to ordering.

How do you get sound at a wedding ceremony?

We will always opt to microphone the priest / officiant first. If they decline or that isn't possible then we will mic the groom. We'll wirelessly send the audio back to our cameras for crisp and clean sound.

My wedding is a black-tie event — can you dress up?

Yes. We can wear business casual (dark or light attire) for an additional $39.

What do videographers wear? (Dress code)

Our standard dress code is black pants, black shoes, black belt, and a brightly colored Vanilla Video shirt or sweater. This allows customers and guests to clearly identify us as necessary — and provides comfort to our videographer while filming.

Do I have to tip or purchase a meal for the videographer?

No — we strongly discourage tips. And we do not require a food plate. However, if our videographer is working over 6 hours, you will need to allow them at least an hour lunch. Vanilla Video provides a food allowance for production videographers working on full day shoots.

Can we use people from our own company in the video to save talent fees?

Absolutely! Your employees know your business better than anyone else, which makes them knowledgeable sources for your video content. We work all the time with people who have never been in front of a camera before, and we help coach them through the video filming process to help deliver the best video product to you.

How about having our CEO or one of our top managers appear on-camera?

Even better! Again, the CEO or a manager brings expertise and credibility to your video in a way a paid actor cannot. Having your people, no matter their title, gives the real a more genuine and personal feel for the viewer. And we will work with anyone to help them get comfortable in front of the camera.

Is there anything we can do to come across as professional as possible?

You are already doing it when you purchase Vanilla Video. In the online marketplace, video is king. It is your storefront, your window into your business. No matter what kind of company you own or work for, video will give you instant professional credibility. You should always dress appropriately for the video, based on what you company does. Have a vision for what you want video to do for your business. Create a script or a message you wish to convey. And if you need to, ask us! We have a lot of experience filming business videos, so we can use our past experience with other companies to help direct your message.

What does an average shoot day schedule look like?

It starts one-half hour before the scheduled time. We arrive at least 30 minutes early to set up our gear and work with the client to get organized for the shoot. After that, it really depends on what your need us to film. We spend as much time as we need to get interviews or scripted messages using a teleprompter. We also can take some time to film b-roll (action shots or supplemental footage) if your video requires it. If there are things you want us to film, we will do it for you.

Why produce a video in the first place?

It adds professionalism and credibility to your company. It is your storefront for the online community. Consumers do not use the Yellow Pages anymore, they are instead using search engines and the internet to find what they need. With video, you have a prime opportunity to connect with a customer for 60-90 seconds and tell people exactly why you, your brand, or product are the right fit for them. Video allows you to convey your personality, character and style of business.

How long does it take to make a video?

This depends on what you want in your video. A lot of times business clients require 3-6 hours for a day of filming. Sometimes it is shorter, like filming testimonials and simple interview-style videos. Other times, we interview several employees and film b-roll for the company, and it takes up an entire day. For business videos, it is very important to talk to us prior to ordering.

What are the steps to making a custom video?

First, check to see when we are available. We usually have availability during the week, but it varies drastically week to week. Next, on to the Package Builder, where you can put in the day and times you want to book us, as well as the specifications and number of videographers you need. In our Package Builder, you can also describe what kind of editing you may be interested in, along with any equipment add-ons or special notes to for our video professionals. The more information you give us, the better we can assist you. If you have any questions, contact us and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.

How long does it take to produce a TV commercial?

Producing a TV commercial is going to take a lot of time and effort. You will need a good script, a storyboard, and a list of shots we will need to get. If you require assistance on any of the above needs, we can meet with a Creative Director to help you in the process. The actual filming for the commercial will take up most, if not all, of one business day, simply because every detail must be perfect for a TV spot to be effective. It is also possible to shoot over a multiple days, or weeks, in order to accomodate interviewees, your budget, or weather considerations.

How can I use video to market my business?

The great thing about video is you can repurpose it in any number of ways. You can have testimonials from current or past customers vouching for the quality and professionalism of your business. You could film a welcome video to display on your home webpage. You can create a how-to video to help market a new product or service you are looking to provide. These are just a few of the many possibilities video marketing presents; the possibilities are limited only by your creativity.

How much does a video cost?

This varies a lot based on your project requirements. Video is, unfortunately, very expensive to produce well. And with video, it is usually a question of how far do you want to go, and on what budget? The easiest thing to do is to give us your budget for the video you are looking to produce. We will work within your budget to optimize the quality and still reach your goals.

What if I am not located in Chicago?

We generally travel within 100 miles of the city of Chicago and suburbs. We do service Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Rockford, Illinois; and Northwest Indiana as well. If you are outside these limits but still want to book us, please contact us. There is no guarantee we will go outside our normal radius for you, but there are exceptions from time-to-time, and there is no harm in asking.

How can video help my business?

Video is a quick and easy way to share who you are and what you are about. It can help market you to potential new customers, getting your face and message out on the internet. You can put a lot of information and personality into a 60-90 second video that you might not be able to convey with just a well-written website. Video gives people a visual and audible connection to you and is more likely to stick with them than what they read. It can help you retain current and past customers as well, especially if you are providing new products or services they could be interested in.

How do I prepare to make a video?

First, take the time to determine what you want your video to. Begin with the end in mind and develop what you need to get there. Write a script. Brainstorm a list of b-roll you may want, or storyboard a list of shots to put with a script. Your video can do whatever you want it to do for you, if you have a clear goal for it. Then, bring us in. Make sure we have availability to film for you. Check with us to see what things are and are not possible within a given budget. We have produced thousands of videos, and serviced hundreds of businesses. We have a lot of creative expertise and video production history to pull from. When you know what you want, and communicate that to us, we can make a great video for your company, brand or product.

How do I hire a video production company?

Start by determining what you want your video(s) purpose to be, what you think it will take to get there, and then how much you are willing to budget to make it happen. Look at our pricing page, and experiment with our order form, to help determine if we have the right equipment for what you want to do and if we can fit into your budget. Once you find what you are looking for, contact us or another video production company and carry on the creative process towards making your video.

What questions should I ask before I hire a video production company?

If they do not offer it online, first find out their prices to determine if they will work within your budget. Ask what experience they have with filming business videos if they do not have readily viewable examples. This helps you determine what you may or may not want in your video, and shows you the expected quality from that video production company. If they do not have an FAQ section like this one, feel free to use our questions, and ask them similar questions. Ask about their filming process, and when you will see your final product. How billing works, and who you will be working with on the day of the production.

Why do I need a professional video?

The technical aspects, both in filming and in editing, are best left to those who have years of practice and experience. A professional video begets a professional image, which will ultimately better resonate with your target demographic.

Why should I not make my video myself or via a friend?

When you hire Vanilla Video, you get professional videographers with professional cameras, professional editing software, and the experience to know what will and will not work. A poorly made video may do more harm than good. So we encourage to you to avoid running the risk of using poorly filmed video or poorly recorded audio when it comes to representing your brand. Having a professionally filmed video will give you more credibility and garner more interest and respect for your company.

Can I make part of the video?

Sure, but we highly recommend against it. We can incorporate other with the video we film, but know that there is likely to be a difference in quality. We traditionally film with broadcast quality cameras. Having a camera with different specifications, settings, and image quality will result in video that ends up looking and / or sounding different. Not to mention, different camera operators may influence the shot stylistically, beyond the technical differences.

What does everyone else do?

Everyone else starts by visiting our website. You are already doing that, so good for you! We encourage all interested customers to take as long as they like to peruse our website and really get a sense of what we are and what we do. When you know what you want, check our availability to see if we can film for you, look at our pricing to make sure we can operate within your budget, and then place an order for your video! The order you submit is not final, you can always make changes to it. All you have to do is contact us. If you have questions we have not answered online, do not hesitate to call or contact us. We are always happy to help and glad you are considering Vanilla Video as your video production company.

Are there any extra fees?

Depending on the location of your event, there might be an additional charge for travel. Customers are also responsible for any cover charges or parking-related fees.

Will you accept 50/50 split-payment?

No — unless your order is over $1,800 USD or you have a special arrangement, we do not accept split payments. Full up-front payment is required for all orders.

Does Vanilla Video offer any financing or payment plans?

We do not have any payment plans or financing available at this time.

How does billing work?

Currently we bill through an online payment processor. Once we have your order details, we'll send you a payment link. You can securely pay by credit or debit card. Once paid, you're all good to go and will be immediately reserved in our system.

Do you accept cash or check?

No — unless your business has made a special arrangement. In certain circumstances we will accept checks (e.g., Non-profit Organizations without credit cards), however, we DO NOT ACCEPT CASH as a form of payment.

Do you accept credit or debit cards?

Yes. We accept all major credit and debit cards including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

Do you accept PayPal?

No — we will not accept PayPal and have no plans to.

Do you accept (BTC) Bitcoin?

No, we do not accept Bitcoin as payment. — We have no plans to integrate Bitcoin into our payment systems.

Do you accept Dwolla?

Not at this time. — However, we are considering adding it as a payment method in the future.

What if my organization doesn't have a credit card?

We recommend that one of your employees / co-workers uses their credit card to purchase. Then have your organization reimburse you. Paying by credit or debit card is the fastest way to book — as availability changes on an hour-by-hour basis.

Can I have a dedicated account manager for our business projects?

If you have ordered multiple videos, have a complex project, or have purchased a dedicated videographer — then yes.

How quickly will you respond to my email?

Customer services almost always responds to emails within a few hours between the hours of 8AM - 11PM. Sometimes responses can take up to 24 hours.

Who should I call for technical support?

Call (866) 948-4336 and Press 2 for technical support.

I'm having difficulty / trouble playing my DVD

Please contact us for assistance.

Are you available? How do I check availability?

We are almost always available, but nights & weekends do fill up very fast. Please use our availability page to easily check your date online.

How do I receive my videos?

Your Vanilla Video + Clips are delivered online within a few days through a private Viewer which allows you to watch or download your videos at your convenience.

When will I receive my videos?

Vanilla Video + Clips are usually available within a week after we arrive back from your event. Most typically between 3-5 business days depending on our workload. Edited videos and other custom projects are usually available in 14 days. Faster delivery is available upon request.

Can anyone else see my videos?

No, your videos are private access only, and can only be viewed by those you've shared your Viewer link with.

Can I rearrange or rename my videos in the Viewer?

No, at this time, it is not possible to rearrange the order of the videos or provide custom labels for videos in the Viewer. We hope to add that functionality in the near future.

Will I only be able to play my videos on a computer?

No, you can access your Viewer link from your smart phone or tablet. You can also download your video files to Mac / PC / Linux and even burn your own DVDs / Blu-Rays.

What devices can I play my videos on?

Any H.264 capable device — most phones, tablets, computers or TVs with media players like Roku, Apple TV or compatible Blu-Ray players. If you need a different codec or file type, just let us know and we'll do our best to accommodate your needs.

Do I receive a DVD, Blu-Ray, or physical discs?

DVDs are not automatically included with our products or packages. You can add DVDs to your order or purchase them later. DVDs are $59 for 3 TV playable copies. You can always burn your own DVD for free!

Do I need to order DVDs?

No, you do not need to order DVDs to enjoy Vanilla Video. We deliver all our video online through a private viewer, which lets you watch or download your videos at your convenience. Your viewer link will be available indefinitely and your videos will be stored safely on our servers, so you never have to worry about losing them.

How do I order DVDs?

If you'd like to purchase DVDs, you can purchase them in sets of 3 TV playable copies for $59. Just let us know how many copies you'd like and provide us a mailing address. Once paid, your DVDs will arrive in 7-10 business days.

How many DVDs can I order?

You can order up to 12 DVD copies. We're not a DVD duplication or replication house, and cannot duplicate massive amounts of DVD copies.

Do the DVDs have menus?

Yes, our TV-playable DVDs have menus with thumbnails for navigating around your Vanilla Video(s) and Clips. Thumb drives and portable hard drives do not have menus.

Can I purchase a DVD with custom menus?

Yes, if you have a special DVD project that requires custom menu design and navigation, our Creative Team can do that for you. Just let us know your vision and we can provide a custom quote.

Can I meet my Vanilla Videographer before the event?

There's really no need. Our team films every day and have experience with a wide variety of filming conditions. If you need to add notes or special filming instructions to your order, just send us an email or give us a call. Our Support Team is always ready to help.

What if I need my Videographer to stay longer?

We encourage our customers to order as much time as they need in advance. That way, we can reserve and guarantee videography coverage during that time. Our team films multiple events a day, and may not be able to accommodate additional filming in our schedule unless ordered in advance.

How long can I order Vanilla Video for?

We offer rates for as little as 30 minutes or as long as 16 hours. If you're unsure how long you need us for your event or production, just send us an email or give us a call and we'll be happy to offer our expert advice.

Can I have the name / number of my Videographer?

We schedule our team a week or two in advance, so we don't always know who will be filming your event. Additionally, we have stand-by videographers in case someone on our team is unable to make it. So the best way to reach us is through our Support Line at (866) 948-4336. We'll make sure any notes or special instructions are provided to the team member filming your event.

Do you offer photography services?

No, Vanilla Video offers event videography and video production services only.

Will you film sexual content?

No.

Will you film nude actors or models?

Yes, so long as the nudity is legal, is not sexual in nature, and has artistic, literary, political or scientific value. This is based solely at our discretion. Please know that our employees will promptly leave inappropriate situations that may be unsafe, uncomfortable, or those that may cause an unnecessary liability.

Can I use Vanilla Video for legal purposes?

No. — We do not offer legal videography services or videography for legal documentation. We DO NOT produce video that is fit to be used as courtroom evidence. Please do not use our service for any legal purpose whatsoever. However, if you choose to use our services for legal purposes anyways, despite the fact that we have explicitly asked you not to, you understand that we have made NO WARRANTY to you and NO REPRESENTATION to you that the service is fit for your particular purposes. Furthermore, you understand that the service is provided "AT YOUR OWN RISK" and is provided "AS IS".

Can I get a discount or negotiate on price?

Prices are non-negotiable. Our videographers are employees — and they are paid hourly-wages. For that reason, it's not possible for us to discount prices.

How do I apply for a job at Vanilla Video?

Find more information about working at Vanilla Video on our careers page. You'll find open positions along with our videographer application form.

Can we have an in-person meeting?

There is typically no reason to meet, even for high-end productions. Skipping meetings helps us keep costs down for everyone and allows us to better service customers online and over the phone. If your production order is over $1,800 USD we can have an in-person meeting.

Do you have a store front I can come to?

Not at this time. We are still a very young company. We are just beginning to research customer-friendly locations to build a walk-in storefront.

Where can I find more information about you guys?

Search for Vanilla Video online and in the news. We're on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and tons of other social networking websites.

How can I help others discover your services?

You should Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter.

How many microphones do you bring?

We always come prepped with 1 wireless lavalier microphone, 1 wired handheld microphone and 1 stereo microphone placed above the camera. If your event requires additional microphones, just let us know and we'll do our best to accommodate your needs.

Do you have wireless audio?

Yes. We have a wireless transmitter that can send audio to our cameras. This can be used to plug into a DJ / venue system or with a lavalier microphone.

What kind of audio outputs can you connect to?

Almost anything. — Our audio kits have a full adapters kit that can change just about any feed into an XLR feed that our cameras accept.

Can you do 4-channel or 8-channel audio mixing?

Our cameras have 2-channels of audio. We do have mixers for running up to 8-channels of audio if your video productions requires it. However, using a mixer will require an extra crew member for monitoring audio.

Do you have a portable backdrop?

Yes, we have a portable backdrop system that includes a white, black and Chroma green backdrop. Use of a backdrop for your production also requires the use of studio-grade lighting. We recommend a space of 10' by 12' or larger for productions with backdrops.

Do you offer professional lighting?

Yes, we can bring anywhere from 2-4 studio-grade, professional lights dependent on the needs of your production. If you have a vision in mind, just let us know and our Creative Team of cinema-artists will make that vision a reality.

Do you have a studio?

No, Vanilla Video does not have a production studio, we're entirely mobile. If you're looking to produce a video with a backdrop and professional lighting, we recommend a space of 10' by 12' or larger.

Can you help me produce a TV commercial?

Yes. We have a very talented team of videographers and video professionals. The first step to producing a video for television is delivering video specifications to us.

Can you offer storyboards or creative direction?

Yes. We have a number of artists available to help with pre-production.

I have no idea where to start — can you help me?

Call (866) 948-4336, then Press 1. Or send us a quick email at your convenience.

Do you bring extra lighting?

We bring a small, LED light that sits on top of our cameras. We only use this light for abnormally low-lit situations. Usually, since our camera sensors and lenses are great for low-light conditions, we optimize the natural light in the environment to minimize the use of the camera light. For more advanced lighting techniques, contact our Creative Team.

How many cameras do you bring?

Our standard pricing is for 1 camera and 1 Videographer. If your event or production requires multiple cameras, contact us for pricing.

What frame rate / resolution do you film in?

We film events in 1080p HD / 24 fps (frames per second) and sports in 720p HD / 60 fps. All video is delivered in 720p HD and 360p for convenient viewing and delivery over the internet. Additional resolutions are available upon request.

What kind of camera equipment do you bring?

We have a full HD camera, audio kit, monopod and tripod. Our videography kits are robust enough for nearly any situation. We have 1 handheld microphone, 1 camera microphone, 1 wireless lavalier, an audio bag with connectors, a wireless audio transmitter, other backup gear, along with a fluid / professional monopod and tripod.

Is your equipment (HD) High Definition?

Yes. We can film at up to 1080p HD at 50 Mbps in a 4:2:2 profile.

Do you need a power outlet? Do you have batteries?

We do not require power to operate our cameras. Just about everything we bring is battery operated for zero power cords. The only situation where you would need to provide power is if we are bringing studio lights to your production.

How long can your equipment film in one day?

Approximately 14 hours and 45 minutes of continuous shooting. However, it is very unlikely we would ever be recording for nearly fifteen hours straight through. Our camera kits do have two batteries, along with a power charger. If the need ever arises, we can always charge the battery that isn't currently in use.