Many bride and grooms want professional videos capturing every moment at their weddings. The quality of these videos often comes down to lighting.
Movie sets have plenty of lights. For excellent video quality, cameras need their sets to be well lit. This cannot always be the case for wedding venues. Brides and grooms may want the lights low on the dance floor so that their guests are not too shy to dance. They may prefer that their videographer is not distracting. Or they may want a perfect video and not care too much about the ambience of the wedding. I have yet to find one couple that goes for the latter. Few people are willing to tolerate the downside of camera lighting.
The problem is, for a perfect video either stand-alone lights or camera-based lights are needed. Stand-alone lights are large, unattractive and bright with stands and cords that can easily be knocked over. Camera-mounted lights are attached to the top of cameras and the light is directed straight at the subject. In other words, the light shines in the eyes of guests or is seen bobbing up and down in the dance crowd or amongst the tables. For these reasons I prefer not using lights for wedding videography. They almost always shatter the mood of the reception.
Wedding videographers should use professional video equipment with good optics and low-light filters to capture footage in moderately lit rooms. However, if the area has very low lighting, even with great equipment, the video quality will suffer with digital grain, reduced contrast and duller colors. If you choose to use lighting, you will have better up-close image quality but people will squint their eyes and a general lack of comfort will show in the footage. Camera mounted lights cause the backgrounds to be blackened out and standing lights can heat the room.
Using natural lighting means less disruption of your venue ambiance and more interaction between the guests and the camera. This provides better content in the overall footage including more candid videos.
The basic debate is bright lights or poor image quality. I prefer to go with poorer image quality because this is not related to whether or not the footage is actually good. If the footage is shot well the video will turn out beautifully anyway. The best footage comes from people that are not shying away from a bright light and that are enjoying themselves without being reminded that they are being filmed.
When you are choosing your videographer, ask to see an entire video. If you are very concerned about the lighting, take a special look at the low-lit moments of the wedding. Let your wedding planner or venue patrons know when you would like them to turn the lights up slightly for better video. For example, you may want the speeches to be perfectly lit. You may prefer the light down when the dancing begins to have grainier video or no video at all at that time. When talking to your videographer let him know how much are you willing to compromise on lighting issues.