“D.I.Y.” Wedding Videos: Wave of the Future?

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Flip CameraNot since the advent of the “disposable camera,” those single-use, pocket-sized devices that have become a wedding-reception-staple, have guests better been able to capture posterity for that beloved couple’s special day — until now.

A puckish young entrepreneur from West Bloomfield has moved the candid camera concept into 2.0-mode through his Detroit-based venture, Wedit, by providing high-definition flip cameras for creating guest-generated digital video footage.

“Couples often splurge to create a day that’s absolutely perfect, but when it comes to capturing the memories on video, they sometimes take a pass — scared away by decades of old formula videos,” said Brett DeMarrais, the 22-year-old CEO of Wedit. “We give newlyweds the unique opportunity to relive their special day through the lens of family and friends, seeing those candid moments that made their wedding special to them and their guests.”

It’s a fairly uncomplicated concept that DeMarrais, a West Bloomfield native, conceived and executed. His company loans five HD flip video cameras to the wedding couple, who in turn provide them to their guests to record the wedding and reception.

“Guests can capture candid and fun-filled moments that a professional photographer probably wouldn’t have time to obtain — and at a fraction of the cost,” DeMarrais explained. After the wedding, the couple returns the cameras to Wedit in a postage-paid box, after which the videos are uploaded to a proprietary video-sharing website. The drag and drop editing tools give newlyweds the option of editing their own videos; or they can opt to have Wedit professionally design a video, replete with digital bells and whistles, including music.

“Sharing memories with family and friends is simple, whether they communicate online or prefer a more traditional method,” said DeMarrais.

Wedit, which launched in the summer of 2010, was made possible by a grant from Bizdom U, the business school created by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert. Bizdom, funded in part by Gilbert, with assistance from the Kauffman Foundation and the New Economy Initiative, trains budding entrepreneurs how to start and grow a successful, innovative business that must be based in Detroit.

Wedit’s office is located in the Bizdom headquarters, near the Wayne State University campus, in Detroit’s Midtown.

Molly and Nick Reeser of Ferndale chose to use the service for their destination- weekend wedding near St. Joseph, Mich., in June 2010. The couple said they were extremely satisfied with Wedit; they recorded events that went beyond just the ceremony and reception.

“Wedit worked out perfectly because Brett gave us the cameras to use for the entire weekend to capture all of the festivities,” she said. “The cameras are easy to operate, and Wedit created a three-minute video for us — a real professional job. We’ve found it easy to add scenes to it.”

As its name implies, the company primarily has focused its energy on the wedding market. However, DeMarrais says, the brisk business has emboldened him to expand beyond his original mode and branch out into other celebratory affairs, like b’nai mitzvah, anniversary parties and other events.

The West Bloomfield High School and University of Michigan alum says the economics of his service make sense. “It’s a great price” — about the same as buying two flip video cameras on your own — “when you realize most couples now pay video photographers about $1,500 to $3,000 to do an average wedding,” DeMarais pointed out.

Many times a new service takes an existing idea and finds a more innovative approach. Of course, do-it-yourself, while less expensive, isn’t always an apples-to-apples comparison to a professional offering. There is, arguably, value in hiring an expert — and wedding videos are no exception.

In this case: Behind-the-lens talent not included.

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