Wedding videography is a video production that documents a wedding on video. The final product of the videographer's documentation is commonly called a wedding video. It is also referred to as a wedding movie or a wedding film.
Wedding videography can trace its roots back to before the advent of the modern video camera through 8mm and 16mm films. When film was the only way to capture moving pictures, a few enterprising individuals would take the family 8mm camera and film the weddings of friends and family. These film cameras had a major limitation in the form of 4-minute load times. After exposing 4 minutes of film, the operator would have to load a new film cartridge. The high cost of processing and the fact the majority of them could not record sound to the film further limited the industry. However, there were still a few individuals who were able to turn the documentation of weddings into a business.
1980 saw the introduction of the first consumer camcorders by Sony, with other manufacturers soon following suit. With the introduction of these first camcorders, wedding video documentation evolved from something only for the rich into something for the masses. Early adopters were primarily hobbyists who at first started recording the weddings of friends and family, then went on to do jobs for pay.
The early days of professional wedding videography were marked by primitive technology and technique, with the equipment generally producing low image quality. Cameras required bright lights, had fuzzy pictures, poor color saturation, and single-channel, poor quality audio. The cameras were bulky, with a separate unit that connected to the video recorder via a cable, severely limiting the videographer's movement. In post-production, many wedding videos were not edited. Generation loss was also a limiting factor because of the nature of analog video tape.
From its earliest days and through the 1980s, wedding videography developed the negative reputation of interfering with the festivities it was meant to document. The bright lights required to produce a quality image were damaging to the atmosphere many brides and grooms wanted to create. As the market expanded, it was flooded by many individuals who had little experience and technical knowledge, which left a negative impression on the clients. Consumer technology available to the wedding videographer also could not equal broadcast quality of the time.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the state of the industry began to improve. Videographers began to form regional and national organizations, the largest, currently active organization being the Wedding and Event Videographers Association International (WEVA). Manufacturers created a market between the professional video camera and video camera consumer levels, known as the prosumer, which met the needs of this niche market.
Towards the mid-1990s, the manufacturers introduced digital cameras, removing the last of the technological barriers that had impeded wedding videography since its inception. The cameras were small, mobile, worked even better than the already good analog cameras on the market in low light situations, and allowed the videographer to be discreet and not an intrusion to the events. These prosumer digital cameras were even adopted by many commercial producers because of their size and the quality of their images.
Post-production creativity took a major leap forward with the introduction of advanced tools like the Newtek Video Toaster in the early 1990s. This led to the introduction of other relatively inexpensive non-linear editing systems (NLE), which offered the editor many more creative options. But the delivery method still relied on an analog viewing system, VHS video tape. This changed in the late 1990s with introduction of the recordable DVD. Weddings and events were now recorded digitally, edited digitally, and delivered digitally, greatly improving the image quality.
By the late 1990s, wedding videography had expanded beyond documentation of weddings. The majority of wedding videographers preferred to add the additional term of "event" to their description of service. New offerings, such as Love Stories, Photo Montages (a retrospective collection of photographs set to music), music videos, family biographies appeared. Anniversaries, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, graduations, and many other one-time events were also being documented in large numbers on video. The general skill level of the industry's members improved and post-production capabilities reflected the standards of commercial productions. As the industry grew, consumers began to have more options both in the length and the level of creativity for how their event was portrayed.
Modern wedding videography
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The progenitor of video, 8mm, super 8mm, 16mm and even 35mm film stock is enjoying a revival within the wedding videography industry with some studios offering a combination of the video formats and others offering film stock only production. Another major shift in how wedding and event video is produced and delivered occurred with the introduction of high-definition video technology and Blu-ray discs, using such DSLR cameras. Production equipment once limited to the commercial studios began to appear in the wedding video industry: Steadicam units, sliders, 3D, Live Webcast, jibs and other camera movement systems. Post-production editing tools improved with the introduction of more capable computers and software.
Common styles range from "journalistic" to "cinematic".
- Video Journalistic style (also referred to as documentary style)
- Typically described as a documentary film of the event. Segments are edited as they occur to preserve continuity. This style of editing will produce a polished documentation of the day as it unfolds.
- The term is defined as making a movie or film. Within the wedding videography industry it has taken on the following meaning: It is captured and edited for the dramatic effect and mood. It is usually presented with a particular style and "wow" effect that may not be present in a "mere documentary" of the event.
- A video that relies on sound bites recorded before, during or after the event, usually from the bride and groom. These sound bites are then added to the audio track for dramatic effect and to push the story of the day forward.
- Short Form Wedding
- A video of the day that has been edited to fit within a time frame that is no less than 15 minutes and no longer than 50 minutes. Some videographers consider anything under 60 minutes to be short form. The wedding film is different than the traditional wedding video in several ways. The wedding videographer films the pre-ceremony events, the entire ceremony, the formal photo shoot, and the traditional reception events. The difference between a wedding film and a traditional wedding video occurs during the editing process. The traditional wedding video includes all of the footage, usually in chronological order. The wedding film does not include all of the footage and is not in chronological order. The thread of the film is audio commentary. The videographer or editor uses audio from the interviews of the bride and groom, commentary from the ceremony, the toasts, and possibly commentary from the wedding guests.
- A catch-all term for styles that do not fit with above. Traditional tends to look more like a family-shot video; it can be edited, but usually lightly. Everything is edited in a linear progression and usually in its entirety. These videos tend to be 2 to 3 hours, or longer, in length.
Wedding videographers are not limited to using just one of these styles; different amounts of styles can be found in every video.
Types of video
Wedding video has grown in recent years to encompass myriad video production offerings. Some are produced to be shown at the wedding or are delivered after the wedding.
- Engagement Video
- A video documenting the groom asking the bride to marry. Quite often filmed without the bride's knowledge.
- Invitation DVD
- Some invitation printers will include a DVD in a slot in the printed invitation. The DVD shows the couple and/or the parents on camera inviting viewers to the wedding and reception.
- Photo Montage (also called video scrapbooks)
- Includes but is not limited to still pictures displayed on a video. Can also include sound bites and video footage, but is predominantly still photos.
- Love Story
- Traditionally an interview of the bride and groom about how they met, what they are like together and what their plans for the future are. Quite often the interview is inter-cut with romantic footage of the couple frolicking together or re-enactments of what they are talking about.
- Concept Video
- Typically a short film that incorporates to tell a story about the bride or groom or both. Quite often not related to the couple's real life.
- Same Day Edit (also called a wedding day edit)
- A short video produced from the footage of the wedding shot earlier in the day, usually only incorporating footage from pre-ceremony, ceremony and post-ceremony, which is then showed at the reception as a recap of the wedding.
- Bridal Elegance
- A video shot in the style of a fashion shoot that depicts the bride in her wedding gown. Can be done before, during or after the wedding.
- A chapter on the final DVD that shows highlights of the ceremony and reception. Usually running under 10 minutes, highlights videos may be uploaded to YouTube and other social networking websites. The shorter highlights chapter is popular for showing to friends, while family might watch the full-length wedding DVD.
- Trash The Dress
- A fad that struck the video and photography markets from 2005 to 2008. The idea was to create art by soaking, staining, dirtying or outright destroying the wedding gown. The shoot often occurred after the wedding day.
- Event videography
- High-definition video
- Institute of Videography
- Super 8 mm film
- Video production
- Wedding photography