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Wedding Videography

Wedding videography is the documentation of a wedding on video. The final product of the documentation commonly called a wedding video is also being referred to as a wedding movie or a wedding film.

Wedding Videograph History

Wedding videography can trace its roots back to before the advent of the modern video camera through 8mm and 16mm films. Over the decades while film was the only way to capture moving pictures a few enterprising individuals would take out the family 8mm camera and film the weddings of friends and family. These film cameras were limited by their short load times for the film, high cost of processing and the fact the majority of them could not record sound to the film. But there were a few individuals who had turned 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 for the rich or celebrity 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 was primitive at best. The equipment was generally of low technical quality. Cameras required bright lights, had fuzzy pictures, poor color saturation and mono audio recorded with cheap microphones that didn't reproduce good audio quality. The cameras were bulky with the camera being a separate unit that connected to the video recorder via a cable. Many wedding videos weren't edited in post production and those that were, were primitively edited at best, usually just removing the mistakes. If titles were added you were lucky if they were legible. Generation loss (the copying of a copy, and so forth) was also a major problem with analog video tape. Each time you recorded the video to a new tape, it caused errors to build up and picture and sound to degrade.

From its earliest days and through the 1980s Wedding Videography had a negative reputation of being an interference on the festivities. The bright lights required to produce a quality image were damaging to the mood many brides and grooms wanted to have. As the market expanded, it was flooded by many individuals who had little experience and technical knowledge, which left the consumer with fallen expectations. And the consumer technology that was available to the wedding videographer could not match up with broadcast quality at the time.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s the state of the industry began to shift for the better. Videographers began to get orgainzed behind regional and national orgainzations, the largest and still active organization being Wedding & Event Video Association International (WEVA). The manufacturers woke up to the fact that there was a market between the professional level and the consumer which became known as prosumer. With this realization the manufacturers began to listen to the wedding and event videographers and introduced products that specifically met the needs of this niche market.

Towards the mid 1990s, the manufacturers introduced the next evolution of cameras with digital cameras which removed 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 on the events. These prosumer digital cameras have also been adopted by broadcasters and Hollywood. Many television shows and several movies have been made by the likes of Spike Lee, using these cameras. (Sony VX1000, Canon XL1, among others.)

Post production took a major leap forward with the introduction of advanced tools like the Newtek Video Toaster in the early 1990s. The introduction of the lost cost Video Toaster lead a few years later to the introduction of several relatively inexpensive non-linear editors (NLE, computer-based editing. The next revolution in post production was the introduction of the burnable DVD in the '90s which removed most of the problems caused by copying multiple generations of the same video image. Videos were now able to be recorded digitally, edited digitally and delivered digitally. The resulting product when properly done could look as good as the most expensive Hollywood productions.

As the 1990s ended Wedding Videography had exploded beyond being just the documentation of weddings. The majority of Wedding Videographers prefer to add the additional term of Event to their description of services, so it is now Wedding and Event Videography. New offerings like Love Stories, Photo Montages, music videos, family biographies and such appeared. Anniversaries, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, graduations, etc were also being documented in large numbers on video. The skill levels of the industry had progressed, post production took on the skill and quality of Hollywood movies and television shows. The consumer began to have options as to what they wanted in a video, as post production techniques evolved the long form videos which could run 2 to 3 even 4 hours in length, saw a new highly edited and polished form appear called the short form video which ran as little as 10 minutes but on average 30 to 40 minutes.

Wedding Videograph in Present Day

Ironically 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 with the film formats and others offering film stock only production.

Another major shift in how wedding and event video is produced and delivered is occurring with the introduction of High-definition video Technology. Still in its infancy, its impact at this point is not known. This is mainly due to the lack of a viable consumer delivery format for High-definition video.

Wedding Videograph Typical styles

Common styles range from "journalistic" to "cinematic".

Video Journalistic style is typically described as a documentary 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. Also can be referred to as Documentary Style

Cinematic, 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.

Storytelling a video that relies on sound bites recorded pre, during or in post, 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, is 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, but according to the entry form for the WEVA Creative Excellence Awards it can not exceed 50 minutes.

Traditional, is 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 and even longer, in length.

Wedding videographers are not limited to using just one of these styles, you can find different amounts of styles in every video.

Types of Video Productions

Wedding video has grown in recent years to encompass a myriad of video production offerings. Some are produced to be shown at the wedding or delivered after the wedding.

Engagement Video: A video documenting the groom asking the bride to marry. Quite often filmed without the bride's knowledge.

Photo Montage: (also called video scrapbooks) includes but 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 or wedding encore presentation) 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, that 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.


Videography refers to the process of capturing moving images on electronic media (e.g., videotape, hard disk, or solid state storage, streaming media). The term includes methods of electronic production and post production. It is the equivalent of cinematography, but with images recorded on electronic media instead of film stock.

The word combines "video" from Latin, meaning "I see" or "I apprehend", with the Greek terminal ending "graphy", meaning "to write". Its contemporary sense is rooted in an article titled "Videography: What Does It All Mean?" (American Cinematographer, October 1972).

The advent of digital imaging in the late 20th century began to blur the distinction between videography and cinematography. Today digital cameras are rapidly rendering film cameras into collectors' items.

The videography market has grown to include distribution as well as production. With this growth has come market segmentation, based on the application: event video, corporate video, broadcast video, etc.

The advent of the Internet has created a global environment where videography covers many more fields than just shooting video with a camera. Included under the videography umbrella are digital animation (such as Flash), gaming, web streaming, video blogging, still slideshows, remote sensing, spatial imaging, medical imaging, and in general the production of most bitmap- and vector-based assets. As the field progresses videographers may produce their assets entirely on a computer without ever involving an imaging device, using software-driven solutions. Moreover, the very concept of sociality and privacy are being reformed by the proliferation of cell-phone video cameras, which are spreading at an exceptional rate in industrialized societies.

A videographer may be the person actually operating the camera or he or she may be the person in charge of the visual design of a production (the latter being the equivalent of a cinematographer).

Videography also refers to the compiling of an artist's music videos or video releases (compare with "filmography" or "discography").