My wedding videography advice

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    • #47086

      Dear experts,
      I am new here and I appreciate any technical directives and advice that allows me to explain properly and check up with my wedding producer the way he is planning to film my wedding ceremony and its outdoor party in order to achieve the best possible HD / HDV crystal clear picture (hopefully a 1080p is now possible to film).

      I am not a photographer but totally obsessed in looking for and watching the very best of the most known yet Blu-ray HD movies / (breathtaking) documentaries (such as the blu-ray BBC Planet Earth series) and even my home made taken footage with my modest Canon VIXIA HG20 AVCHD camcorder.

      I use a blu-ray disk player and a WD TV live on a 65in plasma TV and an HD Mitsubishi projector (on a 3.5m screen) to watch my HD medias.

      Therefore to summarize:
      – The photography project to be filmed is my wedding.
      – The suggested cameras by my wedding producer (for the same budget) are: either the Sony HVR-Z7U HDV or the Sony DSR-400L DVCAM (knowing that the 400 is not and HD camera);

      What could be the best directives and specifications (or minimum pre-check up from my side) toward my wedding producer (like the final output Video Format, Resolution, 3:4 or 16:9, or any other basic and vital specifications to agree about prior signing my contract); Again my concern is to ensure that what he is going to film and edit along with his team and HD cameras would give me a decent and satisfactory wedding video quality at least compared to my Canon HG20s unedited footages taken with full resolution?

    • #193837
      Grinner Hester

      It depends on what he can deliver in the end. Not all NLEs can handle HD at all. If that’s the case, you are gaining nothing by shooting HDV and will be married to a lettebox. It’ll look great though.

      If he can edit and deliver a 1080 final product, I see no reason to use the 400, unless it’s available as a second camera.

    • #193838

      Thanks grinner for your quick reply !

      For the same package’s price I can choose either “3 camcorders ofZ7U” OR “3 camcorders of DSR-400L” with no mixing in cameras; . . . therefore based on your feedback, I will choose the Z7.

      As for the non-linear editing system (NLEs) and the possibility of not being able to handle HD what should I do?

      from what I’ve understood, HD is 16:9 by definition, it cannot be 4:3. do I really need to marry my footage to a letterbox and why ?

      How do I know and check if my final edited and delivered product is a 1080 or not ?

    • #193839
      Grinner Hester

      well, because as you know, SD is 4X3 and hD is 16X9. When you downrez, you can either Crop the edges or letterbox it to fit the 4X3 frame. The dude making your video will be able to tell you what he’s editing with and if he can handle HD or not. And, if not, if he can crop or will have to letterbox it.

      Don’t look at it as deal-breaker. We’ll all very use to letterboxes today. I personally would rather watch a pretty letterboxed vlideo or flick than a square one. I’m not sure how or why that became the standard back in the day but it sure is distracting now that our eyes are use to a wider screen. Pplus, when you shoot HDV then shrink it to SD, it sharpens the image quite a bit. Exact opposite of when you scale something up and it softens it. You’;; see a vast different in image quality between the letterboxed HDV and the 4X3 DVcam. Both are compressed at 5:1. You see that much less with downrezed HDV.

    • #193840

      Let’s assume that the dude who will make my video is able to edit and handle the footage in HD format 1080; is it compulsory to downrez an HD footage to fit a 4×3 frame where all my TVs are widescreen or 16:9 aspect ratio (Plasma TV, LCD TV & Projector) ? or are there any advantages to have an HD project (of 16:9 by definition) downrezed by either cropping its edge or letterboxing it to fit a 4×3 frame ?

      I did not get your point about shooting HDV and shrink it to SD ?

      Excuse my ignorance in this field, I am trying to grab and grasp as much as possible videography’s technical information before meeting my video guy; but again how would I know and check if my final edited and delivered product is a 1080 project or not ?

      NB: when you talk about a letterboxed video:

      1- Is it the normal 16:9 video format ?

      2- Or it is a 16:9 originally captured video (HD) downrezed to fit a 4:3 frame with two black horizontal strips on top and bottom of the screen, is this what you mean by letterboxed ?

    • #193841
      Grinner Hester

      how would I know and check if my final edited and delivered product is a 1080 project or not ?

      You are hiring a wedding videographer, right? You should be going over all of this with him. If you are not hiring a wedding videographer, maybe you should. They’ll happily deliver whatever you want as your end product.

    • #193842

      AsI mentioned earlier, I am a maniac who loves and appreciates all photography work, have little basic knowledge about it but I am not a photographer, I am a Civil/Structural Engineerand currently preparing, worried and concerned in having the best possible HD filming for my wedding. Therefore, I am hiring a wedding videographer; and the reason for me writing here is to acquire and gain the minimum level of technical knowledge and understanding in photography prior discussing anything with my wedding videographer. My curiosity andaffection in learning new things (that has nothing to do with my studies) is unfortunately obvious.

      grinner, you’ve helped me a lot so far; thanks a million.

      1- I know very well how vital are the lighting and the sound (wireless mic, etc) for a proper videography capturing and these are not an issue and are handled professionally with no doubt.

      2- At least grinner you’ve convinced me to go for the Z7 which is able to produce letterboxed HDVthat isincomparableto the 4X3 DVcam.

      3- I’ve also learned that thenative aspect ratiofor HD is 16:9 by definition and cannot be 4:3; then why are we talking about cropping or letterboxing my HD footage if what I strictly want, as an end product, is an HD 1080 filming of my wedding recorded on a blu-ray disk ? moreover all HDTVs come nowadays widescreens with 16:9 aspect ration.

      4- Do you advise me to ask for a 16:9 aspect ratio (this question is only valid if an HD footage can be filmed and delivered on 4:3). Unless the concept of HD filming is HD = 16:9 . Please advise.

      5- Is SonyHVR-Z7U capable of capturing a 1080p footage or 1080i? (I don’t want to be bullshited by my videographer), if not what is the alternative HDV camcorder ?

    • #193843

      Instead of worrying about all the technical details, just look at the prospective videographer’s existing work (all wedding vid’s have very nice demo reels – look at online samples of recent work).

      I would also suggest (caveat emptor) you look at WEVA (Wedding & Event Videographer Association) videographers –

      That’s not an endorsement of any one person but some of the best wedding videographer’s are members and the above link will et you multiple leads.

      Personally, my favorite wedding guy is Glen Elliot ( – His samples have made me tear up watching strangers!

    • #193844

      Yeah, I got to be Honest… the worst client I ever had was the one that came to me saying “I have friends that do this for a living…and…” subsequently started picking apart every detial of my business and my work, and asking me to do things no pro would agree to ( like copyright infringement) said they wanted the work for private use then complained they needed it rushed for public showings deadlines..

      I eventually had to ask them why their pro friends in the business weren’t working for them, pointed out a clause in the contract that gave me the right to walk from the job (a no interference clause that stipulated no other pro or competitor or representative of the client could interfere with me doing my job, her brother had interfered and told me he didn’t want me having the job in the first place. He actually said that in front of a rolling camera…) and I walked, I did give them the bare minimum that was completed at that point to fulfill my part of the contract, but I didn’t HAVE TO GIVE THEM ANYTHING.

      You are hiring a pro to create an original work for you. You look at his work, and if you like, you hire if you don’t like don’t hire, but if you go in there with a know it all attitude, nit-pick the heck outa the guy and interfere with him doing the work…well I just warned you what can happen…

    • #193845

      birdcat, I am not from the US and my wedding is in Lebanon πŸ™‚ nevertheless your help is appreciated.

      It was after reviewing the videographer’s existing work that was a real temptation for me and my fiancee that we decided to choose him. Thanks anyway

    • #193846

      D0n, I totally agree with what you are saying. I am not planning to enter into excessive details with my videographer. Being an Engineer, I’m simply eager and curious to know what is going on behind thescenethereforeif need be I canCONFIDENTIALLY interfere.

    • #193847

      Nicolas, I’m pleased you took the wise advice and chose a production company because of their work and not because of their equipment. As for WEVA, I believe you’ll find (and someone will correct me very quickly if I’m wrong) the only qualification for membership is the ability to pay the subscription – competence (which many of its member have) is not a requirement.

      And, contrary to what you read, SD is a definition of screen resolution, not screen ratio. Programmes can be made in SD and 16:9 ratio. It is true however, that most HD programmes are made in 16:9 – but mainly because all HD monitors are that shape.

      We shoot all our weddings on HDV (16:9 screen ratio) but the vast majority are delivered on DVD which is SD (still 16:9 ratio).

    • #213054

      Nicholas, I really love Ur weight over quality n resolution…likwise me. Itz so unfortunate I hv nt bn on ds forum since Ur qustn books along. I’d lik us to talk better esp abt high resolution gadgets. Pls, send me mail on Thanks.

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