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Wedding Video Terminology

Analog video  The variety of videotape that is not digital. Generally, an older form of videotape. Typically, home VHS tapes are analog.

Beta, Beta SP, Digital Beta. Not your grandfather’s BetaMax, the BetaCam format was the standard in the broadcast industry for about 15 years.

Broadcast Quality is an ambiguous term used to compare picture quality. If you’ve watched shows on TV where viewers send in video clips, you know that nearly anything can be broadcast. Most video equipment manufacturers have a Broadcast division that is separate from their Consumer division. Broadcast equipment is generally superior to consumer-level gear.

Camcorder The standard video camera/recorder all-in-one design.

Chips The image-sensing devices in today’s camcorders are Charged Coupling Devices, also known as CCD’s, or chips. Camcorders generally have one or three chips, and they are generally ½” or 2/3” in size.

Professional level camcorders generally have 3 chips. The chips take the primary colors of video, red, green, and blue, and transform them into electronic signals that the camcorders put to tape. With a 3-chip camcorder, each color has its own path, while a single chip camera puts all three colors on the same path. By keeping the colors separate, 3-chip cameras tend to have an advantage in clarity over 1-chip cameras.

DVD  Digital Video Disc (officially called Digital Versatile Disc) is the best way to view a wedding video. This is superior to videotape in every aspect, from reproducing sound and visual images, to storage and longevity.

Some studios offer DVD “burns” (transfers) in-house, while others out-source. Older, important video tapes should be transferred to DVD.

Digital Capture Device The newest family of digital video recording devices, these allow users of any camcorder to record footage in an external, battery-powered unit.  This allows for a tape-less back-up recording of a wedding.

Digital Video (DV)  The latest video formats are digital in design. This allows for a more pure recording, and a cleaner signal with which to edit. The primary digital video formats are DVCam, DVCPro, and MiniDV.

Each of these has their own strengths, and is supported by different manufacturers.

Hi8 An older, compact format similar in quality to SVHS. The digital upgrade is called Digital8, or D8. The camcorders are typically smaller sized.

Edit Master, also called the Master Tape. After the wedding has been edited, the footage is recorded onto a Master Tape, as well as duplicated to VHS or DVD. In non-linear systems (see below), the computer hard drive can serve as the source for duplications.

Linear Editing Traditional video editing as done on a tape-to-tape system. In this model, the client typically receives a third generation tape.

Lines of Resolution  This is a basically a measurement of how sharp the television picture will be.  More is always better, but the limits of VHS tape and our standard televisions mean that you won’t see a huge difference between, say, 750 and 900 lines of resolution.

Local Videographers Associations Many communities have a group of videographers that meet regularly to discuss issues of relevance. This is a place for professionals to network, and advance their education.

Mini-disc  This is an alternate method of recording audio during a wedding. This is a very compact, wired audio recording device that many videographers use to supplement the wireless microphones.

Non-Linear Editing  The current standard in video editing, this is accomplished on either a computer-based system, or with a stand-alone unit called an editing appliance. Generally speaking, non-linear editing allows for more creativity, and changes require less effort.  Because this type of editing requires the video to be fed into the editing unit in a process called “digitizing”, non-linear editing typically takes longer than linear editing.  Here, the client usually receives a second-generation tape.

Prosumer is that level of equipment that isn’t quite up to the Professional level, but is a bit better than the consumer level.

Raw Footage, or the unedited tape(s). This is the tape exactly as recorded the day of your wedding.  Some videographers offer this for sale, some do not, and some include raw footage at no additional charge. The original footage is typically recorded in a professional format that cannot be played on a standard home VCR. This is your first-generation video.

Streaming Video This is a way to watch video on the Internet. While dial-up modems can make this a tedious process, cable modems and other fast connections can make viewing clips fun and easy.  This is a great way for brides to see samples of videographers work.

SVHS, or Super VHS. Was the de facto standard for acquisition and editing in the event video industry for many years. Since about 1999, with the advances in digital video, SVHS has been replaced by DV as the dominant format. Once strictly an analog format, there are now varieties of Digital SVHS in use.

VHS The standard home video format. This is a consumer format that nearly everyone has.  Acceptable for playback, this format has significant limitations when used in editing. Studies indicate an expected life span of about 25 years for a properly stored VHS tape.

Wireless Microphones, or mics. These devices allow the capture of spoken words or music via independent transmitters and receivers. They are usually small enough to be hidden in a pocket. The current standard is UHF, or Ultra-High Frequency. These units have minimal extraneous noise.  Older mics are usually VHF, or Very High

Frequency. These mics can be susceptible to static and interference, especially in urban areas.


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