Thomas BrownComment

Brides Guide To: Basic Videographer Terminology

Thomas BrownComment
Brides Guide To: Basic Videographer Terminology

For today's entry I would like to try to help empower Brides once again. When choosing a Videographer you don't need to be an expert in Filmmaking lingo. However, if you have a "basic" understanding of filmmaking terminologies you will not only be able to better feel out if your videographer is experienced, but you will now be better equipped to explain the desires your have for your wedding video. I will keep my explanations very simple so even if you are a film novice you'll be ready to talk shop with your videographer! If my explanation regarding a specific terminology uses words that I feel may not be common knowledge I will provide links to detailed definitions. 


This would be an exterior shot from a birds eye view. This shot is usually achieved with a helicopter, plane, or crane. However with advances in technology quad copters/personal drones have made these high end shots available for your wedding. I personally own and use a quad-copter to attain these types of shots. My quad-copter can climb heights of up to 2000 feet to get that perfect establishing shot.


Camera angle refers to the perspective or the location where the camera is placed to take a shot. 


This is a video that usually runs less than 10 minutes long and shows the highlights of the ceremony and reception. In my opinion this is the best format to send to friends and families. It is unfortunate but most people do not want to watch an hour long wedding video (If they were not the ones getting married). I usually suggest to brides that the highlight video be no longer than 6 minutes. Think about it mostly all viral videos are very short (Under 5 minutes).  It's always best to leave your audience wanting more.


There can be a few meanings for "Wedding Documentary". One is a style of editing that captures/follows your wedding day from start to finish. When I speak of a wedding documentary it is the complete opposite of a wedding highlight reel/video. For some the wedding documentary is approached from the same perspective as a documentary film. It involves more of the couples story so that the audience can connect with them on a deeper level. I actually have a wedding coming up in July where I will be doing this very same style of video. Here is the perfect example of a documentary style wedding video. 



 The steps you take to prepare to make a film. Once all the planning is done you begin the Production (actual filming) of your project/film.


This is the part of the film making process that starts after the filming/recording is completed. Which usually consist of the editing,


This explanation will be a little longer. On several occasions brides, grooms, or even their guest have asked me what is the difference between DSLR's and Camcorders. It's one of those questions that I want to be careful answering because I wouldn't want any one to walk away thinking less of either of these choices. They are different machines but in my opinion can both hold their own equally on your wedding day. This heavily depends on who is behind the lens!  

At one time Videographers only option for filming wedding's were Video camera's/Camcorders (We will leave ancient 8mm & 16mm out of this one even though this is what I first filmed with in college). 


But times have changed and with the advances in DSLR Video capabilities, Videographers now have a new arsenal to film weddings with. 


Some of the top wedding videographers only use DSLR's to film wedding events and swear by them! Please don't misunderstand me. Camcorders are still heavily used for weddings. The purpose of this explanation is not to say which is better but how they are different. I personally like to take a hybrid approach and use both DSLR's and Camcorders for my wedding videography.

Ok, so what is the difference between a Camcorder and DSLR and will it affect the final outcome of your wedding video? Let's start with the DSLR (A digital single-lens reflex camera ). This is of course the type of camera that still photographer's would typically use which now have the ability to record video. The DSLR user will rely mostly on manual focus manual focus and manual zoom while the Camcorder uses power zoom (The zooming in and out of a lens controlled by a motor) and auto focus. Basically DSLR's typically provide a greater shallow Depth Of Field, and better manual controls for picture. You can also use a wide variety of lenses to get different shot/looks for your video (Wide Angle lenses, telephoto lenses etc..). Most DSLR can "not" autofocus while recording video. For this the cameraman will have to be skilled in using the manual focuses to keep the moving subject in focus. Some filmmakers prefer this as they can be more creative with the shot. This is not true for all DSLR's as my Canon 70D can focus while recording.

All Camcorders can autofocus while recording but can not use manual focus. Camcorders usually have better manual controls when it comes to audio and also have professional XLR input's/connections for superior audio (XLR). DSLR's do not have XLR connections for audio so filmmakers relying on DSLR's typically use separate audio devices to capture high quality sound. However, if you are using a high end shotgun microphone or wireless Lavalier inserted directly to your DSLR camera and are willing to make adjustments on your audio during editing you can still achieve great sound. Again you can get a high quality video with either type of camera. Below I have posted footage of a wedding filmed with only a camcorder and the other was filmed with a DSLR.

This wedding was recorded on a Camcorder (The same one I use which is Canon XA10).

And, this wedding was filmed with an Canon 5D Mark III DSRL camera (I currently use the Canon 70D).

Different types of camera's both yield great results/videos. I have to admit I do favor my DSLR. Especially at weddings or while I am conducting interviews at events. People are generally more comfortable being interviewed with a DSLR. Most people still think of them as still picture cameras so they don't even feel like their being recorded. 


 Frames per second are the number of images (or frames) that are displayed in a video per second. As a standard, most videos are filmed and displayed at 24 frames per second. As a bride why would this be interesting to you? Well, have you ever seen a movie/video with amazing slow motion? I mean where the video was slowed down so much that you could almost see every detail. Could you imagine how you would look in the perfect light twirling in your wedding dress in slow motion? Lets not pretend that slow motion doesn't make almost everything looks better/cooler. Well those videos are usually shot at a higher frame per second (FPS). The higher the frames per second that something is filmed at the better the quality will be (Slow motion effect) when you slow that video down. I film select scenes at wedding's between 60 and 140 frames per second just in-case I want to slow things down a little.

The following video was filmed at 1000 frames per second (FPS). While it is not a wedding I am sure you will love it. I mean who doesn't like dogs?

Well, I hope that this list was helpful. I tried to keep it simple and covered only the terms that would be useful to you when talking with videographers. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask! Hopefully it will be something that you can refer back to again and again to help you select a videographer for your special day. 

Thomas Brown, Founder of ThomasVisionFilms, is a Filmmaker, Wedding Cinematographer, Video Editor, and Video Content Director here in Atlanta, GA. He is our lead filmmaker and the wizard behind all of our video editing. He holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Film and TV Production. As an avid film geek he was passionate about filmmaking and video long before ThomasVisionFilms was formed.