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Wedding Videography Glossary

Learn the key lingo before interviewing wedding videographers.

Style

Cinematic
To create a cinematic wedding video, your videographer will cut and edit your wedding footage to make scenes flow together like a real movie (except, unlike in Hollywood, this love story is real). The events won’t necessarily be in sequential order (scenes of the vows might be interspersed with dance floor shots), making for a more artful depiction of the day’s events than you would get with a documentary-style film.

Documentary
This common style of wedding videography, which is sometimes known as video journalism, simply shows all of the day’s events in the order that they occurred and is edited in a straightforward, no-nonsense way.

Guerrilla filmmaking
This is a more organic style, where the videographer often shoots solo and with only a small handheld camera in order to blend in with the other wedding guests and obtain a more natural and realistic portrayal of the day. The results are intentionally less polished, with a greater focus on the emotions and general ambience of the day. Imagine reality TV footage with lots of surprising candid moments.

Vintage
Popular for wedding videos, this style has an old-school grainy vibe with vintage-looking color grading (an effect that makes hues look softer), a sepia tone or a black-and-white effect (that would look like a movie from the ’40s). There are two ways to achieve this: with filters, which are digital treatments added later during the editing phase (so you actually end up with two versions: an original clean copy and a stylized one), or using Super 8 mm film, an old-fashioned film from the ’60s that requires a specialized camera.

Type

Feature-length video
A feature-length video is edited to include all of the day’s important moments in their entirety. The exact length of a “feature” wedding video varies from videographer to videographer, but it usually ends up being about two hours long.

Highlight reel
A highlight reel is a 5- to 15-minute flick that includes -- yep, you guessed it -- just the highlights from your wedding day (think: the vows, the cake cutting, the toasts and the dances).

Video booth
Similar to photo booths, video confessional booths entertain your guests and make fun keepsakes. A camera is set up in a quiet area in or outside the reception, and guests stop by throughout the night to record well wishes (or, even better, funny stories) on camera. Many videographers will also create highlight reels from all the clips guests make so you can share them later.

Wedding trailer
Also known as a short wedding film, a wedding trailer is a three- to five-minute-long motion picture that wraps up the day in one pretty, shareable package. Similar to a cinematic feature-length video, different scenes from the day mixed with music (and sometimes interviews with your family and wedding party) come together to create a short, emotional clip. Most videographers will provide a link so you can share your trailer online.

Options

B-roll
Shots of the scenery, guests milling around or anything that isn’t a specific wedding moment qualifies as B-roll. Videographers can use this background scenery in wedding videos to help set the scene.

DSLR camera
Many videographers use high-definition DSLR cameras (it stands for digital single-lens reflex) to achieve a sharp, high-quality look. It’s likely the same type of digital camera your photographer will use for your still photos.

Postproduction
Also known as editing, this is everything that your videographer (or a specific editor) does between when the cameras stop rolling and when you receive your completed video package. It’s the process of cutting together scenes and adding music, titles and special effects to create the type of video(s) you want.

Raw footage
If you ask your videographer for the raw footage of your wedding, you’ll get every single second of video shot from the day, completely unedited. It can end up being several hours long!

Same-day edit
A same-day edit means you can watch your wedding video at your wedding! An editor will step out mid-party with a laptop computer to turn around a brief highlight video of the prewedding prep, ceremony and even your reception entrance to share later on in the evening.

Single-event edit
With single-event edits, a videographer will create separate highlight reels for each individual event (the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, and the toasts and the spotlight dances, for example), giving each part of the day (or weekend) its own chapter on your wedding DVD. You’ll get footage of the entire day, and you won’t have to fast-forward through an hour of unedited ceremony footage just to replay the best man’s toast.

Soundtrack
Simply put, the soundtrack is the music that your edited wedding video will be set to. This can include one song or a mix of tunes of your choosing edited together, or you can skip the soundtrack altogether.

Steadicam
This equipment stabilizes a handheld camera onto a videographer’s shoulder and arm, allowing them to get smooth, sweeping shots.

Time-lapse
To capture a sense of setting, videographers will set up stationary cameras to shoot one angle for about an hour; then the footage is sped up during the editing process to make a few-second clip. Time-lapse is often incorporated into different parts of the video to show the passage of time and create a smoother transition between events of the day. Sunrises, sunsets, decor prep and dance floors are commonly turned into time-lapse footage.

-- Special thanks to Adam Haller of Two Penny Productions; Jonathan Holt of The Wedding Theater; and Megan Hill of Hello Super 8

-- The Knot

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