What media are used for wedding videos?

When I started taking video in the early 1990’s the cameras were called camcorders and they recorded to a special type of video tape which slotted into the side of the camera. You could either play the tapes back by attaching a lead to your TV or you could transfer the video to the larger tape format called VHS and play your videos back through your normal VHS player which most people had. At that time you could rent movies in VHS tape as well.

Then of course technology changed and we were watching films on DVDs. DVDs were more convenient and more durable. The films you could store on them were what was known as Standard Definition.
When I started shooting weddings in 2012, DVD was what most people expected to receive their wedding video on. Of course now almost no-one has a working DVD player any more. I was not sorry to ditch DVDs myself as there was a very noticeable difference in picture quality between what I could produce as a freelance videographer and the output created by Hollywood studios producing films for general release. This was probably because of two things:

1) The cameras a film studio could use were infinitely better than anything I could justify buying without charging a fortune and

2) in a studio you can have infinite control of the lighting and have as many retakes of a scene as you want to get the picture right.

At that time it was very frustrating for me quality wise as what I was filming was in High Definition which is a step up from Standard Definition. On my editing screen I could see some reasonable quality images but the video I was seeing had to be compressed and essentially downgraded in order for it to work on a DVD.

Added in to that was the fact that I was trying to create DVDs that had printed on them a photo of the couple. If the write DVD process failed I had to start again and print another DVD with the same image and try writing to that DVD.

The whole process was lengthy, tedious and not very satisfactory in terms of what I could see quality wise at the end of it.

So I was quite glad when the time came to go totally digital and to stop offering DVDs.

The new technology allowed me to film in Ultra High Definition 4K and to output the video after editing in a number of different formats. My standard practise now is to compress the video slightly so an hours film will fit onto a 32Gb USB stick to send to my clients.

As a wedding couple you will receive the USB stick in a small wooden presentation box with a magnetic lid. My reasoning is that a USB stick on its own is quite easily mislaid or mistaken for any other USB stick. By putting it in a special box that can be kept in a drawer, it should help you to store it away and locate it again when you want to view it again. I would also encourage you to make a backup of the video file to your computer/another USB stick or other storage device. You can’t have too many backups but I would advise against loading the video to YouTube as there will then be a concern about music copyright.

Longevity of the media.

It’s almost impossible to guess what the technology of the future looks like but the good news is that your video will be in a digital format; a .mov file.

You can and should keep a copy of it on a different device just in case you loose the USB. 

There are various formats for video files but by far the most common are .mov and .mp4 and it is relatively easy to find software that will allow you to convert from one format to another. It might take some time to convert a file but it’s by no means as difficult as to extract your dim from a DVD or a VHS tape!

Future proofing your wedding video 

You should be fairly future proof as far as I can tell but when the next level of technology comes along just ask yourself should I convert our wedding video to that format as well just to keep up.

I would guess that over the next few years we may see cameras in the sub £2000 bracket that are capable of taking 6k and 8k video which may also improve image quality. To be useful to me this needs to be accompanied by a software hardware combination that will handle increased file sizes at a reasonable speed. I’m not going to start chasing after 8k footage for no good reason. The 4K footage I can get now at a reasonable cost to my wedding customers is perfectly fine in my opinion but there may well come a time when it’s inevitable that a change to my current equipment and editing software is required.