Friday, May 29, 2009

Should I choose High Definition videography or Standard Definition Videography and why?

By Craig Musni
Ever After Creations Video and Design

The big buzz around videographers these days has been and continues to be High Definition. Many professionals have made the leap and are fully invested in High Definition cameras and gear, and along with those fancy cameras come new state-of-the-art computers, editing packages and so on. What they also come with is a hefty price tag. Of course to try and recoup those costs, videographers need to raise their prices and convince the bride and groom why they need to have their wedding shot in beautiful 1080/720i or 1080/720p. After all, don't you want your entire wedding day caught on the highest resolution possible in the widest format possible so every last pore on every last person is visible on that ginormous HD flat screen you expect to get as a wedding gift? Of course I'm exaggerating, but is High Definition the right choice for your wedding video simply because it is the best thing we have to shoot on right now? I've been shooting weddings for over 12 years and I love High Definition. It's beautiful, great for still captures for labels and sleeves, and really attracts the attention of guests at the wedding, especilly the one guy who seems to know more about your camera than the dealer you bought it from. But is it the answer for everyone?

I was surfing the website of a veteran videographer and noticed how heavily he was promoting HD. His prices had definitely gone up since adding HD, plus there were a number of new "add-ons" that were available only for HD buyers, namely the option of having your wedding burned to Blu-ray for a premium cost. That got me thinking, how else would the wedding video be produced if not onto a Blu-ray disc? Well the obvious answer is a standard DVD that 90% of american homes have and use everyday. So then why would anyone have their footage shot onto HD if they didn't want to pony up the extra 5 bills for the Blu-ray disc? That's assuming of course that the bride and groom already own a Blu-ray player. These special high definition discs and players are the only game in town for viewing HD content on your big HD flat screen, save for the cable and satellite company's content.

So am I saying that brides and grooms should skip the added expense and not go with High Def? Not necessarily... If you already own a Blu-ray player and High Definition TV, and you don't mind ponying up the extra fees for HD, then go for it. On the other hand, there are alternatives that most videographers pushing HD won't tell you about.

1) Find out if your videographer will shoot your wedding in HD, but edit it in SD (Standard Definition) and then give you the raw footage. Not all companies have the same policy when it comes to the original tapes, but I believe the tapes are yours when you sign up. Then you can have the raw footage edited when the technology comes down in cost, as it most certainly will - or even edit it yourself!

2) Have your videographer shoot your wedding in Standard Definition widescreen 16:9 - this should not cost you anything extra and your final edited DVD will fill your ginormous HD Television screen without anyone knowing it's not HD - in fact many DVD players and some TV's can up-convert your Standard Def DVD's to HD with surprisingly good results.

3) If your videographer shoots only in HD, then charges you extra for Blu-ray, ask them why they are doing that. In my opinion, if the original video is shot in High Definition, the final product should be high definition as well. There's no reason to shoot in HD and deliver in SD.

These are just a few ideas for budget-minded couples wanting a quality video without buying into the High Definition hype. HD's time is definitely the future, no doubt about that. Our company offer's HD as well, with the caveat that the bride and groom will benefit from the extra expense. However I would submit that most couples can benefit from quality Standard Definition widescreen 16:9 and save the Blu-ray for the early adopters.

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