Glossary of Wedding Cinematography

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Aspect ratio: Two numbers that represent the dimensions of your video. The first number is the width, the second is the height. For example, a 4:3 ratio is four units wide and three units high. Other common sizes are 16:9 and 1.85:1.

Blog: Why have two wedding cinematographers

Best Man: Chosen by the groom, the best man has a few crucial duties. These include keeping the bride’s ring until it’s needed, signing the marriage license and seeing that the groom arrives on time.

Boom microphone: Long microphones which are especially sensitive to picking up sound from one given direction.

Blusher: A short veil that covers the bride’s face before and during the ceremony.

Bounce: Reflective surface used to disperse light and soften shadows on the video subject.

Boutonniere: A small flower decoration worn by men on the lapel of their jacket.

Bridal procession: The bride’s walk down the aisle, usually on the arm of her father, with an entourage of bridesmaids, flower girl, and any other attendants.

Chapel veil: A long veil worn by a bride that reaches the floor and trails behind her.

Color correction: The manipulation of color by digital means during the post-production phase.

Compression: A way of digitally packing the image information more tightly, so that the video file is smaller and can upload faster.

Cummerbund: A wide sash of any color worn around a man’s waist, under the jacket but over the shirt.

Dais: The raised area in the reception hall where the bride and groom sit. The word sometimes refers to the flower arrangement that is placed on their table.

Depth of field: The portion of your image that is in focus. A shallow depth of field (DOF) will cause the background to be blurred, giving the subject of the image more importance.

Digital Zoom: A method of simulating a physical, lens-based zoom through the use of digital enlargement and cropping.

Export: Combining the separate edited portions of your video into one file, which can then be shared or uploaded.

Wedding favors: Small gifts offered to wedding guests to thank them for coming to the wedding.

Fiancé: The groom between the time of engagement and the wedding ceremony.

Fianceé: The bride between the time of engagement and the wedding ceremony.

F-stop: The size of the opening (aperture) which lets light into the camera. Smaller f-stop numbers (such as 1.4 or 2) allow the greatest amount of light in, and result in shallow depth of field.

Frame Rate: The number of times a sensor captures the image during one second. Standard frame rates range between 24 and 60.

Groom’s cake: A second, smaller wedding cake that is sometimes served at the rehearsal dinner.

Honor attendants: The two most important attendants, usually the best man and the maid (or matron) of honor.

Import: The process of moving videos out of your camera and into your computer.

J-cut: A way of cutting from one scene to another, in which the sound is heard before the picture is seen.

Jump cut: A sharp transition that makes it seem like your subject abruptly jumps to a different location.

Long portrait: A video “snapshot” that typically includes about 30 seconds of a subject, showing their unique personal style through voice and movement.

Macro: A long lens that produces super closeup shots.

Maid of honor: The most important bridesmaid, she is the last bridesmaid to walk down the aisle ahead of the bride. She holds the groom’s ring until it is needed in the ceremony.

Matron of honor: The title for a maid of honor who is married.

Neutral density filter: A glass filter that reduces the amount of light entering the lens.

Officiant: The person who performs the wedding ceremony.

Optical zoom: The ability of a single lens to change the focal length, bringing the subject closer in to the viewer.

Pan: Sweeping sideways movement of the camera, to capture the full extent of what is taking place in that area.

Polarizing filter: A filter placed over the lens to cut down on glare and transform the way a camera deals with light.

Point of view shot (POV): A special shot that lets the viewer see from the perspective of one of the subjects in the video.

Ring bearer: Usually a little boy (but occasionally a girl) who carries a special pillow down the aisle with rings on it. Some couples opt for the ring bearer to carry the actual rings, while others have pretend rings on the ring bearer’s pillow.

Room tone: The overall natural sound environment of a room.

Resolution: The number of vertical and horizontal pixels a video has. Common resolutions are 32 x 32, 48 x 48 and 128 x 128.

Shot list: A list made ahead of time by the videographer, which includes all the shots that he or she wants to get by the end of the wedding day.

Slow motion: Digitally slowing down video footage that’s already been shot, for the purpose of creating a special effect.

Split screen: Dividing the screen up into two or more areas, so that viewers can see more than one image simultaneously.

Storyboards: Like a shot list, except created in graphic form with drawings depicting the planned shots.

Synchronization, or sync: Integrating sound with image so that they line up correctly.

Time lapse: This is a shooting technique in which each frame is shot at a slower than normal rate. When played back at increased speed, it can make it seem as if time has speeded up.

Train: the long back of the wedding dress that trails behind the bride. Sometimes it is held up by train bearers or page boys.

Vows: The promises that the bride and groom make to each other.

Wedding film: A cinematic video filmed with multiple movie cameras documenting the moments of a brides wedding day. Generally includes the bridal prep, first look, vows and reception traditions.

Wide angle: A lens constructed so as to capture more of a subject than a normal lens of the same size would be able to.

White balance: The method of calibrating colors for the tone of available light, so that whites are always pure white.


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