“A Little Wedding Videographer History”
in the yesteryear, wedding films were a novelty. Many couples getting married would have wedding photos and if you had a wealthy friend or family member, they would have a 8mm film camera.
During the 1950’s through the 1970’s, companies such as Kodak and Bell & Howell were producing motion film cameras that were able to capture weddings for literally a few minutes and most the did record weddings filmed the reception or before the wedding.
The cameras were often times made of metal like aluminium, they would have very small lenses that were typically wide, 13mm was a common size at the time. In the mid 1950’s the Kodak Cine Medallion 8 was a popular camera of choice for those that could shell out $144.50, which is about $1,500 in today’s money. There was no audio on these devices and the overall quality of many “wedding films” was mediocre at best, most people didn’t have the skills to use them.
What’s interesting is that these devices also didn’t operate on batteries or power, most were wind up in nature and if you were lucky, you might get 30 seconds worth of film in one take.
The dawn of major electronics really started to ramp up in the late 1970’s and by the mid 1980’s, video technology started to make it’s way into homes for those can could afford a VCR or a camcorder. Companies like Kodak, Panasonic and JVC started making VHS camcorders while Sony started making their Betamax system.
From there people that could shell out $1,000 could get a large, over the shoulder style video camcorder from Panasonic, which many people would use at weddings. The videos were poorly done, no editing, a bright light on top of the camcorder and very limited battery power made for horrible video.
In the 1987, there was less than 250 “wedding video” professional companies in the United States and they were considered a luxury at the time. You could hire one of these companies to come and film your ceremony on a tripod (no good audio, just the on-board mic) and parts of the reception. Interviews were also a way to fill up the 2 hour long tapes that people could record too at the time and many times they were out of focus, not level on a tripod and the quality was simply horrible.
As video technology became slightly more affordable in nature, a new line of wedding video professionals started to come to light and the term “wedding videographer” was took on a while new meaning.
Post-production creativity took a major leap forward with the introduction of advanced tools like the Newtek Video Toaster in the early 1990s. This led to the introduction of other relatively inexpensive non-linear editing systems (NLE), which offered the editor many more creative options. But the delivery method still relied on an analog viewing system, VHS video tape.
This changed in the late 1990s with introduction of the recordable DVD. Weddings and events were now recorded digitally, edited digitally, and delivered digitally, greatly improving the image quality.
By the late 1990s, wedding videography had expanded beyond documentation of weddings. The majority of wedding videographers preferred to add the additional term of "event" to their description of service. New offerings, such as Love Stories, Photo Montages (a retrospective collection of photographs set to music), music videos, family biographies, anniversaries, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, graduations, and many other one-time events were also being documented in large numbers on video.
The general skill level of the industry's members improved and post-production capabilities reflected the standards of commercial productions.