Which Screen Format Is Best For Wedding Videos

By: Matt Duke

The format to use when distributing wedding videos that is best can vary between countries. I will speak from my own experience in Australia, and hopefully it will assist other people.

With new technologies coming out all the time it is important to choose a format that will be compatible with the majority of the client's equipment. In particular I am referring to whether or not you shoot and distribute the wedding video in 16:9 or 4:3. Many new cameras these days shoot footage in 16:9 very well. The chips inside the camera actually have a 16:9 shape, so the image is not stretched or black bars added at the top and bottom as in the past.

The problem lies however with the client's TV and DVD player. I have had some clients and this is becoming the majority, that want the latest everything. So they want blu-ray, and widescreen with surround sound. This is perfect as your work can be presented in full high quality. My main issue has been with clients that have old DVD players and older TVs. The TV may not do wide screen very well, or the colour looks ordinary, or the DVD struggles to play home burnt DVD discs.

The way to over come this I have found is to provide the couple with two options. They can either have their wedding shot and edited in Standard Definition, 4:3 or they can have everything in High Definition 16:9. I will provide them with two sample DVDs so that they can test on their DVD player at home. They then select which option they want on their booking form and that ends the discussions afterwards about why their wedding video looks funny on Uncle John's DVD player which really is only a $50 player from the local super market. Chances are, its better to provide in the latest version as within a few years, legacy equipment will be replaced with the latest and greatest.

So in conclusion, I prefer to find out exactly want the client requires. I find this best as it means they are getting what they want and also what they are paying you for. It also means that when they complain about it after the wedding, for example, that their wedding is not in widescreen, then you can let them know that they requested letter-box.

In any business, the main goal is to keep the client happy, so if expectations are set early on then this process is quite straight forward.

If you ignored what the client want, I would make all of my videos High Definition widescreen, but thats just because they look so crystal clear. Good luck with the distribution.

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