Focusing On A Wedding Video

Alison Young
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October 10, 2007
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Sony DCR-HC96
Sony DCR-HC96

A couple weeks ago some friends asked my husband and me to quickly put together a video for a wedding as a surprise for the bride and groom. This was the beginning of a new learning curve, and whether you’re making a video for a wedding, birthday party, trip or anything else, I just have to share what we learned.

If you’re going to do this yourself, rule No. 1 in this whole deal: Use the right video camera! Pick one that has a hard drive or FireWire connection and uses digital video (DV) format. Unfortunately we did not have one of our own, but were using two not-to-be-named cameras that did not work very well for this purpose. Rule No 2: If you’re going to use iMovie, use the older iMovie HD, not the current iMovie 08. Rule No. 3: Within iMovie, mix photos and videos together. It makes using the included themes and transitions easier.

So, the right camera: There are two excellent ones that I’m recommending, even for beginners, that have been on the market for awhile - Canon’s High Definition (HD) HV20 HD Camcorder and Sony’s DCRHC96. While doing this wedding video, it was frustrating trying to siphon off the footage from an unsupported disk format that would not work in either of our CD/DVD slots, and did not have a FireWire or even a USB port to transfer data.

The first camera I mentioned, the HV20, includes a 10x optical (200x digital) zoom with Super Range Optical Image Stabilization, a Canon True HD 1920 x 1080 CMOS Image Sensor, and 1080 HD video. Additionally, for still photos, you’ll receive an image quality of 2.96 megapixels. For the aspiring videographers or filmmakers, the 24P Cinema Mode gives you a professional film/cinematic look.

What makes this camera special is Canon’s DIGIC DVII Image Processor. It’s the brains behind the HV20 HD Camcorder. The DVII is the next generation of Canon’s signal processing technology, and processes video with improved color reproduction and dramatically reduces noise in low-light situations. You can buy it at Circuit City ( or your nearest Apple Store ( for $999.95.

Canon HV20
Canon HV20

The second camera, a Sony DCR-HC96 MiniDV Handycam, has a 10x optical (120x digital) zoom, a wide 2.7-inch Hybrid SwivelScreen Touch Panel LCD screen and a Memory Stick Duo media slot. If you want to use it for a still camera, you’ll receive up to a 3.0-megapixel resolution directly onto your Memory Stick Duo, and it has a built-in flash. If you’re in a low-light situation, the Super NightShot Infrared System allows you to still record your subjects up to 20 feet away.

The transfers are easy to your computer or an external hard drive with the HC96 is the i.LINK DV Interface. This digital high-speed bi-directional interface provides you with a FireWire connection and pure digital transfer between your devices. It goes for $599.99 at or

Once you have the camera of your choice in-hand, make sure you download iMovie HD at If you are already using iLife 08, do not use the included iMovie 08.  Trust me on this one. Since its release, and for various reasons, there have been multiple complaints about iMovie 08, which is why Apple still has the iMovie HD download available.

The final step, if you have the time, is to read Learn Apple iMovie HD In A Day, written by Michael Gantenbein. It will give you insight into the world of digital video production and help you thoroughly master iMovie HD. Find it on for $29.95 (free shipping).

I also just want to give my best wishes again to the happy newlyweds, Hannah and Lawrence!


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