Videos, codecs, why does it matter what codec someone shoots the videos in? the benefits of high end codecs, such as Braw, Red-Code-Raw, or Pro-Res, really depends on the workflow you are engaging in. You will run across countless people, and some very talented prolific filmmakers, who swear that Raw codecs are massively overblown, that its a waste of system resources and time in post production. And they are entirely correct, if your goal is to deliver a film as quickly as humanly possible. But if your goal is to deliver the best image you possibly can, and your willing to take the time, and put in the effort, high end professional codecs make a day and night difference.

Color Depth: a digital, color image is composed of channels. These channels vary, depending on the color space, but the most common color space is RGB, this stands for Reg, Green, Blue. each pixel in an image is assigned a value for how much red, blue, and green is in each pixel. Each pixel can have a value between 0 and 256 for each of these channels. For example, a value of 0 on red, 0 on green, and 0 on blue, would mean that pixel is pure black. using a combination of red, green and blue, just like a painter, a camera can record any color you can imagine.

My initial impression upon learning how few numbers define each colors intensity, was that this seemed like a pretty low number of distinct values for the intensity of each color. Despite this, most images look pretty dang good. But there are still artifacts that can get introduced by the small number of distinct steps between values. There is an image artifact known as banding that occurs pretty commonly if you take a digital image, and increase the contrast. This happens quite often in blue skies for example. Now if you don’t intend to edit an image at all, this rarely becomes a problem, but if you go in and make edits to an image, this becomes a problem pretty quickly.

enter 10 bit and 12 bit codecs. Pro-Res is a 10 bit codec, what does 10 bit do for you? it increases the number of steps for each color from 256 distinct values, to 1024 distinct values. you have effectively increased the fidelity of the colors in your image (and the gradients) by 4 times. This allows you to make edits to an image, without any of the artifacting that an 8 bit codec would suffer from. 1024 steps is still pretty low if you really think about it. At casperson productions 10 bit codecs are the bare minimum for even our C-cams. Now in the real scale of things 1024 steps is still lower then would be ideal. this is why I personally aim for getting a 12bit raw codec whenever possible. with a raw 12 bit codec you have 4096 distinct steps for each channel, which really lets you play with the image in post and get very organic images in post.

the other advantage of raw, and prores is the compression is very low. compressions essentially just destroys an image, removing data, and smearing details. The first thing that gets compressed out of existence in an image is typically the noise, when you shoot with camera’s like the a7s-3 (on the internal codec, the external codecs do not suffer these same problems when rolling to an atomos) you end up losing much of the natural noise from the image, and while this might seem like a good thing, the end result is a less organic, more clinically cold digital image. Typically when you shoot on cameras that record raw and/or prores internally on the camera, the noise in the image is much more organic and feels more filmic and natural. to me the organic feel of an image is super important, which is why I avoid heavily compressed h254 and h265 recording whenever possible.

I feel that someones wedding is a really important day, and it should be treated with the utmost care and respect, while a lot of filmmakers approach weddings as “just a wedding” I truly believe weddings are one of the most important films I am gonna be making, and my standards for the image are just as high as any narrative project I shoot. Which is why I always shoot in raw, and in pro-res, no matter what I am shooting.