View Full Version : What's your typical wedding video duration?
August 16th, 2011, 12:27 PM
A question for the 15 min cinematic story telling guys.....
What do you do if you don't get usable audio that you can pull out to tell a story because a baby screamed through the entire vows & rings and the ceremony was all of 4 minutes total (not even a reading)? While the baby was taking a breath between screams the photographer is click click click. There is NOTHING of the audio you can pull out of context and time shift. Now what?
What happens if you can't get the nice sweeping shots because it's raining heavily outside (think heavy thunder rain) and it's too crowded inside with a non cooperative set of guests who all have their back to you no matter how much effort you put in to finding new angles?
What will you do is the speeches are all of 5 sentences between all three people.... effectively each one saying "thanks for coming - the bar's open"? Now what? How are you going to time shift that?
What happens when the Bridesmaid won't speak, the best man disappears and none of the family are talking to each other, let alone the camera.
The couple decide not to bother cutting their cake (so no cake shots) and the first dance is ambushed by 10-15 kids sliding on the dance floor (so no real first dance shots).
What's your plan?
Don't say you won't take the job..... everything seems normal at the time of booking..... so you've taken the job and now you're back home with the footage. What's your plan?
August 16th, 2011, 12:28 PM
Its very interesting to hear everyones perspectives on length of a wedding video.
I would like to ask the people delivering 1:30 to 2+ hr productions, how much are you putting on a single dvd and still satisfied with compression quality loss?? I deliver packages with 4-8 dvds and if they were double or triple dvd sets it would be a daunting task.
We try to limit to 90 mins when ever possible. 120 mins is our absolute max. After than we'd edit things differently so something can go on a separate DVD (e.g. full ceremony on Disc 2 with an edited version on Disc 1).
August 16th, 2011, 12:59 PM
I try to limit to 105 minutes but that rarely happens so I'm not adverse to going to 120 minutes and dropping the bitrate. I've been doing this for years and haven't had any problems burning, getting the discs to play or customer complaints. AAMOF I've had discs played on 110 inch screens and the only breakup is due to the screen itself. On 65 inch TVs it looks fine. For corporate stuff I've gone to 2 1/2 hours without a problem.
I hate delivering a 2 DVD set. IMO if you can't tell the wedding story in 120 minutes or less I think you need to rethink your ways. I've done short form in 30-45 minutes and long form in 2 hours, both tell the story, just one touchs more on highlights. In any case, 120 is my limit for weddings.
August 17th, 2011, 01:37 AM
What a wedding you describe Dave P. What's my plan? As always, film edits are life with the boring bits removed. Now that wouldn't leave much on the DVD in the scenario you describe, so they'd get an edit telling it like it was - there's no way round that. They've already paid you, they saw and heard what happened on the day and they didn't employ a magician / clairvoyant behind the camera.
August 17th, 2011, 02:34 AM
I think they should take as long as it takes to look through the photo album. 10-12 mins. Boom.
I like that. So very true.
Our main features are between 15-25 minutes tops. We are also a short form only studio, meaning that we dont do the 3-4 hour epics. Short edit only. While many find it hard to see how that can be, arnt we short changing the couple, what about the hour long ceremony... I can see why people think that but once they see what we do and how we do it... it all makes sense. For example, you dont need to see the vicar welcoming everyone to this lovely ceremony on this glorious day, great time to hear him but see the guests arriving to this lovely ceremony on this glorious day. We also only offer all day coverage, no part days.
To Dave Partington. I think if you get all that in a single day you might as well just hand their money back ;)
I think most of the people who do the shorter edit also charge more. Our prices start at £2,000 for our highlights package (you get what you see on the web). This means we have more redundancy, audio recorders in various places, lapel mics set to a low sensitivity, handheld mics for the speeches. Short speeches are not a problem. We typically show around 90 seconds of a catholic ceremony and a few extracts from the speeches. People have a habit of rambling when they are nervous. The first 80% of the speeches are "Umm, ahhh" and a lot of going off tangent. Its at the end we find people saying what they really wanted to. For the ceremony, think about what you see when you see a wedding on the big screen. The whole hour long service? If your saying you do cinematic movies then people will expect what they see at the cinema would they not?
If its raining, no sweeping shots needed. Focus on the rain, show it happened. Get shots of the rain falling from the roof, the raindrops causing ripples in the puddles. Turn the rainy day into its own little story sequence.
Also, coming back to the price thing. Everything you said in your posts used to happen at EVERY wedding 18 months ago when we were charging sub £1,000. Its amazing the change in the type of people you attract as your prices rise. The speeches are more eloquent and heartfelt. The couples are not afraid to read custom vows and more and more common now are kid free weddings.
Your goal should be to raise your prices. Which is hard, because everyone who has booked you probably wouldnt pay your new pricing. But then, your attract totally different people, people who wouldnt consider you because you were too cheap.
August 17th, 2011, 03:06 AM
Danny, thanks for the reply.
Yes, we had that all on one day.... and I really did feel like giving them their money back and walking away but in the end we got a 28 minute film out of it. The big surprise was they really liked it and bought 7 more copies! Go figure...
In terms of shortening things, I'd love to do that and we do discuss this with couples ahead of time but I've had a surprising number of couples this year telling me they don't want ANYTHING cut from the ceremony, they want it ALL, and same for speeches! That kinda makes it hard to do a short form edit. This is why we sometimes end up giving them two DVDs, one with the entire ceremony & speeches (Disc 2) and Disc 1 has the shorter edit that they are most likely to watch.
It would be good to see two or three of your final deliveries. Are these on your web in their entirety?
August 17th, 2011, 03:23 AM
I give the clients 2 edits on the same DVD . . . full edit and highlights. The full edit runs 90-110 minutes, the highlights are around 10 minutes. My clients love it. They don't want a quick, "cinematic," artsy video that is over before they know it. They want a down-to-earth, tastefully creative documentary of their day.
August 17th, 2011, 03:36 AM
We only show our full movies to our couples and those who come on our training days. Stops them from getting out in the wild.
The key thing is one Stillmotion said. Show people what you want them to see. People no doubt enjoy your longer edits. But try giving them a shorter one and ask them which one they prefer. Which one 'felt' better to watch. Have you noticed how hollywood movies are now 2hr 30mins instead of 1hr 30mins. Sounds great doesnt it, more movie. But do you feel they are padding, including story elements and arcs which just seem like their trying to fill time?
We used to do the hour and a half bit. We used to show so much of the photo shoot and people milling around. But it was just padding, 5 seconds of showing the photos is all you need. Let the photos tell the rest.
If you show your couples the long edit, they will love it. Show them a short one, they will love it.
Our philosophy has always been that there should be not a single point in your movie that you feel like you should skip to the next chapter. Afterall, you dont watch your favourite movie and skip past bits. But it totally depends on your style. Are you giving them a blow by blow account of their day so they cant come back and say anything was missing, or trying to tell a story.
Back to the price thing. We also found when we were sub 1k brides wanted a lot of their money. They would squeeze your for everything they could, they would tell you exactly which song they wanted for which part of the video. But as the price has gone up they have more trust in us. They let us choose the music and have total editorial decision, they are also asking us for a shorter edit. In some ways it seems strange.