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Non-Linear Editing on the PC
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Old October 20th, 2003, 08:21 AM   #1
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Calling all Videographers! Workflows

Hi All

I am looking to make some comparisons on my workflow. I have been filming wedding's for a little while now and the business is going really well. I would like to take this moment to make some comparisons to other videographers workflow techniques. Basically I am trying to speed up my process. Here goes a typical senario.

1. I shoot the wedding
2. Capture the footage from atleast two or more tapes using a Maxtrox RT.100 extreme card. This will capture my DV footage and then seperate my clips ready for editing.
3. Bring my footage into Premiere Pro
4. Create the introduction from a standard templated project such as The Service, The Reception and The Stills. Edit the titles so they contain names, date, location etc.
5. Place the footage on the timelines including background music.
6. Go back through all the captured footage and capture approx 160-170 stills images.
7. Go back to premiere and import the stills and also add slow motion scenes to various stages within the stills timeline.
8. Encode
9. Create the final DVD which contains scene selection and personalised menus.

This process takes approx 6-8 hours of shooting the wedding and then a further 8-10 hours of final editing and export time.

My question is, does this sound an unusual process to others and does the editing time sound stupidly high? I feel this technique works for me and quality seems to be well above customers expectations.

I love to hear other fellow videographers workflow techniques.

Many thanks

Steve
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Old October 20th, 2003, 09:51 AM   #2
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Well, you're not going to speed up the process of shooting so take that out of the mix. BTW, my average shoot time runs about 10 hours and has been as much as 15 hours, of course that was a very special deal.

As for editing, once I get to it, usually about 4-5 weeks after the event, I'm generally at 35-40 hours to edit. Why so long? Capture of course takes about 4-5 hours, I then spend whatever time is needed to decide on the footage I'm going to use from the ceremony, A or B and mark my cuts. From there I start my opening sequence & titling which for me can run 4 or 5 hours of work. Once that's done then I cut the ceremony, get into my post ceremony and pre reception, the reception the goodbye sequence and finally the highlites and credits.
Having said that now, remember, each of us edits differently, I do a short form which runs from 40-60 minutes in the finished product. It takes a little longer to do that and make the story work, especially when it a full mass ceremony.
As for authoring my DVD, that actually goes fairly quickly, maybe about 4 hours from start to burn.

The thing is as long as I've been doing weddings I try to make each one an individual experience for the bridal couple and sometimes things go like butter and other times I can't get out of my own way.
Anyway thats how I do it most of the time.

I do have a question for you though and that is why do you pull all the stills?

Don
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Old October 20th, 2003, 10:56 AM   #3
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Hi Don

Interesting to see you spend quite some time capturing. Are you doing it manually, i.e scanning the tape and setting your capture in and out points? I did this before I purchased the Matrox card which now does a Scan and Capture so I can leave the computer capturing from the tape.

I am also interested to see that you spend a far longer editing time. Not sure why it takes so long to edit as I thought even 8-10 hours was plenty.

To answer your question. I use a Canon XM2/GL2 to capture my wedding footage. I then extract the stills essentially from the tape although they are actually captured from the DV footage. I don't use any other equipment or in-camera photo capture to do this. Is this the same technique as yourself?

Many thanks, look forward to your replies.

Steven
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Old October 20th, 2003, 11:17 AM   #4
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As for the stills from the MiniDV, I never use the snapshot feature. It is a wasted function in my mind. If I want a still, I will take it from the regular footage, if a real photo camera isn't available.

As for my workflow, it is a bit chaotic I'm sure, but it is the way I work. I first go through the tape and see what I want out of it, then go back and set the capture points, and capture. This is the time to light up or grab a snack, as the capture is automated in Storm.

Any artwork I need, I do after the capture. Then it is a matter of throwing the footage onto the timeline, and trimming out the fat. If I have specific music, I lay that down first, and use it as a guide for the cuts and scenes, working it around the dialogue. Then, I apply the filters, corrections, and tighten it up. Watch it once more for errors, and print to tape. Then, watch the tape, searching for bugs, and if happy, run more copies.
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Old October 20th, 2003, 11:32 AM   #5
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Keith, interesting. The beauty of having this Matrox card is the scan and capture feature. I literally just tell the matrox card to go through the tape automatically capturing each individual piece of footage that I captured. When I say individual, I mean each time I pressed the record until the stop button. This has saved me huge ammounts of time. I hated going through the tape bit by bit logging capture points.

Your stills process sounds pretty well much the same as myself. I also apply the background music and work around it that way.

Regards

Steven
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Old October 20th, 2003, 12:08 PM   #6
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It takes me 4-5 to capture because I have 4 to 5 hours of tape.
I capture everything on the tapes.

As I said my edit style is short form, which after doing long form for many many years, in my opinion takes a lot longer to do due to the shortening of the ceremony and still telling the story of the bride and grooms day. Please bear in mind that some folks don't want their wedding shortened so they hire someone else.


As I might have failed to mention, I do color correction, some special effects and frankly some of us take a little longer to do the quality of work that enables us to charge what we charge and still be able to do the number of events we do in a year.

I have a friend that can edit a wedding in about the same amount of time as you do but he does long form, he gives them all usable footage. Of course he only charges 1/3rd of what I start at but thats what he does.
To each his own. After 32 years in the creative arts business I have found that the race doesn't always belong to the fastest but the one who satisfies the client with the type of work they expext to get based on the samples they have seen. In other words, if my clients see a 40-60 minute edit of their wedding but they were EXPECTING to see a 2 hour edit then there is a problem, but if they were expecting a 40-60 minute edit then we're good to go. They also however expect the edit to tell THEIR story of THEIR day.

Everyones different. What I do in 40 hours might take someone else 30 or someone else 50. Time is irrelevant, style,content,quality and of course getting paid what you should be getting paid for the job are the important issues. If it takes you 10 hours to do what you do and your clients like your work, great, if it takes me 40 hours and my clients like my work, fine, but I doubt the finished product looks the same, yes, we both are doing the same job, but how we interppret it in the finished product.....

I hope you can see where I'm coming from and the point I'm trying to make. I'm sure you do fine work and will be sucessful in the business but always remember everyone is different and we all have our own style and way of accomplishing it.
Don
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Old October 20th, 2003, 04:33 PM   #7
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I don't work by the clock, I do the job. If it takes a few all nighters till it feels right, then so be it. If it falls together in an afternoon, so much the better. But all of my projects don't get finished till I say they are finished.
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Old October 21st, 2003, 08:27 AM   #8
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Hi Don

Totally agree to what you have said. I was kind of comparing the workflow just to see how mine differs from others. I class my rates as very competitive in the market. My clients are always sent a sample DVD or Video so they can see exactly what they are getting for their hard earned money. Gives me and them a good sense of security so nothing is unusual at the final moment. The sample DVD shows snippets of 5 or so weddings but obviously not showing the wedding service due to confidential reasons.

I can understand regarding 40 hours being comparable to 10 hours work(not inc shooting time). Using a two camera system, I could see the editing time increasing certainly for me.

Interesting to see that you potentially limit the time on the ceremony. I personally give this complete as this is what the customers generally prefer but I would agree that a 40-45 minute ceremony could become overkill. Interesting to hear your thoughts on this?

Also, just another question. Can you describe more about the 4-5 hours of footage you take. I trust this is across two camera's?

Many thanks

Steven
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Old October 21st, 2003, 08:58 AM   #9
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"This will capture my DV footage and then seperate my clips ready for editing."
That's sceen detection and I don't think the hardware is what neccessarily enables that option. It might very well be software. I work with Vegas 4.0 (no hardware support) and it supports sceen detection. It captures each shot as a separate sceen determined by when you hit stop and record.

I prefer not to use sceen detection and capture my tapes in their entirety. I used to capture lots of small sceens but felt it was more difficult to organize dozens (if not hundreds of clips) than to organize, say, 4 clips albiet long ones.

My Workflow:
-shoot the wedding
-capture all footage in one fell swoop. Each tape is captured as one long 60 minute file
-lay my footage on the timeline/trimmer and extract good footage
-I don't have any ryme or reason on which section I start with...sometimes I start in the middle of the wedding and move around as I do each sceen
-Each sceen (opening, ceremony, pre-reception, reception, highlight montage, etc) is assembled and edited as different projects. After a sceen is done, say the ceremony, I color correct it, tweak and normalize the audio then encode a DV AVI out of it.
-Once each section is complete I assemble each AVI on the timeline and encode the MP2.

Much of this workflow is borrowed from Edward Troxel. Ever since I started using it I've felt more efficient and organized.


On my weddings I never use any templates and pre-set styles. All my weddings are completly different and I kinda go with the flow while creating them, hence the drastic differences in style and design. The only guidlines I ever work by are ones set by the client. If they specifically want a sceen done a certian way or certian shots to be included.
Average time per wedding: 60+ hours.
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Old October 21st, 2003, 09:31 AM   #10
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Hi Glen

Sounds an interesting workflow. Your reference to Screen detection does sound right. When I was describing a standard project I mean a very basic project with the bin folders containing the standard titles and ending credits. I tend to split my work into 3/4 distinct sections such as The Preperations, The Service, The Reception and The Stills. Each section is on a seperate timelime (sequence in Premiere Pro). I then have 1 main sequence which consists of all 4 and I then set chapter points etc.

I have started to use Encore DVD, although buggy, and I have designed a lovely set of Scene selection screens which I modify for each wedding I film. I don't really move away from this as this is what I am selling my services upon and it's that which people are purchasing at the end of the day. Obviously as software improves, things might change slightly.

In Premiere Pro and in 6.5 I love the Storyboard feature where everything can be setup perfectly before applying to the timeline. Once everything is on the timeline I then go over various clips and make colour corrections and minor adjustments. I never incorporate slow motion scenes within the main parts of the DVD/VIDEO. I leave this bit for the end which works well.

People have commented that they love the 15-18 minutes at the end. They can watch this over and over again and it basically tells the story of the day. It's something they can show friends which keeps them entertained.

I am sure some of these approaches are very similar to yourself and others but it's certainly something which works for me.

Many thanks

Steven
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Old October 21st, 2003, 09:35 AM   #11
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I must say i admire everyones patience here.
I did 1 wedding, once and will never again do it.

The clients were incredibly happy and i had over 12 calls from it, but i actually hated the entire experience.

I guess i felt like my artistic intent was totally crushed due to the formal feeling i got from it, i almost felt like a government worker having to do paper work down in a basement.

But to each their own and i have to admire people who do this, because i know how trying it can be!!!!

zac
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Old October 21st, 2003, 10:00 AM   #12
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My clients know they are getting a short form type edit so when I cut a Catholic Full Mass ceremony that ran 55 minutes including communion to 12 or 14 minutes they know that that's what they are getting.(the clients expect it-frankly many of them over this last year almost demand it)-Yes 2 cameras at the ceremony, but there is also pre ceremony stuff i.e.; bride/groom prep, post ceremony, while the photog is shooting the formals, I shoot candid stuff of the bridal party and shoot a little over the photog, also there might be an additional location involved before the reception. Add to that a receiving line, cocktail hour, intros, toasts, innvocation, cake cutting, first dance, mommy dance, daddy dance bridal party dance, leg grab, flower toss (garter and bouquet) a goodbye shot perhaps guest comments or interviews (at the B/G discretion) parent(s) comments and before you know it you've got 4 or 5 hours.
Having said that now, there are times it might be 21/2 hours, it all depends on the wedding. Each one is a very individual thing and although I have a shot list in my head and a style of edit that I like to use for my weddings, I'm not so inflexible that I don't look at each event on it's own merits.
I've done very very small events (25 or 30 people total) to a wedding the last summer with 1500 guests, outside on a horse ranch (yes we have them in the Chicago area) a bridal party that was about 28 in size with a really great officiant and super brideal party and families that allowed us to do some really cool stuff. I hired 2 other camerapeople to work with me for that one and it worked out fine, still short form but an additional disc of "selected scenes" including bride/groom prep, rehearsal and rehearsal dinner and the old wedding story style interviews. I had about 12 total hours of coverage. BTW, the selected scenes disc ran about 30 minutes. BUT the wedding/reception edit was still 58 minutes.
Anyway, the point is, I do not set a minimum or a maximum for footage. I shoot what I feel I need to do the job, and spend the time I feel I need to edit. I get paid to produce a top quality,individual, meaningful wedding movie for the bride and groom and take that very seriously, so to me time is the one thing I've got to spend on their project, but I've always been like that, the end result is far more important to me than the effort I put into it. I do however have it down pretty well, so I can still earn a decent living which is a pretty important thing to do.
Don
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Old October 21st, 2003, 11:44 AM   #13
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I've always shot in short-form style from the start of my wedding videography. I shoot with two cams the entire day including the reception and usually end up with 4-6 hours of raw footage. From that I edit the final cut to a running time around 50-60 minutes. The entire project is mostly comprised of musical montages- the only spoken (or "natural") audio are the vows, toast, and interviews. All of my bookings are from referalls from previous weddings and they've all wanted the same style.
However if I had a couple that wanted long-form style I'd be happy to oblige. Despite the fact the run-time would be double the lenght if not more it'd be less work in post. Much easier to sync mulitible cameras and selectively cut between them and let it run rather than trying to meticulously build a music video style montage timed perfectly to the waveform beats, with artistic color correction, soft focus, etc.
To me I'd think long-form would be less exciting to watch. I mean how many times can you watch the ceremony in real-time.
I think even the b&g would get tired of it. However if the same ceremony were to be edited into a musical montage with a break for spoken vows...it's something they can watch hundreds of times over and keep their finger off the "next" button on the DVD remote.

It's all relative- despite the fact I prefer short-form, I'd love to do a long-form wedding. It'd be like a break for me..and I wouldn't have to spend 60 hours editing the piece. Probably wrap up a long-form wedding in 10 hours or less...and that's including color correction to match the 2 cameras in post.

Don do you have a site, I'd love to see your work- and anyone elses for that matter. I have yet to get a site up but it is slated for the near future.
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Old October 21st, 2003, 04:09 PM   #14
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WOW, I thought I was the only one without a site. Nope, I'm kinda old school and even though one of my daughters in law is a web designer, I still don't have one and frankly I probably won't ever have one as I'm getting to the point in my life that it's getting to the time for me to retire and I don't mean putting new tires on my car ;-0
Don
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Old October 21st, 2003, 04:21 PM   #15
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Jeez I'm just starting out then....I'm 26. Many many years ahead of me. Man I want to retire at 30!
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