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Old June 16th, 2009, 09:17 PM  
Our First Wedding Video
Patrick Byers Patrick Byers is offline June 16th, 2009, 09:17 PM

My wife and I finally took the plunge with our first wedding video. One of the many things I learned on this one was to mic both the groom AND the bride. I had assumed his mic would pick everything up, but they stood farther apart than we had anticipated--thus the distracting signal-to-noise ratio during her vows. I also need to learn more about color grading. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Here is the link…
Patrick & Silvia Byers's videos on Vimeo
Thanks.

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Old June 18th, 2009, 11:24 PM   #16
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I wouldn't mic the bride.

In my opinion, it's more important to go for more 'consistent' audio from the couple, which means putting the groom's mic in a position that picks them up more evenly. I believe the best position for this is to point the groom's mic downward and move it a little farther down his lapel. It's not the perfect position for micing a single speaker, but that's not what we're going for here. Expect more noise and be prepared to ride the levels (as usual), but rest assured that you can achieve consistent and intercuttable audio from one lav, especially if it's omnidirectional.

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Old June 18th, 2009, 11:49 PM   #17
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Makes sense, Alec. Thank you. I was just really thrown when I saw them standing so far apart. To complicate matters, she was extremely soft-spoken. As it was, I laid some ambient noise under the minister during the bride's vows so the contrast wouldn't be so distracting.
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Old June 19th, 2009, 04:22 AM   #18
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Was that the onboard camera mic?
yes, the first part came from the onboard mic of a dvx100b
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Old June 20th, 2009, 02:21 AM   #19
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As for the goal/length…I'm glad you asked that question, Jason. I don't know what's generally expected. What lengths do you sell the most of? Does a basic package usually include a highlight piece like I see on your websites or is that usually just for marketing yourself? Is the wedding video itself supposed to be the full ceremony in real time without the bells and whistles that can be shot before or after during a separate, more art-directed shoot?
Welcome to the life long learning & updating process (get a gear budget and stick to it!). All this talk of iRivers, Zooms, and my references to the AT1820 UHF receivers, etc will suck the budget and joy out of your work if you always feel you are treading water financially and never having money left over for profit.

Ok on to the play time comment. Generally for any web demo, I punch up the production value and make it as interesting as possible and as short as possible. Because visitors don't stay long on my site. You have at most a minute before they get bored (or less).

Looking at my Google Analytics, I see that the average visitor to my site (last 30days) spent 3 minutes on the site and viewed 3 pages. That is probably enough to hit the main page, hit the packages page and hit play on one or two videos. My main page has my company promo (compiled from clips from all my previous weddings even the first wedding I ever shot).

I am fortunate to have a pretty darn good website in that it is sticky. When people visit, they look through a few pages. only 35% of the people that hit my page "bounce" or just leave and don't look at another page. That means they are serious shoppers, or at least seriously interested in what I have to view.

By the way if you don't have google analytics on your site, GET IT!


.... so you are wondering what that stats stuff has to do with play time? Well you only have may be 1 to 2 minutes to "wow" someone and you better not be trying that with a slow (if accurate) presentation of a wedding day. When I talk to the clients (two prospective client phone calls today! wow!) I mention that the clips on the web site are representative of portions of the wedding day, but that I do include the FULL wedding ceremony (multi-cam cut of course) in real time.

My finished videos tend to be 45 minutes give or take a bit. 5 minute intro to the venue (aka glidecam of ceremony location, establishing shots of bride / groom getting ready, etc), then 5 minutes formal portraits, goofing off shots, then the ceremony is 20-30, then the reception is the rest.

If the bride gets the packages that includes my "wedding day highlight" then I also deliver the on DVD. On my sample videos page, there is a link to a "video introduction" this is a frame for frame copy of exactly what I deliver to the B&G for the first few minutes of their wedding video.

There is only so much that we can do to the wedding ceremony before we are significantly altering the order of events and screwing with "their wedding." So I tend not to touch the ceremony, other than multi-caming and adding good B-roll / wide shots.

So in answer to your question, how _i_ do it is to produce highly edited /stylized productions for all portions of the day except the ceremony. But putting clips of people's ceremony doesn't grab attention or make bookings so I create high impact demos, trailers, & Weddign Day Highlights to sell the whole service.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 07:31 AM   #20
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As always, Jason, really good stuff. Thanks for taking the time--and having the patience--to answer what must seem like some pretty basic newbie questions. Very helpful.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 10:19 AM   #21
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First, well done. Miles better than our first work.

For a bit more info on the zoom thing. The reason no one uses it is because zooms arnt natural. The human eye cant zoom so when you see it the body feels uncomfortable about it. What most of us do is zoom really quickly and cut it out in the edit. Cutaways are a major part of editing so use them well.

What your trying to achieve with the zoom is a reveal. The way which the movies do it and you do it with your eyes is to move in closer. This also alters the perspective. The best and cheapest way to re-create this is with a Glidetrack.

We dont mic up the bride, as long as your grooms mic is Omni directional your fine. If its cardioid then your in trouble.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 12:24 PM   #22
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I'm going to be a heretic. There were indeed a lot of zooms in the footage, but all those scenery zooms at the beginning of the film were to artistic effect (a subjective matter of taste), not just the crazy zippy, mindless zooming so typical of an inexperienced shooter. If all those shots at the beginning of the film had all been static, I don't know that it would have been a better film. It appeared that at least some of the slow zoom scenery shots were done handheld though. Putting the camera on sticks would have made the shots look better.

The compression of the original file uploaded to Vimeo was crushing. Encoding 720p at 1.2mbps, even with a high quality H.264 encoder, is awfully tough on image quality. Going to at least 2mpbs would have improved image quality dramatically, and the file would still have been well under Vimeo's 500GB limit.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 12:34 PM   #23
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Thank you for your heresy, Robert.
Actually, my first compression scheme was a 600 MB file at 4,010 kbits/sec (I assume that's equivalent to 4 mpbs?). I've got lousy ISP out here in the boondocks, so I opted for a smaller file that would upload faster, but maybe I'll let it upload over the weekend and use the larger less-crushed version. Would that cause it to load and play slower for the Vimeo viewer as well or would the notice much performance difference?
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Old June 20th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #24
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Vimeo will crush the file themselves. They re-compress every video, no matter what you send them. It won't load or play any faster or slower, but Vimeo's re-compressed version will look better, given better source. Btw, ignore their suggestion of a low (like 30 frame) keyframe interval. I have no idea why they suggest that. It won't do anything for making their re-compressed version more seekable (or better in any way). Use something like a 300 frame keyframe interval and get more efficient compression (from an image quality standpoint).

If you want a smallish file to upload faster, you could upload an SD version. A 480p version, at 1.2mbps, using H.264, would look better than 720p at that low a bitrate.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 12:56 PM   #25
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What's that sound I heard?..... oh, that was the sound of about 150 veteran wedding videographers zipping up their cameras in the cases and throwing them in the closet out of frustration!
Well, that may be a stretch, but I know I heard at least 30 say "crap, I am gonna have to work harder now!"
well, OK maybe that was only me saying that. Anyway, I have to assume that when you say this is your "first wedding", you have experience in other areas of video. There is no way someone could order a camera, play with it for a few months, and go out and do what you did.
By the opening sequence, it looks like you had a lot of time to hang out looking for awesome shots. You may find that a lot of weddings are 6-7 hours of sheer terror (terror in a fun kind of way) and that time for those incredible shots may not be there. On the other hand, if you are able to consistantly capture footage like that under intense pressure, then you have a guaranteed career in wedding video.

Last edited by Mark Ganglfinger; June 20th, 2009 at 07:20 PM. Reason: spelled "sheer" wrong, good thing I only teach 1st graders!
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Old June 20th, 2009, 05:18 PM   #26
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Wow. Thanks, Mark. That's very flattering and encouraging to hear.
Yes, I began as a writer/producer/director on some corporate and real estate videos. It was a terrific opportunity to learn from some great videographers. Eventually I decided to invest in a decent camera and started shooting my own stuff a couple of years ago. When our friends invited us to their wedding we offered to shoot it for them and really enjoyed the creative freedom. I know we were lucky to have such an unusual venue. It was an 800-mile round trip so we left a day early, which gave us ample opportunities for B roll. I can imagine these can become real pressure cookers when time and space are more limited. But it still seems like a fun way to make a living doing something we love.
Thanks again to everyone for your helpful tips and constructive criticism. What a remarkable support system we have through dvinfo.net. I can't wait till I learn enough to be as helpful as you guys have been.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 05:29 PM   #27
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That's a really nice piece of work. The script effect was nice. The background music and flow are well put together (I was a bit annoy after 5 minutes at the beginner it is still panning and zooming from scenes to scenes.).

Some of the scenes during the ceremony has too much movement.. panning and zooming. Looks like you need a better fluid head tripod .. hehe.. then in the reception, you certainly need to add some light.

Trisha and Buck looks well and is an adorable couple. I went to ACU in Abilene TX for school. Went to Big Bend a few times too =)
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 07:03 PM   #28
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As for the goal/length…I'm glad you asked that question, Jason. I don't know what's generally expected. What lengths do you sell the most of? Does a basic package usually include a highlight piece like I see on your websites or is that usually just for marketing yourself? Is the wedding video itself supposed to be the full ceremony in real time without the bells and whistles that can be shot before or after during a separate, more art-directed shoot?
Hi Patrick,

I've got way more experience than you - I've shot 3 weddings! :-)

I've been wondering whats expected or usual but here's what I've been doing. I capture all the footage and divide it into preparation, ceremony & reception. Then I throw out the crap bits and edit it together with some music (Sony Cinescore usually as each section can be 20 minutes long), thats the basic footage. then I look at songs they chose for the day and pick 4 to create highlights of each section and one for the day as a whole. I put my effort onto editing and CC on all the highlights as that's what most people will look at.

I am aiming to capture the sights and sounds of the whole day (it's a selling point) and I think the couple should be able to watch the entire day if they wish. The highlights are really for a wider audience - bridal party, friends, family etc. That means they get a 2 DVD set, one highlights and the other basic footage.

that's my opinion and while I'm short of experience, I try to make sure I have opinions on everything!
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 07:05 PM   #29
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I did a little bit more than that. I have main movie which includeds the ceremony, receiption and so. Then a bonus features in the DVD including additional footage like dedications (interview), photo session, slideshow, preparation, bloopers.. yeah.. bloopers the most watched chapter always. Clients love the blooper chapter..
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 08:53 PM   #30
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Thanks Paul & Taky. Very helpful.
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