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Old June 15th, 2015, 10:50 AM   #1
Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots
Clive McLaughlin Clive McLaughlin is offline June 15th, 2015, 10:50 AM

Some of you will have seen I raised this in another thread. The question of a) taking more control and asking B&G to do more rather than the photographer and b) Staging shots and building a more cinematic and emotive sequence.

The only time I feel free to do this tends to be on the rare occasion the photographer leaves after speeches and i take the couple out again on my own.

This is the venue's 'Moon Garden' as they call it. Old stone walls, which they have created a canopy over.

This is where the ceremony earlier that day had been. I went a walk at dusk and noticed nobody had put out all the candles so I asked the B&G if they wanted a walk.

I was quite excited by it, so I decided to make this short film of the scenes. Its nice to use music which ordinarily wouldn't suit a standard highlights film.

Any feedback? Password is 'Moongarden'


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Old June 16th, 2015, 02:34 AM   #2
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Re: Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots

All good...
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Old June 16th, 2015, 05:09 AM   #3
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Re: Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots

One small word of caution Clive. To take an ordinary couple and get them to pose for a moment for a photograph is one thing, but to get people to play out a scenario for a video is different. You are moving into the realms of acting and being confident in front of a camera, which most couples are not. You may find that you are putting them under pressure that may make them feel uncomfortable. Walking hand in hand and talking to each other is fine, but even then, many couples look and feel self conscious.

Many of the upmarket weddings are couples who come from the lower showbiz ranks and are used to media attention, frequently seeking it and relishing the chance to exhibit themselves. Ordinary couples with ordinary jobs tend to want to just enjoy their day and suffer photos as they can just smile and stand still.

I can only speak from my own experiences, but just bear it in mind when you want that extra time with them.

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Old June 16th, 2015, 05:31 AM   #4
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Re: Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots

I have to agree with Roger ... making them do something they are not comfortable with or makes then self conscious takes time for them to relax and you seldom have it. I do a stedicam couple only shoot after the group photos and just let them walk hand in hand but quite often when I ask them to "look lovingly at each other" you can see they are already becoming self conscious and asking for a kiss while I go around them in a 360 if also tough. Most of our Asian brides feel than a kiss in public or on camera is taboo so quite often I will ask the groom to just place his lips on her cheek and they are far more comfortable with that.

If you do get an extrovert couple that will play up to the camera (I have had a few) then take advantage of it
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Old June 16th, 2015, 07:04 AM   #5
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Re: Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots

Do you guys think the video I linked is a case of the couple looking uncomfortable?

I don't feel that this was any more demanding than anything that photographers ask of them.

The differences with this video is simply I had more time. I like to 'build a scene' as I tell the B&G. I don't so much like looking at clips in isolation, but I like to show travel and journey. that could mean adding walking shots, footsteps, or at least establishing shots rather than eg. a jump from church to some outdoor location. I try to tell the full story by filling in the gaps - that means shots of the venue signage, or the car arriving etc...

I wouldn't say this video contains acting. I told them the walking route, and told them when to pause and continue. Then asked them to look at each other holding hands then a 'kiss and hold'.

Nothing in that that they haven't done multiplied tenfold for the photographer.

But yea, on the original thread I'm the one who expressed concern about the fakeness. But then again, if you go on that other thread where we have all been naming the best wedding videographers worldwide - most of them are staged and very cinematic.

I want to be impressive, I want to catch eyes, I want to people to take notice.

While I agree most regular joe's aren't looking for that but maybe I want to attract the business of the people who want to spend 5k on a flashy creative artsy wedding video. Don't we all?
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Old June 16th, 2015, 07:20 AM   #6
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Re: Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots

Hi Clive

Probably not in your clip as all the detail is lost due to the dark exposure so any feelings of being self conscious cannot be seen ...they did look a little stiff walking but that's not your fault ...the comment was a general one rather than directed at your clip. If that was done in normal lighting and you could see facial expressions then it might show ...consider it a pre-warning when you do another bride and groom who might have the attitude "we don't really want to do this but I suppose we had better keep the video guy happy" ... we all have to put up with those sort of couples.

I honestly find that talking to the couple (let's rather say chatting) instead of instructing works way better and they become more relaxed ... Instead of saying "look into her eyes...give her a kiss..move you feet closer" if you get the bride to relate something about her new husband she will indeed look into his eyes and be far more natural while you capture it all ....using "he sounds like a fantastic guy .. doesn't he deserve a special kiss?" is way better than saying "ok now kiss" ... That's my methodology and we use it continuously during photography as well and end up with far nicer stills than the "OK 321 smile" ones
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Old June 16th, 2015, 08:53 AM   #7
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Re: Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots

I like this. It's moody and unique. They don't look uncomfortable to me.

I do also like how you "built a scene". It does play much better than just a random shot of them kissing.

I'm curious if this type of shooting is necessary to make a film seem cinematic? I think that is what you are going for, but also expressed concerns of it feeling fake.

Still Motion is a great example of a company that makes great work / compelling stories and they didn't use the photo session for their work. I don't think they do weddings anymore though.
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Old June 16th, 2015, 09:17 AM   #8
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Re: Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots

As Chris says, my comments were general and your clip that you showed was just a low light walking clip with little to show of them personally.

I filmed a wedding at St Mary's Church in Bury St Edmunds last week, a week after Michelle Keegan and Mark Wright were married there (Won't mean anything to anyone not UK based) She is stunningly beautiful and he is toned and handsome, both being very used to cameras and acting. They had 3 videographers and 5 photographers supplied by Hello magazine. By contrast, my bride and groom were an ordinary working couple who at times looked a little uncomfortable with some of the photographer's poses and would have felt very uncomfortable with anything staged by me. I did get them to walk hand in hand back from a flower garden they were posed in as they were returning to the car, but that was as far as I took any setting up.

The best thing in most circumstances is to take advantage of what they are doing naturally without intruding, but using your imagination to exploit different filming techniques and editing possibilities. Your comments about walking shots, travel, car etc. are shots that I would do at every single wedding, along with guests chatting, kids playing with leaves, ridiculous shoes and so many things that are at every wedding if you have your eyes open. Each clip should be a logical progression to the next one, as part of telling the story of the day. I would never 'Jump' from church to reception, but would show the B&G having a quick kiss in the back of the car, a close up of the door being shut and a low shot of the car pulling away and the B&G waving as they go and maybe a few leaves being kicked up. That would be followed by a dissolve into the car arriving at the reception etc etc. as a logical flow to the story.

The story is always already there, you just use your imagination to capture and exploit it.

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Old June 16th, 2015, 10:48 AM   #9
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Re: Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots

I like it, and the more important question is... do YOU like it? If so, when you talk to your clients about their day, show it to them (and maybe another full daylight example) and talk to them about whether they'd like something like this. Its an idealized moment - the video isn't the reality - but so what? 2 of the 3 videos I deliver to my couples are idealized highlight style videos and they always love those more than the truth/documentary style one (even though they're glad to have both kinds).

I always talk to the couple about this sort of thing. Most of my couples say they don't want posed/staged moments.. until they see a moment or two in the video after, then they love it. Often I don't go much beyond a simple kiss/hands on her back/etc. Sort of sneak in a few shots while the photog is posing them.

IF they are interested, you can reassure them with how much time it took (hopefully not much), and how you buggered off and gave them their own moment at the end, maybe. I do that when we shoot a first look here - tell them we may give them instructions up to the moment they're about to see each other, then we leave the rest to them.
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Old June 16th, 2015, 07:47 PM   #10
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Re: Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots

I really and truly don't think it matters at all whether Clive likes it or not ... Its whether the bride likes is or not and that's the end of the story .. Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't have presented a bride with such a low light video ... brides are simple creatures and my fear here would be that she says "Why is it so dark?"
Obviously Clive's bride was delighted with the result and that's what is important!!
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Old June 16th, 2015, 08:03 PM   #11
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Re: Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots

Hey Clive, I like it, and tell you one random thing that particularly stood out to me... The groom goes up to bride, and then they go for a walk, and then they kiss. That's new to me. One more leg of the journey, one more step in the story. Pretty much every similar sequence I've seen is one approaching the other (or both approaching each other), and then they kiss. Al Wong recently posted a trailer in the members only section that has a beautifully shot opening sequence, but has the same logic -- groom walks up to bride, they make out, end of story.

In movies, when there's chase sequences... Well, one thing I've found when shooting this sort of stuff for my own short films is that it gets old fast. Running shot, followed by another running shot, followed by another. Change of location, or camera angle or lens, but so what? What makes such sequences more interesting is all the events that happen along the way, and the interplay of the thoughts of pursuer and pursued -- so, it's not just running, but round this corner he nearly runs into an old lady, round that corner he pauses, then makes the decision to cause a traffic accident to slow down his pursuer, etc.

I've never tried, but I wonder if something similar could be done for photoshoots. So, it's not just the bride and groom walking, which gets old fast, but there's more event happening along the way.

I'm struggling to think how you might do this in a non-cheesy and non-staged way, but I think that might be the key to making plain walk and talk more interesting, assuming there's no dialogue to help.

One more random thought... in the other thread you started, you talked about mouth-watering cinematography and how to get to the next level. Well, I'm definitely not there yet, but one thing I've found is that a compelling or emotive sequence of images could be more about the editing than the "cinematography". After all, the way a non-wedding cinematographer thinks about things is not necessarily going for the most eye-candy or unusual or creative or beautiful shot, but the shot that best serves the story, or complements the scene, which a lot of the time might be a very simple shot.
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Old June 17th, 2015, 05:16 AM   #12
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Re: Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots

Great comments guys.

Of course I must stress, this isn't a delivered wedding video. It's not what I'm giving the B&G. It took me maybe a half hour to 45 minutes to put together.

I sent the link to the bride saying

'I put together a short artsy sequence of the night time stuff. Thought you might want a nosey. Its a totally different mood/pace to what my wedding films normally are - as I say i was just having fun with it.'

I guess I just have this desire to do more. At present, weddings are my only work. I guess I just did this to try something new.

I'll still use the above shots, but they will be faster paced and use up only a small part of the end of the timeline, like you will see with this one...

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Old June 19th, 2015, 12:24 PM   #13
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Re: Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots

Clive,
I reckon you have already got to the point where your work stands out. It's creative and high quality. At least the trailer/short edits are. I don't know what you do for a longer edit.
As far as directing the couple goes it's a case of seeing how they feel or react during the day. You can suggest it and if they are up for it great, if not, well you asked!
We had a wedding last weekend (photographer and me, video) and the couple had originally wanted to do all sorts of things, night time video and photo sessions, kind of like what you did in the 1st example. When it came to the moment to do it they decided not to as the whole wedding was running late etc. We asked and they decided. No big thing. That wedding won't have any extra part with interesting shots and photos. The important thing is that they made the decision. They can't come back to us and say "Where are the fancy shots and photos of us alone???" or whatever they might have seen in other weddings we've done. We had a similar situation a couple of weeks ago and it was 30+ degrees centigrade and the couple decided not to do anything posed or special because they were too hot and tired. Other couples have jumped at the chance to do something 'different' and get away from the wedding for 10-15 minutes. Even though we are there it's an intimate moment for them together and a moment for them to catch their breath.
So, play it by ear and don't be afraid to ask the couple.
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Old June 19th, 2015, 12:30 PM   #14
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Re: Asking more from the couple - Cinematic shots

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post

One more random thought... in the other thread you started, you talked about mouth-watering cinematography and how to get to the next level. Well, I'm definitely not there yet, but one thing I've found is that a compelling or emotive sequence of images could be more about the editing than the "cinematography". After all, the way a non-wedding cinematographer thinks about things is not necessarily going for the most eye-candy or unusual or creative or beautiful shot, but the shot that best serves the story, or complements the scene, which a lot of the time might be a very simple shot.
I'd also agree with this point
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