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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 10th, 2007, 09:06 PM   #1
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Maximizing Your Time

I have a ton of people ask me how I complete most wedding videos so fast (most are done in 2 days and delivered within a week) and still deliver a quality product. The short answer is that I have organized a good system for shooting and editing that keeps things moving along. I am writing a 4 part article on the subject. Part one is here if you are interested (it is geared toward less experienced videographers but I hope everyone can get something out of it):

Maximizing Your Time in Post Production

By Adam Hoggatt (Forever Endeavor)

Part 1 of 4: Shooting to Edit

I am often asked how I can possibly complete my wedding video projects in a week and still deliver a quality product. The answer is in organizing a system and planning ahead. Just as you would not go to a shoot with your batteries low, you should not begin post production without being prepared. But being prepared for post production begins in pre-production. In order to maximize your editing time, you need to have your footage organized and ready to go from the start. In this part of the series, I will discuss exactly how to accomplish that kind of organization and get you started on the road to faster edits, which in turn lead to increased profits and more time to spend growing your business.

Before the Shoot

Just like most systems that work, simplification is the key to being prepared for post production. When you prepare for a shoot, remember these things: First, have tapes labeled and ready to go. Chances are, you will not have time to label the tape during the shoot so do it ahead of time. On the label, include things like what camera is using it, what the tape is used for (e.g. ceremony or reception) and other information that will distinguish the footage from that of other tapes. Next, have a good understanding of what events will happen and at what time during the day. The reason this is so important is that if you aren't aware of exactly what is happening, you will end up with way more footage than you actually need. Footage that will eat up your editing time and end up on the cutting room floor. I try to attend the rehearsal if possible so I know the order of events. When it's not possible, I try to arrive early on the wedding date so I can learn as much as possible about what is happening. You want to be prepared when the groom whips out a karaoke machine and sings to the bride unbeknownst to her (that has happened to me).

During the shoot

A few simple rules will help keep the editing process to a minimum. First, when getting B-Roll (filler shots), only shoot what will probably make it into the video. This doesn't mean turn off the camera all the time except when something is happening, but don't leave the camera running all the time just for the sake of getting whatever you can. It is a common thing for camera operators to want to record every single little thing they can and try new shots to be creative but this will end up wasting a huge amount of your time in the long run. Instead, know exactly what you want to see in the video. Be very selective with the B-Roll footage. If you see a great shot and know what you want to do with it, by all means, get it! Second, and this may sound contrary the the previous point (but it isn't), when using multiple camera angles, keep the cameras rolling during key moments (for instance, the toasts). For example, don't turn off the camera after the first dance to save tape when another dance is coming right after it. This will only make multi cam editing in post production a hassle that can easily be avoided. A good rule of thumb is that if there is another “formality” coming up next, keep the cameras rolling. Third, try to keep like footage together on tape. When the ceremony is over, if the tape is running low, change it before the reception events start. This will make logging tapes easier later on.

The amount of footage you end up with will vary based on the number of cameras, the type of wedding and the package items you include. A basic 2 camera wedding that I do will generally get me about 3½ – 4 hours of footage (a 3rd camera should only result in about another hour of footage). If you end up with way more than this on average, it's time to rethink your shooting style.

After the Shoot

When tapes come out, lock them and make sure they are in a safe place all together (I have lost a tape before and it was a nightmare). I have a zipper pocket on a small bag I carry that is ONLY for used tapes. Later, when I go to log the tapes, they are all right where I know they are and I don't have to “gather them”. It's very tempting to go straight home and go to bed but I always locate my tapes and have them in my desk drawer and everything else put away before beddiebye. This way, I don't have to worry about the mess and equipment all over the next day when I begin the logging and editing process...but we'll save that for part 2: Logging, Capturing and Organizing Footage.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 09:35 PM   #2
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Adam,

Thanks so much for putting this together. Time management is an issue I'm really trying to improve on. I look forward to the next installment.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 11:04 PM   #3
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you're right about the extra b-roll footage. i need to work on filming less stuff i won't need. thanks for posting this. i'm looking forward to the other parts.
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Old August 11th, 2007, 12:09 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Hoggatt View Post
I have a ton of people ask me how I complete most wedding videos so fast (most are done in 2 days and delivered within a week) and still deliver a quality product.
A quality product is a very relative thing. With the right wedding, I can do a documentary type edit with a nice highlights clip all in a day, complete with finished DVDs. Yes, organization and management is key, but the style of your edits are also a huge factor.

I took a look at some of the work on your website and it doesn't seem unreasonable to cut something like that in a couple days if your actually working.

Now if you can show us something really artistic, with lots of color work, and more of a detailed storyline, as well as an artistic and highly edited main feature- and that was all cut in two days, I would be very interested in how you manage your time.
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Old August 11th, 2007, 04:09 AM   #5
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I don't need to edit everything quite as quickly, however I am arriving home with 6-7 hours of footage... a lot of it is fooling around setting up a shot... and I've been wondering how to streamline it a little better - so I'm looking forward to the rest of the articles!
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Old August 11th, 2007, 08:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Now if you can show us something really artistic, with lots of color work, and more of a detailed storyline, as well as an artistic and highly edited main feature- and that was all cut in two days, I would be very interested in how you manage your time.
The intention isn't to teach people to edit in 2 days. Nor is it to teach people to edit in a particular style. It is to teach people to maximize their time. That could mean spending 70-80 hours on a more intricate edit. However, most videographers generally spend quite a bit more time on a simple, documentary style edit than is necessary.

Also, as I said, the article is geared toward less experienced videographers. A seasoned pro such as yourself probably wouldn't get much out of it. You could probably teach me a few things :)

Last edited by Adam Hoggatt; August 11th, 2007 at 08:53 AM.
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Old August 11th, 2007, 10:10 AM   #7
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Hmm, I never knew people could spend so long on an edit of that type. Good things your writing these articles.

Patrick
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Old August 11th, 2007, 10:11 AM   #8
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Adam,
Just took a quick look at your site there.
couldnt get the movie but
I must compliment you on the chopping up and offsetting of different elements
of the photos in 3d space in your montages.
At first glance this appears to me to be quite time consuming
and makes me wonder, could this style of montage seriously be
included in your 2 day edit along with everything else?
and if so it must surely mean you are a real flyer in photoshop?
which leads me to thinking that getting through an edit quickly
is down to practise and familiarising oneself with ones programs.

at least that is what i think ihave discovered.
Im personally trying to work out a series of templates i can apply
each new wedding to in an effort to make it look like all the work went into their particular wedding.
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Old August 11th, 2007, 09:59 PM   #9
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Adam,

Thanks for the tips.

TM is one of my weaknesses and my first wedding was 10 hours of footage. But, learn as you go, I suppose.

Thanks again. That was highly useful.

sincerely,


ian
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Old August 12th, 2007, 01:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Moreau View Post
Now if you can show us something really artistic, with lots of color work, and more of a detailed storyline, as well as an artistic and highly edited main feature- and that was all cut in two days, I would be very interested in how you manage your time.
My edits take 2 days (about 24 hours in total) and a 3rd day for fine tuning.
I noticed that when I have been through the "rough" editing part the first 2 days I need a 3rd day just to look at the whole thing again but from a bigger distance. Usually I find some trimming mistakes and I use that extra day to get the audio right, to make the dvd's, to check to whole film on a wide screen tv, make the covers for the dvd boxes and write a back up to tape and harddisk.

So for me 3 days is a absolute minimum if nothing goes wrong. If I find a mistake during the check a the tv (I first burn the film on a rewritable dvd) I often need the 4th day to make the last corrections.

I think that editing in 2 days, if your work is very artistic or not can only be done if you stick to known procedures, if I want to try a certain effect in AE that alone can take me a full day. Once I know how to do it I can handle it in 30 minutes.
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Old August 12th, 2007, 10:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
I must compliment you on the chopping up and offsetting of different elements
of the photos in 3d space in your montages.
At first glance this appears to me to be quite time consuming
and makes me wonder, could this style of montage seriously be
included in your 2 day edit along with everything else?
and if so it must surely mean you are a real flyer in photoshop?
which leads me to thinking that getting through an edit quickly
is down to practise and familiarising oneself with ones programs.
Thanks! This type of montage is normally done pre-wedding so no, it's not included in the 2 day timeframe (by the way, not every video is done in 2 days, some are more complicated and accordingly require more time). I have gotten pretty proficient in using Photoshop and After Effects and can generally complete a "Motion Pictures" Montage (as I call them) in an afternoon. It's all about having a system, knowing the shortcuts and gaining experience.
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Old August 12th, 2007, 02:16 PM   #12
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Another Way To Speed Up Time

adam, totally agree...u can get REALLY quick with photo montages like that when you know p/shop and AE...i used to do the whole cut-out-people thing too, but now i've got something even quicker - my own template!

i gather up x amount of photos from the B+G and plug them into my pre-made AE 3D photo project, minor tweaking of camera-motion, press render...10-15 minutes in total, oila!

example:
http://www.fxfilms.co.uk./examples.htm (click on '3D photo intro')

the downside is of course, you need the right amount of photos to prevent major tweaking, and also, you can't 'personalise' it as much as when you merge them individually into the edit!
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Old August 12th, 2007, 04:45 PM   #13
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Hey that's nice! Great idea creating a template for that. I like the reaction I get from people when they see the photo "pop out" and will keep doing them that way but that style you have there is a great way to offer another option (and save time doing it). Looks great!
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Old August 13th, 2007, 02:05 AM   #14
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Thanks for the great tips. I did one wedding before and shot everything manual, in 25p. Was that a stupid idea? I wonder if you guys also shoot exposure/shutter/aperture/focus manually.
I'm a control freak with cameras, so it would be hard for me to let the camera decide what to do, but sometimes you're so busy getting the shot right that you actually don't have time to watch all these settings. Especially in single-camera weddings.

Also, do you guys regularly shoot weddings in 25/30p or 50/60i?
I like the look of 25p better, but for slowmo-compilations 50i is great.
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Old August 13th, 2007, 10:07 AM   #15
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I like the look of 30p but lately I've been shooting with Sony PD 170s and they don't do progressive :( (that's probably the only negative thing I can say about them). There is a time and place to use auto features (I use it sometimes when using the Glidecam) but generally, when you are up on sticks, manual mode is the best option. It may be a bit difficult to break out of the habit of using auto mode but once you get used to manual (and learn your controls very well), you will prefer the control you have.
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