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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old March 24th, 2008, 11:28 PM   #1
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Highlight video

Hi everyone,

I am a 17 year old videographer, and a friend and I recently started up our own wedding videography business.

We have finished our first wedding, and the highlight video is here: http://www.stonethrowstudios.ca/sample.php

I would really appreciate any feedback anyone has, don't be afraid to be harsh, I want all the useful criticism I can get so I can make the next one better!

Thanks,
Matt Pothecary

Last edited by Matt Pothecary; March 25th, 2008 at 12:58 AM.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 07:29 AM   #2
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First thing I noticed was too many flowers... I didn't like the shots of the flowers, or at least that many of them

Too many dissolves... especially that weird stuff where it starts to dissolve into another scene/shot but then goes back to the original... that just looked weird to me.

Some of the shots are framed a little off too, like the shot of the bride and her dad, their faces are right in the middle of the screen with wayyy too much room above their heads.

There's also a weird studdering that goes on when you're panning the wedding party as they're entering. Might just be your web version, but it looks to me like the OIS in the camera is doing some weird stuff. Might not be on your original, but it's noticeable on the Web version.

Instead of doing a regular dissolve between shots when the two shots are almost the same (as in their vows) try doing a quick fade to white. In final cut its called 'dip to color' dissolve. Make it fairly quick, and not 100% white. Like a very white shade of gray and maybe 12-14 frames. That looks better than having the same scene dissolve into itself IMHO.

During her vows I think you cut back and forth between the angles too fast. Maybe if you had 3 angles that would work better, but it was annoying with just 2.

As they were leaving... too much headroom again, just like when the bride was coming in with her dad.

I liked the shot of the glasses and candles. And the one that the end with their names.

Overall probably 500x better than my first video! Try using different angles that aren't 90 degrees... like rotating the camera and getting some angled shots. I used to do all my work on a tripod and everything was flat camera shooting, and now that I've gotten off the tripod and mostly handheld I've been rotating the camera so the picture's at an angle, doing all kinds of off-angle pans, and its just so much more interesting to watch. Just don't be scared to try something new, that's where my problem was.

I'll have to thank the criticism I got from these forums, its helped me the most.

Good luck
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Old March 25th, 2008, 07:59 AM   #3
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Hi Matt, welcome to the forum

i'm writing this from work (and watching the clip with the sound off!) so i'm afraid it'll be very brief!

firstly, amazing video and encoding quality...u've certainly sussed that!

some of the clips need level adjusting, the contrast is very 'grey'. if you bring those blacks and whites out, your clips will look consistently great throughout

lastly, u MUST get out of that dissolve habit very quickly...it's quite dizzy to watch, and you'll achieve the same momentum without dissolves.

well done, and what a gorgeous bride!

Richard
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Old March 25th, 2008, 10:20 AM   #4
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Hi Matt

Not too bad for a highlight video, but I would've put a dissolve transition like a clock hour hand going backwards when you switched from the couple dancing at the reception to the bride getting ready for the wedding. Okay, maybe it's old school thinking to prep the viewer that you're going back in time, but those two scenes -- completely different timelines actually -- IMO need to be separated somehow, not connected.

The flowers -- I agree with Nick. I know the effect you were going for, but I don't think you got it. I also agree that the camera angles whipping back and forth during the vows was a bit much. Having multi-cam can separate amateur video from pro video if it's used effectively. But, just having two or more views doesn't mean you have to use every second of it.

The ending with the candles was very good. The lighting of the entire frame looked excellent.

One thing I didn't see, which perhaps you included in the full video, were any establishing shots. These are brief scenes of the exterior where the action will be taking place. For example, the exterior of a beauty salon, the church, the reception hall, etc. Establishing shots are great for scene transitions since they inform the viewer the action is now moving to a new location.

That my 2 cents worth. Looking forward to seeing how your next video job comes out.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 12:48 PM   #5
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Dang you started when I did only I didn't officially set up a company until just last year (after 6-7 years of doing it).

I'm going to disagree with some that has been said. A lot is just opinion, but here's what I thought:

-I didn't mind the flowers (I personally wouldn't have done that but I didn't mind it either)
-I liked the quick fade part-in and back out...but only in the beginning introduction part. I think there were a few more throughout, and that kind of got tiring after a couple times.
-I agree that framing on some of the shots could be a little better.
-I also liked the candle shot at the end
-Once again I agree that the back and forth on the vows was a little much
Something that I do: (I slow-mo for highlight) So I just show them saying the vows wide and the audio under at regular speed.

As far as general dissolving, I don't know if that was what Richard was speaking of, I do use for the highlights. For the actual video, I don't usually use any for the reception or the pre-ceremony stuff. Although sometimes I do...I think that is more or a personal preference type thing but I agree that straight cuts actually achieve that same momentum and better sometimes even...you just have to figure out what you like and what your clients seem to like better.

I thought over all that is was very good!
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Old March 25th, 2008, 01:34 PM   #6
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Have to agree with most. I got the feeling that I had interference when you would dip to another shot then back to the original. Also straight cuts would have been more effective than your dissolves. If using dissolves I believe that they should last longer to give the memory feel to it, especially if you want the couple to feel that way. The color could have used some more pop though. Overall a great job considering it was your first. Also good to see your getting clients at your age. There was a post a while back about not being taken seriously because of age. Good job.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 06:46 PM   #7
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Not bad for a first run, just tighten up the editing and it looks like you're on the right path. I'd also watch for when you dropped the music track, it seemed a little sudden and distracting. Other than that I liked it. Good job...
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Old March 25th, 2008, 09:26 PM   #8
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1. Your images show attention to detail regarding exposure. Way better than my initial work some 10 years ago.
2. The way you utilize special effects needs attention. A special effect, i.e., anything other than a cut, has to have a good reason. It has to make visual sense. No viewer of your work should have to ask themselves, "why is this happening?". That was my question when looking at faster than normal video clips completely out of sync with the timing of the background music. Audio drives the production. Most of the time the choice of video is based upon the primary soundtrack.
3. Over use of dissolves. Watch movies and video trailers. Where do you see dissolves, and what is the speed? You won't see many, and those that do exist are fast. A slow dissolve has to have a very good reason. Otherwise it is just a coverup. Always shoot for the hard cut.
4. Live event work doesn't allow for the careful planning feature film production and advertising enjoy. Effects I just criticized may well have been your only option. Congratulate yourselves for your hard work. Then go get more work.
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Old March 26th, 2008, 12:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Weeks View Post
There's also a weird studdering that goes on when you're panning the wedding party as they're entering. Might just be your web version, but it looks to me like the OIS in the camera is doing some weird stuff. Might not be on your original, but it's noticeable on the Web version.
For whatever reason, this was 25fps. Check out QT's movie inspector. Oversight Matt?

Seriously though, Matt... with all the criticism & suggestions here... for someone as young as yourself & a wee bit green :) you certainly surpass most if not all of anyone I've ever seen just starting out. Hone your skills... study others work... create a style that's unique & you'll go far.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 03:39 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for the feedback.

Nick, in hinesight I agree, I probably overdid the flower shots a bit, they went on for a bit too long. I will definitely try the fade to white for my next wedding vows. As for taking the camera off the tripod and experimenting, probably the more experience I get and the more comfortable I am with shooting weddings, the more I will experiment!

Richard, for the levels adjustment, where do you do it? I use FCS 2, is it better to send the clips to Color, or will I get comparable results with the color adjustment within Final Cut?

Tom, neither the exterior of the house where the preparations took place or the reception hall were very nice, thats why there weren't shots of them included.

Jason, what do you use to give your colors more "pop"?

Bill, yes, 25fps was definitely an oversight, I must have screwed up the settings in compressor....

Again, thanks for the replys.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 03:49 PM   #11
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Hi Matt,
I use color to pump up shadows and highlights and make sure they are within limits without being under/overexposed. Then bring up the saturation by just a bit to really make the colors pop. You could also do this in fcp with the three way corrector. The people who make this an art is Patrick Moreau, Glenn Elliott, Jason Magbanua, etc. They have really been a constant in this field that pushes the boundaries. Try and experiment with different color grading and make it look outstanding rather than good.
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