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


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Old August 5th, 2008, 12:32 PM   #1
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First Save The Date Mini Movie

I'd like to share my latest production that includes a bunch of firsts for me. This production represents my first scripted & story boarded shoot, my first "Save The Date" shoot, my first shoot with the Glidecam/GL2 combo, and my first post-production effort at creating a "look" (although since I am using an Ultimate S Pro pre-set I cannot claim any of the look as my own).

If you looked up my previous two posts, one about planning this shoot, the other about the new glidecam 4000, you might have already caught a look at the first draft and some of the intermediate stages. This new version has been trimmed down by 1:45 to speed up the flow and I added several shots.

The first thing you hopefully will NOT notice is how long it is (5:04), because you will be engrossed in the story and will not notice time passing as much..... that is, assuming I paced everything as I needed to.

I'd love to hear feedback on anything, but in particular the following areas:

1) Length, Pacing, & Transitions: Does it start to feel slow? I much prefer this version to the longer first draft, especially scenes 1 & 3. Are there any shots that you think could be trimmed down more or eliminated entirely? Any scenes that just don't work? Any transitions that are jarring or strike you as odd?

2) Color Correction: The Tennis scenes are intended to be as realistically color balanced as possible. The Rose garden scene should be color correct, but with a bit of a blur applied on a duplicate track above the main video.

3) Ambient Audio: I included no human voices if at all possible (some tiny bits sneak in, and I have yet to decide how or if I should trim them out). I did include ambient audio from tennis balls hitting things, shoes scuffing the ground, etc. Is this problematic? I know most Save The Date productions don't include any ambient audio, because the mood is supposed to be set by the visuals and the soundtrack song, but I felt the sounds of tennis were such an integral part of the scenes that I needed to include them.

4) Acting: More of a comment and less of a question..... David & Jennifer are not SAG actors so some shots may be cheesy. Cancel that, some shots are supposed to be cheesy. Heck, that was the point of Scene 2 & 3!

5) Soundtrack: I know I pretty much completely differ from the entire DVInfo community regarding music selections, but I still wonder what songs you would have used to accompany this sort of a scripted, multi-scene production. I paged through amazon's MP3 download section trying to think of songs I could use that would be more recognizable and modern, but I couldn't come up with anything! How do ya'll do these with modern songs? Do you choose the song first, and then use that to direct the visuals? Do the client's choose the song? Is it a collaborative process to choose the song? As a side note, the rose garden song was sung by the Groom to his then girlfriend, and was requested to be used.

So there you have it, let the comments fly!
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Old August 5th, 2008, 02:15 PM   #2
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I thought you did a pretty good job overall. It looked like the couple was having fun and was up for anything, and that's a HUGE help for you as a shooter/editor and also helps sell the emotional story. Some notes:

It didn't really make sense to me when they showed up in the rose garden in different clothing. It was a "jarring" visual moment for me.

I honestly wasn't a big fan of the glow effect either. And I definitely didn't like the "page peel" transitions.

The overall concept was great, with the date reveal at the end (reminds me of something else I saw recently). d;-) I even laughed when he had to start hitting basketballs and bowling balls. One thing that could have helped the concept along is if he score the first point, and then didn't score any more. The problem at the end is that he had more points earlier in the video and it didn't make sense for him to have less at the end. Just a small thing, though, that most people probably wouldn't notice. Nice job.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 02:38 PM   #3
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I thought you did a pretty good job overall. It looked like the couple was having fun and was up for anything, and that's a HUGE help for you as a shooter/editor and also helps sell the emotional story. Some notes:
It didn't really make sense to me when they showed up in the rose garden in different clothing. It was a "jarring" visual moment for me.
I honestly wasn't a big fan of the glow effect either. And I definitely didn't like the "page peel" transitions.
The overall concept was great, with the date reveal at the end (reminds me of something else I saw recently). d;-) I even laughed when he had to start hitting basketballs and bowling balls. One thing that could have helped the concept along is if he score the first point, and then didn't score any more. The problem at the end is that he had more points earlier in the video and it didn't make sense for him to have less at the end. Just a small thing, though, that most people probably wouldn't notice. Nice job.
Re the clothing. It was suppose to be "magical" and I didn't know any way to introduce it other than "ta-da! they are magically in a different part of the city wearing different clothing." I could have done some sort of star trek transporter change, but I am not good at Vegas enough to know how to make it look anything other than cheesy. And despite the goal of this video being cheesy, I went a bit more stealthy than that.

The page peels are cheesy, I completely agree. Like I said in some other post (can't find it at the moment) this is not really the kind of production that DVInfo will like. :-) Jennifer is a huge Disney & fairytale fan, so I added peels as if the scenes were pages in a book.

I toyed with actually using credits and text more, as if it were narration for the fairytale, like "Meanwhile..." etc. I may take another look at that and see if it helps the fairytale mood some. If I had a decent looking animated "book with turning pages" then I would have loved to use them. Zoom out beyond the frame of the scene to show the video playing as if part of a book, then, turn the page, then zoom in... etc. I would have LOVED to use that especially because it perfectly fits Jennifer's style.

The couple were such good sports. It was over 110F on that tennis court and we were standing around playing tennis and doing takes for 3 hours, so everyone was completely dehydrated by the end of it, but it didn't show in their faces (much).

As far as the numbers, I wasn't sure how to make the score go backwards to hit the date. In the end we just ran out of shooting time (and score card numbers) so I just decided to go with another "ta-da! and now the score is totally different" look. hehehe Yes it is a short cut.

That was as unique a way as I could possibly think of to introduce the wedding date, but for a "Save The Date" shoot there are some formulas that just have to be there.... like something with the date on it. :-) I did like the continuity of the date method being visible at the beginning, and if you knew that the score card was supposed to show the date you were left wondering how.

David had much more animated playing than Jennifer so since he gave me the good shots, he got to have the scores at first. We also wanted her scores to be more "magical" so that meant he scored first, then she came back. I may recut a few things and see if I use PSP to make a good looking "fairytale scene change" image.

Thanks for checking it out and providing some feedback (and good luck to you too on selling StDs.... silent market so far this fall ... going to be hard).
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Old August 5th, 2008, 02:42 PM   #4
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I liked it, great job!

I didn't like the blurriness of the rose garden scene as it make it seem washed out and...blurry. :)
I didn't really like how the page peels were executed, I don't like page peels in general but I get that you were going for a cheesy look.

I think that you should've cut that clip at the end where they walk in front of the score board and stand there for a while, I think you could've cut that shot to about 2 or 3 seconds.

What I DID like was the sped up parts of the third scene, paired with the music it was great. I thought your initial glidecam shot was incredible. Good job. I also rather enjoyed the dancing (minus the page peel).

thanks for posting that!
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Old August 5th, 2008, 02:53 PM   #5
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I even laughed when he had to start hitting basketballs and bowling balls.
Mission accomplished! We were brain storming to try and figure out what seemingly random objects could be thrown across the net to try and make the scene silly. I mean, his mom is a professional clown and he is a very accomplished juggler so we knew things were going to get silly, just needed a bridge, hence the basket ball, soccer ball, ping pong ball, and stuffed animal. I was very glad that I found the song "Mr Big Top" which was the circus calliope song at the end, because that was exactly the sound I was looking for.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 03:03 PM   #6
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I liked it, great job!

I didn't like the blurriness of the rose garden scene as it make it seem washed out and...blurry. :)
I didn't really like how the page peels were executed, I don't like page peels in general but I get that you were going for a cheesy look.

I think that you should've cut that clip at the end where they walk in front of the score board and stand there for a while, I think you could've cut that shot to about 2 or 3 seconds.

What I DID like was the sped up parts of the third scene, paired with the music it was great. I thought your initial glidecam shot was incredible. Good job. I also rather enjoyed the dancing (minus the page peel).

thanks for posting that!
See my wife really liked the washed out blur look, but I wasn't too sure. I'm not sure how the bride & groom will like it. It did kind of disguise some of the horrible contrast problems that come with shooting outdoors in harsh sunlight / shadows. Hit up the first draft to see it with out the blur effect (which I greatly reduced from the UltimateS Pro preset Romance 1, which was way over the top for me).

So I must say, for a first try at some sort of "look" or effects, the feeling is "try again." I'm not sure how else to make the rose garden scene look "magical" and fairytale ish. I suppose I could go real crazy and do the "cartoon pencil sketch" effect, but there is no way I have time to try that (and I've already spent many hundreds of dollars on VASST products so I need to ease off for a bit).
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Old August 5th, 2008, 03:19 PM   #7
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What I DID like was the sped up parts of the third scene, paired with the music it was great. I thought your initial glidecam shot was incredible. Good job. I also rather enjoyed the dancing (minus the page peel).
thanks for posting that!
The high velocity tennis part was purely an after thought as I was sitting there thinking, what can I do with this footage. I did one where I followed the ball as they played, like I was a spectator, so the image whip pans side to side following the ball..... but I didn't want to make people sick watching it. :-)
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Old August 5th, 2008, 03:48 PM   #8
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to make it more magical you can always do over saturation, more contrast, and a bloom effect. That should be uber cheesy.or play with the colors a bit and make the reds more saturated,the greens more minty, etc.

or you can put a vignette around it.

I bet your couple will be really happy with it as it is though.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 04:19 PM   #9
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to make it more magical you can always do over saturation, more contrast, and a bloom effect. That should be uber cheesy.or play with the colors a bit and make the reds more saturated,the greens more minty, etc.

or you can put a vignette around it.

I bet your couple will be really happy with it as it is though.
I did pump the saturation for the rose garden a bit (the greens were more blue-green than vibrant emerald green). What is the bloom affect? I'm having a hard time getting google results that relate to Vegas.

As far as I could tell, the VASST preset adds a track above with nearly total blur, and then nests the main video track below. Unfortunately it can only apply the effect on a per event basis, so I couldn't group all the rose garden scenes and then apply (major PITA there).

So I could pump the colors a bit more to achieve that look, but that would mean I would have to change all the shots (although I could try applyign the effect on a track level and that would take care of it).
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Old August 5th, 2008, 08:25 PM   #10
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Jason, I dont use Vegas, I use FCP so I can't help you in that regard. In FCP you can select only certain colors to apply saturation to, which would probably help making it seem like more of a magical world (adjusting individual colors). You can also nest all your clips into a sub sequence and apply the filter to that sequence in your main sequence so you only have to do it once. You can probably do something like that in Vegas.

As for the bloom effect, its basically increasing the glow of the areas of the video that are light, the light "blooms" I suppose.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 08:57 PM   #11
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As for the bloom effect, its basically increasing the glow of the areas of the video that are light, the light "blooms" I suppose.
Ok, that makes sense. I just need to figure out what Vegas calls that. And for what its worth, I think the Romance III from UltimateSPro had blooms, but they were a bit overpowering (though I didn't play with the opacity sliders to tone them down).
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