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


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Old September 19th, 2008, 03:39 PM   #1
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First Wedding Trailer C&C welcomed!

Well I did my first Wedding with the new XH-A1, and here is my first trailer.

I am still very very new at this, so comments and crticisms welcome!

Neil & Britney's Wedding on Vimeo
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Old September 19th, 2008, 05:25 PM   #2
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Well I did my first Wedding with the new XH-A1, and here is my first trailer.

I am still very very new at this, so comments and crticisms welcome!

Neil & Britney's Wedding on Vimeo
I'm no pro at these (I've only made one wedding trailer) but having said that, here are my comments.

The opening yellow script text is practically hidden against the backdrop. Either choose a different color, let it stay longer, or make it much bolder, or something because I had a pretty hard time reading it.

Your shots selection is real nice. The couple will like the details you are bringing out which the photographer (lets face it) probably didn't bother to take (some do, but not all).

The right to left pan across the lake was hand held and a bit shaky. Can you slow that down in post to smooth it out a bit? That camera movement stood out because the other movements were smoother and slower, but that one kind of whipped by so it stood out.

I'm one minute in an everything has been slow-mo-ed (except the above pan I mentioned). This might start to be a little too noticeable.

Lots of camera shake in the second "scene" for all the establishing shots. For me, I suppose I woudl have slowed some down, or frozen others, but then my comment above makes me sound like I'm giving conflicting advice (which I am!). I assume you don't have a multirig or steadicam/glidecam to work with. If you have ~$500 the MultiRigPro realy is a great way to smooth out (to some extent) these sort of moving shots. Even smoother is a glidecam/steadicam. And the smoothest yet is a tripod with a good head (note I have a Matthews & Libec and I don't consider them good).

I shot all my prep scenes hand held too (here is one) until I finally realized that doing them hand held made for more work in post. But I understand that is it difficult to get the creative shots if you are always tied to a pair of sticks. Practice practice practice.

Your moving shot over the flower petals was a great idea. Get some practice moving smoothly. If you can pick up a used copy of Mark Von Loken's "Moving Camera Techniques" that has a some good ideas and techniques for how to move these small form factor cameras using smooth motions and larger muscle groups.

Good job with the incredibly difficult audio. That wind looked like it caused you no end of trouble!

Unfortunately, it looks like the camera lost the focus (4:23) right at the rings (oh no!) and drifted to focusing on the background. You've got to keep an eagle eye when using AF. I tend to pop the camera into MF as soon as I found what I'm shooting (well now I do, after I learned it the hard way on my own shoots a while ago).

The portraits is a time when you can try something creative. The photograph has to do their thing so then is a good chance to try some off angles, dutch, moving shots, high / low angles, DOF with foreground objects (chairs, trees), reveals from behind trees or buildings, or get some good shots of the people standing around behind the photographer watching the "show." It is always tempting to just "pan across the portrait" and I'm not able to resist the temptation myself. If you do a pan, make sure the cross-fades between shots start AFTER the camera motion has started.

Good audio for the cake cutting. The dialog back and forth ads to the scenes. It makes me want to hear what happened at some of the earlier scenes. The toast had some kid with a mow-hawk hair cut, leaning up against a wall with an unimpressed look on his face. In other words, that was not a well framed scene. I do understand if there was an equally unappealing sight on the other side, or if he jumped in the shot. Heck anythign can happen at a wedding and the video guy is the one that can't just pick up and move and get a differetn shot and not spoil the scene.

So next time get a real eagle eye for finding distracting and ugly things (like open door ways) and ruthlessly eliminate them from your shot angles. Ask people to move if need be. Ask the bride and groom to hold up a second (or plan it out ahead of time and give them the cue to start if possible).

The garter toss is a great example of a scene that YOU need to direct. Get in there tell the guys to move up or the groom to scoot closer. Those things never fly as far as the groom thinks and about 1/3 of the time land right on the floor in the middle (especially if no one is an eager single man making a jump for it). Don't be afraid to give guests directions on where to stand etc. The Photographer at this point is usually in autopilot mode (if they are even still there) so it is entirely up to you and the DJ (if available) to direct the events and make sure everything gets covered correctly. I would have loved to hear some of the audio from the garter / bouquet toss because the facial expressions were so animated.

The transition to the dancing scene was a bit sharp, so consider a J/L cut to draw the viewers ears in to the dancing before the dancing happens. There is another problem with dancing.... they keep moving. Tight angles on dancing is a very hard thing to do. The temptation is to constantly adjust the framing to make sure the couple is in the middle. But this just makes the scene jump around (in addition to causing your codec to go crazy and bump up your VBR encoding.

The photo album was a neat touch. I assumed the couple wanted this sort of thing included. I'm not a fan of calling attention to an all "Photographer" section, but that is just my style. If possible use a more interesting font on the "Photo Album" title. The digital album cover looked good, but the transition to the first picture (a hard cut) was very jarring. What about a page peel (yes it is cheesy, but you already have a digital photo album cover, so why not smooth things out some).

If you are going to feature a section of still photos, then Ken Burn's the heck out of them so they aren't so static and lifeless (unless you are using this as a marketing piece to show how video is much more exciting than stills). Here is an example from one of my photo memory movie that shows the Ken Burns effect all over the place.

Ok. Overall length was pretty good for a "short form edit, though probably a bit long for a "Highlights." (of course everyone makes up their own definition for what those mean). At 10 minutes, it moved a little slow for me. But that could be because anything that isn't a trailer or a 3-5 minute highlight I assume should be in real time pace to document the day.

My over all impression is that you knew what you wanted to shoot, but just needed a bit more practice in shooting it.

1) Take notes on this shoot and go over them before the next one. That is how you remember what worked and didn't on the previous shoot, until that process becomes automatic. Nothing will make up for just doing it again and again and then looking at your footage and saying "dang, I need to not do that again." I've been there as have everyone here. We all started somewhere.

2) Use the tripod more. It will save many many shots. Get a nice and light one if you are worried about lugging it around. My Libec or Matthews is cheap (under $200) but does the job pretty well.

3) Be careful with audio. Clients will not notice video problems as much as they will audio. I don't know why, but that has completely been the case with my clients when I show them the finished product.

Good job on a first highlight and I'm sure the bride & groom will like the shots. Onward and upward!
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Old September 19th, 2008, 10:59 PM   #3
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Sincere Thanks

Jason,

First let me say a sincere thanks for taking so much time to formulate and give me such a detailed and thoughful response. It was excellent feedback!

Thanks for the reference on Mark Von Loken's "Moving Camera Techniques", I have been looking for just such a reference with no luck I will get looking for it.

The camera movements and hand held techniques is where I could use guideance and where I have been most frustrated with myself. So I look forward to reviewing this and just trying to experiment with the new camera a little each day to improve. I do have a good Tripod now, but as you said sometimes you just don't want to be tied to a pair of legs.

FYI...The photos were included in this case, becuase I took those as well for this event with my young daughter's assistance. So the yes the mundane pans of the poses were her's while I was taking the posed photos so I stuck them in. The rack focus and creative suggestion is an excellent one though thanks! Also good point on cross fading to pan movement instead of a static start!

Your insight was very, very constructive and much appreciated! Thanks again for such a thoughful and gracious response!

This site appears to be a great resource for a beginner like myself!

Last edited by Curtis Edwards; September 19th, 2008 at 11:09 PM. Reason: Added thought
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Old September 19th, 2008, 11:50 PM   #4
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Your insight was very, very constructive and much appreciated! Thanks again for such a thoughtful and gracious response!

This site appears to be a great resource for a beginner like myself!
Don't let the >1000 post count fool you. I'm still a relative newcomer to video productions (less than 5 years).

You may find the critiques "harsh" or straightforward here on DVInfo, but what you will never find is a lack of encouragement & good tips. That is what drew me in a few years ago, much to the annoyance of my wife who wishes I would spend less time on here. :-)
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Old September 19th, 2008, 11:52 PM   #5
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and by the way, I had no qualms against the photographer, I was just using the "stereotypical wedding photographer" and not any specific ones or yours. Though I have yet to see a photographer stay as long as me (unlesss it was my partner who was a photographer).
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Old September 20th, 2008, 06:53 AM   #6
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Thanks again Jason, I ran into the Harsh already on an earlier post but hey I got thick skin I can take it. I have aso learned a lot just reading through this massive resource of information.

I concur on the typical photog, I also have a passion for photography and my daughter has a great eye for the lens, so we have started to work together to do both, so we'll see how that works out covering it all.

Anyway I am having fun and it fills a creative niche in my life. Now that I have some decent tools I am anxious to learn how to use them effectively.
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Old September 20th, 2008, 07:46 AM   #7
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Here at DVInfo you will get a lot of honest feedback and I for one thank everyone for this.

Now for mine ;)

Sounds like youve already realised the tripod thing. For us everything is either on a tripod or the glidecam, I can never see us using any handheld footage. Thats personal choice, I know some do handheld. We use Velbon DV-7000's. Only about 90 here in the UK and I think they are amazing, there solid, smooth and have a good reach. Some will tell you that you need to spend 300+ on a good tripod. I disagree.

IMHO dont try to re-create gliding shots handheld, it doesnt work. Try and ensure it stays looking like handheld. One great example of this is the fine work of Spencer Hale Spencer Hale on Vimeo in particular this one Liberty Park Love Story - Kylee & Jason on Vimeo

What did you use for audio? Consider getting a lav mic to stick on the groom and either a wireless setup or a little pocket audio recorder. You will find this one of the best investments you can make. Especially if you do a church wedding a shotgun mic will tend to get the echo but a lav will leave it shiney and clear.

Dont forget to colour correct and enhance. Can really set the mood.

Keep up the good work.
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Old September 20th, 2008, 10:00 AM   #8
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Here at DVInfo you will get a lot of honest feedback and I for one thank everyone for this.

Now for mine ;)
Thanks all great input!

The Gazebo they were in was on a VERY HOT HUMID Kentucky day so they had a room fan wired and hanging in the roof if it. So when I first used the wireless Laviler I had, all you could hear was the fan motor and wind blowing down on them so the Shotgun was my second best choice the audio for that day was tough, as the wind picked up right as the ceremony started.

Again thanks and I to am thankful for all the honest feedback and gudiance it is appreciated!
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Old September 20th, 2008, 11:42 AM   #9
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IMHO dont try to re-create gliding shots handheld, it doesnt work. Try and ensure it stays looking like handheld. One great example of this is the fine work of Spencer Hale Spencer Hale on Vimeo in particular this one [url=http://vimeo.com/1529140]Liberty Park Love Story - Kylee & Jason on Vimeo[/url
Wow, that is a fantastic StD and it is entirely hand held! The bold text is mine. this is so true. The only way to get gliding shots..... is with a gliding device. The only possible alternative would be putting the camera on a mini tripod on a skateboard and rolling that along a hard surface to replicate the Glidetrak type tools.
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Old September 20th, 2008, 02:21 PM   #10
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I saw for Ryan Wiebers 'Ryan vs Dorkman' they used a pallet trolly with some pallets on and pulled them along like a dolly. It worked!
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Old September 20th, 2008, 04:30 PM   #11
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I know it's easy to criticize but think you can make a big change just with some minor adjustments;
don't use autofocus, at 4:25 the camera gets it all wrong which ruins your (important) shot.
I couldn't hear what the bride was saying and that I think is a big deal if you have a business and want to continue doing this, iI just read about the fan, you could also try a zoom h2 or 4 just to get a bit better audio. If I were in a situation like this i would be standing max 2 meter from the subject with a shotgun mic. Were you not allowed to come up a bit closer? from the distance you were standing a shotgun mic doesn't help anymore.
Also don't let the camera set the audio levels, especially inside, when people were shouting inside with the cake (06:04) it sounded like the audio was distorted. There you should manual control those levels.
Also the tripod movements were quite bad sometimes, as been said here, you don't need the most expensive tripod to make a difference but at least one with a decent fluid head with sufficient friction on it. Wobbly shots scream amateur.
Also don't zoom to much while shooting, you can zoom in, choose your frame and then start recording, only zoom out for a reason. Otherwise don't.
Also try to get a bit closer to your subjects, don't know why you were so far away from the bride during the rings but it seems you keep a lot of distance in many shots.

Think it's just a matter of getting the basics right. Hope you don't mind my feedback as it may sound negative but is meant well. When I first started out I made the same mistakes and asking for feedback is the first step you need to take to improve yourself and since you did, it can only get better from here on.
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Old September 22nd, 2008, 10:06 PM   #12
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Think it's just a matter of getting the basics right. Hope you don't mind my feedback as it may sound negative but is meant well. When I first started out I made the same mistakes and asking for feedback is the first step you need to take to improve yourself and since you did, it can only get better from here on.
Thanks, all great feedback and appreciated, heck that's why I'm hear trying to learn from those that have gone before me.

Yes I now have a decent tripod but realized now that I should not have went with the cheapest head ie; the crappy/jerky shots. I have just purchased an Manfrotto 501HDV which looks like it will be much better, we'll soon see....

Yes I wanted to get close due to the audio challanges, but that was as close as I was able to get.

Editing is where I have a steep learning curve, but I'm really enojying the experience and experimentation.

Improvement is what I am after and Jason's and your feedback is welcomed always, as it is straight forward and very constructive.

Heck, I can use all the help I can get :-)
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 09:37 AM   #13
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Improvement is what I am after and Jason's and your feedback is welcomed always, as it is straight forward and very constructive.
Heck, I can use all the help I can get :-)
Just be careful..... soon you will be 1000 posts into DVInfo and you family and friends will start to organize an intervention for your camera addiction. :-)
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 09:41 AM   #14
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Just be careful..... soon you will be 1000 posts into DVInfo and you family and friends will start to organize an intervention for your camera addiction. :-)
Haaa!! To late!
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 10:19 AM   #15
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The Art Of Moving Camera Techniques

Jason thanks again for the reference!

I went looking for the above based on your recommendation and was a bit put off by the $125 purchase price, but found a web site where they had a number of great training video for the rookie like myself so I though I would pass on the link for anyone following this thread.

I was able to rent it for a week for $19.99

SmartFlix, the Web's Biggest How-To DVD Rental Store

Under the Film catagory they have a number of videos that look interesting. FYI,....
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