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


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Old April 25th, 2009, 08:03 PM   #1
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Wedding video editing audio question

Hi all,

I have a really simple question. I shot my first wedding and am editing it. I take it what you're supposed to do is mute the cam audio and stick in love songs or whatever for most of the footage, like where the guests are milling around etc and all you hear is a lot of random vocals?

Obviously I'm using audio from the PA during the vows, toasts, interviews and that kind of thing. I got an old tutorial from the library from the early 90s and it was for in-camera editing, not for post in a DAW/NLE, so I think I shot good footage and edited it pretty well so far, but little details and simple things I'm not aware of.

Thanks!!
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Old April 25th, 2009, 08:39 PM   #2
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This is a really open question! There's really no "what you're supposed to do" other than delivering a product that will please your client.

As for whether or not to use ambient sound, or replace it with canned music, it depends on how the footage was shot, and what feeling you want to give.

When shooting "cocktail hour" for example, I will, on purpose, shoot an entire song or so of ambient background as I reframe and get my shots of guests. Then I can use that song and have the ambient sound at the same time. I remove unusable video and replace it with extra shots from after that long clip. I use the same technique with dancing footage, especially if there is a band. Get a complete song or two of the band, and some footage of them performing. This is effective backgound for dance footage, and the couple will be happy to hear the band they spent so much money on.

If not shot that way, you can replace the sound with music, but the feeling is less real.

If there's no music, that can be good, too. You can use a minute of milling about shots with ambient sound as a nice transition to the next section of the video, whatever that might be. I find jamming song after song together with shots behind them tiring and boring. You need a break.

At other times, it's nice to let us hear just a bit of something ambient under an added song. Perhaps someone says something funny, or there's cheering, whatever.

In the end, remember you are telling a compressed version of the day's story. If you can do that, you're on the right track.
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Old April 25th, 2009, 09:30 PM   #3
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Hi Vito,

Thanks for the reply, and really excellent info. It seems like what you're saying is "yes, put it in there using judgment". I am almost finished editing the video and I used just music I know my client likes for the most part, except for the key parts like vows, toasts, and interviews.

However, I did use cam audio for the dancing during the partying segment (not the first dances, that audio was from the PA which seems appropriate) . In that case the PA was loud and there was sound from people having a good time. I spent more time doing this gig than my client anticipated and she's on a tight budget so we're actually talking about the cost right now, so I'm inclined to leave it the way it is on this one...or perhaps I'll go back and tweak a few things for free.

Any other thoughts?
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Old April 25th, 2009, 09:46 PM   #4
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Other thoughts? If this is your first one, put as much effort as you can into it to make sure it's great. Get a demo out of it if you can, and hopefully send your bride off happy to spread the word about how great you are. Word of mouth is everything in this business.

Don't sell yourself cheap. The referrals will want the same thing.

Post your work here. I've learned so much from the kind, yet sometimes painful criticism of the things I've posted. Very valuable.
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Old April 25th, 2009, 10:25 PM   #5
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Thanks again Vito. Posting it here is a great idea. I think I'll render and upload to blip.tv before I send it to her to get constructive advice. And I agree, advice coming from a place of kindness is always welcome and appreciated as far as I'm concerned; and obviously the opposite not so much.

I don't think I'm too attached to this work in a personal, creative way (I just want to make my client happy and get paid!!!), so hopefully I can get an accurate perspective and make the appropriate corrections. I already know that I need to invest in lighting, but it's difficult for me right now. Maybe after I get paid for this I can afford some inexpensive DIY lighting.
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Old April 25th, 2009, 10:37 PM   #6
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Best of luck, David.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 04:38 PM   #7
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Thanks Vito. I uploaded the file last night, here it is: test

Anyone please feel free to give me recommendations for changes you think would make this better. I would much appreciate it. I do know that I need to invest in lighting, and I forgot to put the windscreen on the Zoom H2 during the interviews, so there's breath hitting the mic capsules during some of the interviews. Also maybe a better tripod, and I plan to build a Stabilizer Flex for handheld shots. There was some camera shake going on.

I think the quality of this file is ok, however, because I had so many edits Vegas kept crashing during export, so I exported wav and mpeg 2 (to also create a DVD) and then put them back into Vegas to frameserve to the flash encoder, so it might have been better if I could have directly frameserved the first time around.

Thanks!!
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Old April 27th, 2009, 07:40 PM   #8
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I looked at the first 6 min of the uploaded video. After those first minutes I felt bored. The first two minutes no people appeard in frame, just stairs and furnitures. The cameramovement were unsertain like you were not sure how to end the movement. I would like see more creative shots but lot of shots need to be cut away or tighter edited. It almost looked like a unedited material. Be careful not to jumpcut and to edit out head and tail of shaken segments. Try use more closeup shots of people faces. Sorry for my hars critic but you need to be completly happy with your work.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 07:41 PM   #9
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First... I did not watch all of it. I watched the first 5 minutes, and then skipped around a bit. There is so much we could all go over in the video, but I myself will just hit on a few.

Some good things... For someone new, you audio was really good. I had no trouble being able to tell what was going on in your shots, so you did well with that. And as far as getting your video on the net, the quality was quite good.

What I would focus on now, is how you are going to present your videos. As in, how you will be editing. I'm not so sure about a book from the early 90's. I recommend watching as many samples on this site as you can. Find out what you like. A lot of the material posted here is simply amazing and you won't get a 'look' like that over night. But start looking at aspects of videos that you like and ask yourself what you would have to do to get your footage to look like that. I don't recommend taking a video you like and copying shot for shot, but instead, watch videos from several people to get an idea of how you would like to have your videos presented.
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Old April 27th, 2009, 08:25 PM   #10
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Thanks for the comments guys, at this point I'm inclined to just send it out. I've already maxed out the budget for this, and I need to focus on other things.

Hopefully they'll be happy with it since they're not professional videographers and my guess is won't be critiquing it too much. I think on the personal level I captured everything for them during the day, and the quality is pretty good.

Honestly, after doing this I've realized I prefer to just shoot simple things like business organization and educational institution events (they can also have more financial backing which is always good!). And that's a more rewarding service experience for me, since the stuff I shoot usually has to do with something important regarding sustainability: the environment and green energy, etc.

Videography for me isn't a creative outlet, and it seems like wedding videography is a highly creative endeavor, with lots of time editing etc. That being said, in these times I need to diversify my bonds like Wu-Tang Financial, so if more weddings come up for me, then I will will definitely check out quality samples from this site to get ideas.

Thanks!!
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Old April 29th, 2009, 07:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Horwitz View Post
Thanks for the comments guys, at this point I'm inclined to just send it out. I've already maxed out the budget for this, and I need to focus on other things.

That being said, in these times I need to diversify my bonds like Wu-Tang Financial.......
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Old April 29th, 2009, 12:34 PM   #12
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Using pieces of the live audio in conjunction with your music track can add a lot to a video if used judicially. If overused, it can be an irritating distraction. It is usually a good idea to drop your music track when you are using a live track. Try around -12db for starters and adjust as needed. You don't want to eliminate the presence and continuity of the music track but you want to drop its volume enough to hear your live sound cut clearly without it clashing with the music track.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 04:43 AM   #13
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David, many people have given you some good advice here, but reading the whole thread I sensed you were looking for "rules". I just wanted to say that in the areas you are writing about there are no rules. To the other advice you've received, I'd recommend you talk to your clients more. Find out what they like and what they're expecting.

70% or more of our first edits (long form, 55-75 minutes) are accepted as final by the clients and that's because our client questionnairte is 18 pages long. Before the wedding we know pretty well what the programme is going to look like. We've only ever had to do so much re-editing (and charge for it) once and that was because the bride's family wanted something completely different from the outset but didn't say so.

If we all liked the same things, all but one of our cinemas would be empty. We can't be all things to all people but findihng out what they really want is a good start.

Finally I'd like to commend you for giving proper thought to the sound. IMHO sound is still (as it was from the beginning of television) the poor relation and it's the element which often makes the difference. I'm afraid you still have some experience to gain there eg don't use PA, get your own top quality radio mics, but caring is a good start. Good luck.
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