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


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Old December 11th, 2004, 03:18 PM   #1
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Highlights Critique

Hey everyone,

I'll throw out a video I did last summer for any comments or suggestions.

http://www.q-productions.net/clips/edhi.wmv

Thanks,

Norm Li
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Old December 11th, 2004, 04:14 PM   #2
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Hi Norm,

No critique, but I'd like to know why you used so much B&W. I've seen many videogs that do that, and aside from "artistic impression", is there any other motivating factors?

Thanks!
Dave
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Old December 12th, 2004, 11:36 AM   #3
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I have some likes and dislikes about it.

The editing was very well done. Smooth, flowing, mixed it up with stills and video, etc. That was time well spent and it shows that you put a lot of work into it.

On the production side, you weren't working with the best footage. Shaky shots (even in slow mo), tilted shots (unity candle), and a camera operator moving around at all times. Not the best way to get good b roll. So you could improve the b roll by using a tripod. Same shots, just makes them actually look nice.

I really didn't think that the fast song should be in the middle of the slow songs. It was a very well done piece, excellent editing work and good shot variety, but the speed of the song completely offsets the mood created with the slow song. Then after picking up the pace you go back to slow again! That's a bit to much change. I think that you could take out the entire fast paced portion and just leave the slow songs and it would be a fine recap.

Again, the time you spent on the editing really shows and it was edited very well.

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Old December 20th, 2004, 05:07 PM   #4
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I didin't shoot many weddings myself but I think this music mood is not bad. Brings the natural feeling of how we feel beffore the whole ceremony. I also think that viewers like change so it is better to play something different than just slow song whcih in a while becomes never ending nightmare.

Shaking Camera----- This is what you have to get rid of.. Get yourself a tripod and some wheels it will look much better.
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Old December 20th, 2004, 05:26 PM   #5
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Thanks for the comments guys.

Of course I have a tripod and well, a dolly isn't always an option. I myself and I strongly believe many wedding videographers know they don't always have the luxury of lugging around a tripod and dolly system to get the candid shots required. Could you guys give me the exact examples of the shaky camera movements? I know of a few but I'd like to know what you consider shaky.

In terms of the songs changing pace, I simply did that because of what Marcin also said, it can't be just one long slow song. I wanted to add some spice to it by having some variety. I see so many wedding videos that are so conventional and become somewhat boring after a while. Same ol' Same ol'.

I do value your opinions and I will take some of them into consideration for future productions.

Thanks,

Norm Li
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Old December 20th, 2004, 09:22 PM   #6
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Norm,

I sent you an email, check your inbox.

Ben
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Old December 21st, 2004, 03:46 AM   #7
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Hi Norm,

Thanks for sharing your work and I'll bet the couple enjoyed that. Some really nice moments in there and for the most part, I felt involved due to the tone you gave the piece.

I'm agreed with previous reviewers about camera-shake; more so because of the style you adopted for this piece. A classical style almost demands smooth, clean camera work and classical can be unforgiving to even the least amount of camera-shake and clumsy movement. I'd also suggest you look closely at some of your zooms... personally, I found a number of them quite distracting.

As for the camera-shakes you asked to be highlighted:
* The first two opening shots are among the worst offenders and not a great way to set up your clip.
* Nice steady movement follows and the clip was starting to flow.
* 1.00min -- Bride gazing at her groom is a very unsteady shot and the same can be said of all shots up until about the 1min 22 mark.
* My immediate reaction to the change of pace and music was a good one but I felt let down in the end. The energetic prep shots failed to blend into the overall classic/cinematic style and felt like an interruption. It disrupted the pace and mood and threw the structure out the window. Don't get me wrong - I'm a big fan of non-linear storytelling but it's a hard one to pull off at the best of times and, for me, your effort didn't quite work.
* 2.25min Back to classical and bride checking herself in the mirror is unsteady and there is slight shaking on the following shot of groom.
* 2.53min and again, lots of noticeable and distracting movement.
* 3.03min clumsy movement on shot of unity candle.
* Some very nice DOF in your stills - good stuff!
* I have not included several minor camera shakes and zooms that were boderline.

I'm sure this probably looks quite critical when perceived faults are highlighted as above but it's important to keep in my mind that we are merely trying to help one another improve our work; deconstructing your clip like I have may or may not help you in future but it will certainly make me take a look at my own stuff. It's also important to point out that your clip is a good piece of work that is bursting with potential and I enjoyed it. You simply need to push your skills onto a higher level; starting with cleaning up your camera work.

So, nice tone and mood for the most part, some creative shooting, largely well edited, and your next step up the ladder promises to be a big one.

Best of luck,

Mossy
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Old December 21st, 2004, 06:14 AM   #8
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Thanks for the constructive criticism guys!

After looking at the piece from an outside eye, I now see the various camera shakes.

How do you get all the shots from a tripod during a ceremony? How do you get both of the over-the-shoulder shots, close-ups, and a nice master shot all in one? I'm not sure why, but I shot some stuff on the tripod during a ceremony and it looks so stale. Maybe it's just my work but if you guys could shed some light on how you guys manage to get your coverage from the same position during an entire ceremony, please share the wealth of knowledge!

Thanks again for the comments and I'll take all of these into consideration for future wedding productions I may have.

Norm
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Old December 21st, 2004, 11:31 AM   #9
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Norm, some of my shots look like some drunk got his paws on the camera (I'm a relative newbie to wedding events). I'm slowly learning to be my own most ruthless critic and I leave the shakes out; sometimes a little camera-shake can actually add to the emotional impact of a shot but not, IMO, during a highlights montage.

Buy the best tripod your budget allows for and you'll get smooth pans and tilts.

I shoot with two VX2100 cameras. My assistant captures A-Roll under the *strict* instruction of no zooms (super slow is acceptable when framing his shots) and I get B-Roll and try to get some creative shots and CUs from the safety of my tripod. I also get some handheld stuff if I'm not bricking myself - takes me a good 20mins to settle down.

I also use a Flowpod outside of the ceremony. First wedding I used it at was a disaster and the majority of my **sweeping floating** shots were unusable. Takes some getting used to - a lot of getting used to - but I'm getting some great footage with it now and I've built up enough strength in my right arm to challenge champion arm wrestlers. It's also worth noting that it's almost impossible (actually, it is impossible!) to operate with a wide angle lens, shotgun mics, and long life batteries... but it's great for getting shots that complement a classical, cinematic style.

Hope that helps,

Mossy
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Old December 21st, 2004, 12:01 PM   #10
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In order to get the results that you need from a tripod it's going to require you to carefully plan your shots. You can still get all the candid shots but it requires you to be in the positions ahead of time and be ready. The payoff is that you not only get the shots that you need, but you get steady footage and you do it in a manner that doesn't bring attention to you at the event. I shutter when I see wedding videographers running around the sanctuary to try and get shots. You'll get them but you really distract from the event.

For the ceremony you probably won't stay in the same spot for the entire time. Normally my camera operators will begin in one position and then adjust themselves for the best shot as the event unfolds. They normally only move/adjust one time during the ceremony. And yes, as a camera operator your going to feel bored and feel like it's just not doing anything for you. But you need to remember this: it's not about your camera moves and it doesn't matter how it feels at the time, it's about the event. And your doing your job when you simply present the subject and let the subject be the focus. If the people watching the tape don't think about the camera work then you've done your job. Make sense? You want steady shots so that the focus is immediately on the subject and is easy for the viewers to watch. You'll want to occasionally adjust and reframe you shot and maybe even do some slow moves, but once you frame the shot let it go.

This is a very difficult techinique for new camera operators to master because they always feel that they have to be "doing something". Well, most of the time it's not about doing something as simply letting the subject be the focus. Just because your not "doing something" it doesn't mean that the footage is bad. 95% of the time simply holding the shot is what's really needed.

During the picture session take some time to practice your moves. Always back up each move with a static shot, just in case. You'll begin to find which moves work, which don't, and why a static shot can really stand out.

Using a tripod isn't the most exciting method but it's the one that will cover your six and seperate your footage from joe anyone to actual professional. Professional work is very, very detailed and specific and requires a focus on each area. If your the camera operator that means the tripod is an essential part of the ceremony and your foundation to learn on.

Most people don't realize this but in a full production a steady cam is nothing but fluff. It isn't the main camera, it's just there for support. The main camera's are all mounted on tripods. The steady cam can add a bunch to a production but if you took it away you would still have a solid production. So during the ceremony and reception you need the sticks.

Also, stay with your own production style. Don't do something just because someone says it should be done. Take what people say and adapt it to your own style. Keep it real to your own style first and foremost. Your editing ability really showed through in each piece and your piece would have been wonderful as just one long song. Learn to blend the songs later but go with what you feel at this point. And your shot selection was really great. Keep getting those shots.

I think my last comment is that you should stage the rings if you really want the tight shot of that. During the ceremony it is very risky to go for any type of tight shot when you don't have a director monitoring both shots and coordinating the shoot. If I want a ring shot I'll have them stage it later and do it right rather than risk missing something that happens in the ceremony.

Ben Lynn
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