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

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Old January 29th, 2005, 06:11 AM   #1
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Editing Wedding Down to 45 minutes.

Hello all,
Done a few weddings now & i usually edit them long (approx 1 hour 45 mins). My next wedding i've suggested to my client for me to edit it shorter (approx 45 mins).

How do you edit down to 45 mins? Same style just shorter? Do everything in order ie: groom/bride house, church, photo shoot, reception?

Has anyone been editing differently? I'd like to try something fresher & a little different (not too different!) to the normal boring way. So any suggestions would be great. I'd like to hear how you've been editing them.

Thanks to all who reply.....
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Old January 29th, 2005, 06:33 AM   #2
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I don't think your creative style should be constrained by an arbitrary number of minutes. If there is great content at every location that makes your documentary work even better, then why sacrifice for the sake of a 45 minute timeline. Since final delivery is dvd with a main menu and a couple of sub menus with various chapter marks, you aren't forcing the viewer to withstand any extra content.

If you really have a number in mind, perhaps stay under 80 minutes so that with your motion menus, dvd assets etc., you will stay on one dvd. Beyond that, an intro reel of key stuff might be a good idea for a snapshot. These can be as short as 6 minutes.
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Old January 29th, 2005, 06:54 AM   #3
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good points.. i never thought of it that way.
the intro sounds like a good option too, highlights of the day in it perhaps...
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Old January 29th, 2005, 06:57 AM   #4
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I've been doing a condensed edit for a few years and TRY to stay with in a targeted time frame of about 45-50 minutes. HOWEVER, some run a bit longer some a tad shorter depending on the material and the event. My clients know what to expect and I have not had any situations with them over length of edit.
Having said that, I try to use a "formula" for edit but again, its very loose and subject to being changed during every wedding edit, so it's only a guideline. Keeping that in mind here's a rough breakdown;

Pre-Ceremony -2-3 minutes
Opening Teaser-2 minutes
Ceremony 6-10 minutes
Reception 20-30 minutes
recap/highlite 2-5 minutes

Do the math and you'll find that its around 45-50 minutes.
NOW, every wedding I do I have these numbers in mind when I edit BUT they are not fixed in concrete AND depending on the wedding the ceremony may ony run 5 minutes and the reception may run 35 minutes. It all depends. Of course with the DVD's the various parts are also broken down into smaller bites with chapters so if all they want to see is their 1st dance -its there for them in the form of a chapter.

I think THE most important thing when doing a "short form" or condensed edit is this; "DOES IT MAKE SENSE?" In other words, when cutting say the ceremony, does it flow smoothly-does it sound right and DOES IT MAKE SENSE? when cutting the BEST MANS toast that ran 20 minutes down to 40 seconds DOES IT MAKE SENSE? I don't just mean does it sound right but does it flow and for me most importantly what is my GUT reaction to it.
Yes I work hard to make the final product shorter but it has to flow, has to hit my gut right and most importantly, DOES IT MAKE SENSE?

Hope the helps a bit
Don B
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Old January 30th, 2005, 10:37 PM   #5
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My own experience is clients feel "more is better." I eleminate all things "bad" and repetitive (don't need 5 consecutive minutes of a given guest dancing for example). With DVDs and chapters they can watch or zip through anything. I rarely touch a ceremony except for "flaws" or if there are long empty pauses that can be tightened.

I don't think there's a "right" way to handle this. Just be clear about your approach in your marketing and be flexible if they have length requests. you don't want a couplet expecting 2 hours and getting 45 minutes.
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 06:13 AM   #6
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I agree with Craig,

A lot of my clients feel more is better. Having said that I aim to keep to around 90 minutes. We include the photo montage at the start, interviews with the bride & groom but incorporate this in the photo as a voice over. Love story, and then the usual getting ready montage. The only thing we cut from the main service is the length of the songs, start with the first verse and then dissolve to the last line of the last verse. Reception, speeches and first dance.
Certainly leaving in the main part of the service is an absolute must for all the brides we have worked with. The rest of the video is left to us.
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 06:11 PM   #7
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I prefer to go with the idea that the finished video is what it is. I contracted to provide a memoir and that is what I do my best to accomplish. So much depends upon what the wedding guest say and do. I do not edit ceremonies and I do not edit toasts. Long pauses where nothing is happening will, of course, be edited out. All other aspects of the video are extensively edited. My goal is to reflect the events as they happened and also capture the essence of the emotions that occurred throughout the event. Add to that the need to keep an interesting flow of images and sounds and the sense I have really gotten it all as right as possible and there is my video; some 20 to 40 hours of editing later.
My videos run anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour forty-five minutes. Most hover around 50-60 minutes.
I put a lot on energy into introductions, transition sequences, and closing sequences. There I can exercise more creativity and relly display the emotions of the day.
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Old February 2nd, 2005, 06:13 PM   #8
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Well, I usually do them long but this last one is gonna have to be short. I probably don't have 45 minutes worth of decent footage. My regular balcony camera operator had the flu and the other guy I got had only been on a camera twice before and never at a wedding. On top of that they had 3 preachers and I tried every location I could at the rehearsal to find a spot in the choir loft that I could get the "money shots" from but the way it was arranged it just didn't work. I told the bride and her mom and they said just to do the best I could and they would understand.
I didn't get any good shots, backs of heads and half faces of the bride or groom. I was so frustrated. But I had given my balcony camera operator VERY specific instructions over and over to stay wide to medium and not do much zooming or panning so I thought I'd have that at least to fall back on. Well he didn't. I think the longest he stayed still for was 3 seconds. Every zoom was like being lauched to the moon and was always started in the wrong direction. Arrrgg. The photo session and reception went well. I'm gonna have to give this one up for just the deposit, if that.
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