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


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Old November 10th, 2009, 07:41 AM   #1
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Event Shoot - How to structure your edit

Hey guys,

So, I'm doing more and more small event shoots - a single camera, get footage type deal.

In most cases, I'm not trying to document the entire event and then just put it on DVD, I'm usually doing some kinda of edit with the best bits, set to music, to give memories and flavour and highlights of the day.

With this in mind, for you guys doing similar things - how are you structuring your final movie? I haven't found as yet some kind of formula as to what to do, and as such I always struggle at the beginning, once I've captured my footage, with where to go from there. It always feels like starting from scratch, and takes some effort to get some kind of structure. I always get to something that works in the end, but I'd like to streamline my process a bit for the smaller jobs, if possible.

For something that's a quick turnaround, what kind of products are you guys offering? Yes, I could just do a bunch of random clips set to music, but don't feel that is particularly satisfying to watch, and in most cases, I'd be wanting to make something more like 10-30 minutes (and sometimes more) as five minutes worth just doesn't seem to be satisfying for the client.

So, any tips here?
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Old November 10th, 2009, 10:32 AM   #2
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Ben,

It might help if you gave examples of the type of events that you are shooting. But here is something that I always keep in mind... You're telling a story. Each story needs an introduction, (which can be establishing shots), the events, and some kind of conclusion. Which could merely be the sun setting at the end of the day, or people driving off, or shot from behind walking off camera.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 02:06 PM   #3
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Hi Ken - sorry, yeah, these are kids parties in the main.

With something like Weddings, the flow is a bit more obvious.

With kids parties, obviously there are some key moments (the cake stuff, particular games played etc) and you always want lots of fun stuff, happy smiling kids and that kind of thing.

I don't generally shoot lots of stuff like kids arriving - I could do, and sometimes it's worthwhile, but I usually prefer to shoot some setup stuff, and go straight into the fun and games.

So for instance, what I'd probably do is start of with some intro titles to introduce the piece, then some kind of quick, fast paced montage over music. Then maybe a title for Games, and an edit of that stuff, Food and the food/cake stuff, Presents and that stuff, then end with another montage of lots of fun happy stuff.

If I can swing it, I like to try a range of dynamics between clips over music, and non-music full audio stuff, to try and mix it up and keep it interesting.

I can't believe this is the *only* way of doing it though, and just wondered about some of the decisions and workflows other people had settled on for these kinds of events?

Or am I thinking too hard about it? Should I just crank something decent out and not worry too much?
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Old November 10th, 2009, 03:05 PM   #4
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It sounds like you have an idea of what you’re looking to accomplish. I’m sure there are some fun things you can do in post to spice it up but how much time do you want to spend editing. I imagine since it’s a kids party the parents won’t be paying all that much. Unless you’ve found a rich market to tap into that is. I think you answered your own question when you said “Should I just crank out something decent out and not worry too much”. That would be my advice.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 03:15 PM   #5
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Yeah, I guess so.

The clients vary - actually, I've done more for rich parents and/or celebrities so some of them require a little more work than others, according to how demanding the clients are :)

Yeah, you're probably right - as long as the parents get lots of nice looking shots of their kids having a great time, documenting the party and justifying their party budget spend and giving some lasting memories to keep and share, it's probably all good...
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Old November 10th, 2009, 04:14 PM   #6
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And this might be the one place that goofy special effects and transitions can't be overused - I've noticed kids seem to dig that stuff...
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Old November 10th, 2009, 07:22 PM   #7
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I know what you mean, although I have a tendency to stay away from that stuff, as I feel it cheapens it too much (or at least, it does when I do it ;)

I do have a small selection of classy transitions I will use to accentuate something, but in general I feel that I get more milage by doing some nice (motion) graphics for titles and lower thirds than any more advanced post or effects (although that stuff can be fun too).

If I was trying to be stylish and had the time in hand, I might do more in that vein, and I'm certainly open to suggestions.

But my original question was really concentrating on the structure that people are using in their pieces, as I can't believe that most people are doing an intro shot, then ten minutes of random clips, then and outro - or worse still, just playing the raw footage as shot as is..
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Old November 10th, 2009, 08:24 PM   #8
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Ben,

My original point about the story was just that. That's what we're all doing - is telling stories. A wedding is a love story, a music video tells the story that the songwriter wrote. A doc may tell a story or social injustice or environmental issues. A kid's party is a kids party. I don't think there's alot of underlying sub-plot to develop. Unless of course you're being paid big bucks or want to practice your storytelling techniques.
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Old November 11th, 2009, 04:15 AM   #9
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Ok cool, thanks. Just wanted to ask people who have experience in this area in case I was missing something obvious, as I'm doing the whole learn-as-you-go thing...
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