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Old March 13th, 2010, 05:51 PM   #1
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Constructing a Highlight Video

Hi Folks,

I'd like to know how you would go about constructing a highlight video for a wedding?

What is your process, are there tried and tested methods for this?

Looking at all your assets, Video footage, captured audio (speeches & vows), music, titles, stills, graphics and effects, am I missing anything?

Whats your process of assembling it all together into a seamless production and do you have any examples you can share?

Is it only me or does everyone cringe a little when its time to create a new Highlight Video?

Also how much time do you allocate to this task?

Whats an ideal length of finished video?

Thank you,

David Edwards
Drumroll Productions
www.drumroll.com.au
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Old March 13th, 2010, 07:11 PM   #2
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I'll start by converting it to prores 422 then go to each clip and in and out a very ruff cut and throw it all on the time line along with the external audio on the time line. Then sync up with pluraleyes. Then tighten everything up and slide a few transitions. Then come back to it in a day or two for an even tighter cut, then come back to it for final 2-3 minute cut and save it in another sequence or project.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 07:30 PM   #3
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I think making the highlight videos are the best part of editing. I have a lot of fun taking all the subclips I found and putting them into a highlight sequence. I start by throwing down a song picked by the couple. At that point I start putting down the best moments of the wedding to tell the story of the day.

Usually I have 3 different highlights. (Main, Fun and Dance) Obviously I have the best time making the fun highlight. The couples say they laugh themselves into tears the way I edit stuff. I can't take credit for all the funny things people do but at least I tend to get it on film.
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Old March 14th, 2010, 11:14 PM   #4
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My technique is as follows:

1. Listen to music and put markers on the most noticeable change in sound, especially transitions from verse to chorus. Markers will serve as guides to your sections of the songs.
2. Assign sections of song to segments of day. So opening instrumental that last 32 seconds focuses only on Bride's Prep. Next 22 seconds of the first verse is only shots of ceremony. Next 45 seconds of chorus is only bride & groom shots in the park. Make the visuals go to the music and construct segments of the day to the song.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 01:04 AM   #5
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Hi David,

We construct our highlight in a similar way to what Christopher explained. As we listen to the song, we close our eyes and imagine parts of their wedding day fitting with the different parts of the song.

We make our highlight after we have completed the full edit. That way we are familiar with all of the footage and have a good feel for not only the footage we have, but what the most important parts of the day were and make sure we include those events in the highlight. As we go through the edit I put the best clips of the day in a "Highlight" bin that are possible considerations to be used in the highlight.

There are several different ways to approach the Highlight. Partly, it's a matter of discovering what works best for you. Here is a link that better describes part of our process. You may need to scroll down a little to see the play button.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 02:28 PM   #6
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Our approach is very similar to what Christopher and Mark described. For us the key is to edit the highlight after we've edited everything else. At that point you're very familiar with all the footage and you'll have a much better idea of what you want in the highlight.

On our raw footage timelines we categorize clips based on whether they should be used with the audio or without, and whether or not they have already been used somewhere else. This makes the clip selection process easier and more efficient.

Once you have your song selected, listen to it a half-dozen times or more to just get the feel of it. At that point you can start listening to it with the intent of visualizing what elements of the day will fit where. Sometimes we'll actually take a piece of paper and plan out what we want to go where.

The length is totally dependent on the footage we have available. For a highlights we almost always cut a song down by some amount. Our goal is to create a highlights that is compelling to watch all the way through with no repetition in the shot selection. Live by the mantra that 'less is more' and you'll automatically increase the quality of your work.

As for time, we dedicate a day to edit and color grade a highlights, but that's because we usually are doing other things on that day as well (meetings, shoot prep, phone calls, etc.). In general we take around 3-4 hours to edit the piece.

Hope that helps!
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Old March 15th, 2010, 03:03 PM   #7
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Agreeing with Travis, I can't stress how important it is to listen to music that you will choose as many times as possible. In my experience, when I listen to a music piece or song and I like it, I save it for the best possible video/client or couple. In couple of cases, I had to wait almost 7 months to wait for a client for 2 music pieces that I adored and it worked perfectly at the end.

It's so important you use the right music for the right setting and base it on couple's personality.

As far as creating highlight video before or after the final edit, I feel it depends on you. I have done it both after the final edit and before (kind of like a same day edit). What works for me is spontaneity. I feel if I am under pressure and I try to get edits done fast, I go with instincts and usually those are the best choices you can make. However, that rule doesn't apply to every video you will ever edit

My two cents :)
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Old March 15th, 2010, 08:28 PM   #8
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Jawad, do you always pick the music for the highlights? I always make sure the client has the first option of picking the music. Rarely do I ever have clients that want me to pick the music. I'm not saying that doesn't work for you. There are a lot of times I don't agree with the music but it is what they like and envision.
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Old March 15th, 2010, 10:56 PM   #9
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Sean,
In my case, I would say there are 15% of the time when client picks the music and the rest sort of leave it up to me. I think if you put yourself out with full confidence that this will work, they will listen to you. After all they are hiring you as a professional. They may like the song but that doesn't mean it will fit the wedding.

At the meeting, I tell them that we will pick it before or after the wedding and your suggestion is always welcome but if it doesn't fit well, I will tell them that and if still they really want it then so be it. But that hasn't been happened yet.

Your way is not the wrong way just different approach. Mind you there have been times when client suggestion worked out better than mine so that's always good too
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Old March 15th, 2010, 11:01 PM   #10
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Best way is to make them choose 2 or 3 songs and offer them ideas also, then you can choose the best one to fit the cut.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 01:42 AM   #11
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That is a good point about us being the professional. I actually like the idea of them suggesting a few songs and me suprising them with the one I think works best.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 07:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Edwards View Post
Hi Folks,

I'd like to know how you would go about constructing a highlight video for a wedding?

What is your process, are there tried and tested methods for this?

Looking at all your assets, Video footage, captured audio (speeches & vows), music, titles, stills, graphics and effects, am I missing anything?

Whats your process of assembling it all together into a seamless production and do you have any examples you can share?

Is it only me or does everyone cringe a little when its time to create a new Highlight Video?

Also how much time do you allocate to this task?

Whats an ideal length of finished video?

Thank you,

David Edwards
Drumroll Productions
Wedding Video Sutherland Shire Sydney - Wedding Photography Sutherland Shire Sydney - Drumroll Productions

Hey David,

Honestly We think that the highlight portion of the DVD is the most fun! We get to be way more creative then during something like the ceremony.

And be careful not to fall into doing cookie cutter weddings! We try to do each highlight clip in a way that best sums up the particular couples wedding day!

With that said...like most here...Music is the biggest decision you have to make when it comes to the wedding highlight. Music can make or break a clip!

After you've found the perfect song you have to be sure to tell a short story during your teaser. Don't just take a bunch of cool shots and edit them together and call that the teaser. Anyone can do that!!

What we'll do a lot of time is turn the sound down after we've put together a Highlight clip. If the clip still makes sense without the music we know the clip conveys the story!

Now even with all the tips you've gotten, you'll have to really just find what works for you! What works for us doesn't work for alot of other videographers! It's all about what makes you shine as a videographer!

We invite you to check out a Teaser we shot awhile back!
Santino & Tryce | Wedding Teaser
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Old March 16th, 2010, 10:15 PM   #13
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Constructing a highlight video

Back to the OP's questions, it seems to me that there are several different kinds of "highlights videos," and the work process and charges vary accordingly.

It seems to me that the most fundamental question is what the customer actually wants to do with the highlights video. Do they/she want a little something to put out on the web? (If so, you want to avoid music subject to royalties.) Do they want something for anniversaries that they can look at without watching the whole ceremony, etc? Are they interested instead in starring in their own little Hollywood-style movie as oppsed to the PBS documentary you are making of their ceremony?

Be aware that one customer's notion of a "highlights" video may be something for an iPod while another customer wants an indie film that might be shown at Sundance.

Even so, only about 15% of my wedding customers have wanted to talk about a "highlights" video of their whole wedding day.

What most of my customers actually want --- and pretty much everybody winds up getting --- is a kind of video "prelude" with "highlights" from preparations and rehearsals along with some favorite
landscapes.

These typically run between 5 to 7 minutes, occaisonally as long as 10 minutes.

The rehearsal and prep time is stuff that almost always should only be presented in highlights form, anyway. (Sometimes, you only want to do highlights for reception dances, too, but just put that at the end of the DVD with other reception footage.) The landscapes stuff in my "preludes" is a reflection of where I work --- a mountain town in Montana east of Yellowstone National Park. The folks who come here to get married mostly do so because they love the scenery, the skiing and etc. So they want to see some of it as context for their wedding. They also like seeing just enough of the rehearsal and preparations to remind them of how they felt. I use these preludes to display titles with the names of the members of the wedding party and to show memorable moments like a massive mountain thunderstorm that has everybody rushing to move a ceremony indoors. (It helps that I send customers a demo DVD with examples of preludes.)

These "preludes" are not exactly standardized, but they have enough in common that it usually only takes me an hour or two to put one of them together. The main time variations are a function of how many people are in the wedding party (more people = more titles = more time) and how much rehearsal and prep footage I'm working with. Living where I do, I've got a large library of stock landscape and seasonal clips of the area. Although, now that I converted over to shooting with widescreen high def cameras , I'm having to make a lot of new landscape clips, but at least it gets me outside;-)

As for actual "highlights of the day" video sequences, all the request have been coming from brides in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties. Those of other ages seem to want preludes and photo-montages, instead. Some of the "highlights" requesters wanted highlights instead of preludes and some wanted them in addition to everything else that would be on their DVD. What they wanted seems to sort out into three categories:

(1) Simple highlights: a sequential montage of clips of the day. The couple (or bride) who wants this kind of highlights video typically wants it instead of a prelude video. So the first question is if it is for web views or for short viewing by the couple on anniversaries or just for showing to relatives with short attention spans? (Those aims affect the choice of music; you don't want to use unauthorized use of copyrighted musical performances for stuff going to the web.) What music does she want? Once you sort out any musical choices, I find this kind of highlights video is very easily assembled after the rest of the video has been edited. It often adds less than about an hour to my editing time. For me, the time consuming part is in weaving a musical soundtrack amongst any audio from events and making sure that that there isn't an inappropriate juxtaposition of lyrics and images. (Since I work in Premiere Pro, there's also a bit of time in applying the transitions to the timeline.) So far, none of the brides have asked me to redo one of these, so I figure that it usually adds only about an hour or so to the work of editing and burning DVDs, and I adjust my estimates accordingly.

On working with musical backgrounds: Whether I'm doing a "prelude" or a straight "highlights of the day" segment, I prefer to start with audio from the wedding musicians when I have managed to get decent sound and the musicians are agreeable. (I've never had one say no as long as they get credit in a title.) This music might be, say, pieces played by a string quartet before the service. I like to use this because there aren't any copyright issues and the family gets to hear the musicians they've paid for but haven't been able to listen to during the rush of the final preparations for the ceremony. It often is pretty easy to edit highlights around this music.

If the couple prefers that I use a favorite song(s), I try to make sure that the video isn't for web distribution. I explain why it can take longer to weave one or two songs into the highlights and that it is not every meaningful favorite song that has lyrics that work well with video from a wedding. I try to get the couple to suggest several songs so that I can pick the one that works best with the highlights footage. At the very least, you spend extra time trying to avoid inappropriate juxtapositions of image and lyrics.

If the couple does not have have a particular song that they want for a backdrop (or if they want a video they plan on putting out on the web), then I'll ask them what types of music they like and use SmartSound to generate a sound-track of that kind of music. Smart-Sound tracks are also very useful for weddings I shoot on short notice. We have a wedding chapel in a nearby canyon, next to a resort. Every summer, I do a number of weddings and reaffirmations on relatively short notice for people without elaborate budgets. I basically show up in the afternoon with my cameras, shoot the ceremony and a bit of the gathering, edit it all together, and deliver a DVD that evening or the following day. Most of these customers have tight time frames and/or small budgets. SmartSound tracks work very well for their preludes and titles in their videos and do not require much finesse (or time) with editing.

(2) The second kind of "highlights movie" is what I call a "customized impressionistic montage" and these take more time. I have not found any useful way standardize the work on them This is where you may wind up listening to a song repeatedly in trying to fit video around it. There may be a several pieces of chosen music and you might use highlights from each of them. (Sometimes this is much easier than trying to fit everything around one particular song.) What also distinguishes this kind of project from the simple highlights "movie" is that clips are presented "impressionistically" rather than in sequential temporal order. (For example, you might segue from a shot of the couple kissing at the rehearsal to their kissing at the end of the ceremony to kissing during a first dance, and then seque to something earlier in the day with a visual link to the last scene.) There also may be photos or bits of video from childhood or courtship. I've done number of these over the last four years. One of them was essentially a sequential highlights video except that the bride wanted layers of video, picture-in-picture, and complex graphics all with a musical backdrop from two particularly favorite pop songs. Most of the other brides wanted short (five or ten minute) impressions of the emotions of the day with visual links between the images. The amount of time it takes to make one of these is hard to predict. For example, for one bride I was able to assemble a rough-cut (with music) for her to look at with about 4 to 6 hours of work; at the other extreme, another rough-cut took me almost two full days of work trying to match music and images. However, when the brides figured out what they wanted kept or removed, and what they wanted elsewhere, it usually took me only about an hour or two of trimming things to a sequence that could be added (with another button) to the menu of the wedding DVD. So, when a bride says she wants one of these kinds of highlights movie, I quote her a ball-park price range at least 10 hours of additional studio work, and then try to find out what she really thinks she wants and what kind of budget she actually has in mind. As I said at the outset, when most folks think about what they want, they decide they actually want a prelude, instead, especially when they've looked through examples on the demo DVD that I send out.

A couple of times, when the bride had very specific ideas about what she wanted but couldn't articulate it, I explained the process and just sat her down in the edit bay with everything she thought she wanted and assembled the project for her on the spot. I charged for the additional studio time at my standard rate.

(3) The final category is a completely custom highlights movie. I've done a couple of these as "highlights of lives to date" movies with a mix of wedding-day footage, personal interviews, Powerpoint presentations of family histories, photographs, video from courtship and whatever else fit. It simply took as long as it took, and I billed for (and was paid for) my time, mileage and materials. We don't get many of these in my part of Montana. (Rural Montana and Wyoming are almost third world economies and videography is often a budgetary afterthought). While I've had several requests for these, most of the couples changed their minds as soon as they realized how much of their time was required to put these together (never mind my time!) I've had several more weddings where I was basically asked to hang out with the folks as they went through several days of preparations and recreation which which included mountain-bike touring, river rafting (they called it white-water, but it only looked that way on the video), and the like. Again, this is all stuff you can only do by highlights, and there is no way to standardize a charge or this kind of work. Finally, I've had one bride who wanted her own impressionistic movie, just music and images of her and the groom outside the church, in formal gardens at her parent's house, moving throught the empty church, and the like. It was a mood piece, all in addition to the actual wedding footage, and more or less flowing with the lyrics of a favorite song by friends in one of the region's local country bands. It turned out to be as much a music video for the band as video for her wedding. That was a lot of work and probably not something that will turn up again.

Also bear in mind that the longer or more complex the highlights movie is, the more likely you will need to spend time with color matching and correction, which also adds to the cost.

So, for me, the most important factors are finding out: (a) what the customer thinks she wants, (b) if the customer has a budget, how much of what she wants will fit within that budget, (c) what she plans on doing with their highlights video; and (d) what the customer really wants.
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