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Old December 15th, 2010, 01:39 AM   #1
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Needing some tips from you Pros about Engagement videos

So I've been asked to do an engagement video for a young couple that wants a fun, artsy hollywood like engagement video at 2 different places: at their farm, and by railroad tracks. Im used to doing wedding shoots with photo and video and not so much a "cinematic" type movie. My question is for those who do this sort of work, is how you prepare for stuff like this? Im interested more in how you get your ideas for creative shots and how you go about executing these? Do you storyboard? Wing it? Im familiar with hollywood camera moves and the term "coverage" which means repeating the same scene multiple times but different angles. Can anyone kind of give me an idea or play by play of a normal engagement shoot?
This is my equipment list:
(3) Canon 7d w/ Canon 17-55mm 2.8 and 50mm 1.4, Tokina 11-16mm,
Glidecam
Glidetrack
ShoulderMount
Zoom h4n
Adobe Production Premium CS5
Hitchcock storyboarding app for iphone4
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Old December 15th, 2010, 07:55 AM   #2
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Kelly - We recently had a similar request. The client wanted it to be all cinematic- no vocals (we did cheat a little with the captions at the begining). It was a very collaborative effort. The couple gave us their general ideas for the script and we did our best to translate. The biggest challenge was their request to shoot thier proposal scene at a waterfall - nothing within in 50 miles so I had to chromakey them onto some stock footage. After 10 hours, 3 locations and multiple wardrobe changes later, this is what we came up with. Hopefully this gives you some ideas.

Art

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Old December 16th, 2010, 12:40 AM   #3
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Kelly, one of the principal considerations (and one which I thought Art's film demonstrated) is how much acting you expect the couple to do and how much they're capable of.

For me Art's film works best when the couple aren't acting, but his task was made doubly difficult by the clients demanding no sound. Conveying meaning by facial expressions alone is a test of the actors' ability, especially so in tight close up when the smallest change of expression "shouts" to the audience. In contrast I especially liked the sections of Art's film when the couple were being themselves, the basketball sequence conveys a sense of fun in the young people; the back-to-back reading sequence was enchanting, though I'd have preferred a little more camera movement and the position of the tree bothered/puzzled me a little. I also wondered if the lovely piece where the girl subtly shows the man the ring advert should have preceded the proposal section but those are small points.

I should add that my recent experience of this type of work is nil; I did win a Gold Star in a national amateur competition in 1969 (non-synchronised sound ie music only on Single-8 shot and projected through a huge lump of anamorphic glass to give a 2:1 widescreen image - talk about pretentious!) for which the judges gave me specific and fulsome praise for the way the two "actors" conveyed the sense that they were lovers who'd separated but were talking about a reconciliation) so you can disregard my opinion entirely if you wish.

So, with that caveat my advice would be to keep the demands on the couple simple and natural, use camera and cinematic devices around them rather than asking them to be what they aren't and do get lucky with the weather. The only thing Art's delightful film needed was some sunshine. A sunny day would have raised it to an art form (pun intended).
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Old December 16th, 2010, 08:00 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
For me Art's film works best when the couple aren't acting, The only thing

Art's delightful film needed was some sunshine. A sunny day would have raised it to an art form (pun intended).
Phillip - I also liked the non acting parts the best and I think in general most clients won't have sufficient acting skills for this type of format. This couple though really got into the acting bits and a lot of the directing as well. So we went with it. We shot the beach scenes in the morning and lucked out big time as it was pouring rain when we arrived which is the only reason there weren't a million people on the beach. The rain stopped and the sun peaked out just long enough to shoot - on an empty beach!
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Old December 16th, 2010, 08:18 AM   #5
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Art, I'm glad you kept the pun in the quote - your work earned it.
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Old December 16th, 2010, 08:54 AM   #6
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I try not to do much wedding stuff (video - I do a lot of photography) but I did this engagement video and pretty much winged it.

I asked them to talk about how they met and what they liked about each other, blah blah blah... I think if you try and get non actors to act something they will just end up looking like they are trying to hard and not succeeding. So if you just try and put them at ease and just do what they do best (talk about each other :) It will be fine.

Now mine is more interviewish (is that a word?) so it may not fit into what you are looking for. But no matter what you do try and get them to relax and have fun so that it doesn't look forced.

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Old December 16th, 2010, 01:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Kelly Huffaker View Post
My question is for those who do this sort of work, is how you prepare for stuff like this? Im interested more in how you get your ideas for creative shots and how you go about executing these? Do you storyboard? Wing it? Im familiar with hollywood camera moves and the term "coverage" which means repeating the same scene multiple times but different angles. Can anyone kind of give me an idea or play by play of a normal engagement shoot?
Hi Kelly,
--We usually ask them tons of questions.//how they met. what they like to do. what they dont like to (funny side)... There is going to be a lot of email back and forths.
--then once you get the idea, sell it to them.
--It helps to story board. So that you have an idea on what to do on the shoot. You are given the chance to pre plan everything since it is not a wedding. I suggest you take advantage of it.
--then you as the creative director will take charge of everything. I suggest, if you want to continue on doing it, you take acting classes, so you will also learn how to direct couples.

Here is an example of one of our engagement films:
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 11:01 AM   #8
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Here's what i ended up with. Thanks everyone for all your tips and words of advice
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Old January 28th, 2011, 07:01 AM   #9
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Nice job Kelly. You did a fantastic job.

I had some trouble with my first one. It was an interview style and the clients wanted SO MUCH of the story that it became 20 minutes long. I told them we need to keep it at 5 minutes, but they insisted on more story. I'm just going t re-edit it down to 5-7 minutes and use that for my portfolio.
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Old January 28th, 2011, 12:33 PM   #10
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seams familiar

Hummmm, I think I already saw this...
Donít get me wrong Kelly, but you could at least used a different music :-)
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