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


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Old August 31st, 2005, 09:37 AM   #1
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Just the ceremony/reception footage

I've seen everyone's examples of their highlight videos and pre-ceremony videos with the neat effects, transitions, angles, etc. What I'm wondering though, is what does the basic footage look like that you give your client? (i.e. ceremony and reception coverage). Do you just use basic fades from one scene to the next and keep it simple, do you put as much time into effects with those as you do the highlight videos? I'm asking because I see all these great videos to music and it just makes me wonder what you do to the rest of the footage......
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Old August 31st, 2005, 10:55 AM   #2
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Hi,

Have you ever checked out www.weva.com. This website will provide much information on wedding videography. There forums are great but you have to be a member to get access.

Jerome
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Old August 31st, 2005, 11:06 AM   #3
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Yeah, I've checked out many other video sites and I have my own style and technique that I use. For the basic footage though I usually keep it simple and easy to follow then do more of the "artsy" stuff with the montages. I was just wondering if that is how others did it. The lowest package I offer to clients is just basic coverage of ceremony/reception (no montages) and besides the camera angle there is nothing unique that is added to that and was wondering if others do anything to make that part of the video really stand out.....
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Old August 31st, 2005, 04:12 PM   #4
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I might not offer much help as I have been doing wedding as a freelancer for an established videographer for only 5 months now. But, when I edit his weddings, I do the ceremony almost as basic and real-time as you can get. I lay the two tracks on the timeline and cut between them. I prefer cuts when there is no music playing, and crossfades when there is music, but my boss prefers crossfades through the whole thing. For audio, I switch between whatever source has the best recording, which could be on-board mics (seldom), wireless on the groom, and sometimes mp3 recorders.

If there's any kind of slideshow or love story type video during the ceremony, I'll drop in the real thing rather than a recording of it from the ceremony. Sometimes, if there are some great reactions, I'll do kind-of a picture-in-picture to show the reactions during the slideshow or movie. If I do drop in a pip, then I make sure to include a copy of the slideshow/video as a special feature on the dvd so they have it in it's original form.

Sorry to ramble... but to answer your question in a nutshell, all I personally do is fade between two cameras with all live audio, including music, all in real-time, generally starting with the mothers processional and ending at the end of the recessional... almost like news coverage, but with more creative editing.

I used to think that I had to do something to make the ceremony more exciting. But after talking to a few brides, they love that they get to see the whole thing with music that wasn't there, and without special effects. It's exciting to them just being plain, but with creative editing.

Does anyone else have techniques they use during the ceremony edit to make it more fun, without changing it into a music video?

Dan
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Old September 5th, 2005, 06:58 PM   #5
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First Attempt at short form video

Hi Jennifer,

I just uploaded the ceremony from a job that i'm currently working on. I should mention that i didn't shoot the footage...i wouldn't want to take credit for someone else's work. This was our first attempt at editing a short form ceremony.

http://purpletenspeed.com/gotham/dvi...yGinaFrank.mov

Thanks,
Jim
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Old September 5th, 2005, 08:23 PM   #6
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I have been doing short form edits for about 5 or 6 years now (thank goodness-no more lineal edits and 3 hour epics) and although each wedding does play out a bit differently I have a basic edit list for the ceremony and reception that I try to adhere to. (subject to change of course ;-0)

For the actual ceremony; Bride coming down the aisle (although again depending on the particular event and size of the bridal party I may include the BMs and GMs coming in also)-handoff to the groom, officiants welcome, a little bit of the homily that is specifically aimed at the B&G (for a religious ceremony), the vows, the rings, the lighting of the Unity candle (if they do that-most religious ceremonies they do)-placing the flowers at the Holy Family (in Catholic ceremonies-otherwise the flowers to the mothers-I may also do that for Catholic ceremonies, again it depends on the flow) a small part of the final blessing with the introduction, the kiss and the walkout.
My ceremonies generally run from about 6 to 9 minutes. For the reception-Introductions in full but shortened, Toasts (might be shortened-it depends) Cake cutting (shortened-I cut out all the waiting time for the photog to set it up etc) 1st dance, F/D dance, M/S dance and BP dance are gemerally shortened by cutting the music carefully. 3 or 4 4 minute songs takes up a lot of video-leg grab and toss, I mean garter and bouquet with all the standaround cut out-some crowd dancing and a goodbye shot to close out to the recap.
Remember all of this is subject to the flow and feel or the party, the people and of course ME :-) Total time 45-55 minutes!
BTW, my clients have seen a full wedding (usually at the place their getting married at-or they are a referral) so they know what they're getting when the sign up. No surprises.
HTHs
Don
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Old September 14th, 2005, 08:49 AM   #7
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You know I am struggling with the same topic..

For example, I just shot a wedding (two camera coverage all events). The ceremony was 1hr 35 minutes long. They have 3 readings, best man speaking, maid of honor speaking, priest 1 speaking, priest 2 speaking, flowers to the parents, 2 songs sung and 1 friend playing the sax during the flowers. Now problems with the footage, we were limited to the back only while the photographer could have free reign (whats new) and then they did some huge huddle of bride and groom and all guests so we lost any shots of them during this.. So of course that goes out the window.. But in all the ceremony was roughly a little over an hour and a half..

I have to shorten this, but heck how do I do it. Not technically speaking but artisically I mean are they upset by cutting out certain speakers or songs?

For the reception.. Even better, here's my shot list:
Introduction, Father Speaking (6 minutes), Grooms Father (5:25 minutes), Best Man (7 minutes), Maid of Honor (11 minutes), Priest (4 minutes), Blessing (3 1/2 minutes), Father Daughter Dance, First Dance, Mother/Son Dance, Entire wedding party surprise dance routine with priests (LOL!), cake cutting, garter, bouquet..

So given the broad and very limited description of the events how would you all cut this together? I come from the corporate video world creating training videos and seminar disc sets so the mindset usually is don't leave anything out.. But in this wedding example is it ok to not include everything? Thanks to the nice Ms. Jenny Lehman she sent me her full contract that I graciously use and modified a little, but states that I have full artistic control and no shots are promised..
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Old September 14th, 2005, 10:44 AM   #8
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Wow, lots of long winded people!

The problem you have in my opinion is even though your contract states that you have artistic control and shot control and all that jazz (mine does also) what you give depends a lot on what you might have discussed andor shown the b&G. In other words, if they saw an example of your work and you showed them a long form edit or discussed a long form edit you need to give them a long form edit. On the other hand if you showed them or talked about a short form edit then thats what you give them. If you didn't show them or talk to them about anything specific, well then you have to decide for yourself but heres what I always do. Since I do short form and my clients know it (45-55 minutes COMPLETE) I include and uncut "unedited" version of the ceremony (1 dvd only) so that way they have it. My ceremonies generally get cut to 6-9 minutes depending on the ceremony. So now I'm covered as far as the ceremony is concerned. As for the reception, when the people start getting long winded I cut to the chase and get what I deem the important stuff- sometimes the stuff they say is not really all that flattering, especially the best man. They sometime go back to when they first met in 1st grade and he has to tell stories from then til now :-( even the B&G get bored and sometimes embarressed. I MIGHT put some of what I cut into a deleted scenes chapter but for the most part I don't.
Now heres the thing. If the B&G know what to expect as far as your edit then you're good to go, if not, they might expect one thing and if you give them another you could have a problem. So if I were you, I would try to remember what you told them or might have promised them and go from there. If you cut the ceremony, you might have room for all the reception stuff you want to put in.
Without knowing what they expect its a tough call.
Good luck, if I can be of any further help post here.

Don
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Old September 14th, 2005, 12:40 PM   #9
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I started out editing short form. An important goal was to get everything on one disc. After a couple complaints about what was cut, I quickly switched to long form on 2 discs and never looked back. Nothing but praise ever since.

(I'll get hate mail for this but...) I believe that many short-form videographers fail to realize that people are enamored with themselves on video. Less video is not more. Less is less. After doing a few short form edits I realized (even without critisism from the customer) that I was cutting an aweful lot out - stuff that in my heart I had to struggle with and I believe that if I was struggling with it, they would want to see it.

Although I use good judgement and common sense when editing, I also explain to my customers during the consultation and on thier wedding day that if there is something they want edited out it is thier responsibility to let me know. It dumps some responsibility on the couple and so far it has worked flawlessly.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 01:07 PM   #10
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Back to the first question

While this is good info about changing ceremony video down to short form, the topic of the thread has gone off track of what I was looking for. I do full ceremony coverage and give the client the entire ceremony. What I was wondering though (for others that do this) do you do anything special to the video besides basic cuts? Do you feather edges, do you add black & white, do you do fancy transitions or add in effects? Some clients only want ceremony/reception coverage (no highlight video) and I was looking for a way to fancy up that footage since I can't do a unique highlight video....
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Old September 14th, 2005, 01:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom
Wow, lots of long winded people!

Without knowing what they expect its a tough call.
Good luck, if I can be of any further help post here.

Don
Don thanks for the detailed reply, always appreciated..

Well this one is a case they don't expect anything.. I just did it as a favor to my wife's cousin and they couldn't afford a video.. So really anything will probably be acceptable since they didn't pay for it and they were not going to be able to afford one anyways.. However, the referral source is always there..
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Old September 14th, 2005, 02:42 PM   #12
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Jennifer,
Regardless of whether or not you're doing a highlite package, I personally would not "fancy up" the ceremony. Even though I love to get creative the ceremony IMO is not the place to do it especially if it was a religious ceremony. The ceremony is about the only footage I DON'T do anything anything too except to make sure color match is right when using more than 1 camera which is pretty much all the time. If it were me, I would leave it.
Don

Pat,
in that case, you could pretty much do whatever you want with it but whatever you do, if you plan on using it as a demo then make sure you cut it the way you would want to cut the "normal" wedding-if there is such a thing :-O
Good luck and have fun!
Don
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Old September 14th, 2005, 02:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom
Jennifer,
Regardless of whether or not you're doing a highlite package, I personally would not "fancy up" the ceremony. Even though I love to get creative the ceremony IMO is not the place to do it especially if it was a religious ceremony. The ceremony is about the only footage I DON'T do anything anything too except to make sure color match is right when using more than 1 camera which is pretty much all the time. If it were me, I would leave it.
Don
Don
Thanks! I ask because whenever a client only wants the basic package (ceremony/reception) I always feel like I should be giving them more. Like I should put fancy work into it to show that I can do it, but since they don't ask for the highlight stuff or music montage I guess they didn't want that in the first place.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 03:17 PM   #14
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Jen,

Agree with Don ... the ceremony is not the place to get creative.

But (this is my opinion) from a business standpoint I would never offer a package without a highlight video. Your lowest level package should include at least something worthy of earning you a referral.

I think this is way off:
"but since they don't ask for the highlight stuff or music montage I guess they didn't want that in the first place"

Wrong.

What a customer wants and what they are willing to pay extra for are two different things. I bought new SUV last year and I wanted OnStar ...but not for $12.95 a month.

Remember that whatever lower version of a wedding production you sell, whomever watches it won't factor in the type of package your B&G bought - nope, instead, more often than not, they will view it as a maxium representation of your work. This is covered in plenty of sales & marketing books written by people who know a lot more than I do.
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Old September 14th, 2005, 03:37 PM   #15
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I've earned referrals without a highlight video. I do my packages differently, that's why I'm getting so many contacts. It's all a la carte. The client customizes the package to exactly what they want, and don't have to pay for what they don't want. It's working, I'm going to keep it that way. I make demos to display my work and my potential for future clients to view. Anyone can argue their own point on marketing, but if what I'm doing is working then I'm not going to change it. Anyways, I'll keep my ceremonies basic, I'll make the reception video fitting to the couple and rather than asking what other people on here do, I'll just ask the client how they see the finished product. :)
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