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Old January 16th, 2012, 01:01 PM   #1
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Smartphone Video Footage from Guests

As more and more people are carrying around smartphones with decent video capabilities, I was wondering about the possibility of getting guests to contribute footage they may have shot during the wedding. I would imagine most of it would be kind of raw and shakey but it could make for some interesting b-roll or for an extra's feature. I'm thinking it could be even more effective if guests were coached in advance to shoot something specific such as a personal message, something funny, etc. Not sure how I would collect though. I don't own a smartphone so the question is can the video be downloaded via a usb cable to a laptop, Do all phones (iphone, Droid,etc) work the same way? I'm thinking that you'd really need to get it from them on the spot (set up a collection kisok?) as the chances of someone following up with you after the wedding are pretty slim. Any thoughts on this?

Art
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Old January 16th, 2012, 01:33 PM   #2
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Re: Smartphone Video Footage from Guests

Good idea, but it sounds like an organizational nightmare :)

Not all phones work the same way, or have the same connections. Video formats also differ, as does size/quality.

I think the only way you'd have a chance of collecting video from a bunch of different sources like that would be to collect their email/phone # ahead of time, then contact them again sometime after the day of the wedding to get them to send the video. I think it would be a huge headache to do it all that night.
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Old January 16th, 2012, 10:12 PM   #3
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Re: Smartphone Video Footage from Guests

In theory a great idea, in realty, a nightmare !!!

I did an editing project for a market research company where the participants were asked to capture themselves on their devices or cameras as they answered questions, and send those in, instead of written copy. I got quality from 24p to 15 frames a second. I got everything form 1920X1080 to something too small to post to youtube. You name the codec and format, I got it.

As I built out each person's responses, all the quality stayed equal as most, but not all, didn't change settings midway through. So if Sally's looked like crap in the beginning, the last one was just as crappy. This wasn't too bad as Premiere handled all of whatever got spit out at me.

Where it turned into a mess was when I had to combine all the responses, of say "Question #1" into one nice big long video. Imagine trying to glue together 640,1920, and some 1440 tossed in just for good measure. Imagine everything from wmv, to mpeg4 to mov all on the same timeline, complete with all those varying frame sizes !!! Premiere did it, but render time went right to the moon !!!

If do you do try to pull this off, set it up where the guests know to come see you before the ceremony starts so you can set each device so you get something that is going to looking like it will compliment each other. Don't expect them to know how to, most don't even know their device is capable of more than one setting.
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Old January 17th, 2012, 10:23 AM   #4
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Re: Smartphone Video Footage from Guests

good points - my thought was that the video quality would be secondary. The footage would be positioned somewhere in the edit as just what it is - "handy cam footage from guests" so the focus would really be on the content. The aquisition piece sounds problematic though. I like the idea of maybe targeting a limited number of guests and meeting with them before to get their devices set up properly.

Art
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Old January 17th, 2012, 11:23 AM   #5
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Re: Smartphone Video Footage from Guests

I heard an idea from a couple the other day about providing a few super cheap flip cameras for guests to pick up and film "their perspective" of the wedding. Sounds like a cool idea if you could manage a way to keep people from stealing the cameras. It would definitely solve the organizational nightmare of having people provide their smartphone footage because the cameras belong to you.
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Old January 17th, 2012, 12:03 PM   #6
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Re: Smartphone Video Footage from Guests

The project I spoke of was the second one I did for this research company. The first project they sent Flip cams to all participants. IMO, Flips were made to record and edit in camera then upload to youtube etc. I found the codec to be some odd thing, probably a derivative of DIVX. My experiences were it didn't really "play well" with Premiere and H.264. I would suggest the Panasonic TA1 first, and although its discontinued, there are ample supplies of them still around.

Another aspect which I forgot to mention, instructing the "shooters" to shoot in landscape mode, instead of flipping the device to a portrait mode. If left to their own discretion, you will get landscape or portrait, or some will give you a little of both !!!

The first project I did had 32 participants from 4 different countries. Of these 32, one lady who was a stay at home mom, obviously had some education in "communications". This lady's footage was a joy to work with, as she knew the rule of thirds and actually used a tripod !!! She set up every shot and then went ahead to answer the questions. If everyone had been like Lorraine, the project would have been much more fun and been done in half the time !!! :-)
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Old January 17th, 2012, 09:14 PM   #7
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Re: Smartphone Video Footage from Guests

Hi Art

Also remember that footage on the DVD will be seen by viewers as all yours...even if you make a segment titled "Guest Footage" and your overall skill will be assessed on the entire wedding too!!

I guess if you wanted to do a special "Guest Footage" DVD then it might be better but Chip has already been thru situations where he gets flip/phone footage that all has to be compiled together and judging by emails he sent me whilst doing it, I'm pretty sure he is totally bald by now!!

Chris
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Old January 18th, 2012, 07:34 AM   #8
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Re: Smartphone Video Footage from Guests

I've occasionally studied guests as they shoot video, and the concept of holding a camera steady is alien to most people. The footage for the most part would be useless to begin with. The idea is not even close to feasible, IMO.
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Old January 26th, 2012, 10:35 PM   #9
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Re: Smartphone Video Footage from Guests

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Varga View Post
I was wondering about the possibility of getting guests to contribute footage they may have shot during the wedding.
I think this could be marketed as an additional DVD in the package. The video would be collected after the wedding through a special Facebook page and then burned without editing to a DVD with a menu system that indicates who shot each clip. Such an archive of guest contributed video may be of interest to some couples and could be put together without much effort.
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