Still Motion Feature at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old October 20th, 2012, 03:42 PM   #1
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 1,148
Notes on a Still Motion video

I do like watching other people's work. Not sure how much I ever really take on board and how much it changes my own style, but anyways...

Someone recently linked me to this Still Motion video, on the basis that, in their view, it's one of the classics of the cinematic style:


Some things that stood out to me (mainly because they're things I don't do/should be doing more):

1. That action is covered from multiple viewpoints. If someone is playing cards at a table, then you get five different angles of what's going on. My instinctive documentary-like tendency is to try to cover these sorts of things in a single take, perhaps with zooming.

Note: if ever, in a video, you see something like a bride reaching for her dress, and see it covered from multiple angles, then you know it's got to be staged. No one spends that long reaching for their dress.

Multiple angles, when cut together, do seem to create a sense of story. I never really know what people mean when they talk about "story" in connection with wedding films. I think this might be a good discussion for another time. But certainly, if you're covering an action from different angles, and each angle reveals something new, for instance a new perspective, that seems to add interest to an event, and adds to the flow of the edit.

2. Ceremony is not shot continuously. He only has two cameras to play with. But he's getting so many different angles! Must be moving the cameras around, just grabbing highlights. My own style is to pick a few good angles, and get as continuous coverage as possible from them, along with grabbing cutaways and reaction shots when I can.

But this really makes me think that if you want the best highlights video possible, you have to forget about continuous coverage or else divide the duties. You can't really have your cake and eat it, at least for ceremony and for first dance. I know that many companies do work in this way, with one or two dedicated to the documentary, and the third person dedicated to highlights.

3. Economy of equipment: just four lenses. 50mm f/1.2, 24mm f/1.5, 100mm macro f/2.8, 70-200 f/4 non IS + slider + tripod + monopod. Two sound recorders + lavs. Note that he's just using prime lenses (and a zoom that's as sharp as most primes). I reckon this also affects the sorts of moments he captures. The most human moments are during bride prep, where he has time to leave the camera on someone, frame nicely, and just keep rolling till they do something. My own more documentary tendency is to rely on zooms, and to be on alert for moments.

4. Lots of interesting things to do with framing and movement that I personally don't do or want to think about doing more often:

-- "through a crack" framing -- where you have leaves or a shoulder or a door blocking out most of the frame, letting you catch a glimpse of action through a crack
-- "from above" framing -- shots that have got to be staged -- showing someone pouring drinks from an angle looking directly into the glasses, and then a smooth slider move from one glass to another!
-- combined techniques -- pan, tilt or slide + pull focus, instead of straight slide or pan or tilt
-- silhouette shots (I should really try to get more of these, especially during bride and groom prep; I also tend to shoot with Cinestyle, and have got a feeling that for silhouettes this is exactly the picture profile you don't want)
-- edge of frame framing instead of rule of thirds. Someone's face might occupy 1/5 of the frame at the edge. Seems to work better where the rest of the flame is pretty uniform or blurred out.
-- body parts framing -- showing lips and cutting out eyes; showing someone's back and cutting out their head, which create mystery and leave you with something to say or reveal in the next shot. This sort of flies against what I think is most people's tendency to frame for heads and faces, or the film-school-taught tendency to avoid cutting people off at the joints.

5. One thing I've always been iffy about, though, is the way Still Motion recommends using high shutter speed outdoors in order to achieve shallow DOF. Always felt this changes the look too much. Prefer vari ND, though the polarisation does take some of the life out of skin. Built-in NDs are yet another reason, I suppose, to upgrade from DSLR to C100 or C300...

Last edited by Adrian Tan; October 20th, 2012 at 04:32 PM.
Adrian Tan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 21st, 2012, 03:07 AM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 9,064
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

His shooting style was directed to what he wanted to achieve in that trailer, so here the couple won't be getting a full featured docu style video, this is perfect for trailer cinematic like video's and for building an online portfolio because most people attention span won't last longer then a few minutes when watching videos online and above video makes max use of that short time.
There is also some staged shots in there, like when they get together at the end in the fields where you have one fixed camera on a tripod and one handheld camera, also here the couple is told to stand on a specific position and act naturally which they did very well. This is gold for a videographer because people need to have someone (like in a good movie) to identify themselves with, brides probably melt when they hear him say he cried. if he had a couple that didn't show emotion like that or if the evening speeches where limited to a "welcome to our wedding" and nothing really emotional then his trailer would have been half as good. It's also a good looking couple which is a bonus as well because, agian like in movies, we like to see beautiful people.

What you said about the framing part is specifically true for these cinematic looking video's because they try to make some parts look like art, as if it was a painting, but again, this only works well if you do these short form, cinematic pieces. Some time ago I saw those silhouette type of shots of brides children jumping on the bed, it looked "artsy" but you couldn't see the faces of those children, in a docu style you just show the children jumping having fun, in a cinematic style you let the viewer fill in the missing parts themselves, it's just up to each videographer to choose a certain style and stick to it. Most of my clients want to have a longer version with their ceremony covered in full with more camera's and a few like to have short versions, then it's just a matter to adapt your filming style to their wishes.
Noa Put is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 22nd, 2012, 07:39 AM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: australia
Posts: 407
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

Very interesting, over the last few months I am getting swamped with wedding bookings, and most brides to be are telling me they like that I provide the with a full wedding, and they can purchase a highlight film. But this is the way I have done it for 9 years now.i like the story telling idea.and started the dslr style , but gave up, went back to my Ex3. So the saying goes its not the tool it's the opperator.if good that we have different styles out then, just cover the market. I say stick to what makes you yhe money.
__________________
Rob.
www.rpbproductions.com
robert@rpbproductions.com

HD101/G5 Mac/4gig Ram/1TB HDD/30" Cinema Display/FCP.
Robert Bale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 23rd, 2012, 12:27 PM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Toronto & Montreal
Posts: 188
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

Trying to understand concepts and theories behind filmmaking and storytelling when you don't have a cinematography background may not always be an easy task. When I first started, there was a lot of things I didn't quite fully understand. I never went to film school and didn't have a lot of knowledge about cinematography, let alone event filmmaking. I would say that what really helped me the most in my career was taking the time and money to invest in education.

Adrian, if you are interested in learning more about it, I would recommend checking out the next EDU events in Australia.
Exposed | Down Under

I'm sure many of your questions will be answered there.

If you don't mind traveling and going out of your area, there are a lot of other options to learn as well. In my case, I will most probably make a trip to LA this coming January and check out InFocus.
Long Truong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 23rd, 2012, 05:47 PM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Efland NC, USA
Posts: 2,315
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

I am sitting with the StillMotion people as I type this. They have a very different method for shooting wedding videos. They take MONTHS to get to know the B&G before the shoot. They do only 15 weddings a year.

They develop the story they want to tell before the event. Then they go shoot that. They do not shoot everything. Their clients do not expect a documentary style wedding video. They cater to a very specific client that want a short film of their day. They are very talented.

p.s. By the way, Its mostly She and not He on the shooting team.
__________________
http://www.LandYachtMedia.com

Last edited by Chris Medico; October 23rd, 2012 at 09:52 PM.
Chris Medico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 24th, 2012, 07:02 AM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Posts: 3,445
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

I guess if you are paying $10K+ to have someone shoot your wedding video that you are prepared to take whatever direction is necessary to get the shots specifically for the video. We humble jobbing wedding videographers usually just have to put up with the photographer directing the day because the couple value his/her images more than ours not least because generally they are paying him/her more.
Nigel Barker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 24th, 2012, 07:16 AM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Belgium
Posts: 9,064
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

Exactly my thought Nigel, last wedding the bride didn't want me to join them on the photoshoot because she thought I would make her nerveous with my videocamera and that it would show on the photo's. If I would charge 10k she probably would leave the photog behind. :)
Noa Put is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 24th, 2012, 07:49 AM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

Still Motion have a reputation for outstanding wedding films (note : not wedding videos) I would also say that the photog is considered a minor part in this scenario and if he/she gets in the way, guess who will asked to move??

It's a brilliant way to market a product and by taking months to develop a client relationship it must be good.

Most of my brides seem to work on a $10K budget for the whole wedding so it's obviously a pre-requirement to have a least a couple of BMW's or Mercedes in the garage but at that budget a Ferrari is more probable....Wouldn't it be nice to have a client who doesn't even consider price ...!!

Obviously you must be able to cater to clients you can easily afford your services...I remember someone here who arrived at a reception on the USA West Coast and the parking lot at the venue was just an assortment of Ferrari's and Lamborginis.

So far I haven't seen a lot of those in our area but I did have the groom arrive in a Red Ferrari at the Church last weekend (it wasn't his BTW!) Nice to do oppulent weddings..maybe I should move to Saudi Arabia??

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 24th, 2012, 08:19 AM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Posts: 3,445
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Nice to do oppulent weddings..maybe I should move to Saudi Arabia??
At least you wouldn't get any problems with drunken guests.
Nigel Barker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 24th, 2012, 08:22 AM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Posts: 3,445
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

I think that Still Motion do a great job with their wedding films but their wedding site you are not cattle / a slice of stillmotion.ca is full of the sort of pretentious nonsense that uber cool creatives & advertising agencies spout. Still if it works for them ...
Nigel Barker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 24th, 2012, 09:58 AM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Efland NC, USA
Posts: 2,315
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
I think that Still Motion do a great job with their wedding films but their wedding site you are not cattle / a slice of stillmotion.ca is full of the sort of pretentious nonsense that uber cool creatives & advertising agencies spout. Still if it works for them ...
My thoughts on their presentation.

They made no apologies in their presentation for their style and their business approach. They specifically pointed out that they don't provide services and the people they work with come to them because of their artistic vision.

I don't think $10k is enough to hire them. There was no discussion of rate but I expect based on the number of people that work on a project and how much time they invest ahead of the shoot that their cost starts above $20k. Good work if you can get it for sure. Certainly not a main stream clientele.

They are very focused on what they do. That extends to the gear they use too. In my opinion based on my interaction with the presenters they are highly artistic but lacking in technical knowledge. I also think they use extreme shallow DOF WAY too much in their work. So often and so shallow I found it distracting. Many of the shots in their videos fell into the "hunting for focus" category seen way too often in dSLR video (just because you can go shallow doesn't mean you should).

I found several places where their recommendations were quite myopic and would only work with the Canon dSLRs they use in their work. In my opinion I don't think they did enough to qualify some of their statements as to the scope of where their recommendations would work and where they would not work. As an example their recommendations for how they handle media management will work fine with the Canon sDLRs but would be bad for an XDCam workflow (renaming files on the cards before downloading as a way to track downloaded material). When I made the comment to the group about being cautious renaming any files on cards with certain cameras sure enough someone sitting right behind me was using a Sony camera.

One thing I took away and will use was how they distill a project down into 3-5 keywords. They use the keywords to drive their story (preplanning shot list and editing). If a clip doesn't touch/support a keyword in some way it doesn't make it into the edit. They also had an interesting way of looking at an edit and prioritizing the shots. I'll give that tidbit a try as well. The rest of the presentation was good but was aimed at attendees with virtually no experience. From a big picture view the presentation didn't meet my needs or expectations as much as I expected based on the course outline but I did get something out of it.
__________________
http://www.LandYachtMedia.com
Chris Medico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 24th, 2012, 10:27 AM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Fremont, CA.
Posts: 78
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

I really like all these insights from the KNOW seminar by stillmotion. I'm a fan of their work and I did attend their seminar in San Jose then sum at WPPI this year. I'm constantly watching all these highlights from different videogs and dissecting them on how to film and story tell. I'm not trying to defend them but I do think they know their tech/gear very well. It may have just come off as not because they don't focus their attention to that detail but to their customers and storytelling. I was not a member on this forum when Patrick use to contribute here but it would be nice if he did have some time for comments/posts. I understand they are very busy though.

I haven't been in this business for too long about 3 years not like a lot of folks but after I started incorporating stillmotion's philosophy of getting to know your clients in a much deeper level I really haven't had any issues. So something must be working right. Now that I said that I might have just jinx myself, knock on wood.
Chris Talawe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 24th, 2012, 10:37 AM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Posts: 3,445
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

I see that Still Motion are actually in the middle of a 36 city North American tour & the fee for attending is quite modest (from $149). For those of us who cannot attend you can purchase for just $199 the 370 page Field Guide to Filmmaking Book plus a DVD of The Filmmaking Workshop there is also a smartphone app.

WOW - KNOW by stillmotion | A Cinema Tour
OWN - KNOW by stillmotion | A Cinema Tour

Evidently you can get the iphone app for free from the iTunes store but there are add-in paid tutorials. Hi, I'm SMAPP, the stillmotion app!
Nigel Barker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 24th, 2012, 11:35 AM   #14
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Efland NC, USA
Posts: 2,315
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Talawe View Post
I'm not trying to defend them but I do think they know their tech/gear very well. It may have just come off as not because they don't focus their attention to that detail but to their customers and storytelling.
They are certainly not horrible in the tech area. They know how to use their gear. No doubt about it.

I asked a question during a break regarding the use of a grey card vs a light meter. I asked the question because in the presentation the talk only about using a light meter for exposure. They seemed to not understand what I was talking about when I asked about using something other than a light meter. A light meter is fine for photography or with a motion picture camera using real film. It is not the best tool to use for example when using a CINE gamma curve on a video camera. I did say that for something that moves as fast as a wedding that using a grey card would be burdensome. I related the question to their commercial work because they framed the use of the light meter against a commercial project they were doing.

My concerns may seem a bit pedantic. I'm not picking them apart to indicate the seminar wasn't good. It most definitely was good for those entering the wedding market. My issue with some of what was being presented was in the assumption that what works for them would work with anyone. I would have felt more comfortable if they had stated in a few places that you should try out any of their suggestions ahead of a project to see if they work for you. In a room full of people with less experience it can be dangerous to offer information in such an authoritative way.
__________________
http://www.LandYachtMedia.com
Chris Medico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 24th, 2012, 01:01 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Reading Berkshire UK
Posts: 827
Re: Notes on a Still Motion video

I struggle to comprehend how any couple can stand to have all that **** going on on their wedding day. Seems to subvert the whole point of having a wedding. This is of course a separate issue to the pretty video that comes out the other side.

Pete
Peter Riding is online now   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:19 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network