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Old February 7th, 2014, 08:12 AM   #1
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Do brides want shallow depth of field?

With the other post regarding long form being preferred over a short form, I also thought about do Brides necessary want shallow depth of field?

I'm actually going to attempt to ask brides etc which they actually prefer, to see what majority want. Obviously, there will be a lot of variables but I'm interested to find out.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 08:15 AM   #2
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

High chance a bride won't have a clue in regards to what you're talking about ...

I do a mix of both. As long as you pair up camcorders that match in post, you can deliver both. Keep the shallow depth of field stuff as the 'arty' shots.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 08:59 AM   #3
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

What a bride wants depends on the bride, so you're asking a question that is very general. You're actually asking the wrong question.

You're question should be something along the lines of "What do MY brides want/expect?" So to answer your question, you need to understand your market and the brides within it. What market are you serving? Or what market do you WANT to serve? Budget brides cannot expect the same as a bride with a $100K budget. If you are trying to up your prices, then you will need to up your game.

Another approach is to ask yourself what YOU like. What do YOU think looks better? Shots made with a fast lens are beautiful. Does anyone think otherwise? Why do wedding "films" command up to 50K? Lots of reasons, but one of the many reasons is because they are beautiful and pleasing to the eye.

However, just because a cinematic look is more pleasing (and it is, of course) does not mean we HAVE to sell it.

I do not do DOF shots, etc., but I understand that it is a beautiful way to shoot and present a film. Part of me is jealous of others ever since I sold my GH2s.

On the other hand there is certainly a market for well done videos shot with conventional cameras.

Commercials are now shot here in the U.S. using shallow depth of field. Some of them look amazing and are just beautiful. This is what customers are subjected too when they watch television these days. They are spoiled, and so am I.

So, asking what brides want is a loaded question and impossible to answer directly.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 09:11 AM   #4
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Total non-question.

No bride books without seeing samples.

If she likes your samples, and she books - its because she wants more of the same.

If a bride books me its because she wants what I offer.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 09:20 AM   #5
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Hi Matt

When you buy a car, does the manufacturer come to you and say "Matt should we use a 4:1 final ratio gearbox or a 3.75:1 one?"

You are the videographer ..you decide the style. Some brides will love it and book you.. some will hate it and not book you. That's how it works. DOF can be seen as "Why is my husbands face all fuzzy" or "that looks so romantic " Personally I keep things simple and make sure that my subjects are in focus (ie: I control the DOF), the dresses are the right colour and the audio is good.

If you want to shoot everything on an F1.2 aperture and work with only inches of focus is up to you but remember you don't have to impress your friends with clever creative shots, you have to impress the bride so the only way to do that is to show them your style.

Chris
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Old February 7th, 2014, 09:49 AM   #6
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Brides are the wrong people to ask that question. They see what they want or they don't and most can't tell you what they saw that made them use a particular vid person over another. I'm talking from a technical standpoint, not personality.

DoF? They have no clue what you're talking about.

Solid stable, well composed, properly exposed with at the very least GOOD audio preferably, GREAT audio, cut in a way that tells the story of THEIR day in a coherent manner. THATS what they want. They might not be able to express it that way but it's no different than when I go to the doctor. ME; Doctor, my arm hurts when I do this! Doctor: 'Then don't do that' I can't explain in doctor terms whats wrong but I know what I can and can't do. Brides are the same. They can't explain it but they know what they like and what they don't.

IMO don't make it any more complicated. KISS! Keep it simple!
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Old February 7th, 2014, 10:08 AM   #7
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

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Originally Posted by James Manford View Post
High chance a bride won't have a clue in regards to what you're talking about ...

I do a mix of both. As long as you pair up camcorders that match in post, you can deliver both. Keep the shallow depth of field stuff as the 'arty' shots.
+1, dont ask the bride anything she will not know !you will confuse her!! steve
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Old February 7th, 2014, 10:18 AM   #8
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post

However, just because a cinematic look is more pleasing (and it is, of course) does not mean we HAVE to sell it.
Jeff, although I agree with most of your post, I would disagree with the above statement. I do agree that in many cases the cinematic look is more pleasing for particular shots, but as a blanket statement it is frequently not more pleasing in my opinion.

Frequently the tendency to add cinematic style to certain shots in many modern video productions, can be intensely irritating, particularly when the focus of the viewer is diverted from important content by the artistic interpretation of a shot. This can be very true in a wedding situation for example where an attempt to create emotion with a shallow dof on the B&G during a critical part of the ceremony, can easily lose a moment of real emotion from Mum or Gran that is going on behind. Or a nice glider reveal from behind a pillar as they walk down the aisle, that misses the good luck charm handed over by the little pageboy just before. These are just two things that I have seen recently where the moment was lost for the sake of the art. Sometimes the videographer or editor's interpretation of a scene into a romantic cinematic moment, can totally miss the actual emotion of the real event.

So I would suggest that those embarking on a wedding video direction do not try to add cinematic style to everything as it can very easily provoke a negative response. When it is appropriate it can't be beaten, when it is inappropriate it can be a disaster.

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Old February 7th, 2014, 10:58 AM   #9
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
So I would suggest that those embarking on a wedding video direction do not try to add cinematic style to everything as it can very easily provoke a negative response. When it is appropriate it can't be beaten, when it is inappropriate it can be a disaster.
Roger
+1

I was looking to see if I could find a post from some time ago, but can't locate it.

It was talking about shooting ceremonies on DSLR with extreme shallow DOF and the bride's mother was complaining that while she could see the bride perfectly, the groom was a little out o focus and she really couldn't make out any of her family or other guests in the front rows very clearly.

The 'cinematographer' told her that this was his style and he felt it showed his camera off to the best of it's abilities.

The mother had apparently replied quite angrily that for the money they were paying he should "get a better camera" because "we wanted to see everything".
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Old February 7th, 2014, 10:59 AM   #10
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Roger, I agree that anything poorly done can be irritating. However, if you look at the top tier of wedding videographers, say, those who command $5K plus, it's shallow DOF and film look all the way, typcically shot on Canon DSLRs or some equivilent. Every shot is not always done with a shallow DOF. I understand that, but for the most part yes, it's how the big boys do it.

On the other hand, more amateurish attempts to shoot in a cinematic style and using DOF inappropriately by those of us who do not know how to pull off a modern, high end video but instead are trying to mimic the high end look can indeed look bad.

I still think the original question here is flawed. Do brides want shallow DOF? As has been said by others, brides don't know what DOF is.

Brides want beautiful. DOF is not a necessary tool or effect for many of us. It's not for me, it's not part of what I do at this time.

But take a look at a cinematic wedding by Joe Simon or Pacific Pictures and let me know what you find irritating about it. Personally, I see only frame after frame of breathtaking shots that leave me feeling awed.

Before owning my first GH2, I found the DOF shots and cinematic look irritiating, but my irritation was rooted in jealously more than anything. Since I have had a crack at it with the prime lenses, etc., I can now settle back into my "video" way of doing things and concentrate more on what I do best rather than worry about the issues that accompany shooting with DSLR style cameras.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 11:23 AM   #11
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Shallow dof and DSLR shooting is just a fad and will be over soon. No one likes it, brides hate it.

Same goes for colour movies in real speed. Wont be long before were all back to black and white slow mo. No more colour correcting or grading for me, HUZZAH!
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Old February 7th, 2014, 01:23 PM   #12
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Jeff, I think every style and technique has it's place and there are always clients that will love one style over another. Far be it for me to stop people producing whatever they want. For newcomers though it is easy to be influenced by some of the superb short form videos and cinematic techniques that they see here and assume that is what they need to aspire to. For wedding work that just isn't the case and I would hate to see people running into trouble if they fall short of those standards or the client's requirements.

The other point is that you also refer to 5K and 50k weddings. There may well be companies that specialise in that work and good luck to them, but in the UK, I suspect that the vast majority of 'normal' wedding video clients are in the 500-1500 range. Those people who can afford 5k-50k are not going to be the ordinary families and more likely those who's outlay on their wedding, including the video is likely to be as much about making a statement about their financial status as it is about preserving their memories. Teams of cameramen, dolly, jib and crane operators and audio and lighting persons are likely to make the family look and feel that their wedding is something that their peers will admire. As will the designer dresses, top of the range cars and named acts providing the music. It's a world away from the work that most of the wedding videographers here carry out to earn a living, although I'm sure there are a few here that serve that market.

Roger
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Old February 7th, 2014, 01:46 PM   #13
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

Roger I was partly referencing to your finding shallow dof irritating. Close ups are irritating as well, when abused. So are a lot of things. I guess I just don't see what your remark meant.

Danny's response was cheeky/hilarious, and summed things up well. DOF is here to stay and the filmic look using the tools available to achieve that end are here to stay as well. It's the way top-grade films are shot and it's filtered down to wedding video.

The original question can be answered directly. Yes, brides LOVE the look. They love anything that makes their video memorable and beautiful. I had a bride try and describe it when she was asking me about my service. She didn't know what it was called but she loved a video where she saw a bird on a branch being in focus and then the focus changed and the couple came into focus.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 02:18 PM   #14
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

DOF is here to stay

Don't be so sure. In the stills world it came, it saw, it conquered, it disappeared. It was sooooo 2007 :- )

Its now more of a tool to use when you wish to or have to shoot in low available light without auxiliary lighting. No-one is going to be impressed with your ultra narrow depth of field shots except for the occasional portrait etc. But they are going to be very UNimpressed with vip guests behind the couple during the ceremony being - as they would see it - "out of focus". A similar fate befell fisheye.

the filmic look using the tools available to achieve that end are here to stay as well

Again tastes for anything other than straight out of the camera (with the normal editing of course) come and go. Once upon a time you were nobody unless you had a stable full of the latest photoshop macros or Actions as they call them. Very similar to video effects now being flogged everywhere. Nowadays clients can do all that with stills themselves with online and mobile device free or cheap tools and they have no mystery appeal. At present there is a significant number of photo clients liking the vintage (read urine coloured) look. Don't expect that to be paying the mortgage this time next year.

I think it is inviting trouble if you ask clients such a specific question as the OP has suggested. They are unlikely to grasp its implications in full, and what do you do if they say no they want a wide depth of field - but you cannot shoot wide because there isn't enough light :- ) Likewise with cranes dollies jibs stabilisers sliders et al. You really do just need to ensure that they have endured at least a few minutes of your typical shows, and if there are any features of their day such as timeline or venue that may disrupt you from achieving the same then discuss it with them. You cannot even assume that both bride and groom have done the research - often one will do it all and the other has far less interest in all thing photo and video.

Pete
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Old February 7th, 2014, 02:46 PM   #15
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Re: Do brides want shallow depth of field?

True Peter, things do come and go. It's not black and white, etc., but in wedding films our ability to use these tools has not been available until now, at least not to this extent.

The flat, video look that has been the mainstay of wedding videos is not a deliberate look nor is it aesthetically desirable. The video look sucks, does it not?

The video look was simply the best the common wedding videographer could do with the tools available, and most of us have hated it since the beginning. I know I have.

I do not see filmmaking techniques such as shallow DOF as being trends as much as editing styles are, but your point is well made. Photography and the soft cheesy look is not the same as using shallow DOF effectively in filmmaking, or is it? Maybe I'm wrong.

Yes, using fast lenses for shallow DOF could be considered a trend, and it may not be in vogue in 5 years, but it is nevertheless here to stay to come in and out of favor as it may. The option was not available before a mere few years ago to most of us.
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