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Old April 22nd, 2014, 08:12 AM   #1
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How often to dissolve

I've got 2 cameras:
#1 Medium to Tight shot straight down the aisle, zoomed in on the B&G
#2 Medium shot from mostly behind the alter, focused on B&G faces

In the middle of the wedding ceremony, there is invariably a 5-minute monologue by the officiant. Pretty much not much happening, B&G just standing there listening for 5 minutes

How often would you dissolve between the 2 shots? There is nothing compelling happening on either footage. I'd ordinarily cut it out, but for the sake of completeness.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 08:23 AM   #2
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Re: How often to dissolve

Hi Vince

For me it's a "feel" thing. Watch it and use your gut feel of when to cut to an alternate view ..it also depends on what his dialogue is about ... I use one cam from the front and then a second handheld so I can do reverse angle plus also do cutaways of the guests. However to get a really different view, try having a GoPro high up on a light stand. That gives you three angles to cut to.

I wouldn't be too concerned at all as you don't have to watch it, the bride does! However during a long homily I tend to break up the priest shot with cutaways of the congregation as those you can easily vary so it's not just cutting from camA to camB both which are boring!

Chris
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 08:36 AM   #3
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Re: How often to dissolve

Just to be clear, I don't 'dissolve,' I use hard cuts, except when I'm shifting locations or time, and don't have a different transition method.

I agree with Chris that the very non-specific 'feel' has a lot to do with it.

For much of the editing, I use 2-5 second shots, with 5-10 being my long shots.

For a long homily or message or reading, 8-20 seconds is my usual rule for a single shot, with exceptions made for those dull 5-10 minute parts, but I still try to change it up, alternating 30 sec and 15 sec shots.

If I have to, I'll digitally zoom my single shot on the speaker to create the illusion of change, though I prefer a real 2nd shot. Or cut-aways to the B&G or crowd, like Chris said.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 08:44 AM   #4
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Re: How often to dissolve

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
Just to be clear, I don't 'dissolve,' I use hard cuts, except when I'm shifting locations or time, and don't have a different transition method.
Ugh, your right. I meant to say cut. I save the dissolves for location, time.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 09:23 AM   #5
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Re: How often to dissolve

Constantly and continuously:

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Old April 22nd, 2014, 09:57 AM   #6
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Re: How often to dissolve

Is the front camera unmanned? Difficult to make two static shots interesting no matter how often you cut between them. How many times can we look at the bride and groom's faces just staring ahead? Of course, if you catch them laughing at a joke, or giving one another "the look", that's great, but otherwise is gets old rather quickly.

What I've always done is to man the front camera, and get as many varied shots as possible. I set up a shot, give it 5, 10, 15 seconds as appropriate to the subject, then quickly frame up another shot and hold it, then the next. I can get the bride and groom, then close-ups of her parents, his parents, a grandparent, best man, slow pan across groomsmen, and so forth. The beauty of those shots is they can be moved around and rearranged as suitable during the edit. And rather than just alternating back and forth from those close-ups to the rear camera, which becomes obvious what you're doing, take 3 or 4 of the front camera shots and string them together while the officiant continues speaking in the background. Parents, grandma, best man all listening. Keep the viewer engaged (and wondering just how many cameras were covering the event!).

Of course, the couple is the focus during vows and such, but for the long homily portion, go for variety. I'll even do a slow pan all the way across all the pews on a medium or wide shot. The couple has their back to the family and friends for the duration really. Wouldn't it be nice if they could see all the people and emotion going on behind them when they watch their video? Maybe catch mom dabbing the tear from her eye?

When the minister refers to how the parents were responsible for raising the bride or groom, cut to the shot you had of the parents then. You get the idea. Makes it really interesting to watch. The cute little two-year-old "mini bride" that falls asleep in grandma's lap. Gotta get that stuff!

PS - don't know if you do any Catholic weddings, then you can have 10-15 minutes straight (or more) of priest talking. Lot's of opportunity there, and some of those cutaways can also be inserted in totally different parts of the ceremony as well, even to cover "mistakes" like both cameras moving at the same time.

Hope this helps inspire you

Thanks
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 10:16 AM   #7
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Re: How often to dissolve

It's really all about the content of the monologue as well...same with wedding speeches and I tend to use a high angle view for generic cutaways when they can be inserted purely to relieve monotony but if the person tells a story about the couple which raises a laugh then you really should cut away to either the couple or the guests to catch that reaction moment ... If it's purely a sermon then also watch for congregation reaction shots and inserted in the correct place will make the sermon a lot better.

If you were shooting a wide shot of a rock band and wanted to cut to a new shot, you wouldn't just cut to a new angle as the guitarist breaks into a blistering solo would you? Your 2nd cam would cut to a closeup of the guitarist making that the focal point! Be it a great live band number or a sermon, you will get reactions from the congregation and by capturing those as cutaways will make the sermon a lot less boring.

Event speeches are much the same (even barmitzvahs!) One cam on the principal character and then keep another cam handy and grab reaction shots ...that way your cuts are meaningful not just a constant change of angle because you have two fixed cameras. Bottom line is usually the rule that you must have a reason to cut before you do so. Simply switching from one to the other is just as boring and really pointless.

Chris
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 11:12 AM   #8
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Re: How often to dissolve

My editing is similar to Jeff's.

However, I've lately been wondering if I'm just wasting my time. Do the couples want varied shots? Do they appreciate it when they get it? Do they hire you because your long edit has varied cuts?

In other words -- would they be happy with just a single camera framed on the speaker, no cuts for most of it?

I fear the answer might be yes.

Actually, I also hope the answer is yes, because that would reduce editing time enormously.

A related question -- how much do brides even care about audio? If they have clear sound for the vows, do they care if the rest of it is on-camera sound?

What I'm starting to think most brides who are at all interested in video want: just any record of the formal parts, however basic; also a short highlights to post online and wow people; and that's it.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 02:29 PM   #9
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Re: How often to dissolve

Firstly, I never shorten or take anything out of the officiant's sermon/homily no matter how long it is, as there is no way of knowing how important it may be to the couple and their family even if it seems boring to you.

Secondly, the whole point of a manned camera is to use it creatively, particularly when nothing much seems to be going on. I have shot many hundreds of weddings with just one camera without the luxury of cutaway shots and that quickly teaches you to be creative or die. There are many things to be filmad during the 'boring' bits, close ups of family members, very slow zooms in or out, details of the venue, such as flowers, architecture, children making a fuss, intricate carvings, bridesmaids giggling, the details of the bride's dress etc,etc. The cutaways only need to be used to make a break from continuous camera movement.

Roger
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 07:43 PM   #10
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Re: How often to dissolve

Hi Adrian

I figure that if you are going to film it then do it correctly. I wouldn't on the assumption "the bride isn't interested in this so I'll do a crappy job" ... As Roger says, the homily might be absolutely critical to a very religious bride or simply non essential to another.

I did have one priest that said he does a walkabout thru the aisle whilst doing his homily making it almost impossible to track him with a camera ... the bride said "we don't need that bit..just leave it out" which suited me BUT she made the decision to omit not me! If the long and boring monologue is expected then film it the best way you can and make it as interesting as you can which means you would most defonately need at least one mobile camera not two foxed ones only.

Chris
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 07:33 AM   #11
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Re: How often to dissolve

One problem we found was, when the pastor is especially dull or off point, no one is reacting for us to do cut aways. Everyone just looks bored.

As for leaving something out, the easiest solution is to simply ask the client what they want. We always film everything, but afterwards, before I complete editing, I ask if they want anything left out, and then provide a list. Most of the time, they want 100%, but the most common exclusions, for us, are:

*communion during a Catholic Mass
*songs performed by Church provided singer

Though I have, once or twice, been told to leave out a reading, or a pastor's homily/message.

It's not too much of an issue for us, though, because we provide both a full-length video, and a 10-20 minute highlight video.
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