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Old November 24th, 2014, 09:25 PM   #1
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Spending money where it matters to brides

So, I'd love to get a tilt/shift lens. I think it could be great in video for reception dancing, and could create something like the dreamlike effect that Luke Oliver has in his videos (see sample section). And it would be great in photo to be able to connect particular foreground and background objects without overall deep depth of field.

However, I also think most brides could care less.

In a movie, one of the goals of cinematography is to be invisible -- most of the time, you're supposed to subtly add to the story, but without drawing attention to technique. Every camera movement should be motivated.

In contrast: wedding aesthetics. There's a huge market for brides who want showy, technique-obvious videos; or, to put it another way, images that Uncle Bob can't easily produce, which their friends might not have, and which therefore have "professional" stamped on them.

Here's a random list of things that I think make a difference to most brides, and visibly add to "production value" from a bride's point of view.

-- Shallow depth of field
-- Timelapse
-- Slow motion
-- Sliders, steadicams, jibs
-- Drones

They're big, obvious differences in look from home videos.

And here's a list of things that I don't think add to production value from an average bride's point of view, or which I don't think they care about:

-- Motivated camera movement.
-- Consistent look to a scene. Does she care that you just went from well-exposed shot to silhouette then back again? Or colour to black and white? Nope. Because the silhouette and black and white are "cool".
-- Shaky tripods/rough pans. Does she care about the difference in result between a $2,000 video tripod and an $80 photography tripod? I doubt it.
-- Sharp lenses. I'm sceptical brides care about the difference between prime and zoom, and am pretty sure they don't care about the difference between Samyang and Canon L.
-- Matching cameras. You used an FS700 and a three 5D2s on a shoot. The colours don't match -- shock horror! Meanwhile, the couple don't even realise, on watching the finished product, that you used more than one camera.
-- Good audio. There's no doubt that fuzzy sound takes away from a short form video, and that crystal clear sound adds. All things being equal, good audio is preferable. But I don't think all things are equal. I think a wow image more than makes up for poor audio -- as the work of some well-known Filipino videographers seems to testify.
-- Full coverage of a ceremony. I don't think most brides care if every second is recorded or not. They're after the "main bits". And in terms of showing friends, the 15- and 5-minute videos are what they'll show; full coverage is irrelevant.
-- Gimbals, if you already have a steadicam.
-- 4K downscaled to 1080.
-- 720 upscaled to 1080.
-- High ISO noise.
-- Dynamic range.
-- Good colour science.
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Old November 24th, 2014, 09:39 PM   #2
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

Hi Adrian

Apart from a tiny percentage who want the best video yet and are prepared to pay $8K for a production crew, we assume that the bride has far more technical knowledge than she actually has! With most brides, one has to be very careful that a skilled shallow focus shot of the bride in focus and the groom out of focus thru shallow DOF isn't seen as .."Why is my husband's face all fuzzy"

If they look pretty and the dresses that were a delicate salmon pink turn up as orange on her TV then she is happy. Remember she is not pixel peeping like we do, so she's just as happy with an SD DVD compared with a 4K UHD presentation (there is a good change her pimples won't show up on the SD copy but will look sharp as a tack at 4K ... why do you think photogs will often soften the image to get a dreamy look as well as hiding all the blemishes!

More than anything else the content has to be good and this is way, way more important than perfect resolution ... if you have a technically perfect video in every way but miss the bouquet toss when her sister catches the bouquet then you are dead! Yes, sorry coverage is very important but no you don't have to get everything ..as long as you film everything you say you are going to film then she will be happy.

Yeah, we get way too technical and fussy with our technical aspects but in the end we still have to keep the bride happy to get a good end result so I still think content is the most critical of all aspects to consider.

Chris
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Old November 24th, 2014, 11:33 PM   #3
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

I think those are all really great points Adrian and Chris. I've found (oddly enough) that when I show a bride her video, it's very rare that she will mention anything about a technical issue (i.e. something was slightly overexposed, too much noise in the image, cameras don't match perfectly, etc). If the bride has a revision for me, it is just to ask if I can add in a shot of a family member, or add in some more footage from a particular event.

However, I have found that potential brides have occasionally pointed out technical aspects in some fasion as they are looking closely at all the different videographers trying to decide which one to use. I had one potential bride (who did not book me) flat out tell me that my videos did not look HD and asked if we could shoot with cameras that looks more "HD" if she booked us. After explaining to her that all our footage is shot in 1080p HD and sending her the spec sheets of our cameras I never heard back (I'm kind of glad because from our 4-5 emails she seemed like she would have been difficult to work with).

2014 was my first year shooting short form videos so I will have to wait and see over the next couple years just how much of a difference it makes to potential clients when I use upgraded equipment and have made improvements to my shooting and editing. I know that when I only shot long form videos with my Panasonic HMC150s I rarely got anyone even asking for samples as they would book me trusting that I knew what I was doing. Now that I've been offering the 5-7 minute videos shot with large sensor cameras, it seems that I'm attracting new types of clients who are looking at LOTS of videos online and comparing them with mine.

Let me know if you think this is accurate because as I mentioned this is my first year shooting short form videos so my sample size is limited.
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Old November 25th, 2014, 01:46 AM   #4
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

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Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
-- Full coverage of a ceremony. I don't think most brides care if every second is recorded or not. They're after the "main bits".
My experience is different, I have been offering the complete ceremony as a paid option the past years and every single bride paid for it, they all wanted to have full coverage of that ceremony eventhough they know they might only look at it once.

Quote:
So, I'd love to get a tilt/shift lens.
I also wanted to get a tilt/shift lens! :) But only for personal projects, my steadicam stays my main "can do it almost all" attribute at a wedding, I can mimic crane and slider moves as well with it and while it never will look as good as the real thing it gives me enough versatility to provide some "wow" shots to draw the attention of new clients.

Quote:
I think a wow image more than makes up for poor audio
I have seen these "well-known Filipino videographers" videos and while visually they are brilliant it's their audio that's often lacking in quality, as I see it bad audio takes the entire production value down, no matter how great it all looks, but it can be that you can get away with brilliant video and bad audio but not with good audio and bad video. Brides might care more how it visually all looks?
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Old November 25th, 2014, 04:33 AM   #5
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
-- Good colour science.
This is the only placement of yours I outright disagree with.

It might be the most important thing ever, but people do notice good color. Particularly skin tones. I think that's a big part of why Canon DSLRs were to popular back in the day. They had a really nice color nice that was a cut above most video cameras. Panasonic always did colors well, too.
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Old November 25th, 2014, 07:47 AM   #6
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

I really obsess about my safety camera colours not matching right with my main camera, and sometimes even if I spent forever colour correcting the 2 its never quite there, but no matter how dissatisfied I am with it I have never had a bride say "those colours dont match", have you?
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Old November 25th, 2014, 08:15 AM   #7
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

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Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
And here's a list of things that I don't think add to production value from an average bride's point of view, or which I don't think they care about:

-- Motivated camera movement.
-- Consistent look to a scene. Does she care that you just went from well-exposed shot to silhouette then back again? Or colour to black and white? Nope. Because the silhouette and black and white are "cool".
-- Shaky tripods/rough pans. Does she care about the difference in result between a $2,000 video tripod and an $80 photography tripod? I doubt it.
-- Sharp lenses. I'm sceptical brides care about the difference between prime and zoom, and am pretty sure they don't care about the difference between Samyang and Canon L.
-- Matching cameras. You used an FS700 and a three 5D2s on a shoot. The colours don't match -- shock horror! Meanwhile, the couple don't even realise, on watching the finished product, that you used more than one camera.
-- Good audio. There's no doubt that fuzzy sound takes away from a short form video, and that crystal clear sound adds. All things being equal, good audio is preferable. But I don't think all things are equal. I think a wow image more than makes up for poor audio -- as the work of some well-known Filipino videographers seems to testify.
-- Full coverage of a ceremony. I don't think most brides care if every second is recorded or not. They're after the "main bits". And in terms of showing friends, the 15- and 5-minute videos are what they'll show; full coverage is irrelevant.
-- Gimbals, if you already have a steadicam.
-- 4K downscaled to 1080.
-- 720 upscaled to 1080.
-- High ISO noise.
-- Dynamic range.
-- Good colour science.
She may not care about those individually but if you get most of those right then your productions will stand out. They may not know why they like it more but they will like it more.
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Old November 25th, 2014, 08:27 AM   #8
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

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Originally Posted by Steven Shea View Post
It might be the most important thing ever
More important then sound, focus or exposure ? :)
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Old November 25th, 2014, 09:21 AM   #9
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
More important then sound, focus or exposure ? :)
I think there was a 'not' missing in that sentence, otherwise it doesn't read correctly.

"It might 'not' be the most important thing ever, but people do notice good color."
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Old November 25th, 2014, 09:32 AM   #10
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

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Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post

And here's a list of things that I don't think add to production value from an average bride's point of view, or which I don't think they care about:

-- Motivated camera movement.
-- Consistent look to a scene. Does she care that you just went from well-exposed shot to silhouette then back again? Or colour to black and white? Nope. Because the silhouette and black and white are "cool".
-- Shaky tripods/rough pans. Does she care about the difference in result between a $2,000 video tripod and an $80 photography tripod? I doubt it.
-- Sharp lenses. I'm sceptical brides care about the difference between prime and zoom, and am pretty sure they don't care about the difference between Samyang and Canon L.
-- Matching cameras. You used an FS700 and a three 5D2s on a shoot. The colours don't match -- shock horror! Meanwhile, the couple don't even realise, on watching the finished product, that you used more than one camera.
-- Good audio. There's no doubt that fuzzy sound takes away from a short form video, and that crystal clear sound adds. All things being equal, good audio is preferable. But I don't think all things are equal. I think a wow image more than makes up for poor audio -- as the work of some well-known Filipino videographers seems to testify.
-- Full coverage of a ceremony. I don't think most brides care if every second is recorded or not. They're after the "main bits". And in terms of showing friends, the 15- and 5-minute videos are what they'll show; full coverage is irrelevant.
-- Gimbals, if you already have a steadicam.
-- 4K downscaled to 1080.
-- 720 upscaled to 1080.
-- High ISO noise.
-- Dynamic range.
-- Good colour science.
It's always hard to know what the Bride and Groom values in their video. I'm sure much of the time, some of my fancy shots just go unnoticed. However I get a feeling of job satisfaction in creating them and part of the reason I tolerate the long hours, lengthy car journeys and the occasional difficult clients & other Wedding vendors. I think sometimes we do underestimate how much the Bide and Groom do notice though. When chatting with them, some of the questions and comments to me show they do pick up on technique as well as content.
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Old November 25th, 2014, 10:24 AM   #11
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

Well, we all have to remember, there is a difference between the things they actively notice, and those that still effect them, or have an affect on how the video connects with them. If you feel something genuinely adds to the quality of the work, to the story, even if its subtle or unconsciouly, then it can still be worth it.

I agree with most of the list, with qualifiers. Doing something because its "cool" seems a poor idea. Doing it because its the right tool....

Whether they notice shallow depth of field or not, it can still be used with a tight zoom of each of their faces so that during their vows, the viewer is pulled into that moment completely.

Good editing can help make sure to keep the viewers connection to the space and people.

Drones can give you a great attention getting shot, or could be used like a slider, to transition spaces. Doing it just to use it will be poor storytelling.
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Old November 25th, 2014, 10:55 AM   #12
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

So many good points in this thread, especially what seperates the paid professional from uncle bob who can do it for free.

I would say multicamera, jib, steadicam and slider shots take the number #1 spot followed by super slow motion over things like shallow depth of field because uncle bob can't get those angles without bringing an arsenal of additional equipment. Shallow depth of field is easily available on prosumer camcorders now (like the Sony VG10 very affordable) so any enthusiastic family member can shoot an event with a prime lens stuck on it.
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Old November 25th, 2014, 01:02 PM   #13
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

For me, more important than any of these things by miles is content. I always ask brides when meeting them for the first time what it is that they are looking for from a wedding video and it is always content so I've purposely been throwing in a few tech questions and it's always met by indifference.
All the best gear in the world won't cut it if the content isn't there .
I think us guys tend to get obsessed with gadgets and technology....I don't bother with DOF as a means to an end because it takes one bride to complain that so and so is blurry. Once you have to explain your shots, it's a headache.
I've seen some highlight reels where every shot had shallow DOF and the content was barely there. It looked impressive sort of but it had no substance. I think shallow DOF has it's place but tends to get overused to the point that it becomes an irritant.
Good audio IS very important, more so than vision...it's a golden rule in every film-makers manual. You can get away with a bad shot but bad audio just says 'amateur'.
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Old November 25th, 2014, 01:37 PM   #14
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

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For me, more important than any of these things by miles is content. I always ask brides when meeting them for the first time what it is that they are looking for from a wedding video and it is always content so I've purposely been throwing in a few tech questions and it's always met by indifference.
All the best gear in the world won't cut it if the content isn't there .
I think us guys tend to get obsessed with gadgets and technology....I don't bother with DOF as a means to an end because it takes one bride to complain that so and so is blurry. Once you have to explain your shots, it's a headache.
I've seen some highlight reels where every shot had shallow DOF and the content was barely there. It looked impressive sort of but it had no substance. I think shallow DOF has it's place but tends to get overused to the point that it becomes an irritant.
Good audio IS very important, more so than vision...it's a golden rule in every film-makers manual. You can get away with a bad shot but bad audio just says 'amateur'.
The problem with any argument against depth of field is that those making the argument focus their attacks on those who use the technique badly or over use it. I've seen bad cases of handheld filming, zooming, colour grading, poor camera angles; yet to argue that these techniques shouldn't be used because they have been employed poorly by Videographers makes for a poor argument. Same goes for depth of field.
Now I've used depth of field as a technique in nearly all my videos without a single complaint from Brides. In fact this year I've made a point of using my prime lenses more to add some variety to my shots and give my filming a creative boost after a bit of complacency in my work last year. Far from reducing my content, I feel I've produced more of it this year. There were Wedding videos last year in hindsight I hadn't shot enough material; a situation not encountered once this year.
Judging peoples work from highlight reels can be unfair; my Trailers tend to favour my best shots, saving the valuable content for the Wedding Video itself. They're partly treats for the couple and partly promotional pieces.

Whilst content is important, technique is also important too. I run a Guestcam add on to my Wedding Videos. Some of those videos are full of content with behind the scenes shots, messages from Guests, full coverage of the Ceremony and Speeches. So why did the Bride and Groom hire me to film their Wedding and not just settle for the Guestcam. Perhaps because a little polish, a little style and production value adds greatly to the finished product. As long as style doesn't hinder the content, there's a place in my Wedding videos for depth of field, slider shots and other bits of technology I feel gives my videos a more polished look than something a guest could film.
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Old November 25th, 2014, 04:13 PM   #15
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Re: Spending money where it matters to brides

I've got a feeling this thread is headed into a DSLR vs proper video camera discussion, because it seems like that's where many similar discussions go.

Before it gets there, I guess my main thoughts are that:
-- there is a big market for showy effects (but of course there's also a big market for plain recording that's done as cheaply as possible)
-- when spending money on equipment for that market, the smarter thing to do is to not sweat the small stuff, like tilt-shift lenses, but to think about what brides actually notice.

The things that count as "stuff that brides notice" -- I guess that's debatable. For instance, whether brides do notice good audio or not. I personally think there are many brides who are wowed by shallow depth and by slider shots, because they've told me as much. "Look at so-and-so's work. It's amazing." And you look, and it's formulaic, and there's technical problems all over the place -- bad focus and exposure and camera shake -- but it's full of slider reveal after slider reveal, and is shot as shallow as hell.

The background of where these thoughts are coming from... Well, to be honest, I'm someone who's spent far too much money on kit and who gets fewer clients than I'd like; and, in contrast, there's a number of Sydney companies that have done extremely well on the basis of spending money smart, putting the money where it makes a significant production-value difference.
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