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Old April 30th, 2015, 05:29 PM   #1
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How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

I've tried many ways to edit reception dancing, but haven't really found a single way I like :(
I'm not talking about the "significant" dances...I mean those last couple hours of the night that seem to drag on and on.

Basically, I feel there are only a few approaches:

1) Film 5-10 sec shots of nearly every song/dance and then edit that footage back to back with cuts. This results in snippets of various songs so the viewer can get a sense of the music that played that night, but never hear and entire song in it's entirety and it is rather jumpy.

2) Use the same shot methodology but overlay those various shots with a single continuous take of a song so that the dancing/shots are varied, but the music is not too intermittent. This way is smoother, but the viewer doesn't hear all the music that played that night.

3) Again use the same shot methodology but overlay the entire footage with studio-quality sound. I don't like this approach at all since you don't get any ambient sound and the songs may not accurately represent what was played/danced to that night.

4) The only other approach I can thing of is to select a handful of songs/dances and insert them in their entirety. This would also be a smooth visual/auditory experience but would mean that you are simply skipping entire songs that played that night and run the risk of not appearing busy a good portion of the reception.



Has anyone found a different approach or have one they prefer? If so, do you have samples to share?
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Old April 30th, 2015, 06:16 PM   #2
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

Ian, there's no one solution here. It depends on the Wedding. If there's a DJ and he's playing random songs, then there's no difference if I substitute a couples preferred song and just delete all the live audio. Frequently it gives the best dance footage, as I cut fast, giving a flavour of the whole evenings dancing and can cut to other areas like sweet tables, buffet without it seeming odd. It provides a view of the entire evening. However I'm not afraid to mix; the last 2 I used the audio from the first 2-3 songs with footage also taken from random shots over a 90 minute period. It's also a frequent method for a Band playing. Sometimes I do both if I have enough footage, a song from the band edited from a multi camera shoot of the dance floor, followed by footage edited to a track selected by the couple. Sometimes the couple themselves will dictate - some ask for natural audio, others want their choice of song overlaid.

Really I just look at the footage and decide how best to proceed, some work better than others. Generally I mix close ups and wide angles of people dancing and try to get a feel of the energy if there is some on the dancefloor. Good camera movement following the people can yield great results.
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Old April 30th, 2015, 06:58 PM   #3
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

Sounds like a nice approach. I'd love to see a sample!
So if you provide a full-length DVD (60-90 mins), how much edited dancing footage do you have? It sounds like perhaps 10-15 minutes tops? Do you ever have couples that wish you had includes more songs/music or is this a discussion you have in advance? I may try this method with my next wedding.
As a whole, though, I tend to get a lot more creative with the highlight videos and stick to an editing "template" for the full-length DVDs. I tend to basically follow the "documentary" approach with the DVD edit but turn up the cinematic value with production and editing for the highlight reel. Since my wedding packages offer both products, I feel this is a nice value while still managing to balance that time I spend in post since I usually shoot 30-40 weddings/year.
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Old April 30th, 2015, 07:32 PM   #4
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

Here are my two style examples. The first is an option for online - royalty free music plays. Skip to 12:58


The 2nd is more like what it appears like on my 'all footage' or documentary style edit. Of course, there I show the full 1st dance. This, however, is a highlight reel for my DJ business.

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Old April 30th, 2015, 07:41 PM   #5
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

I do the first dance and two songs after it (so three in total lasting about 9 minutes) shot with live audio and that's my lot. After from the first few tender moments of the first dance the rest is boring people shaking their booties so I don't make a big deal out of it. It will be quite tough to find a song to dub in unless it's the same one the DJ is playing ...Surely the ambience of this event is important to have rather than dubbing in a clinical studio recording??
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Old April 30th, 2015, 11:51 PM   #6
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

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Originally Posted by Ian Atkins View Post
So if you provide a full-length DVD (60-90 mins), how much edited dancing footage do you have? It sounds like perhaps 10-15 minutes tops? Do you ever have couples that wish you had includes more songs/music or is this a discussion you have in advance?
It varies. It can be as little as 5 minutes or in one case as long as 30 minutes, but that was a special case - great band and a lot of good moments. Mostly we're talking 10-15 minutes for a 90 minute video. I've had couples ask to change a song when I've gone with natural audio, some requests to include more of something. Virtually no prior discussion on dance footage beyond the 1st Dance. Most subsequent requests regarding this section have been to replace the live audio with a dubbed song, on those occasions where I had chosen to go with the ambience as Chris puts it. Speaking of which....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Surely the ambience of this event is important to have rather than dubbing in a clinical studio recording??
The ambience is the DJ playing clinical studio recordings. I admit, there are moments where live audio works and I use it. However my package differs from yours - with options for a stay till 10pm and a stay till midnight. So I'm capturing random moments over a 1 hour, 2 hour, 3 hour period. Small random bits, some lasting only 5-6 seconds. There's an argument for including a small selection of the songs being played that evening and that's sometimes what I do. Other times, it just doesn't work for the footage and it can feel disjointed - lacking a clear through piece. The important thing is to get a flavour of the whole evenings dancing and any other activity, like the buffet, photo booth and games. Slow mo and timelapse have also been employed when appropriate, so again this fits more with a dubbed song.

I really don't limit myself to a single approach. Another trick is to use a song where you have a lot of good footage and just replace parts of it with footage from other songs. This can cover over camera movement and moments where focusing wasn't right.
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Old April 30th, 2015, 11:52 PM   #7
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

Hey Ian,

I basically use your methods "3" (edit to music) and "4" (continuous songs). It depends on the client.

I prefer to do "3" when I have the option, because this means I'm not limited to doing continuous takes. I can pick up the monopod and move to a different part of the room, and try different angles and lenses and devices.

But there are particular cultures (Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian, to some extent Greek) that want to see traditional dancing in full. A lot of the dancing might be quite similar, just moving around in a circle, but different people have the honour of leading each dance.

About this idea of supplying just some dances in full, you write:

Quote:
This would also be a smooth visual/auditory experience but would mean that you are simply skipping entire songs that played that night and run the risk of not appearing busy a good portion of the reception.
Well, this goes to what you're promising the couple -- what duration of video, how long you're there for, how you've told them you'll cover the dancing. I usually discuss this with them in advance, so that it doesn't become a point of contention afterwards.

There are some video companies around Sydney that specialise in Serbian weddings and literally give 6-8 hours DVD sets, supplying all the dancing from the night. But there are other Serbian companies that tell the couple, "Your DVD will be limited to two hours," so then the couple can't complain if they don't get absolutely everything.

If not giving them all the dancing is something that bugs you, another option is supplying some or all raw footage. You could simply set up a CCTV camera with wide angle at corner of dance floor, then give them the files from this.
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Old May 2nd, 2015, 07:06 PM   #8
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

I prefer to edit it together & overlay it to music. I find couples seem to like that aspect, as the night blows by & they're all over the saying hi, goodbye, and thanks for coming. They've said they were glad to see soo much of the night that they missed. Usually about 1 song, 3-5 minutes of random shots ranging from 4 seconds to 20 or so.
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 02:38 AM   #9
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

Ultimately my preferred approach is this - 1st dance and next 1 or 2 songs with live audio, multi camera. Followed by a 4 minute piece of random footage edited to a song of the couples choice. Finally ending with 1 or 2 of the longer takes (each between 30 seconds and 2 minutes) that night with a single camera with natural audio. Usually giving about 15 minutes of footage. I find this approach balances getting lots of random moments with capturing the natural sound of the evening. Last nights Wedding will definitely adhere to this format as I got just the right kind of footage for it.
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Old May 3rd, 2015, 03:51 AM   #10
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

I set up 2 locked off cameras high on light stands and move around with my EA50 getting tighter shots and dutch angles etc. I also do some rapid zooms because I know the edit will be to a dance track. I ask my couples to chose a couple of dance tracks which I edit to. I then intercut scenes of general evening reception stuff (guests mingling/having fun at photobooth/attacking the candy cart etc) usually during the verse parts and then use the dancing clips for the chorus (I usually double up on the edits in the chorus to make it more dynamic).

Last night's evening reception was mad, a very lively wedding party and a tiny dance floor - I got a lot of good footage by putting my gopro onto a monopod and hanging it right over the middle of the dance floor - safer as well!

Pete
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Old May 4th, 2015, 06:57 AM   #11
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
I do the first dance and two songs after it (so three in total lasting about 9 minutes) shot with live audio and that's my lot. After from the first few tender moments of the first dance the rest is boring people shaking their booties so I don't make a big deal out of it. It will be quite tough to find a song to dub in unless it's the same one the DJ is playing ...Surely the ambience of this event is important to have rather than dubbing in a clinical studio recording??
This is exactly what we used to do except one track after the First Dance was quite enough. The idea of hanging around for a few hours after the First Dance to capture footage of increasingly drunken dancing is too ghastly for words.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 10:47 AM   #12
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
This is exactly what we used to do except one track after the First Dance was quite enough. The idea of hanging around for a few hours after the First Dance to capture footage of increasingly drunken dancing is too ghastly for words.
Shame, some Weddings you're capturing moments as memorable and interesting as any other part of the day. However you do have to have the right approach to it.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 11:17 AM   #13
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

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Shame, some Weddings you're capturing moments as memorable and interesting as any other part of the day. However you do have to have the right approach to it.
Steve, if you stay to the bitter end of each wedding then you will be among a very small minority of videographers & photographers.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 11:52 AM   #14
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

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Steve, if you stay to the bitter end of each wedding then you will be among a very small minority of videographers & photographers.
I don't. I have packages till 1st Dance, 10pm and midnight, though the 1st dance one I'm dropping as they're so late these days the 1st Dance, it feels pointless to have the distinction between that and the 10pm one.
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Old May 4th, 2015, 01:35 PM   #15
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Re: How Do You Choose to Shoot/Edit Reception Dancing?

My official knock off time is 9pm unless otherwise arranged but i do love it when the dance floor erupts after the first dance :) a bonus if there's a band!
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