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Old August 18th, 2015, 03:32 PM   #1
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Optimum length for a Wedding Video

Okay, so my package basically is this:

Online Trailer & 4 minutes Highlights to popular music (DVD only)
Uncut Ceremony
Full length Video - shortest being 55 mins, longest 2 hours 40 mins - with uncut Speeches and 1st Dance, cuts only to photo session after the register signing for the Ceremony, otherwise uncut
30 minute video - cut down version of full length. Just Brides entrance, the vows and couples exit from Ceremony, Speeches omitted entirely, 1st Dance loses first half and minor cuts to other sections if I have time, but mostly left intact.

However I'm not happy with this delivery. The full length is just too damn long in places, average time of 90-100 minutes, and includes stuff coupes just won't need to see again and again. The 30 minute is more likley to be viewed on anniversaries but loses too much and isn't edited with 30 minutes in mind and can give disproportionate attention to Evening dancing and Reception footage, whilst omitting Speeches.

So I'm looking to redo my whole delivery system. One thing I do plan is to give couples a choice. After a couple of recent Weddings have had the couples request a cinematic video instead of the full length, I'm keen to include that as an option next year. However I know some of my clients would prefer something more linear and longer.

So my question here is, what is the ideal length of a Wedding video that isn't a cinematic option. I still plan to offer Ceremony, Speeches and 1st Dance uncut as separate videos. I just want to create one video that replaces the overlong and in my opinion, boring full length and the 30 minute cut down I currently offer. Do any of you offer such a video, what length is it and what do you include and not include in this video?

Is there a good video to be made that sits between a documentary edit and a cinematic one?
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Old August 18th, 2015, 03:41 PM   #2
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

I try to stay under 30 minutes for their wedding film, sometimes 20 minutes, then I offer the ceremony, speeches, acts by friends and first dance as seperate files, I don't make a extra long version though, just that short one and then separate parts for longer events that happened throughout the day. Never had a complaint after I started doing this, they get a short film with all highlights from the day and if grandmom wants to see the entire ceremony she can. :) or if teh couple wants to see a certain speech from beginning to end they can watch that separately.
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Old August 18th, 2015, 04:54 PM   #3
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

I doubt you will ever get agreement on this Steve as everybody has their own idea of what works best.

I won't give you any advice, but will offer a suggestion that probably few if any actually offer. Why not ask your clients what they would like. Explain to them how much of the day you film and ask them what and how they would like to see it. A client designed video, no editing input or preview of footage, just a discussion of what they would like included.

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Old August 18th, 2015, 05:50 PM   #4
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

Mine used to be the same as yours, but I eliminated the 30 min wedding film because it was taking too much of my time and I felt that it was just too much to give to a couple. Now, in my wedding videography packages, I offer a documentary edit (60 mins-2 hours depending on day) and a wedding film (5-7 mins). With the documentary edit, the ceremony, dances, and speeches are left alone (lightly edited) and the rest is edited down. I think if it gets past two hours, itís definitely too long.

You think itís too long, but having the 30 min one is too short, so what Iíd say is eliminate the 30 min one and keep the full length and just offer the highlight video. :)

But like Mr. Gunkel mentioned, you will have a wide selection of opinions on this one.
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Old August 18th, 2015, 06:20 PM   #5
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

I think one problem with asking the couple is that I would think most couples would ask for the longer version (more stuff), whereas it's difficult to explain but the shorter version will be more entertaining and watchable, whereas upwards of an hours can get boring.

I do a 3-7 minute 'highlights' online,
then a full length doc. Typically 40 minutes to 1:20, depending on the mass (outdoor vs long Catholic). In it, it's typically 5-10 minutes prep, 5 minutes photo session/guests arriving, mass unedited timewise, only camera changes (typically 20-30 mins), entrances/toasts/dances 15-20 mins, cake cutting/garter bouget etc 5-10 & about 5-10 mins of dance floor. and guest/parent interviews if I can get to them.

Admittedly I should start shortening it to sweeten it up more. I've found they typically do want more tho. I had an idea of asking them almost like a 5 question consultation, about "How exciting do you want it" versus "How much footage do you want in it". But my thoughts were they would want the best of both, entertaining & pretty, but long & with all the footage I've shot.
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Old August 18th, 2015, 06:36 PM   #6
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

I'm going down the route for all future bookings of offering a choice as to what they want. This is a continuation of an experiment I began recently where I break out the editing as a separate item. My base prices just include time for my team only with no deliverables.


Love Story/Engagement Film
~ 3-5 minute film
$1,500

Feature Film Edit [cinema, "best of" + story]
~ 10-20 minute film, complete day
$1,500

Highlight Reel Edit [cinema, "best of"]
~ 3-5 minute film
$750

Pre-Ceremony Highlight Edit [documentary]
~ 5-15 minutes of Pre-Ceremony activities
$750

Ceremony Full Edit [documentary
Real time ceremony length
$750

Reception Highlight Edit [documentary]
~ 10-20 minutes of Reception highlights
$750
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Old August 18th, 2015, 07:01 PM   #7
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

Hi Steve

I feel we are "obliged" to include the whole ceremony (unless discussed prior to the wedding) which with me usually makes the ceremony around 20 minutes unless she wants the whole Catholic Mass then it's 45 minutes. We also really should include all the speeches so that's a variable too.

My long form is as follows :

Preps - restricted to just one song!! so 3 minutes
Arrival and Ceremony
Congratulations - (You call it a receiving line)
A one song stedicam shoot
Bridal Party entry into reception
Guest Tables and video guestbook ..also around 3 minutes
Speeches
Cake and First Dance

That's it!!!!

I give them the above on DVD in SD and on a USB in HD and then they get a 6 - 8 minute highlight video which is on the USB too and also gets loaded onto our LCD video book too.

The highlight which is the complete wedding summary in under 10 minutes is what the bride watches most but also she tend to use the LCD book to show here friends which favours me as it's good advertising!!
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Old August 18th, 2015, 09:39 PM   #8
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

Our current offering:

short form highlight (typically 4-8 minutes),
wedding film (15-20 minutes)
documentary style... uncut ceremony, speeches, special dances. Any other special moments like family stories.

My editing style works with this since I put everything on the timeline in order, sync it up. Ta da, documentary style done. Then I 'save as' my wedding film file in my NLE and start cutting down until I get down enough to set it to music. That's my wedding film. Then I start cutting more. By then, I've really figured out what my best shots are, which tends to make the short highlights easy.

/One potential issue with asking the potential client... they may think that they can get a cheaper rate by leaving out something. I have no problem asking my existing clients, I suppose, but in the end, I find that these 3 videos cover all potential eventualities. The last thing I'd want is for my couple to, in a few months or a few years, decide they wish they did have.... what ever it is I left out for them.
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Old August 18th, 2015, 09:50 PM   #9
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

Hi Rob

What exactly do you leave out of your 20 minute version?? I find I can make a very watchable 10 minute movie for all her friends to watch, then for them around 60 minutes for the documentary style one.

For me a 20 minute film seems a little pointless ... friends might find it a bit long to watch and if you make a shortened ceremony and leave out the bulk of the speeches for probably have around 15 minutes so adding a shortened ceremony brings it back to a 20 minute movie.. without speeches basically.

On a 10 minute one I have everything with a shortened ceremony and I just add the toasts at the end of each speech and it works quite well. The gurus say that the average human cannot hold concentration for much more than 15 minutes at the most (that's why 30 minute shows have commercials half way thru)
so I figure that 10 minutes is something people would be prepared to watch without any issues so that is my "advertising" as she will show that to (hopefully) all her unmarried friends!!

Chris
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Old August 18th, 2015, 10:25 PM   #10
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

Rob,

I do like your method of building it big, then chopping it down. Currently I try to get the highlight reel out first, and quickly, more for PR & advertising push for me. But its been a burden on the workload. I feel like its hard to edit a 5 min trailer from scratch, then gotta do it all over again for my longform.

Do you feel 3 videos is a bit much tho? As for a workload. Couldn't you skip the middle one & just shave off a portion of your rates to do less work on the backend? On the other hand if its working for you & paying I suppose keep with it.
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Old August 19th, 2015, 04:26 AM   #11
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

There is also the possibility of working in a similar style to Kyle, have a two tier system with a one off blanket price for filming the wedding all day. Then have a price for whatever type of wedding edit they would like, with discounts on edit prices if they want more than one version. That way, all your filming is covered, but they feel they have some control over what they end up with.

Roger
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Old August 19th, 2015, 04:30 AM   #12
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

Some very interesting points here. It seems that delivery is split between a long documentary edit or a 20 minute video. There's merit in both, but I'm thinking of something different. I still want to give them uncut Ceremony, Speeches, 1st Dance and any footage inbetween to create a sort of documentary edit. However currently I use music they select to edit the Bridal Preps, Photo Sessions, Evening do and dancing in some cases. The results is a very disjointed video that's fast paced and engaging in places but slows to a crawl for sections of the day like the Ceremony and Speeches.

Those Brides who have given more thought to video are all in agreement that the 30 minute video is the most important for them and and in those cases I have given it more attention, but I wonder if with more consultation, others would feel the same way.

As Roger suggests I could ask them, but aside from the mixed replies I'd get, most might default and say make it as long as possible even if that video will be watched once and never again due to its enormous length.

I do wonder that if I offer uncut Ceremony, Speeches, 1st Dance and some general footage from the rest of the day, as a Bonus Disk 2 video, I could then offer a more dynamic main video that eliminates the hymns, some of the prayers, the long pauses, gift giving in the Speeches. It would also mean that everyone would get a video of the same length. Its a frequent question at meetings and trying to explain that it could be between 60 and 150 minutes makes for an unsatisfying answer.

With online delivery coming more into play, videos on tablets etc; 90 minutes to 2 hours is just too long I think for a main video. How often do we think people watch it. I also intend to offer a 20 minute cinematic video as an option, but for those not wanting this, maybe a 40 minute video is a good compromise that covers the day from start to finish.
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Old August 19th, 2015, 04:47 AM   #13
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

Trouble is Steve, a 40 minute video means cutting down things like the ceremony and speeches, so how do you know whether they want to hear the hymns they chose, or the long 'boring' sermon from the vicar which just could mean a lot to them?

In my experience, what couples think they will want before the day is different to what they want after it, when they realise how little they actually saw of it. Perhaps that is the answer, arrange a meeting after the day or when they get back from honeymoon and have had time to think about it. Does anybody do that anyway?

Roger
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Old August 19th, 2015, 05:01 AM   #14
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

Full Ceremony (multi-cam in FCPX - jump from one camera to the next)
Full Speeches (as above)
Short highlight film (usually between 7-10 minutes)

To me, you want to see the full ceremony and the speeches. If the couple wants the first dance, I can give them that too, but otherwise, you're going with me for the highlight film (the way I see it).

Why edit down to 30-40 minutes when you have a highlight? The highlight or feature is going to be the most repeated watch. Spend most of your time working on that, and then if the couple wants to view the ceremony and speeches, they can go through the long versions.
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Old August 19th, 2015, 05:07 AM   #15
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Re: Optimum length for a Wedding Video

Well thats just it Roger, I plan to offer a video that covers those moments. Uncut Ceremony, Uncut Speeches, 1st Dance, plus some sections in-between with natural audio. Currently my main video offers that with the sections in-between edited to music. However to me it feels disjointed. Like 2 different styles in the same video. It also means that Reception footage can be cut down to fit the length of the song. I can have 15 minutes of footage but if the song they pick is 4 minutes, they get 4 minutes. Well okay I can add my own music or extend the song. However when you edit to a song, the footage is cut a lot faster than with natural audio.

The way I edit, I go through the footage and bring down the good stuff into its own timeline, which has the dual takes, duff shots etc removed, giving a rough 1st cut of the Reception. So dumping that into the timeline between the Ceremony and Speeches wouldn't take long and give an edit quite long and more a natural flavour of the day.

However I would then use the time I currently use to edit those sections to songs plus the 30 minute video to create a more dynamic cut of the day. I just need to think of a good length for it. Currently it seems the choice is between a long documentary edit or a 20 minute cinematic edit. I'm just trying to create something that sits between the 2. Ultimately it means putting more time and effort in the shorter video than the longer one, which currently is the reverse.
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