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Old August 21st, 2015, 11:26 AM   #1
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Long Highlights Format

Hi all - for next year I am moving away from providing a long form format in favour of a 15 - 20 minute wedding highlights film (plus full ceremony and speeches as separate chapters) as I think this will be a better viewing experience for my couples.

The problem I have is that I am so used to using a linear narrative, that this my continue into my highlights film, and yet I so like the time shifting I see in short (4 minute or so) trailers posted on this forum etc, so I suppose my question is - how is this maintained in a longer, say 20 minute, highlights film or do edits this long revert to being linear and tell the story in sequence - I'm also guessing that messing about with the order of the day would become that much harder when dealing with 3 or 4 music tracks (of different moods) requested by the client?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Pete
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Old August 21st, 2015, 11:31 AM   #2
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Re: Long Highlights Format

Stopped doing short form last year Peter the client does not understand they are paying more for a harder edit which is shorter say than a hour? Try a medium format mine 40 minutes.
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Old August 21st, 2015, 11:33 AM   #3
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Re: Long Highlights Format

I'm in the same boat, hence my recent thread. I'm thinking of giving coupes a choice of either a 40 minute linear edit or a 20 minute cinematic edit. I think the cinematic is less linear or at least those I've seen have been. It's using the readings, vows and speeches to create the narrative with the visuals in some cases to match. For example, the father of the bride speaks of the moment he walked his daughter down the aisle. Obvious footage for that. Other moments become less obvious.

My guess is you start of with an introduction, then do a little section on bridal preps. Bits and lives from the day and maybe end on the kiss after the vows. However that's just my interpretation. I think the whole point of cinematic is that it reflects the creative style of the videographer. So perhaps a more linear approach is okay.

I've got a few cinematic videos from 2 Weddings recently to try my hand at. The interest is definitely there.
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Old August 21st, 2015, 11:54 AM   #4
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Re: Long Highlights Format

The reason I'm doing this is twofold - one is that after speaking to couples after they have had their discs delivered, they tend to show family and friends the short trailer I provide for them (about 4 minutes) and only themselves watch all the chapters - I normally have separate chapters for...

prep/pre-ceremony/ceremony/reception/couples photo-video shoot/speeches/first dance/evening reception

...which is a lot of chapters and while I'm filming some weddings where not a lot is happening I'm aware of sometimes not getting enough 'good stuff' to pack each chapter, so moving to a 'wedding film' will take some of that pressure off and also make authoring the DVD simpler and, as I said in my original post, provide a nicer and simpler viewing experience for my couples.

Also I note a good wedding film relies heavily on good audio - and I don't mean technically good - last week's was a good example of a civil ceremony (so no personal words) and speeches made of re-hashed internet jokes - when you have shown nice samples with great audio to your couples, how do you cope when you have no 'good' audio to use?
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Old August 21st, 2015, 12:53 PM   #5
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Re: Long Highlights Format

Peter, you have to decide what the 15-25 minute wedding film is for. If it is replacing the super long form, than go ahead and keep it linear. Maybe have the rare exception for a nice attention getter at your opening. Mostly, remember this is for the couple... its their 'wedding day in 15 minutes' to steal from our Australian friend.

As for the audio, or lack of it... well, you do your best. We've all had weddings where the speeches were flat and dull, or even the B&G's audio is just not interesting. Sometimes I can help it by doing a little bit of time shifting (like, show B&G walking out to start the dance, have the snippet of speech play).. but otherwise, I just let it go. I feel I *need* to include something from those, so for the long form highlights, they stay in.

I've got an example in this thread, if you scroll down: My latest - back with 4 minute short form
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Old August 21st, 2015, 09:40 PM   #6
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Re: Long Highlights Format

Hi Pete

Just for interest, what is taking up the majority of your long form time. If take a pretty much "standard" wedding how long is the linear long form video ?? in minutes? Now if you take away the full ceremony and all the speeches and leave everything else ..how long would this be ?? Maybe that's what you need as not a short form but let's call it a "shorter form" bought everything except the ceremony and speeches be around your target length of 30 odd minutes??? Why not simply give them the speeches and full ceremony as another disk/usb so if they want to watch them they can.

I really cannot see the point of a 40min movie against say, a 60 minute one?? The most requested form I am asked for is a high light ... they have no idea what length a high light should be but the bottom line is the quicker the better. My high lights are usually around 10 minutes and that gets watched more than anything else ... I would much rather have 20 of her friends watch a 10 minute high light as they might be prospective brides and that's bookings for me! How many of those 20 will want to watch even a 40 minute film?? Maybe her best friend as she might feel obliged to!! I still reckon a highlight is the answer for "everyday" watching (I also have a copy in my LCD book so she takes it to work with her) and then a "chapterised" all day one so she can watch what she wants ..she will probably only watch that once anyway!!

The bottom line here is that to have the entire day in your head you need to do a full edit of the long form and then you can remember all the good bits and making the highlight is so much easier.
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Old August 22nd, 2015, 02:01 AM   #7
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Re: Long Highlights Format

The problem I find is that my videos are averaging 100 minutes. Last one was a whopping 2 hours 20 minutes. Apart from a once only viewing, will couples ever want to settle down and watch a video of that length.

To me I can see the following video choices:

A full length video between 90 and 150 minutes thats watched once, maybe twice. A video for the couple to relive their Wedding Day soon after, but likely never watched again.
A Highlights video: For the web, something to show friends and some family.
A 40 minute video: Something for the couple to enjoy on Anniversaries and/or show close family members who may wish to see more than what the Highlights offer. I could happily sit down and watch say a 40 minute video of my Parents Wedding. I might gawp at watching 2 hours with full hymns, Sermon, Gift giving in Speeches. But a 40 minute isn't a bad length. It would allow for more detail of the day - show off the Speeches more without dragging too much.
A 20 minute Cinematic edit: Replacement or addition to the 40 minute video that tries to tell the Wedding in a more creative style with voice overs a prominent feature.

I agree that when offering a shorter video, including uncut Ceremony and Speeches is a good idea or else why record them in full in the 1st place. However I'd rather they'd be tucked away as an additional Bonus video than the main video.
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Old August 22nd, 2015, 03:09 AM   #8
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Re: Long Highlights Format

All of these edits and options for couples should equal more money for the editor.

I'd never consider offering a full length, a 40 minute and a highlight.

Can you really keep 40 minutes interesting?

I doubt it.

I would say to offer two packages if you're wanting to do a feature film.

Highlight, ceremony and speeches

Highlight, feature, ceremony and speeches.

The feature would be a lot extra. To me, features work when they're packed full of great shots, b roll and continue along a speech driven format.

The American greats, as far as I am aware, taught us to deliver this style of feature. If you watch their films, they have particular chapters that they continue to revisit throughout the day, but often the speeches play over the b roll and the moments are shifted continuously. Even considering this well tried formula, sometimes the features of the greats become empty. If they're the best in the business, why would I consider beating them if they sometimes falter? Sure, every film they create is good, but it doesn't elevate to a level of brilliance every time. They'd even tell you this themselves.

Offering 20-30-40-60 whatever minute features are only possible with that much entertaining footage. If the greats are doing 10-20 minutes, why are people here considering longer than that? Are you really going to capture anyone's hearts if your film is 40 minutes long and boring? Or would you be better off cutting it down even further into 10-15 minutes? Even as a prospective client, I would want the shorter, cleaner version offered by the best in England. Even Ray Roman states that he doesn't give out a time limit. Bottom line: you should be able to entertain her friends for as long as your film plays. If not, then you should be doing a long form edit, because trying to be creative wth 40 minutes takes too much time not to be a piece that is watched by all.

Honesty, I can see a lot of wasted hours trying to piece together what is in essence, half a film. 10 minutes would often be my longest if I had broken into the business and had more clients. With this opinion, I am just challenging thoughts. I know I'm not as experienced as everyone else, but also feel quite strongly that this is the right route set out before us.
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Old August 22nd, 2015, 03:41 AM   #9
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Re: Long Highlights Format

Craig, at the end of the day you set out your prices to cover the time spent. Many couples want a full length; many come to me because it is something I offer. So for me it is an essential part of my delivery process. Similarly the Highlight video isn't just a useful video to share with family and friends, but a key marketing tool. Any costs can be swayed by the fact that a single Trailer can do more than 2 grands worth of marketing.

Now as to the 40 minute video. Its not about creating a dynamic short video - thats more for the cinematic option. However not all couples share your opinions Craig on what is and isn't boring, necessary or desirable. My challenge is to provide couples with what they think they want with something that I feel they would ultimately prefer to watch. I suppose I could just give all couples a 20 minute cinematic video, uncut Ceremony and Speeches and a Highlights. Maybe one day I will, but the 30-40 minute option is there to give couples something like their full length just considerably shorter.

I currently offer a 30 minute cut down video and this does go down well. However as I spend too much time trying to create the impossible with an engaging full length 90-150 minute full length video, the 30 minute video gets very little time. Despite from what I hear it being the more watched. Hence my wish to spend more time on the shorter version than the longer version.

Ultimately Craig, as much as I admire American's greatest, my clients are mostly British. As for the right route, well I'd say the right route is one that gives you the most work, money and pleasure. So whilst a 40 minute may not appeal to you, it may find favour with others. The question is would I watch a 40 minute video of my Parents Wedding, the answer is yes. Would I want to watch 2 hours of it with full hymns etc etc, not in the slightest. 10 minute highlights is fine, but still feels like a taster video lacking some of the nuances that made the day special to the couple.

Ultimately most are giving either a longer documentary edit or a shorter Cinematic edit. I just feel there's room for a video that sits inbetween the two. Some argue that it satisfies neither, but I disagree.
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Old August 22nd, 2015, 04:06 AM   #10
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Re: Long Highlights Format

Hi Steve

What on earth do you film that takes over 2 hours plus??? My wedding last Saturday admittedly was from ceremony to first dance and my VOB's were as follows :

Arrival at Church - 3 mins
Ceremony - 15 mins
Signing and Exit - 5 mins
Receiving Line - 6 mins
Stedicam shoot to music - 4 mins
Reception Entry - 3 mins
Guest comments - 4 minutes
4 speeches - 12 mins
Cake and First Dance - 6 mins

Total : 58 minutes for the long form

OK admittedly the ceremony was a civil one but in a Church total 20 minutes but even Catholic ones don't go past 30 minutes. The speeches also were quite short but at most my long form is 80 mins max!!!

My highlight video is around 8 minutes .. a bit of arrival, bride entry to the Church, just the vows and rings, shortened stedicam shoot, entry to reception, a bit of guest comments and just the toasts from each speech, cake cut and a bit of the first dance and that's all they get and they love the length as it's watchable but still gives a nice overview of the wedding. If I take out the ceremony and speeches mine drops from 58 mins to 30 minutes so I might as well leave the ceremony and speeches in.

Most of mine however do have bridal prep but that only adds another 4 minutes to the batch and working with average speeches of 5 minutes my long speeches rarely exceed 20 or 30 minutes,

I'm guessing you stay to the bitter end at weddings??? If I had to do a 30 minute short form I really don't know what I could add to the 10 minute one except the complete speeches and I'm sure her friends don't want to watch boring speeches. What would you have in your 30 minute lineup?? I'm interested??

Chris
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Old August 22nd, 2015, 04:23 AM   #11
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Re: Long Highlights Format

Hi Chris,

The shorter church Ceremonies are 35 minutes, most are 40 minutes even with some cuts during photo taking at the register signing. Catholic is around an hour and I usually leave intact. 1 hour15 minutes with communion, which I either cut or leave in depending on the couple. One Ceremony was 1 hour 45 minutes.

The Speeches on that last Wedding were 50 minutes. 12 minute Speeches are very rare, most are 30 minutes with many at 45. Some over an hour, I have several like that. So add 50 minute Speeches to 40 minute Ceremony and you have 90 minutes already. Plus there was a magician that did a special session with the couple they wanted left intact, 8 minutes and they had singers during the meal. Uncut this was 25 minutes, but I obviously did cut this by half. 2 special dances inthe evening.

I started at 8 and finished at 10. Bridal Preps plus arrival at church was 4 minutes. I have a 2 minute intro that showcases the venue and church. 4 minute piece showing the confetti, drive to Reception and Guests mingling, another 4 minutes for a photo session after the Speeches. Plus I round off with a 4 minute highlights piece. I know it seems a bit long, 4 minutes for an end of video highlights, but I cheat and use the 4 minutes Highlights video here. It gets included separately too.

Chalk it to cultural differences or maybe I just shoot a lot more, I don't know. Most videos are 100 minutes if its a church, 75-90 minutes for Civil Wedding, again dependant on Speeches.

12 minute Speeches... So envious.

For 30 minutes, its the Bridal Preps, the entrance, the vows in full, the exit, the Reception in full, Cake Cutting, 1st Dance is usually cut in half, then 4 minutes of evening footage. Just including the vows in full is 10 minutes. However part of this is me not spending enough time editing it and just slicing chunks out of the full length rather than editing the video properly.
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Old August 22nd, 2015, 04:27 AM   #12
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Re: Long Highlights Format

Like Steve, I give a full length documentary video of their whole day, which becomes an important part of their family history. They come to me because they see what we offer at wedding shows and through recommendation from friends and family. Contrary to what others have found, I find that past clients tell me that their video is watched quite frequently and it is the photo album that tends to get put away and rarely looked at.

I am not even remotely interested in what the so called American 'Greats' offer, because we are in a different market in the UK and although their short cinematic masterpieces are very competent, they are a totally different product to a documentary wedding. More importantly, I don't see that their output is better than many other unknown producers, but their PR and marketing is superb, so good that they don't earn most of their money, from filming weddings, but from seminars, tutorials and selling videos and books. This gets them in the public eye, which gives them access to top paying clients, makess them recognisable and builds a big fan base of peers who feel it necessary to emulate them.

In the real world of weddings, in my opinion, 40 minute videos are a pointless in between product which cuts down on the ceremony and speeches, but is otherwise very similar to the long version. Why not just put in chapter points which enable the viewer to skip the longer bits like hymns and sermons if they want to, or long speeches where the toasts can have chapter points. That involves virtually no extra work, and time can be put into a short highlights video if your clients want one.

Roger
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Old August 22nd, 2015, 04:29 AM   #13
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Re: Long Highlights Format

Thanks for your response, Steve! I think it's a really interesting subject. It is also the same when the client asks for commercial and home use music vs commercially licensed. Someone said here that they tell their brides that they will have their own songs by choosing commercially licensed music vs a song that many people will have grown tired of in a year's time (at best). This resonated with my latest couple, who immediately started searching the Music Bed after I left.

I guess where I'm trying to hit the market is by educating the couples that this or that is the best choice, whilst still leaving it open for them to say otherwise.

I agree with what you said about your parents wedding, but then I also think a 10-15 minute highlight film would satisfy them the same - and they'd probably make everyone watch it again and be amazed by what was available in their parent's era. We'll see as the market continues to develop, but a few of my 'educated' brides - and by educated I mean the ones who have surged the Net for the best wedding films, often mention people who are doing the short form features. As more and more brides witness these films online, I believe that is what they will come to want in the end.

I also agree with Roger. Long form or feature.
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Old August 22nd, 2015, 04:34 AM   #14
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Re: Long Highlights Format

Crossed over the previous two posts.

I totally agree with Steve on UK timings, even civil ceremonies are often 20-25 minutes with readings, Church as Steve has said much longer. 4 speeches at 12 mins WOW! it's rare to find the first speech as short as that and I usually assume around 30 minutes for 3 speeches, but never less than 20 minutes. Longest speeches ever for me so far were 77mins for 3 speeches, shortest ever 2mins 37 secs for 3!

Roger
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Old August 22nd, 2015, 04:41 AM   #15
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Re: Long Highlights Format

Roger part of my reasons for wanting to offer the 40 minute video is the fact my 30 minute video is the more watched after speaking to couples I've met after. I edit sections of the day to music, but this to me creates a disjointed edit where Bridal preps, Reception and Evening footage is quite fast paced but contrasted with the slower pace of uncut Ceremony and Speeches. Its like parts of my video want to be cinematic and other parts documentary.

So my thinking is to use the rough cut I make of each section which has natural audio to form a longer edit. This would create a more consistent documentary edit. However as my couples are keen to see sections edited to popular music, I use this option to create the 40 minute with cuts to Speeches, Ceremony and 1st Dance. With the sections edited to music, it currently can be very hard to achieve this, leaving as much in as possible whilst keeping it to the music provided. I had 1 Bride wanting more footage, and I ended up using 3 music tracks just for the section inbetween the Ceremony and Speeches. Natural audio would have worked better.

It is an experiment and we'll see how it goes. I agree for those offering a documentary edit, it can seem like you're cutting too much, and for those offering a cinematic edit, it can seem like leaving too much in. However the proof is in how the clients see it. Sometimes you have to dare to be different.
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