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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old October 31st, 2005, 10:42 PM   #1
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Workflow

I just finished a wedding video with all the preps,montages highlights,dances and everything. It took me quite sometime to complete. ........FAR TOO LONG.

Just looking for some suggestions on workflow and how others breakdown projects in order to save time.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
Thanks

Steve
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Old November 1st, 2005, 07:32 AM   #2
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i wait till panic sets in then work my ass off pulling all nighters..

no seriously, my biggest stuff up with wedding clients was giving them a delivery time which i couldnt physically meet, mind u i couldnt meet it as i had been in hospital for 5 and a half months so work was basically at a standstill... but the clients dont give a shit about that.. they jsut want a good video which shows a good clear image... no matter how good or shit the video is, they dont give a toss...

no seriously, they dont care.. i learnt this the hard way... but it doesnt mean that i dont have to care.. coz i do...

Ive seen some suppliers charging twice what i do, but the work is (to my eye) crappy, but the fact that they get the jobs out within 6 weeks is what keeps tehm going. The client obviously loves the work coz their the stars of teh show... but in the end, your potential clients wont be impressed with this.. u need to wow you potential clients to hook them... whether it be from ur work, ur gift of the gab, or both...

moving on..

when im ready to sleep, i set marker areas for prerendering, then render that particualr part, that part is then reimported into the piece above teh actual edit. This prerender is also on a seperate drive (ive had media drives fail me, only to have teh project saved by the prerender)
Then when im ready to finish the movie, i do one final render.

prerendering is much like rendering to a new track (vegas), or in the case of Matrox and RTx100, its exactly the same workflow as the "realtime" rendering thats needed to give u realtime output on the matrox.

I use vegas, and do it all manually. since i been doing this, its been a faster way to create highlights as well, as most of the editing and processing, grading, correcting etc has already been done, i jsut re-edit that prerendered piece...
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Old November 1st, 2005, 09:49 AM   #3
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Steve,

It's a battle I often go through. Keep in mind that the client is likely paying a flate rate. You have to think about how much work on a give project vs total projects to remain profitable.

A simple way to look at it. Is your typical wedding package price good for a week's income or two weeks etc.? For me, a wedding should take more than 40 hours (work week) from start to finish. That means shoot, input, log, edit, DVDs.

Input - usually a full day if its a 2 camera wedding, each with 4 hours of video.

Logging and syncing 2 cameras - that can be another day.

DVDs - can take up to a day. If you have a slower computer you can encode over night though

Doesn't leave much time for editing does it? If logged well that speeds that part up.

I create bins for difference parts of the wedding. It depends on type of wedding but they might be:

Scenics - stuff I'd use in an openning montage. Includes locations shots and preps.

Photo shoot - may be part of scenics if done at start of day or may be placed before/after ceremony or cocktail hour depending on where it actually occured.

Ceremony

Cocktail hour - shots I use to create a montage with music bed

Reception sub divided
Entrance
First dance
Cake cutting
Parent child dances
Tosses (bouquet, garter)
Speeches
Recpetion dancing - guests dancing, bride/groom dancing together in general
Special dances - any fun dances the DJ/Band/MC coordinates
Table shots - I create a montage of guests at the tables since not everyone makes it to the dance floor. Depending on time, this bin can be as simple as a sweep of each table of close ups of each guest.

Beauty shots - I create a bin and duplicate some of the best shots. They can be used in the openning scenics, before cake cutting, close. It depends where appropriate. This way I have my "selects" folder for montages. I create this bin as I work on other sections. This bin can have great bride/groom kisses or dance spince or looks etc, internal architecture, cake shots, special shots moving through past objects, etc. You get the idea.

That last bin is key. It gives me stuff to add to montages that are not time/even specific. Between this and the scenics bin I've narrowed my material to use.

I may do a rough cut of a montage first but save the details until last. They go much quicker since, at that point, I've looked at all the material closely, cut all the other sections, organized all the material. Having done all this prep, you can cut your montages in 4-6 hours, including fx, transitions, slow mos and laying in music.

I live with imperfect results since I'm capable of tweaking forever. Time counts and there are things you'll dislike (timing, a messy dissolve etc) that clients wont really notice . . . otherwise you'd have to raise your rates based on the time you want/need to put in to get it the way you want it.

Main thing is to do the body and save montages for last. Select your "special shots" as you edit the body.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 10:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman
Steve,

I create a bin
I'm assuming you use Vegas, so how are you putting you 'highlights' into a bin. Are these things that you render as you are going. Maybe my brain cells are misfunctioning.

I understand bins to the point of importing clips, photo's etc. But i'm curious if you are rendering as you go and 'binning' them?
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Old November 1st, 2005, 11:15 AM   #5
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Steve Gill,

What are you calling far too long .... weeks, months? A lot depends on what you have to work with, what you hope to end up with, and what the clients want (or what you agreed to provide them.) I set aside at least a full day just to transfer everything from the cameras and recorders to the hard drives.

After that, I sync all the 2-camera sequences on the timeline, and play them side-by-side to roughly decide on those cuts, then throw the single camera footage on the timeline and rough cut that stuff. This usually chews up at least a week.

Then I set the entire project aside for a week or so and work on something else. I like to think during that time my subconscious is constantly reprocessing and editing all those hours of video. It probably is just my imagination, but things seem to jell together better and faster for me if the project has been on the shelf for a while and I look at it with fresh eyes. Kind of like looking at someone else's project -- it's easier to be critical, or see alternatives, when looking at another person's stuff than when looking at your own.

To describe my workflow, I'd say I start with the absolute easiest no-brainer tasks just to get momentum, and go from there.

I used to start out putting a montage/hilight video together to have ready for the couple when they returned from the honeymoon. Naturally that was well received, but after a while I realized I was spending way too much time and probably shortening my life span doing that. I agree with Craig that montages are quicker to do after the main video is together.

Anyway, I try to have everything out the door in about a month barring any technical problems or creativity lapses.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 11:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Davis
I'm assuming you use Vegas

Actually using Final Cut Pro but bins should be common to most NLEs.

After importing I use DV Start/Stop detection. In FCP that adds markers to all the camera starts/stops. I then create subclips and put them in bins for each section as noted above. As I start cutting the sections, I label those beauty shots (eg "groom kisses bride dance") and duplicate the subclip and place that duplicate in a bin of beauty shots.

No need to render since they're individual shots without fx.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 12:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman
Actually using Final Cut Pro but bins should be common to most NLEs.

After importing I use DV Start/Stop detection. In FCP that adds markers to all the camera starts/stops. I then create subclips and put them in bins for each section as noted above. As I start cutting the sections, I label those beauty shots (eg "groom kisses bride dance") and duplicate the subclip and place that duplicate in a bin of beauty shots.

No need to render since they're individual shots without fx.
Heck if vegas does this, I'll try it.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 03:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Gill
I just finished a wedding video with all the preps,montages highlights,dances and everything. It took me quite sometime to complete. ........FAR TOO LONG.

Just looking for some suggestions on workflow and how others breakdown projects in order to save time.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
Thanks

Steve

I'll point out the obvious... two computers will allow you to perform two tasks simultaneously and in my case, I edit on my Powerbook and use my G5 to encode.

I guess I'm a minimalist... I don't log any cips or save to bins. I just capture in the general order they were shot and I'm left with sequentially numbered clips. Any clip can by scrubbed through in the viewer in seconds to see what's in them. Since I edit all the raw video first, I can't help but become thorougly familiar with where anything can be found before I put together a highlight video - last.

I edit long-form, and start to finish, a 2 camera wedding including one highlight takes me roughly 30-35 hours. If it's a quicky ceremony I can sometimes do it in about 25-30.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 03:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman
After importing I use DV Start/Stop detection. In FCP that adds markers to all the camera starts/stops.
Where can I find this "Start/Stop detection" command in FCP4?
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Old November 1st, 2005, 03:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott
Where can I find this "Start/Stop detection" command in FCP4?
- capture the whole tape
- select captured tape in browser
- mark > dv start/stop detect

i'm in front of a pc right now, so no fcp... forgive me if i get the names slightly off because i'm rattling this off from memory.
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Old November 1st, 2005, 08:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott
Where can I find this "Start/Stop detection" command in FCP4?
Mark (menu) - DVD Start/Stop Detect

The problem I have with your work flow above (how I used to do it in the "old" days) is that you can end up with bad dissolves if they cross over a camera start. For example, you do a 30 frame dissolve but pick an in point 5 frames after the start of a shot. You'll get frames from the previous shot in your dx.

Start/Stop gives you a marker for the beginning/ending of every shot (every time you started/stopped the camera). If you select all the markers you can make them subclips. They are in time code and numbered order but you can certain give certain ones discriptive names or seperate comments. This way you can note "great kiss shot" or whatever just on those clips you may want to find again for a montage. I'll end up shooting some key elements out of order depending on interruptions so it makes it easy to find where all my "guests at table" shots for my guest montage that I like doing.
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 07:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.J. Briones
- capture the whole tape
- select captured tape in browser
- mark > dv start/stop detect

i'm in front of a pc right now, so no fcp... forgive me if i get the names slightly off because i'm rattling this off from memory.
I'm going to utilize this more often! ummm... maybe from now on!
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 07:12 AM   #13
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Double post!!

Last edited by Craig Terott; November 2nd, 2005 at 02:36 PM.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 07:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman
Mark (menu) - DVD Start/Stop Detect

Start/Stop gives you a marker for the beginning/ending of every shot (every time you started/stopped the camera). If you select all the markers you can make them subclips. They are in time code and numbered order but you can certain give certain ones discriptive names or seperate comments. This way you can note "great kiss shot" or whatever just on those clips you may want to find again for a montage. I'll end up shooting some key elements out of order depending on interruptions so it makes it easy to find where all my "guests at table" shots for my guest montage that I like doing.
Thanks Craig & A.J., I like how it doesn't just mark them but actually isolates them into sub-clips. ...very cool. I'm an idiot for not utilizing this functionality sooner. I think I never noticed it b4 because the command is greyed out when working in the timeline. Thanks!!!
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Old November 6th, 2005, 09:49 AM   #15
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Steve,

I'll post my workflow from a FCP5 perspective.

Day one would be logging and editing all of the real-time multi-cam multiple audio source work. That would be the ceremony, introductions, speeches and usually first dances. I color correct the cams before running multi-cam then lay the audio in over top where needed and the whole process is about 1.5-2X real-time. So a 30 min ceremony, plus 1 hour of speeches is about 3 hours and ready to export. That is with four-five cams for the ceremony and two for speeches, three for dances. I would then spend a little more time cutting the dances down and adding more attention to them. A regular dance that is 3:30 would come out at 1:30-2:00 and I have gotten great response from that.

During the above process, I also copy any small clips that will go into the highlights and actually put them on another timeline for the highlights. This also puts the clips in sequential order as I start the main editing in chronological order.

My approach to the montages depends on whether I have a clear cut idea of where I want to go or not. If I don't have a clue where I want it to go, I start watching the preps and cut out my favourite shots and drop them on a timeline. After a minute or so of 2-5 second clips are layed down, I start going over the soundtrack and playing them with the video and seeing what feel I get. I would then finish that prep clip and repeat for the next, and the reception montage.

At this point I would then have a large list of clips for the highlights already on a timeline and I would spend another 3-4 hours doing all the fine-tuning and color work. Likely about 3-4 hours for the prep clips, and reception montage, and 5-6 for the highlights.

One key point from above is that we only include a core amount that is edited in real-time. The rest goes into a montage (hightlights, reception or preps). I have had a few couples initially hesitant that something like the bouquet and garter toss would only have a couple shots in the highlights or reception montage, but after seeing everything, they were very happy with the layout. I find that this method keeps your workflow stable (which makes sense if you charge a flat rate), allows more time for the creativity portion, and make a better overall product.
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