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


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Old December 21st, 2005, 12:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Colemont
I keep my wedding video at max 40 min. It has to be interesting every minute. Longer video is boring for people (certeinly 2-3 hours) who are not close related to the couple.
I TOTALLY DISSAGREE, HERE'S A 'LONG FORMAT' VIDEOGRAPHER'S OPINION:

I don't make wedding videos for "people not closely related to the couple" - I make them for the couple.

If I concern myself with appealing to the "mass" the result is a more incomplete video. I believe that most people are so enamored with themselves on video, that what may bore us as editors, is abhorrently less likely to bore our customer. Raw video like the photo sessions, saying goodbye to guests, receiving lines, are very nostalgic excerpts for the couple to look back on. I'm thanked constantly for including those things. Highlights are great and my videos always have highlights but IMHO they shouldn't come at the expense of denying the customer of seeing raw video.

For instance, how hard is it to put a button in the main menu that says "Photo Session" (or something to that effect) and include 10-15min of that raw video? Ummm... they don't have to select that button if they don't want to? Providing a central/main video doesn't preclude you from including other raw video seprate from the main production.

(Just my opinion and I realize this) The short format experience is a bit like if you were to buy a DVD, watch it, and the movie was AWESOME!!! Completely AWESOME!! And you loved the movie so much you put in the "special features" disc2 to check out the behind the scenes ...AND IT'S A BLANK DISC!

I give them disc 2 (in a metaphorical sense).
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Old December 21st, 2005, 04:31 PM   #17
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I have to disagree with you Craig. Opinions make a forum interesting.
I started this business 15 years ago by making wedding videos.
What the couples said to me, was that they were always very pleased the result especially because the video was nicely cut with the best moments without beeing a boring movie.
I also keep in mind that the video will be shown 20x times to show to their frends, family and relatives. It is then that a nicely edited video makes the difference... So for my customers this is what they expect from me to deliver. If a video lasts 2 hours, for sure they will skip parts during these presentations.
If people want, they can also buy the raw video. But from about 200 customers I had 3 people who asked for it. That's 1% in my case.
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Old December 21st, 2005, 05:47 PM   #18
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IMO it boils down to a couple of things. 1) YOUR marketplace and what YOU decided in a business sense to give your clients and 2) Do YOUR clients like what you give them and 3) Do they know up front what to expect.
Neither style is "good" or "bad" just different.

As I said before if MY prospective clients want a long form they go somewhere else and thats fine. I like so many others here started out long form, lineal editing- (a true test of patience and courage) but 6 years ago made a creative decision to change-it hasn't hurt my business at all. I know a lot of folks that do long form and they get their clients and I get mine. Some market places might not be able to support short form, OK, do long form, but to say that 1 is better than another is wrong. They are different and most importantly (I can't stress it enough) as long as the client knows up front what they are getting it doesn't really matter. Ultimately they are the ones we need to please (they're payin' so...) I say it again, as long as they know what to expect everyone is happy. No right, no wrong just DIFFERENT!
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Old December 21st, 2005, 06:12 PM   #19
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Fantastic information everyone, its good to see people sharing their trade secrets and filming methods with the less knowledgeable.
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 08:02 AM   #20
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30 to 45 minutes

for the same reason that most of the other short form people have said, to long can be boring...
my wedding videos are highly edited, and to make a 90 minute video that they are going to fast forward through is a waste of time....
and yes, couples have said they like the short version because I give them all the source footage on tape....(unedited)
but you go with what you feel like doing, my normal video is 5 minutes him getting ready, 5 minutes her, 10 minutes ceremony, 20 minutes reception, photos of them growing up, and a montage at the end
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 08:58 AM   #21
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Put me on the side of all those with adult ADD. I am new to the business, well not entirely I left the business in 91, so I'm new again to the business. I am a wedding photographer so that probably will explain a lot to you, but I prefer a MTV version of around 4 minutes, edited from a edited 30 minute version.

I would want a 4 minute "wow" version that tells the entire story of the wedding, while at the same time blowing them away with emotion. I want every creative angle, lighting, romance, that I can pack into a 4 minute version.

When I sell my photography now it is with a 4 minute Proshow Gold slide show presentation, I no longer have to sell, it is a matter of where do I sign. I will be asking the same thing of Video.

I figure if it makes a great sales presentation, if it makes complete strangers feel like crying, then chances are your customers are going to love it. If I went over to a friends house it is the type of Video I would like to see.

Thus I vote for a 4 minute, a 30 minute and raw footage. Three versions, and I would be willing to bet which would be played more.

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Old December 22nd, 2005, 09:31 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc Colemont
I have to disagree with you Craig. Opinions make a forum interesting.
I started this business 15 years ago by making wedding videos.
What the couples said to me, was that they were always very pleased the result especially because the video was nicely cut with the best moments without beeing a boring movie.
I also keep in mind that the video will be shown 20x times to show to their frends, family and relatives. It is then that a nicely edited video makes the difference... So for my customers this is what they expect from me to deliver. If a video lasts 2 hours, for sure they will skip parts during these presentations.
If people want, they can also buy the raw video. But from about 200 customers I had 3 people who asked for it. That's 1% in my case.
Good discussion: But since I'm struggling with some of the logic, I'll ask you a hypothetical question (which should get my point across).

Say for instance were 2 wedding videos. They are identical in every way except one... Apart from the main production, one video also has a button to view 15minutes of raw video of the receiving line - the other does not. Are you saying that all your customers would select the wedding video without the additional raw video? They would not want the choice in the main menu? Having this choice would be a bad thing? After watching the main video 40 times, they wouldn't be inclined to check out some of this raw footage? 20 years from now won't it be nostalgic to watch themselves interact with their guests without any pretentious effects/music? Out of over 200 customers I doubt you would get any that ask you to remove that video from their disc. I'm pondering how such a customer would make such a request... "Please remove that video from our disc - we didn't want the choice to see that part of the video." - I doubt it.

You said people can buy the raw video but you've had few takers. This makes perfect sense to me because there is a cost factor involved (and you are not "pitching" it). Macroeconomics 101: cost affects demand. Here's a perfect example... I bought a new SUV last year and as we were going through the options with the dealer, he asked me, "Do you want the OnStar package?" and my response was "Naah" and I also made a little bit of a face as to discourage any more sales pitch on it and to move things along. Did I really want OnStar??? What were my true feelings about it? YES! I WANTED ONSTAR! ...but not for $14.95 a month! Now if OnStar was included in the price of the SUV with no other charges I would have jumped in the air and shouted "Ohhh!!! What A Feeling!!!"

If my customers want to skip around... go ahead - skip around. At some point everything will be watched. Their DVD is a library of events and they are free to view it backwards if they want (just trying to make a point). They can show 40 people their highlight video which is readily available to them in the main menu. Or they can cue right to 1 hour into the reception when the best man was singing with the band. Although, the first time they watch their video they probably will - my DVDs don't force them to watch chronologically.
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 09:49 AM   #23
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I believe that there is an inherant responsibility of us as we document the wedding to cover it all. I have brides asking me for the cut scenes, the bloopers etc. I imagine this whole thread can be solved by asking the B&G what type of video they want. If they can't decide, it's not a whole lot of work to take your final MPEG, cut it up and resplice it, adding the edited verion on the DVD as a highlight reel.

When I was married, I had a total of 5 cameras. I didn't want to miss much. This is just my post spiked egg nog 3 cents.
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Old December 22nd, 2005, 12:00 PM   #24
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yeah, i'd love for this to be a sticky, since this can be a big thing in wedding video industry =). thx for everyone sharing. i'll have a better idea of what i need to do for the wedding i'm doing for my friend@end of this month.
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Old December 23rd, 2005, 04:42 AM   #25
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Craig, I'm not saying that adding raw material is bad to do. That was not my discussion. It was the length of the edited video I was talking about.
I also occasionally place extra raw material on the DVD. Like there was a very known comedian performing on one of the weddings. He knew all about the little stories of the family and put everybody in their pants. Hilarious. It lasted 35min. In my edited video I took the highlights of his show in 2-3 min, but on the DVD there was an extra button to watch the whole show.

People don't ask me normally for the raw video to have since I make sure:
- All the special moments are in the edit. I'm always making sure I'm around the couple to catch the special little moments. Like a relative which they haven't seen for a long time who comes to chat a bit, or children around the couple, the short kiss they give each other when they have a quit moment, etc...
- In the church I read the text before and know what's coming like somebody who's going to read a text or the stuff that will happen. So I'm not missing any important moment. Church is between 10-15 min.
- On the reception I make sure everyone who was there is on the video. With extra highlights of the family. The reception mostly is about 10 min max.
- At the dinner party I aways talk to the main guy of the facility to make sure they inform me when something is going to be anounced or something is going to happen. Like the dinner is going to be served or the dessert table is going to be opened etc... Also the DJ has to inform me before he starts the openings dance.

The most important thing in the edit is to make sure everything is cached in the edit. If they feel I missed something like an important moment/event. Then they think it was cut out of the edit. And they will do ask for the whole tape to see then. If they don't, I know the edit and shooting was good.

Another very important thing many people forget is 'sound'. There is noting more boring to watch a video were you can't understand what people are saying. I use a wireless mic on the bride the whole day long. And shotgun on the camera. In the church I setup 3 mics which are mixed first and then sent wireless to the camera, so I'm still free to walk around.
It makes a huge difference in response when people see a video from an Oncle amateur who just took out his camera and pressed the REC unprepared. Or somebody who prepared his stuff and carfully chooses his shots and makes sure the sound is perfect. The edit afterwards or the length of the video can't fix that.
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Old December 23rd, 2005, 08:34 AM   #26
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Marc,

I realize that sometimes I come across in my posts as an arrogant know it all -sry. So don't ever infer that I'm thinking your coverage isn't professional. No way. I'm definitely not suggesting that. In my haste to explain my point I sometimes lack tact and I think I could do a better job being polite when I'm writing.

Since there are few members on this board that do long form edits it's a bit surprising to me. And because there are definitely thoughts in the back of my mind that I could be doing a better job for people, my goal in engaging in debate, is just as much to extract opinions of others as it is to explain my point of view.

(A little off topic but) I have a question since you brought it up... I've never considering mic-ing the bride because I think the photographer would want to shoot me. How/where do you conceal the transmitter & wire? I always mic the groom because he is usually wearing black and the transmitter is easily concealed in an inside pocket and the wire & mic blends in with black. I don't mic him the whole night because I find that the longer I leave the mic on, before or after the ceremony, things are said that shouldn't be heard on the video. And many times if it's still on during the photo session the photographer will ask me to take it off.

During the reception I use my wireless to jack into the DJ's mixer so I can get a mix of clean audio and the audio from my shotgun mic. Yes, audio is important.
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Old December 23rd, 2005, 02:48 PM   #27
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i hadn't thought of that (microphone). thx for the tips, they can be useful in certain applications.

oh and if you don't need to hear clearly what the b&g are saying, just turn it off on your end if it's wireless! =).
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Old December 23rd, 2005, 08:09 PM   #28
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Artistic Interpretation vs. Documenting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Davis
I believe that there is an inherant responsibility of us as we document the wedding to cover it all.
for me, thats the crux of this whole debate, are we documenting (showing it all) or making an artistic interpretation of all the raw footage into a piece of art.

The photographer photographs the whole event, documenting it, but not every single picture makes it in the album, especially not when he can take up to 500+ photogrpahs.

My idea is that I do not want to make a documentary, I do not offer to, and in my contract, I state that I am not making a documentary, am not going to try and capture everything, I do have a listing of the 12 key situations that I will capture and capture well, and everything else is gravy........and so far, every B/G has been okay with that....since I give them all my source video as well in the deal

to document something, yes, you would want to capture and show everything, but to make an artistic representation of the wedding, you only need to show the best parts, the portions, that allow you to see what was going on during the wedding....

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Old December 24th, 2005, 08:15 AM   #29
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Hi Craig,
I hide the microphone, wires and transmitter carefully, so the photographer most of the time doesn't even know she's waring a wireless unit.
I use medical tape to stick the microphone to the skin. I usally ask the bride's mother to do that for me :-) Or my wife does it for her.
Also watch carefully that no clothes are in direct contact with the mic, since it will give hurricane sounds when she walks or moves. And you have no chance in saying stop and have to move your mic lav while she's walking towards church in front of the crowd. So test and take time before she leaves.
Sometimes I take the broom instead when they don't like to have the wireless, so he can hide more easy the beltpack. But I found out the discussions and chats are always more interesting with the bride.
After the reception I take off the unit. And I teach them how to handle the unit during the day, so they feel comfortable. If they want they can turn it off. I don't need the restroom chats on tape for example, alltough they sometimes forget, which leads to hilarious moments when you are editing...
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Old December 25th, 2005, 11:29 PM   #30
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Wedding

My most recent video was 30 min. long and it included the picture session of the Bride and Groom and the Wedding reception.
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