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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old April 20th, 2006, 08:40 AM   #1
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Corny Intro?

This is a preview of something I dabbled in, to be used for a DVD intro shot (the "first play" movie you see when the DVD is inserted). Realize it isn't completely done, but I was thinking of adding their names once the animation stopped... the menu for their disc could be the last frame from this or something. I'm open to honest criticism; however, I'd like to know why you might think it isn't good, or why it isn't a good idea.

http://www.michaelniece.com/videos/T..._DVD_Intro.mov

-Michael

P.S. I haven't tried this kind of intro before, so please be gentle!
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Old April 20th, 2006, 09:19 AM   #2
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one thing i would recommend to anyone who does quite afew weddings, is to create a base template which u stick to.

your workflow will be far more efficient, and it gives your product the flavour of YORU own work, as opposed to being a mish mash of different styles. Mind u having the ability to do different styles helps, but menus shoudl really only be used as a teaser to the main event, especially for weddings..

For menus, i NEVER use a shot of the bride fully dressed. I never show the groom either. I show closeups, and detail shots, but nothing to actually give away of the surprises...
Also my menus go for no more than 1 minute... i set the m to loop, i use static names and buttons. This is more convenient and its not trying to be "too much"

Of the 200 odd wedding dvds ive put together, i find this formula works best as they can just skip through and start watching, or they can leave it with the buttons accessable whenever they want.

In your case, with this clip, i would recommend you set teh menu to hold.
I would reveal the buttons once the video stops.
Dont loop it, but with the names of the couple, i would say the top left corner, but format the spacing like this
HisName
&
HerName
(These being about 2-4 points larger and in Bold or Italics (not both) then the button fonts.

Play Movie
Scene Selection
Blah blah
blah blah

Just curious, what did u use to create this short piece.
Intriguing i must say :)
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Old April 20th, 2006, 11:58 AM   #3
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I think it works, but only if you have the right soundtrack underneath. I would even suggest using that as your standard opening and incorporate your business name in there. You could then switch the photo to match the project and it is an effective way to remind viewers of who are, albeit quite annoying after popping the DVD more than twice. How long did it take to create from start to finish?
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Old April 20th, 2006, 12:53 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice. I also considered having the photo change every so often, like every 15 seconds. That'll give 4 pictures in the looping menu. I used Softimage XSI to make that animation. The groom proposed to her at the top of the Eiffel Tower, hence the theme. The Eiffel Tower model was free from the Paris tourist website, and the picture was taken about an hour after he proposed. The animation still isn't done, actually, because it takes about 40 minutes per frame to render - I'm at 798 and I have 900 total to make (I render at 1440x960 resolution). My poor computer has been crunching numbers for 6 days solid. As far as putting the project together, it took maybe 30 minutes. Pop in some 3D models, make a camera path... not much to it.

I just hope the clients like it. Tuesday (I like that name) has a thing for Paris, so I figured I'd make that as a complimentary theme to what she likes. No harm in that, but at the same time I don't want to have a cheese factor, either.

-Michael
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Old April 20th, 2006, 06:42 PM   #5
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"it takes about 40 minutes per frame to render - I'm at 798 and I have 900 total to make (I render at 1440x960 resolution). My poor computer has been crunching numbers for 6 days solid. As far as putting the project together, it took maybe 30 minutes. Pop in some 3D models, make a camera path... not much to it."

Be it all nice and good, one thing youll learn (maybe the hard way but hopefully not) is that in this game, your not afforded the luxury of time.. in fact time is your enemy here....
of al the complaints ever made about wedding videos, it isnt the workmanship, the filming, the dark footage etc etc.. the largest complaints come from delivery times...
All i can say is taht i too have learn (the hard way) and now i do no more than what is required to get the job done.

Like i said, its all fine and good to do this every now and then, and if u can do a template where u can work from it at a faster efficency, then go for it, but in the end, that 40 minutes (as opposed to 40 minutes per frame) could be put to better use in extracting certain bits and pieces from teh edit and creating a one minute teaser for your menu

Dont get me wrong, there will always be a market for this kind of thing, but IMO, your time is put to better use by delivering the product ina reasonable time.
Put it this way.. if u spend this much time on one project, the clients you filmed AFTER this project will be waiting even longer for THEIR delivery... .. now do 4 or 5 weddings like this in a month and how much time do u think youll be eating up?? let alone the time required to actually get the job out??

This is what im getting at.. if u can use something like Digital Juice or create an AE template using this, all teh better, coz these tools are much faster than SG (oops its not Silicon Graphics anymore).. its Avid Softimage innit.. lol

Either way, right now u might think im talkin out of my backside, but like i said, i learnt the hardway and all this fancy stuff really only has a wow factor of 5 minutes and even though it may hook afew clients in, it wont do your business any good if these elements affect your delivery schedules..

I personally think its a great intro, but the sacrifice youre making to deliver THiS is far too much and compromises workflow

Dont ever lose site of the ultimate goal...
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Old April 20th, 2006, 06:46 PM   #6
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one thing i forgot to mention, when rendering stuff like this, its best ot render as progressive (24p or 30p in NTSC), not interlaced.
Whether it be lightwave, XSI, MAYA.. youll save about 20% render times on all these apps if u stick with progressive. Then when u import it to your timline, u can convert to 60i with that..

i used to do alot of this for commercial and corporate work... used to to use Softimage on a chunky old NT4 system... many many many moons ago.. lol
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Old April 20th, 2006, 08:53 PM   #7
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Peter, I can certainly appreciate your honesty and I don't take offense to anything you've said. I had strongly considered a variation of this intro that used a green picture so I could track in a photo of the couple at hand... make a template, as you said. 99% of the rendering time happens when I'm either at work (I do this on the side) or sleeping, so it doesn't exactly eat my time up. But I do understand your point.

I, too, have 3 Editor Toolkits from Digital Juice and love the things they offer (I have kits 1, 3 and 7). I keep thinking back to creating a template or custom intro of *some* kind, if not 3D. One thing I've noticed in this town is that the other videographers do not put as much time into their work. It shows in their demos. If their showcase work isn't "touching" or have the feel of an editor that cares then the work flops. I admit that I put more time and effort into my work, and I probably don't actually charge half of what I earned, but it's *that* edge of the blade that I want to be. My work shows that I put time into it (I'm not gloating or have a big head; I have written testimonials from every client and that's the concensus [sp?]).

Anyway, I can't sleep knowing that I delivered a product that didn't earn every cent charged. I know that's the idea for all businesses, but it isn't practiced here for videography and I hope to change the way customers look at demo discs and choose a videographer. Obviously my goal is to hook, line and sink the deal but I will work 20 extra hours on a job if it means giving them a product they can't resist bragging about. That's why I don't advertise... my work is shown to friends of the clients because they like it so much.

I didn't mean to go on like this, and thanks for what you had to say, Peter. I certainly don't mean to challenge what you said about using time; for some reason I felt compelled to describe why I spend more time than needed on a project. I will most likely learn the hard way if I keep it up, as you predicted, and hopefully by then I'll have extra hands to help me get work done. :)

-Michael

P.S. I've been "learning" this business for 3 years, but didn't dive in until January of this year, so I'm sure you more experienced videographers can run circles around me with "How-tos" and "Don't Dos".
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Old April 20th, 2006, 09:30 PM   #8
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dude, no offense taken whatsoever, we each do things differently, and for me, with my experience, my passion has become a chore. I still put stupid hours into certain works and stules of jobs, but with the amount of jobs i take on vs the time it takes to get them out, ive had to make a decision. Either change my packages (which is what ive done) or compromise on quality, which i refuse to do.
On avergage im working 20hrs a day, and when i am on this boards (everyday) its when im rendering
I guess i dont liek to see people go through what ive been through to get to where i am, and even where "i am" im no big cahouna producer. Im popular coz im different and people see my passion when i open my mouth. The work then speaks for itself.
if u up the ante, i think its great, but one thing to rememebr is to not set a precedent which u cannot maintain or afford.
I did this, and im still working on projects which are worth at least twice their value, however these jobs were only taken on out of desperation for work and portfolio building. In turn, the workload increased, but more people were happy.. those people send others my way and now im actually rejecting work.
in 9 months, the wedding part of the business has increased 300%
I only make a profit if i can capture edit and deliver any given job within 10 days.. I can only do that if im not shooting.. during peak seasons, this is impossible..
Math this up, and the actual time for editing is about 6 months (winter and autmn during the quiet times).. average that out to 4 weddings edited in a month.... and your left with an offset of 6 months worth of work backlogued. So the editing DOESNT stop.. this is whats killing me (literally) which is why ive turned towards stills..

But the business has grown in 9 months to over 300%. For a relatively new wedding company, this isnt normal. Ive been doing corp and commercial for 7 yrs now and wedding clients are very different. If your work follows on withteh same attention to detail as found in this little piece, then dont be surprised if you get swamped.

Good luck with the venture, and part time or not, be sure u have an airtight contract... doing this part time u dont have the kind of hours dedicated to the work as you would if this was all you did, and u need to protect yourself at every turn.

cheers
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Old April 20th, 2006, 09:50 PM   #9
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For what it's worth, I understand where Peter is coming from but completely disagree. I think your doing this profession well by trying to create the best possible quality without worrying neceesarily about the bottom line or getting a high volume. Granted, this might not be a workable model at 35-50 weddings a year, but I think the passion and devotion driving your work is worth much more than countless standard designs, templates and cookie cutter weddings.

With experience, I think people tend to lose the motivation to continually go that extra mile in trying to meet those deadlines, but I definately don't think anybody should discourage that motivation while it lasts.
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Old April 20th, 2006, 10:25 PM   #10
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in no way whatsoever am i discouraging anyone from doing what they are passionate about.

I still have the pasion which drives me, else i wouldnt be working 20 hour days and taking months on end to deliver. If i was compromising quality, my clients wouldnt be waiting.. lol

No, what im saying is that once you have your routine, and you work out a work ethic, schedule and you get to the point of working 30-50 jobs a year, then one must reassess the workload and look at what can be done to streamline the whole process so as to not fall into a trap of having to much work with no time to deliver.

Thats all im getting at Pat
One cant sacrifice quality for numbers.. we dont make Big Macs, BUT if we think along the lines that X number of big macs must be made by Y time, then the bad wraps we get as producers and professionals might dissipate and our own workloads would be reasonable and humane.
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Old April 21st, 2006, 07:41 AM   #11
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I haven't taken away any information from your discussions in a way that I felt discouraged. One point Peter said is correct; quality catches on, and the word will [hopefully] spread like wildfire. It's sort of a "Oh Crap, My Dream Came True!" situation. I'd love nothing more than to provide 500% quality markup over the full-time competition. On the other hand, I can't afford to leave my other full-time job for at least 3 years... the income is steady enough to get my bills paid off.

I'm probably just more frustrated that the others in town aren't delivering what I consider their best. I suppose that's the monster all of us beginners face in our towns... raising the bar when the popular acceptance isn't necessarily what we think is good enough. It's obviously tough competing with the big dudes, but the best thing my "Infamously Smart And Never Right" uncle told me when I was a kid... "Big foundations are made of little rocks."

-Michael
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Old April 21st, 2006, 01:04 PM   #12
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Michael - If you are running on a dual core or at least hyperthreaded machine, you might try what I do with Hash Animation:Master. I launch 3-4 copies (Dual Xeon with HT). I set each copy to render a range (adjusted for what complexity the segment is.) Since many render engines are single threaded, I can multi-thread by using multiple renders.

If you have a single CPU, never mind ;)

Edit - this one took about 12-14 hours to render using 3 engines http://www.versatilemediasolutions.c...itleSample.wmv (the picture was done in the editor - the 'model' was done with Alpha channel as a Targa sequence.
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Old April 21st, 2006, 02:16 PM   #13
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A couple things to consider about weddings...... Number one- your production budget is literally a thousand times less than a "low budget Hollywood movie". Brides are out of line when they compare a wedding video with Hollywood. Especially when it comes to custom AE openers and the likes.

Number two- everyone has his or her own style. Personally, I donít think there is any right or wrong way to shoot or edit. If the bride and groom shopped around with other videographers, then they probably preferred your personal style.

-John
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Old April 21st, 2006, 04:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Ellis
Edit - this one took about 12-14 hours to render using 3 engines http://www.versatilemediasolutions.c...itleSample.wmv (the picture was done in the editor - the 'model' was done with Alpha channel as a Targa sequence.
George, this really took 12-14 hours with 3 separate render engines?! That is incredible. In the words of Simon Cowell, incredibly bad. Why did something like this take so long? You could do something like that in After Effects within an hour, tops. Sorry, I'm not meaning to bash your work and I'm afraid that it will come across that way. I was just incredibly surprised by the render time on that.
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Old April 21st, 2006, 05:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Ellis
Michael - If you are running on a dual core or at least hyperthreaded machine, you might try what I do with Hash Animation:Master. I launch 3-4 copies (Dual Xeon with HT). I set each copy to render a range (adjusted for what complexity the segment is.) Since many render engines are single threaded, I can multi-thread by using multiple renders.

If you have a single CPU, never mind ;)

Edit - this one took about 12-14 hours to render using 3 engines http://www.versatilemediasolutions.c...itleSample.wmv (the picture was done in the editor - the 'model' was done with Alpha channel as a Targa sequence.
One minor detail about your example... you should have made the animated card suits match up in order with the actual footage. :o)
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