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

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Old July 31st, 2006, 06:30 AM   #16
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This is a PS to my post about a dozen frames back.

The narration experience I mentioned was for video originally shot on Super8 film (no sound) that was transferred to tape, so there was zero audio to begin with. A lot of narration was required for that one. Josh, if you'll be working with video shot with a camcorder, then it's probably packed with audio already. Could be the amount of narration needed for your project would be minimal -- just a few words every now and then like "This is our expedition in 1988 to Mt Everest," "This is base camp #1......"

I'm working with a similiar project right now, but instead of narration, I convinced the client adding titles and subtitles would be better. For example, on the video track would be a title like "1988 Mt Everest expedition." Then, where any additional explanation is needed would be a subtitle like "Sherpa who fell in crevasse." The subtitle option works really well since whoever is watching can turn them on or off depending on how much they know, or how much they care to know about the who, what, why, where or when of the action on screen.

Personally, I'm anti-narrator for home movies. People watch play-by-play announcers and various talking heads on TV, and think they can do the same w/o any training, experience or practice. I'd rather sit typing subtitles all day long than go thru my aforementioned amateur narrator experience again.

And you can charge extra for the subtitles since they really can give home movies a 'pro' look.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 08:54 AM   #17
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That's a pretty good idea! Maybe I'll do that, because guess what?? I'm in the same boat you were in with that voice over project! This was ALL Super8 film transferred to video! All 5-6 MiniDV tapes!
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Old July 31st, 2006, 10:37 AM   #18
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I'd suggest quoting a higher price for this project, like at least $750. If they ask why so much you can explain that it's a time-consuming and equipment-intensive project which would cost at least 2-3 times as much to have done in a big city. Quote too low on this job and everyone in town will expect a similar deal and come running to you with everything they can think of, which could overwhelm you and end end up making both you and your customers unhappy. So pick a price which is high enough to make customers respect your time and talent without feeling like you're taking advantage of them; $650 is too low for all that work.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 10:58 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Josh Becker
This is ALL Super8 film transferred to video! All 5-6 MiniDV tapes!
I wouldn't wish a job like that on my worst competitor.

Well, it can be kind of interesting. You'll be looking at footage that's about 30-years old. You'll probably have to do a lot of color correction, and, depending on how well or poorly the transfer to tape was done, you might end up spending a lot of time snipping out 4 or 5 frames (film splices) every so often.

Back when that stuff was shot, the price per minute (film+developing) was relatively expensive -- as compared to videotape now. So, it's likely few, if any, 'takes' are more than 10 or 15-seconds before a complete scene change. Most are even shorter. That's why it's hard to narrate to, especially if the narrator(s) can't think quickly & speak concisely.

Slightly off subject, but if your software can do it, (and you take on this job) you might need to slow down the video a bit. As I recall, I had to slow it to 80% for movement like walking to look natural.

For sentimental purposes, for the family to hear grandpa's voice (after he's moved on to his just reward) talking about that 36" fish he caught in '71 while that scene is flickering on the tv is priceless. But it's time consuming. That level of production needs a family member working on it -- for free and for about 6+ months -- to get some narration from everyone on the film who's still alive and able to talk through some of the scenes they're in.

But, you're not a family member and I'd guess you're not about to do it for free.

If you're okay with typing subtitles for several hours, that's the way to go. Throw some music on top & you're done. Or, consider this. I did this a few times to get the exact places the client wanted scenes cut & pasted, but it would also work well for subtitles: When the project is ready for subtitles, throw on a timecode generator and give the client a copy of the whole video w/ continuous timecode superimposed from beginning to end.

Tell the client to type in a plain text document the exact timecode when each subtitle is supposed to appear, and the text of the subtitle.

00:12:21;15 3-ft fish caught at Mud Lake
00:13:45;00 Eating the 3-ft fish

That should take the client a few months to do 5 - 6 hours of silent film, but, if he/she is able to do it, you can then clip & paste the text, and save a big chunk of time.

Of course, once the client realizes the work required to type at least 5 hours worth of subtitles, they'll probably insist on doing narration.
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