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


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Old December 7th, 2006, 07:21 AM   #1
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Get In The Ring...

...to beat up my video clip. I haven't been tortured by this group in awhile, so here's another clip to criticize. I'll freely admit that I'm not good at the moving camera shots yet, and I don't practice enough. But everything else... let's hear it.

http://www.svpcolumbus.com/videos/Preparations.wmv

-Michael
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Old December 7th, 2006, 09:36 AM   #2
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I enjoyed watching that clip. Good work....could've been "great work" if you used a tripod more. I have that bad habit too.....
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:20 AM   #3
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I liked it. A stabilizer would solve those moving shots, go to the stabilizer forum and reserch them. I also agree that a tripod should be used for still interviews as movement is more noticable and that you should have framed your subject before filming.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 10:49 AM   #4
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round 3...ding ding!

i really liked it too, and the only v.minor thing i would say to look out for is white-balancing (lack of). If you fail to do this at the time of shooting, then it's very easy to fix in post...just bring down the blue!

nice work!
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Old December 7th, 2006, 04:40 PM   #5
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Very nice indeed - very thoughtful cutting and use of split screen.

Did you create the starting title "preparations" or is that bought in (if so, where from?).
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Old December 7th, 2006, 08:12 PM   #6
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Nice stuff Mike,
only comment I have is to advise the bride (and bridesmaids) not to chew gum as they walk down the aisle!
(I've had this happen on a few occasions)
Andy
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Old December 9th, 2006, 10:08 AM   #7
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Thank you everyone. I've noted the thngs you've pointed out. I'm wanting to get very good at the should-mounted shots, so I'm making it point to practice more!

Greg, I made the "Preparations" intro completely in After Effects. I don't remember where I got the font from (it's called "Roundhand") but the animated background was an out-of-the-box preset in After Effects (look up "silk" in After Effects if you have it). I did a piece like that for each section of the DVD; love story, preps, ceremony, first dance, etc.

-Michael
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Old December 9th, 2006, 02:58 PM   #8
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Nice work

Hi Michael,

Okay, my turn at bat? Well, with the same name as yours, I certainly can't be *too* critical <wink>

Excellent job on the music - very complementary to set the tone (romantic, yet solemn). Nice use of slow pans intially - only a videographer would notice the bumps. It wasn't until near the end was the panning jerks quite noticeable (perhaps the day was wearing on you). I complement you on well thought out camera perspectives - too many forget the psychological benefits of low or high camera angles; certainly you "get it". Very good use of split screens, quite appropriate, efficient, and interesting dual-perspective leading to the big event. The intial disolves were quite deliberate but that's okay if you're trying to set a dramatic tone - it worked well with the slow-motion pans. Midway through where the bride walks toward you, you step back as she walks by and your camera gets washed out by strong lighting behind her - with advance choreography planning, I guess you would have walked on the other side to have the light behind your back (lacking distractions on that side, too); anyway, your edit fade helped save the moment and goofs can sometimes come across as "artsy".

Half-way through the video on the split screen you use a rapid zoom in, pause, rapid zoom out of the bride who shrugs her hands flippantly, puts her hands on her hips and shifts her eyes with strong emotion. What's going on here? The music is beautiful but the scene is troubling both visually and emotionally. Unless this is an inside joke, I suggest you save this for the outtakes since it breaks the mood and puzzles the audience.

Generally, nice composition and framing (rule of thirds) yet occassionally your camera could be zoomed a bit closer and lower to eliminate the overhead lighting clutter. When your camera initially looses focus, edit that out of the footage. Also, try to take more footage at varying distances. I realize you were constrained in your setting and couldn't take long shots, but try to get medium, close, extremely close (head) shots - during editing you can interleave these in the video to maintain the viewers interest.

I loved the beginning of the polarized starlight zooming on the groom - wow, great effect. It was a shame when you zoomed out to frame the groom that the overexposed light in front of him included a mini-van. Oh well, next time you'll get that awesome shot for your portfolio (planning, planning, planning)

Near the end the bride talks to us before the vows. Personally, I'm a sticker on audio and would gotten much closer if I had to resort to the camera's microphone (hate them - always use a lavalier). I noticed you caught yourself doing this with the groom and indeed moved in, yet unfortunately the outside ambient noise masked his lovely words. You desparely need a lavilier or at least move your subjects to a quiet place. Also, I would avoid the final few seconds of background clutter video of the bride (the motel room doors) - even better, avoid panning that direction. Ditto with the groom - find a place where you don't have all busy windows behind the groom, especially the handicap parking sign (unless that has emotional significance).

So in summary, very good music selection, nice edits and generally good camera work. Once you add a lavalier and eliminate the clutter behind, above, and aside your subjects, you'll get my thumbs up. Thank you for sharing your video - very nice.

Warm Regards, Michael
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Old December 11th, 2006, 06:48 AM   #9
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Thanks, Michael. Your advice is well received, indeed. I do have a great wireless mic setup but for some reason I'm always afraid to use it outside of ceremony time. For someone like the bride the mic certainly wouldn't look very good. Any ideas? I could always get a handheld mic ... but wouldn't the mood suddenly change from "bride-groom" to "news reporters?" I would greatly appreciate some suggestions.

My favorite shot for that whole entire day was the doorway shot with the groom. I was hoping (at the time of shooting) that the minivan in the background would get bled out better. I knew the shot was bown out from the sunlight, so I just lightened it some more in edit in hopes to drown out the minivan. A little side joke to the groom later that night was that he'd have to get a minivan and grow old (his groomsmen gave him a hard time about that)... so maybe he got a chuckle out of that shot.

For the rapid moves and zooms and focus adjustments, I agree 100% that I need to work on that. I'm sure you all have or have used the same excuse ... every time I go to a wedding to get better, it was worse than the others and there's no room for learning. That wedding turned out very nice in the end, depsite the fact that the 30-minute delay of ceremony and 60-minute delay of the "getaway" caused a lot of problems.

I just went to a wedding last night in Atlanta (a 90-minute drive for me) and got there 3 1/2 hours ahead of the ceremony time... and still found myself struggling to get all the right shots before the ceremony. I can get a thousand tapes of candid footage when I get there soon enough, but as long as things are delayed it makes it tough to get all the good shots like group photos, groomsmen getting ready, etc. I have one fault in that regard: I still only use 1 camera. *sigh*

-Michael
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Old December 11th, 2006, 08:51 AM   #10
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Michael, first of all thank you for your participation and sharing your work with the community.

The music was appropriate, never more dramatic than the imagery. You captured some nice shots and utilized some good techniques (split screen, etc). The aspect that stands out the most to me is the pacing. Many of the shots linger very long. Keep in mind that a shot with very little movement from the subject in the frame doesn't need to be onscreen very long. You can break this up by changing focal lengths as well. For example shoot a wide shot of the group getting their picture taken then cut to a medium or CU shot of just the groom in the group.

I liked the fact that you took the time to get some short interviews from the couple but they might have had more impact if they were used reflectively. In other words you can use the audio of the bride talking about the groom over top of shots of the groom getting ready, and vice versa. This allows you to place the camera close to the subject (closer than you would normally be shooting) and simply shoot to record JUST the VO. When you do this make sure your in a quiet environment- the outdoor shot of the groom was very noisy with ambient outdoor noises. Considering your not shooting video and only worrying about audio it really opens up the possibilities of "where" you can shoot these.

I don't know if your planning on attending the 4EverGroup Video 07 expo but I'll be presenting a seminar on some of the above topics.

http://4evergroup.org/convention07/07presenters2.shtml

Once again thanks for sharing Michael.
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Old December 11th, 2006, 01:35 PM   #11
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Lavalier Placement

Hi again Michael,

Thanks for sharing all the "juicy" videography details - we enjoy hearing all the trails and tribulations. Regarding the lavalier hookup, our first choice is always to place it on the subject's sternum. That location is far enough away to avoid silibance, popping, and yet avoid the proximity effect when the subject moves his/her head when talking. Fortunately, your bridge's gown was a medium cut with lots of material to tuck the microphone in the front of her gown with only the top 1/2 inch protruding up towards her mouth(best left for the bridgemaids - wink). If you are looking for a high quality, miniature microphone, here's two top of the line units (both are condenser requiring phantom power which your transceiver should include):

Countryman B6: http://www.countryman.com/html_data_sheets/b6data.html
Sanken Cos 11l: http://sanken.ch/english/cos-11.htm

The luxury route would be to have a boom mic but that's the expensive route and many aren't really accomplished sound engineers with the right technique. But at the reception, a DIY (Do It Yourself) boom mic on a tripod with boom pole is fine to get testimonials from the guests.
http://www.coffeysound.com/webwork/booms.htm

If the bride is wearing one of those low-cut, strapless "come get me" gowns, I'd consider use my over the ear Coutryman E6 (perhaps shooting at an angle keeping the mic out hid behind the talent's cheek): http://www.countryman.com/html_data_sheets/e6data.html
If that's not an option, either go for the close-up using your on-camera mic or have the subject hold the mic unobtrusively and very steady in his/her hands.

A couple of additional thoughts: when you have shot that's poorly defined (as the slow-mo of the wedding gown on the opening sequence), turn off the automatic focus. Camera's focus based on the light transition between white-black and really get lost in a "blob" of wavy white material, causing the focus to change back and forth. And to add on to my prior thought about how to eliminate overhead light clutter while in the reception area, if it's appropriate consider standing on two chairs (assuming you don't carry a small footstool, ladder, or "apple crate") so you're looking slightly down. Of course, you don't want to do this if it's obtrusive to the guests - in your case it seemed appropriate since the reception area was unoccupied. BTW, if you're standing on chairs, you should take off your shoes. Anyway, I thought you did a great job of using up angles and wanted to see you capitalize on down angles, too.

Warm Regards, Michael

Last edited by Michael Nistler; December 11th, 2006 at 02:27 PM.
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Old December 11th, 2006, 02:08 PM   #12
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Just a minor comment: in the split screen section, the bride and groom are facing away from each other - if you swapped the screens, they would be looking towards each other. (Unless, of course, you were deliberately trying to create a pre-wedding:not-yet-together atmosphere!)
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