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Ryan ONeil November 19th, 2009 12:15 AM

First Time Wedding Video
This is a wedding compilation I made over this past week for the first wedding I did. I used it for the menu of the DVD. COMPLETELY new to this so I know pretty much zero on how to do things but quickly learning. :) Please critique bad and good points of it. Also, what do people typically buy when buying a wedding video? I made this for the menu and just took video from two cameras to make the ceremony as the main feature. Also...it's in widescreen format but put into 4:3 (I believe.)

Ryan ONeil November 19th, 2009 12:27 AM

Also...I converted it to wmv for fast load time and it seems to have sped up the video and kept the audio the same to where it cuts off the end.

Tom Hardwick November 19th, 2009 03:11 AM

I'm pretty sure the 4:3 aspect and the audio sync problems are due to your WMV encoding, so we can discount that. But I'd hope your DVD menu was undistorted and maybe had gentle music rather than this voice-over?

Your colours are very muted (perhaps because it was for the menu?) but you've got to know that the couple see this FIRST, and you can't have wibbly-wobbly shots as an opener, it creates a horrible first impression.

So, for a DVD menu I'd suggest a shorter film going on behind the chapter options, maybe slowed a little and slightly washed out as you have here.

What do people typically buy when buying a wedding video? Explain yourself. You mean the number of DVDs or the packages that you offer?


Don Bloom November 19th, 2009 05:15 AM

I pretty much agree with Tom on everything.

A motion menu IMO needs to be much shorter (loop it) and no VO. As much as I like muted colors for certain things it didn't work for me in this case.
The most glaring thing was the very obvious handheld work. While I do like some "wibble wobble" (as Tom put it) in certain spots for certain shots, good solid,well exposed, properly framed video with really good audio is the best starting point for anyone starting out in the business. Tripods, monopods, stabilization systems be they steadicam type devices, shoulder mount devices or whatever, make for good friends and good solid video.

I could see the ideas were in your head and just need some work to get on to tape. Keep at it. Perhaps take another look at this piece with a more objective eye (I know that's hard to do to our own work) and think about a bit of rework editing.

Ryan ONeil November 19th, 2009 10:05 AM

Thanks for the comments!

It is the bg for a menu however, I sort of had in mind making a compilation video with it. Won't do that next time.

Tom, what do you mean by undistorted? And this was the actual video for the menu (though, I was trying to make some sort of compilation). Is the voice over effect a no-go?

The colors were muted using a color correction effect. And point taken on the wibbly-wobbly shots.

For what people buy, I mean the actual purchase. On all the wedding websites I've seen, all I've watched were compilation videos or love story videos. Are those just add-ons to the actual ceremony filmed?

Don, what do you mean by "properly framed"? We did film the actual wedding using a tripod for one camera but the other was hand-held. We're currently looking into a a steadicam or shoulder mount device. Any suggestions?

And I will definitely look at this with an objective eye! I'm just learning what to be objective about. :) Thanks for the help!

Tom Hardwick November 19th, 2009 10:18 AM

The distortion I was talking about was the horizontal compression of the image.

A compilation (or highlights version) is not a bad idea, fitting the whole day into the bride's favourite music piece for instance, and it can look great at the end of the film, with its own chapter point. But it needs to be the best of the best bits, and 3 mins should take about 4 hours to compile and sound track. Voice over can work with this.

The actual purchase? I give my couples 4 DVDs in with the package, but of course they can have hundreds.


Ryan ONeil November 19th, 2009 10:31 AM

Oh yes...it was filmed in widescreen then compressed to 4:3 when converted. So it distorted it.

So, the ceremony is the main feature in your wedding DVD with other things as add-ons?

Tom Hardwick November 19th, 2009 10:46 AM

No, no, no.

The main feature of my wedding films is the people. Always the people. A bit of the buildings, a bit of the add-ons but always the people, in long shot, medium and closeup, keep filming the people.

Remember that people like looking at people - it's why you and I are here. Also remember that everything's been paid for, from the suits to the candles to the confetti, table decorations, rings, choir, string quartet, shoes, DJ, Toast Master, cars, table plan, cake.

Film everything; this is the only chance you'll get. Make your film tell the story of the day. You don't need every verse of every hymn but you'll need all the speeches. The couple are your film stars, in the final edited film they should glow, so be very careful what you keep in and delete anything that's at all unflattering.

Watch as many wedding DVDs as you can get your hands on, and ask yourself what it is that makes that film good to watch, even to an outsider. Your couple will have been filmed in medium shot, using wobbly hand-held so-so quality camcorders, for the last 25 years. Make sure your shots are the very antithesis of this, using differential focus, good tripods, beautiful exposure - just like Don says.


Ryan ONeil November 19th, 2009 10:53 AM

Great! Very eye-opening. Thanks!

Do you know where I can get an entire DVD from a professional Wedding videographer for educational purposes?

Tom Hardwick November 19th, 2009 11:10 AM

Go to wedding fayres, ask your friends, click on web sites, ask here. I'd send you some but I'm 8 thousand miles away. There will be filmmakers closer to you who should be only too pleased to send you a complete wedding day film - the more films out there with their name on it, the better for business.

A 'demo' film is not much use - you need to see how you feel having watched a whole day go by in 90 mins.


Don Bloom November 19th, 2009 11:33 AM

While short clips or a demo is fine for a website B&Gs want to see a whole wedding. Honestly I can't ell you how many people I've talked to over the years that see someones demo and the finished product isn't anything like the demo. Some people use the best of the best to make a demo which is fine but if your overall work isn't like that you get a lot of dissappointed clients. Hard to stay in business that way.
You want each job to be better than the last. At least in your mind. What I mean is to never be compalcent about your work, always strive to get better.
You have to find a style that fits you and brand yourself that way. There is only one Mark Von Lanken, only one Robert Allan, only one Glen Elliott, Jason M, Oleg, etc (sorry I know I missed a bunch of names, no offense meant). I can do what Glen or Mark or Jason etc does BUT can I do it as well? Maybe but it's not really my style but man do I ever get ideas from watching their work.
As for whats included in the package, well no matter what style you do unless you're specializing in SDEs like Mike Gebben is now, the client wants to see their wedding, so the ceremony, reception is part and parcel to the package. Now if you do bridal prep or groom get ready or special rolling credits or the post ceremony photo shoot, they need to be included. A recap or highlight of the day is a great thing to include and that can be put on your website. There are a lot of different ways to approach the package and whats included. Personally, I have a long form doco package and a short form package that's more cinematic. A lot of the shooting is the same. You still have to capture the day.
As for putting WS ootage into a 4:3 format I have to ask why you did that. I'm curious.

Like I siad before you seem to have some good ideas but some of them just didn't come off on the finished product but for your 1st attempt, it wasn't bad, you just need to clean up a few things.

Ryan ONeil November 19th, 2009 11:41 AM

That answers alot of questions Don.

I didn't do 4:3 on the dvd. It was the first time I used vimeo so I didn't know how to upload it in ws.

Ken Diewert November 19th, 2009 12:33 PM


You seem able to take constructive critiques, so I'll add mine. First let me say that my critiques (along with Tom and Don) are intended to help you, not put you down. I'm sure that we all have other things to do, but have taken the time to watch and respond, and try to help. It really is only our opinions, so don't feel bad. It is the B&G who ultimately decide how well you did your job, but as professionals, we should all strive for continuous improvement.

IMHO, one of the keys to being successful in this or many other things, is gaining a mastery of the tools. That means maintaining a steady camera, knowing where and how to place mics, knowing when and how to over-ride the cameras auto functions (which is almost always). How to maintain proper aspect ratios when editing. The first three shots in your clip frankly don't get you off to good start. Things improved after the 1:00 minute mark. Three things off the top that (to me) don't look good are: wobbly handheld, poor white balance, and on-camera zooms (the human eye doesn't zoom - so if you must do it, there better be a good reason for it).

Some people believe that weddings are a good way to start in the video business. Shooting Weddings properly is one of the toughest things you will ever shoot. It's a live event where you really need to be on top of your game to be good at.

Another thing that sets apart the good from the great in this business is the unrelenting pursuit of excellence. Set up a shot that takes longer to get. Shoot that exterior church shot from a couple of angles. If you need to re-cut the scene because it isn't working, you re-cut the scene. If you still need to re-cut the scene, you re-cut the scene. Eventually you will develop a vision which allows you more and more often to get it right the first time. But just because it's going to take longer to do it right - it doesn't mean you don't do it. Every job that you do is a commercial for the next one.

As wedding videographers, we also need to development the ability to self critique. It just speeds up the process. I don't believe I've ever seen a clip posted on here by Don Bloom. I'm sure that Don does great work - however I also believe that he is able to self-critique and doesn't need us to point out his lows and applaud his highs.

That is not to say that I don't appreciate and learn a tremendous amount from the people the post clips here, because that is one of the key elements to this site.

Ryan ONeil November 19th, 2009 01:42 PM

Great Ken. I appreciate and need the critique. Thanks!

I'm definitely open to criticism. I'm also not opposed to spending more time at all. I might have made around $3/hour on this here project. :) Didn't get paid very much and spent a ton of time on different aspects. (as well as learning things better)

All the resources we (my brother and I) have are a video camera (probably lower class to most here), a tripod and my editing software (premiere, after effects, photoshop, encore). Should we invest in a shoulder mount? New camera?

Is the white balance a problem with the actual videoing or should I have a better white balance in the color effects?

Also, on zooms: should we use less? None at all?

I'm thankful for a place to go where I can learn. Thanks again Ken!

I'm a young guy and just really getting into video editing over the past half year. There's a huge need for wedding videography in my area so I'm doing my best to help meet that need.

One more question for all: should I not worry about any of the color effects and shoot straight video for now?

Tom Hardwick November 19th, 2009 02:12 PM

Good questions you ask Ryan.

Any way you could apprentice yourself to a good wedding videographer on a shoot or edit? He / she might like the gofer help you offer free and you'd learn an amazing amount watching every move they make. Every move.

Shoot pure video I'd say. Not progressive, no stereo sound, no fancy effects - just rock solid shots that give the editor (important point this) lots and lots of choice. Use radio mics up close to the sound you want recorded. Have backup at all times - other cameras running, extra audio recorders and so on.

Certainly zoom, it's the fastest way to get from wide to tele and will give continuity in the edit - but cut out all the zooms later. Constantly vary your focal length and shooting position, get high shots, low shots, wide and tele shots. Keep moving, don't stop - the day won't.

Should you buy new kit? Depends what you have at the moment, but the HMC150 and Canon XH-A1 are probably the (XLR input) starting points. Whatever you have, learn to override the auto functions, especially the exposure. You can fix white bal in post, but much better to get it right at the time. You can't fix out of focus shots, or silhouettes against the light, or overdriven audio levels.

I'd fore-go the stabiliser for now - I suggest you put that money into a training day. And whatever you do, keep shooting. Video is the greatest of teachers, so go shoot as many peopled events as you can get to and critically evaluate your results.

It will take 20 weddings or so till you're feeling happy with your work. Oh, you may feel happy after the seventh, but look back on that film after a couple of years and you'll see what I mean. There's no circumnavigating the experience timeline my friend, and age does bring with it this valuable commodity.


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