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Old December 13th, 2010, 12:54 PM   #1
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How well do you think wedding films will age?

When couples select music for their wedding videos, I have wondered how well they will like it 10, 25 or even 50 years from now. Some of the choices made for highlights music are very trendy and in some cases even hard to listen to frankly. This is more often the case with very young couples. Do you counsel couples that they need to think in terms of 'timeless' with respect to their choices of music or do you just let it be their problem?

I try to set things up so I make the music choices. I try to get a general idea of what they like, who their favorite musicians are as well as some of their favorite songs. I recently had a client who particularly likes Jack Johnson's music. Most of his music is too dark and heavy to use but a couple of his songs are very nice. One is 'Better Together' and the other is 'From the Clouds'. I'm sure they will enjoy it on their silver anniversary as much as they do today.

But if they pick a rotten song, do you try to steer them away from it or do you just look the other way? "Oh sure, you can lay the "I have creative control" bit on them but that's easier to sound off on a forum about that it is in 'real life.'
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Old December 13th, 2010, 01:20 PM   #2
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Do you not like the music you listened to in high school or college?

Their hairsyle and clothes will be dated too but I don't think you'd convence clients not to wear the latest bridal fashion or hairdo.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 01:33 PM   #3
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We don't let the couples the chance to select their music, for various reasons, and there are some debates in this forum as to if this is right or wrong. But anyway, regardless if the music is selected by us or the couple, most chances are that the wedding videos will sound (and of course look) anachronistic in 20 years, at least most of them will.

What do we feel when we look at old films from 70s and 80s, films that were totally normal and trendy in looks and sounds when we were watching them back then? The clothes are funny, the cinematography and editing are old-school, the music is too... well... old? Don't get me wrong, you can't do anything but be amazed when you watch some masterpieces from Kubrick, Copolla, Leone and others of course... There are films so powerful and timeless that bypass the above general rule. But the average flick (the majority), it wouldn't look and sound that good because most of them follow the seasonal trends in shooting, editing and music department (remember that amazing fast zooms in Bruce Lee's movies? Priceless! :) ). Imagine the comparisons with films and weddings (since I am cynical enough to believe that there are no Kubricks in our job and they will never be), and you have the result. Our wedding films will mostly look and sound... so 2010! Most of the weddings today are using music that will be out of fashion in 8-10 years time, let alone 25. At that point, our today's selection will be equal to watching a 1985 wedding with some Cindy Lauper soundtrack. It will be cute... but timeless? I don't think so.

Of course if there is something timeless in all this, is the emotions and the memories recorded and edited. No matter how bad or good the overall work, after 25 years this footage will move the hearts. If the work is good, the impact will be greater, agreed. But timeless like say, "2001, Space Odyssey" or "Ghandi" or "The Godfather" or other even less than classic works? Don't see it that way.

Sorry again if I am a cynic about it.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 01:49 PM   #4
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It's all part of the charm. When I watch my daughter's wedding video in 25 years, I expect it to look and sound 25 years old. I don't see a problem with that.

Besides, I'm not going to be watching to see my editing skills, I'm going to be marveling over the young-looking faces of family members, the style of clothing and the fond memories of friends and family long since deceased.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 03:15 PM   #5
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I'll toss out an opinion, what the heck. :-)

I am 56 for a few more days and what we thought would be "timeless" back when I was in high school is so forgotten now. As Chris mentions though, hearing a few of those does bring back some real fond memories. What is interesting coming from that era, is what has proven to now be still popular and "timeless.

So IMO, picking something popular today that will become "timeless" is a 1 in 10 crap shoot.

Do brides and grooms need some "guidance"??? Sure they do. Some stuff just plain doesn't work with editing styles etc. But approaching it like you did Jim I think is the correct way to handle it. You gave them pretty much what they want, and got them something that "works" for the mood, style etc.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:11 PM   #6
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I think a good parallel is good ole' cinema. Movies that are 25 years old have a certain look to them. There's no denying that there is going to be a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor to anything that is made in a different decade (or more). Clothes change, hair changes, and editing styles change. However, that being said, films especially have stayed more timeless simply by staying simple - cuts and fades as transitions, and good solid production values.

That is what I strive to do with my work - use the simple but effective techniques to tell the story. I think doing that will always be timeless. As for the music, the hair, all the things that date the film - it's all part of the charm, IMO.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 07:17 PM   #7
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Hey Jim, here is our approach. First and foremost we treat a highlights video quite different from say .. a short form video. For us, we want the short form to have a classic and timeless style to it. For the highlights video, we want it to get that dated feel to it. This way couples have two completely different ways to relive their wedding day.

So that also means that WE choose all the music. We will sometimes take suggestions from the couple for the highlights video, but they choose nothing for the short form. Our short forms are entirely composed with instrumental music, and the couple would never be able to select this music appropriately. As it is, we sometimes take a full day or more just to find the music we want to use for a short form.

Hope that helps!
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Old December 13th, 2010, 10:28 PM   #8
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Style will always be rooted in the times that spawned it. I think that it makes the most sense to try and capture the style and zeitgeist as perfectly as possible to make a sort of time capsule for the couple so that in 50 years, they can look back on these days and marvel at how antiquated their style choices then seem. If you are dealing with a stylish/trendy couple this is certainly the best way to approach it. Top 40 pop songs will get this over well.

If you are dealing with a couple with classic sensibilities. You know the type: plain ivory dress, top and tails, black + white + red colours etc. then an all classical score would work. Or even a string quartet doing some more modern music in a classical feel.

I just think that it pays to put a little imagination and tailoring into the process. Find out more about their personalities and deliver a product that fits them instead of forcing your tastes onto people.

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Old December 14th, 2010, 12:12 AM   #9
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Congratulations on spawning such a thoughtful thread Jim. I smiled when I read Geoffrey's question (which I'm sure he meant to be rhetorical) because I loathe most of the music that was being played when I was of college age - Bill Haley was in his ascendancy and we'd not heard a note of the cacophony of the Beatles, let alone worked our way through it to the more complex music which followed - Beach Boys et al. My personal preference.

But more seriously, I find myself agreeing with Bill and Sean especially. We do ask the clients to give us their choice of music and from that we choose a suitable piece for the highlights (our "Dream" wedding). I regard it making their choice work as part of the challenge that stimulates me through the more routine phases of the edit

But, regardless of the style we may or may not seek to achieve in our work, I''ll bet a gold sovereign that if I am allowed to see some of my work 30 or 40 years from now I shall still wish I could have made the pan a little smoother, the zoom a little tighter and the baby crying through the vows in church a little quieter - but that's event programme production.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 07:39 AM   #10
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I seriously wonder if weddings do really "age"

I always notice that when the DJ at receptions play all the "golden oldies" both the young and old are on the dance floor..let the DJ switch to club music and it almost empties!!

My bride from Friday gave me her list of songs (she's in her early 20's) and top of the list was " Unchained Melody" probably recorded long before she was even a twinkle in the Dad's eye!! In another 20 years it will still be appropriate too!!

I do however let the bride choose the songs!! It's her wedding and it's her choice.

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Old December 14th, 2010, 08:03 AM   #11
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Rather than worry how my films will age stylistically I'm more concerned with how they'll stand up physically.

Within the last few weeks I've had a 2 different clients from 2004 contact me to say that their DVDs have stopped working. These are previously playable discs that now will not play correctly. One is not recognised at all, one plays on some machines, but it is impossible to copy or strip the VOBs from the disc.Neither of them appears to be damaged or scratched. Fortunately I have the edited masters on DVCam tape so it will be possible to remake a DVD for them.

In 2004, GBs were too expensive to store everything on harddrives so every edited video was stored on DVCam tape, as even then I was concerned about the longevity of optical discs. Now I store every thing digitally, the raw clips + project on one drive, the edited HD films on another, the DVD-MPEG on another and an ISO of the DVD on yet another.

Having shot on Std and Super 8mm, Umatic, VHS, SuperVHS, V8, Hi8, DV, Mini DV, DVCam, HDV and now to cards and lived through times when film that had to be transferred to VHS for people to watch it then VHS that was transferred to DVD etc. I can't even conceive what the playback system will be in 25 years never mind how fondly or not the couples will look back on the hits of the day.

Just on the note of music, I always give my clients the option of choosing the music, with advise if I think a track will not work or will distract from the intention of the video. My work is bespoke for each couple, after all they are paying me. If I were editing for a general paying audience, or for submission to a film festival or putting forward for an award, then of course I'd be a bit more precious about every aspect of my productions. Although it would be easier to have a tracks that I know work and a sort of template of shots to use with it, I find that there is great satisfaction in succeeding in the challenge of making tracks work that I'd never even heard before. It keeps me fresh and from slipping into too much of a routine - a killer for this sort of work, because if the enthusiasm goes it could become just another job.

Last edited by George Kilroy; December 14th, 2010 at 10:23 AM.
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Old December 14th, 2010, 10:20 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post

My bride from Friday gave me her list of songs (she's in her early 20's) and top of the list was " Unchained Melody" probably recorded long before she was even a twinkle in the Dad's eye!!
"Unchained Melody" is a 1955 popular song with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret. Rerecorded in 1965, it became one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, by some counts having spawned over 500 versions in hundreds of different languages.[1]

In 1955, North used the music as a theme for the prison film Unchained, hence the name. Todd Duncan sang the vocals for the film soundtrack.[2] Les Baxter (Capitol Records catalog number 3055), released an instrumental version which reached #2. Then song recordings were released by Al Hibbler (Decca Records #29441) reaching #3 on the Billboard charts, Jimmy Young which hit #1 in the United Kingdom, and Roy Hamilton (Epic Records no. 9102) reaching #1 on the R&B Best Sellers list and #6 on the pop chart.[3] Hundreds of other recordings followed.

It was the July 1965 version by The Righteous Brothers that became a jukebox standard for the late 20th century, regaining massive popularity when used in the 1990 blockbuster film Ghost.

Unchained Melody - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old December 18th, 2010, 09:38 AM   #13
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I wouldn't worry too much about whether a wedding video will become dated. When your couple pops their blu-ray into their backwards-compatible player, they are EXPECTING it to be dated. Along with all the other choices and decisions that went into their day. And to be honest, the first few times they watch their video will define what they'll always think about it.

As to who gets to pick the music, just make sure you have veto power at the very least. Unless your client works in video production and will be looking over your shoulder while you edit, they don't really know what's going to work. So protect them from themselves. I don't like this attitude that "the customer is always right." I don't go to a restaurant and tell them which spices to use on my steak. This is a creative field and YOU are the creative person in this scenario ;)
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Old December 18th, 2010, 04:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jim Snow View Post
When couples select music for their wedding videos, I have wondered how well they will like it 10, 25 or even 50 years from now'
I always let them choose, it's their wedding and if the dvd has music they like they will like it even better. I don't even care if they don't like their music choice anymore many years later, they did the day they got married and that's all that counts. With video you try to capture a moment in time and all the feelings that belong to that timeperiod and that includes music as that brings back memories as well. I mean, you don't tell your client to choose a timeless hairstyle or weddingdress as 20 years from now both can look very outdated as well, they even might say, "what were we thinking?" :) but that's just the fun part about memories and seeing how much has changed during all these years.
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Old December 19th, 2010, 12:51 AM   #15
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We choose music for our clients... They like that and they know this before they hire us. It's like hiring a world class interior decorator just to tell them you want shag carpet. That's not why you would hire an expert. I'm not saying I'm world class at anything, but our clients trust us and love that we take hours, days, even a week just to find that right song that fits who they are. They are always thrilled... And if they weren't I would gladly change it. Music aside, we try to stay away from trend, but it's everywhere and there is no way around it.
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