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Old December 20th, 2010, 03:08 PM   #1
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Wedding Video Editing - Using Black / White VS Color shots

More and more I have used less and less black and white shots in my wedding videos. Sometimes if the shot seems just like the right one, or for a special effect (like bride looking into a mirror, and having just the mirror go from black and white to color) I will use Black and white.

Just wondered what others are doing?

I typically have maybe under 60 seconds of a whole video 60 minute video in black and white now.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 04:51 PM   #2
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Well this is just my opinion but for what it's worth; Any effect is only effective (no pun intended) if it works within the storyline your are trying to tell. I remember years ago when NLE first got going in the wedding business. The Amiga comes to mind (expensive but a G R E A T machine) and there were a whole lot of effects available and I think a lot of folks used them all in every wedding they edited. Thru the passage of time and realizing that 10,000 different effects in every wedding didn't make for a good much less great piece we have all gotten away from doing the effects. Personally I learned much of my NLE editing style from an old time news cutter and have always been of the school that less can be more so depending on the shot, the placement of the shot, the story I'm trying to tell with the shot and surrounding shot, I may very well not do a thing to the shot or I could go all out. I guess for me the effect I might use on a shot has to make sense. If it doesn't make sense why use it.
So in answer to your question, I probably use less effects than most people anyway and now maybe even less than that.
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 05:36 PM   #3
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Hi Silas

As I shoot my weddings in documentary style I never use any effects or black and white. It might be effective in the bridal prep if you are trying to make your result very creative and cinematic but if the wedding is simply telling a story then before you start using effects it's important to ask yourself "Will this enhance the overall video?" Quite often editors will use effects simply because they are available or they are "cool" or sadly to show off how many different effects their NLE has or show off their own skills in applying effects (We have one videographer here who has floating hearts all over the screen in each and every sample and of course, it tend to look tacky!!)

The answer is simple..if it adds to the story then use it otherwise keep it simple!!

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Old December 20th, 2010, 07:07 PM   #4
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We don't use any effects unless they help with the move the story along some how. Some time we might composite a shot or something like that with After Effects to enhance a scene, but not the run of the mill black and white, sepia, etc... Our coloring is specific to the market we want to attract and the mood/vibe of the film.

The best way I can think of it is like watching a GOOD feature film (not most of the newer bogged down ones with a ridiculous amount of CG)... study them... what effects are they using? Are there any? Why would they use it in that specific moment in time? How many movies have you seen that have been shot in black and white recently? Why did they shoot it in black and white?

On a side note... we should all be analyzing movies and why they use certain camera movement, composition, lighting, coloring, audio, etc...
Creative Wedding Films:
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Old December 20th, 2010, 07:23 PM   #5
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I have my own thoughts on this matter, but I think it would be beneficial to add here something a groom once told me.

While meeting with him and his bride-to-be, the groom mentioned that he really wanted to see effects used in their highlight film. His reasoning was that since the highlights would be using many of the same shots used in the full-length edit, adding effects to some of these shots would keep them fresh, as opposed to having a 'recycled' look. I don't think his feeling was typical of most clients, but this was an important issue to him and I'm glad that I was able to find out this information. I was able to book the job and deliver exactly what they were looking for.

Still though...I edited a second version of their highlights without effects for use as a demo.

Alec Moreno
Wedding Art Films - Southern California - Los Angeles - Orange County - Video
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Old December 21st, 2010, 02:43 PM   #6
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It is often not the case I know, but whenever I see black and white segments, especially when there isn't an apparent reason, I can't help but wonder if it was an attempt to cover up some really bad footage. That's not a universal criticism. A few years ago I helped shoot a wedding with a very professional videographer. He had a shot of the couple enter the hotel (it was an outside wedding) after the recessional. The shot was really bad though. Brightness, contrast, white balance - everything you could imagine was wrong with the clip. He switched it to black and white when he edited it. Since it was the last clip on the ceremony piece, he ended it with a composited overlay of an old film style countdown and fade to black. It would have been futile to attempt to color correct that clip; it was just too bad to do so. But the way he handled it was a nice touch to end the piece.
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 08:35 AM   #7
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Overall I think that b&w can be overused, and has been in the past. That being said, I have a "signature close" to every one of my highlight clips, where the final shot freezes in color, dissolves to b&w, and then fades to black. It's just my way of putting my own personal touch on each one. I don't feel like it detracts from the video and it has a timeless feel to it. Or, maybe I'm just trying to defend my signature... lol! In my case it's only used for about 3 seconds, as part of a final fade to black - never as it's own shot. Maybe I need to hear some opinions on this... hmmm....

I remember the "Pleasantville" effect was really popular there for a while, making everything b&w save for the rings, or the flowers, or something like that. I'm glad that's gone - after seeing it for the 10th time on it gets kind of old.

I feel like b&w can be effective if used VERY cautiously, but for the most part it usually does nothing to carry the video along, IMO. Plus, most b&w done in video doesn't look good unless the contrast is adjusted appropriately - just desaturating the picture looks like crap, it has to be tweaked to get a good look, I think.
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