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-   -   Any one only offering highlights? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/wedding-event-videography-techniques/525543-any-one-only-offering-highlights.html)

Noa Put October 29th, 2014 06:54 AM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?

many coming into the wedding video business are seduced by the gloss of the short form and see it as a way to be creative
In some cases it's also a way to make easy money, I see several new videographers appear in my country that are offering very short videos only, almost all the time they are young photographers that are doing wedding photography and looking for a extra income source by adding video to their portfolio. I do recognize them immediately by looking at their demo's, they look more like moving photo's, much attention to framing, often not following the rules of third on purpose because it can create an interesting view, but sometimes it looks awkward, they don't invest into audio and they use 1 camera which is a full frame one, their footage is shaky because their full frame dslr lacks stabilisation and they shoot all handheld. Lot's of extreme shallow dof and they grade their footage like they do their photos which can be either a vintage/retro look or with strong color and contrast. And last but not least, they use one not licensed song, don't include voices and make it into some kind of videoclip.

I can't imagine it takes a long time to edit one of their videos, they are easy to shoot and since they do have demo's on their site, there seems to be an audience for it.

Steve Burkett October 29th, 2014 07:13 AM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?

Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel (Post 1866328)
Hi Danny,

Some day, next week, next year, somebody will put a link on to a full length wedding that shows real creative and artistic talent. Not a highly stylised shortform that can't be sustained for more than a few minutes, but a real 'Film'. The sort of thing that is skilled enough for people to want to watch even though they know none of the people involved. Everyone will want to start emulating the style, people will pay big money to have their wedding captured in that way and the producer will travel round the world selling out seminars and selling video tutorials to the wannabes.


If that's the goal, just hire actors and make a movie. Problem is even a well shot, well constructed and stylishly produced Wedding video won't appeal to all. Why are most Wedding based feature films comedies rather than straight dramas.
If I gave people the choice between a film showing a perfect Wedding, a flawless day matched by amazing shots all artistically presented or another Wedding film where everything went wrong, temper tantrums from the Bride, Groom getting drunk, the worst Best Man Speech, a disaster from start to finish, which would the vast majority choose to see. Failure is more entertaining to watch than success.
Shortforms are short because it's hard to maintain that level of production value over a day that contains as much tedium as moments of treasure. A Bride's arrival at the church or venue, supposedly a grand occasion is frequently a rushed affair because she's late. Guests standing around like statues at the reception because they haven't had enough to drink then acting like loons once they've enjoyed all the bar has to offer. Tender moments of grace punctuated by mishaps, jobs worth vendors, a timetable impossible to keep to, stress, worry and moments of boredom. Amidst all that somehow a beautiful Wedding video must emerge that makes the couple forget their day didn't always go to plan.

It's a funny way to earn a living. For the record, I produce a lengthy 90 minute to 120 minute video,a 30 minute version, a trailer and Highlights.

Steven Digges October 29th, 2014 11:12 AM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?

Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel (Post 1866328)
Hi Danny,

It is a shame to me, to see so many not using the opportunity to really be original and creative by building a genuine insight into something as personal as a wedding. Some day, next week, next year, somebody will put a link on to a full length wedding that shows real creative and artistic talent. Not a highly stylised shortform that can't be sustained for more than a few minutes, but a real 'Film'. The sort of thing that is skilled enough for people to want to watch even though they know none of the people involved. Everyone will want to start emulating the style, people will pay big money to have their wedding captured in that way and the producer will travel round the world selling out seminars and selling video tutorials to the wannabes.

Meanwhile we can all sell what works for us and our clients.


Now this is a voice of reason. Roger may have predicted the future. I hate to keep playing the old guy on this forum, but I guess I am. I did my first motivational montage in 1985, buy hey, I was really young. I have done more of them than I can remember, with both stills and video. What I can tell you I know for sure is everything in the image making business is a fad. The pendulum never quits swinging. Currently the fad is "motion". I know most of you guys have a slider, a stabilizer or both. You have to because even if your not big on the film look thing a lot of brides want to see that motion. It will not surprise me at all if one of you guys sits down with a bride next year and she says "I don't want to see all of that sea sick stuff in my video". So much for the slider, the stabilizer, and the crane you invested in. Not knocking it, I have them all too. But I understand they have a life span.

Technology has made it easier than ever for us to emulate Hollywood. The guys that are into the motion thing the most are the DSLR short film only, fan boys Noa described. They will eventually go out of style.

If I had to give up every camera accessory I own except one I would keep my tripod. In the end there will never be a substitute for good, solid, basic shooting skills. If you have that and the talent Roger mentions above to make it a truly compelling story or movie you will never go out of style.

As far as short only or long form everything I have ever shot is about what "the client wants". It is not about what I offer. The question is: Do I have the talent to give the client what they want?


Rob Cantwell October 29th, 2014 02:19 PM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?
lots of interesting views on this topic!
I think with the demographics that i deal with, I wouldn't do a whole lot of business for a five minute clip...no matter how Spielbergesque it was. Most here want everything covered so they want a long form usually for themselves and family, then a shorter version for friends etc. (15 Minutes). I dont mind if it's a formula or template thats followed really, theres only so much creativity and uniqueness that can be achieved anyway and who said that weddings have to be different, i think people would want a record of that event, maybe look back on it (if they're together) 10/20 years later perhaps they're children too.
and I have to admit I've never heard of Ray Roman!!!!

Roger Gunkel October 29th, 2014 02:21 PM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?
Hey Steve D, I'm not sure that you are the old boy of the forum, I must be running you close :-)

As Steve B pointed out, it would be difficult to make a true blockbuster out of a wedding as there are so many variables and people are not actors. There is though a path of least resistance and least involvement which seems to be very popular at the moment. It is not difficult to glean a few minutes of cherry picked footage and make a glossy looking highlight, but the skills involved in keeping a chronicle of the day visually interesting and absorbing are far greater in my opinion.

It involves much more understanding of why how and where the day is structured and the people involved. Rather than using technically cute shots which would be infinitely boring and repetitive on a long production, it is necessary to explore more of the personalities and characters involved and the meaning of some of the words and emotions, rather than just replacing them all with cream and faff. As the producer, you cannot expect people to play act, so you have to use observation and clever thoughtful positioning to capture real reactions and emotion. It's more like working with wildlife, when you just have to know from experience how to get the best out of the situation and your equipment.

Like so many things these days, many come into the wedding market thinking that the latest equipment and a jazzy website is all they need to be successful. Learning, listening and doing is the only way to hone your skills into those of a craftsman. Equipment can be bought, experience and skill can't.

You can also tell your potential market what they are going to get from you, but if you are not listening to what they actually want you might find it a hard road and a reducing market.


Christian Nachtrieb October 29th, 2014 08:29 PM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?
Interesting discussion. I think it's true that there is more than one market to be served in the wedding film industry and people should continue doing what works for them. If you don't like what you're doing, by all means do something different. My advice would be to survey, test, and measure, that's all you can do. You don't want to start offering something in your area and completely change up your business model only to realize the demographic there isn't into something.

We offer a Highlight film only option, as well as a Feature option. Our features are never more than 15 minutes, and below is an example of a recent one. Roger's right, it is easy nowadays for people to cram a lot of beauty shots into a short video, which is why we slave over Feature films. We do a lot of planning, a lot of editing to get them to a place where I feel comfortable charging what we do.

Brett & Kathryn - Brett + Kathryn // Seaside Bohemian Style Wedding at Wequassett Resort Cape Cod

PS critiques welcome!

Gabe Strong October 30th, 2014 12:08 AM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?

Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel (Post 1866318)
I don't disagree with any of the points that you are making Gabe. There is a market for the Cinematic short form, most bride's love it and nobody is being cheated out of something. The whole point of my post and reason for my anger at the attraction of the style to the new wedding videographer, is that there is a wonderful opportunity with every wedding to capture something meaningful and worthwhile. The trouble is that few ever take that opportunity, instead choosing to offer something that gives instantaneous gratification with no substance whatsoever. It's the orgasm with no love, no chance to build something lasting and deep.

Every highlight I look at shows people talking and laughing, but always those words and sounds are removed and replaced with romantic music. Totally ignored, or usually not even realised, is that the lady mouthing her words briefly to the couple while smothered out by a pop hit, has flown 2000 miles to read a carefully thought out and emotionally spoken tribute to the couple, or that the gentleman in the corner has only weeks to live but was determined to be at his granddaughter's wedding. The speeches that are so mercilessly discarded or hacked down have been carefully prepared, spoken from the heart with great trepidation and convey invaluable memories and images of the couple through happy and sad times during their lives. How can they be dismissed as 'boring' when so much thought and emotion has been put into them. They are boring if you are a boring film maker with no imagination. Sure not everybody wants to sit through a couple of hours of video, but that is where the highlights video is king. It is not a replacement for a real film of the day, it is a summary and trailer of the main event, in the same way that a movie trailer is.

So many people bleat about the lack of opportunity for serious film making, yet they are happy to put their head in the sand with a wedding. You cannot make a serious wedding film unless you put yourself out to do a bit of research, find out who these people are, why they and their friends and family are there, and make a story out of this one huge day in their life. Most videographers turn up on the day, capture the bits of surface gloss that they see and chuck it together with some clever technical shots. They are photographers with a video camera who want to take a great shot but have to cope with movement. If you want to really make a name for yourself, make a genuine film of the day full of Characters, Narrative, Emotion and Love. Get people to feel uplifted at the end of it and maybe even chuck in a highlights video for their mates.


And I'm not necessarily disagreeing with any of that. However, one of the major problems I see,
is that making what you would refer to as a 'serious wedding film' is not something you can do....
without spending a lot of time. One of the reasons I am increasingly drawn to 'highlights only'
is the ROI. Making a 'serious wedding film' is a lot of work....and for me to do one, I am
going to charge accordingly. And that tends to be the showstopper right there. For some
reason, I end up seeing a lot of brides who think that 'serious wedding films' are easy, because
you are NOT using slider shots, slow motion, drones and all the other fancy stuff. And so
since you just 'stand there and hit record' and there is 'no art to it' you should be paid $500-$1000
for a 'serious wedding film'. They are a lot of work, because, lets be honest, a lot of weddings
are pretty formulaic and boring. Trying to keep people interested for 20 minutes is a lot
harder than keeping them interested for 3 minutes.......it's why when you start out in narrative
filmmaking, you make shorts BEFORE you make a feature length movie!! I'd rather leave my
clients wanting more....rather than wishing my wedding film was 'over already' because they
were bored. So maybe it's a comment on my own lack of skill. Or maybe it's a comment
on cultural differences (that short American attention span!) Either way, I think there is
a place for both of them. And I don't necessarily think either is better than the other, they
are just different. I do think that maybe the short form is more 'creatively satisfying' which
is why you see so many of the younger 'wannabe filmmakers' making short form. Plus
I find 'short form' to be easier to do as a solo filmmaker. If I am doing 'long form' I want
a lot more coverage....multiple camera angles. I cheat this by myself by running
back and forth between three cameras and switching shots so I don't end up
cutting between three static shots, but it's a ton of work doing things that way.
And I know from experience that there are weddings that are flat out painful to try to make a long form
for.....of course the short form for these weddings is painful too, but short form is less pain because
you only have to make 3-5 minutes of material instead of searching for 25 minutes.

Andrew Maclaurin October 30th, 2014 03:33 AM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?
It all depends on the wedding itself. Some speeches are genuinely uninteresting and go down like a damp squib, most of the stuff people say when a camera is about is nonsense and occasionally embarrassing.
I offer 2 options, a 15-20 minute slightly more cinematic film or a 40-50 minute documentaryish style. Nobody has asked me for a longer film although some ask for the rushes from the ceremony. Another thing is cultural, most weddings here in Madrid are chaotic affairs with little original thought put into them and people often just want to see the good parts, or at least want the video to make their wedding look as good as possible.

Noa Put October 30th, 2014 04:16 AM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?

Another thing is cultural, most weddings here in Madrid are chaotic affairs
I shot a Kurdish wedding 2 years ago, that was pure chaos, no speeches, everyone standing around me shooting with their mobilephones and only dancing all evening long. They wanted a looooong version only :)

Roger Gunkel October 30th, 2014 04:33 AM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?
I'm sure that there are considerable cultural differences that influence the style of wedding video and I think that the highlight/shortform is probably most popular in the US because that's what most companies offer, therefore what most people expect.

Over 30 years, I have never promoted highlights, shortform or longform, just 'Wedding Video'. The enquiries that I get that are not based on recommendation, are invariably from couples who want their whole day captured. I have often been asked how long the finished video will be and the response is always positive when I tell them. I also tell them that they can have a shorter version if they wish, but it is never taken up for some reason. They always want the whole service and speeches, so that is what they get.

I am always interested when I read on here that videographers supply a whole day video that is 30 minutes long. Church services alone are at least that long so the whole day can only be selected highlights of speeches and ceremony. I delivered a wedding a few weeks ago that had a service of 45 minutes and speeches of 40 minutes, even then the bride phoned me up to make sure I left nothing out. They even asked if they could have any extra footage that I may have left out. I find that quite often which makes me wonder where the big highlights only market is in the UK.

Many people that I book have previously seen no wedding video at all and have no real idea what wedding video is. They seem pleasantly surprised when they discover a full length documentary style but less interested in a short version. That suggests to me that those that want short form will book it, because they have seen it somewhere, those that don't may have nothing in many cases. I suppose you reap what you sow, so if you only promote one style, that is all you will get, so if you only promote highlights, that is what you will book. You could of course argue the same in reverse, but I haven't actually found that in my part of the country. I have always tried to cast my net wide, but usually catch the same sort of fish.

I have concluded that there are two types of potential wedding video client, those that want a quick, stylish, pacey bit of fun and those that want a documentary record of their day. Some may want both, but generally they are different requirements.

What is also interesting is that so many couples take it for granted that the photographer will capture hundreds, sometimes thousands of photos, casual shots of everyone, formal groups, romantic shots, shots throughout the speeches and the first dance, table decorations, the dress, the list goes on and on. Alongside this, so many videographers seem to feel that a few minutes of video with overdubbed sound and music is sufficient, when the biggest real difference between video and photos is the ability to capture the sound and action of the day. Someone please tell me what is the point of supplying a couple with photos of the speeches, but a video with most of the speeches taken out and covered with music? Is it no wonder that the video takes no more than about 10% of the potential market if that is all it offers?


Andrew Maclaurin October 30th, 2014 06:10 AM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?
The point about the speeches is a good one. I leave personal speeches in the edit or at least as extras on the dvd. Here many weddings are still in catholic churches and the majority of the speeches are really readings from the bible. Most couples find it boring and make the point that they don't want to have all this in the video nor do they want most of the stuff the priest spouts about families and how woman was made for man ( as opposed man being made for man, woman for woman and various other options!) and all that. None of it is very personal and is really just the same lecture they'd give to any couple. When I see the footage I always see the couples just switching off, looking bored or occasionally frowning. Sometimes I get to film what I call 'happy catholic weddings' where the priest actually knows the couple and they go to church regularly and they all like singing together etc. In those cases I do a longer montage using almost all the readings, the personal speeches by the priest, the music etc.
Civil weddings are often the most interesting as they can be personalised a lot more. They are also a lot shorter. There are parts that everyone wants cut out and that is the 2-3 minutes reading the law which explains how a civil marriage should work ( equal rights etc).
To get to the point, if it is personal people seem to want it in the final cut, if it's religious dogma or civil law then they don't.

Chris Harding October 30th, 2014 06:14 AM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?
Hey Roger

I'm on your side of course as we do offer very similar packages. There is no easy answer to your question of course but I would suspect that the wedding film maker was previously a photographer in most cases and has discovered "hey, I can shoot video on this camera" If you look carefully at short form you can see a definite photographer style as opposed to a motion picture style. The opening bridal prep shots are normally a dead giveaway as they have static objects with panning/ slider shots used on them. I used to be (and still am) a photographer before video became practical and found I had a huge amount to learn about making motion pictures so I made sure my videos were simply not glorified slideshows but featured people, action and most importantly audio rather than a romantic song with images set to it. Then again I shot all my photos on 220 roll film and my Mamiya's definitely couldn't shoot video!!

I'm not saying the wedding film style is wrong by any means ..all we have is a new choice for brides that simply want the wedding covered with images (moving or static) set to music. Sure some bride absolutely love the style so let's be thankful that we have people that can supply it and then others prefer to have their wedding covered as we feel it should be with full audio and traditional motion picture coverage.

Our job is to provide what the bride wants not want we think she wants and as long as we do that then both styles have a place in the industry


Noa Put October 30th, 2014 06:21 AM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?

Our job is to provide what the bride wants not want we think she wants
A part of a famous quote from someone that is not around anymore but his approach did pay off and it does give something to think about when we provide a service for our client.

The quote:

A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.

Peter Rush October 30th, 2014 06:26 AM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?
This leads me to the question 'How do you put together your highlights sequence?' Do you string it out in a linear fashion or play around with the timing? How much of the ceremony and speeches do you include? Do you always interview the bride and groom in striving for that 'audio gold' moment?

Steve Bleasdale October 30th, 2014 07:21 AM

Re: Any one only offering highlights?

Originally Posted by Robert Benda (Post 1866271)
Steve, I do both (sort of). Since I put all my footage in order, synched, as part of my process to make the shorter 15 minute video anyway, and that is what sells us, I make both the 15 minute video and the full length video. They get both the soppy bits and the full speeches.

+10 Robert

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