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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old November 3rd, 2014, 06:19 PM   #1
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Please review my first wedding film!

Hi everyone,

I recently shot my first few weddings and have been busy editing. I've just completed the first film, and would love to get your feedback. Please be honest with your feedback (remembering it's my first ever wedding), as the only way I can progress is to learn from others who are more experienced.

I've kept video private as couple are yet to see it (allowing changes if needed), so please use the password 'dvinfo' to watch on Vimeo.

Look forward to your feedback!


Last edited by Mitch Phillips; November 3rd, 2014 at 06:22 PM. Reason: Spelling error
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Old November 3rd, 2014, 08:00 PM   #2
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Re: Please review my first wedding film!

Thanks for posting, Mitch. You've come to the right place as the lessons here are invaluable. You're well on your way for a first video.

General suggestion about the coloring: I'd edge it a step or two away from the blue side of the RGB spectrum. It doesn't appear to be as much a white balance question (the whites are true) as a very slight color correction. This might be the look you're going after. Just seems a step on the cool side for my tastes.
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Old November 4th, 2014, 02:53 AM   #3
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Re: Please review my first wedding film!

I think it looked good, especially if this is your first wedding ever, the audio was clear and that's something not many starters get right. From the looks of it you are shooting with a full frame camera (5dII?) and I see you struggling with focus all over the film, especially the ceremony there were several shots which looked out of focus. Something you also do often is have a shot that is out of focus and then slowly turn the focus ring to get it in focus but just before or just at the moment it gets into focus you switch to another shot, here I would suggest to wait about a second after it gets into focus before you switch.

Shooting with such tine dof can nicely separate your subject from the background but you should use it with care, not every single shot needs to have 1 cm in focus, especially not with moving subjects. I also found the images very soft in general, something I would associate with first generation video dslr's, but that would be a matter of taste as it does produce softer skintones and can make a bride look nicer then she actually is :)
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Old November 4th, 2014, 04:31 AM   #4
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Re: Please review my first wedding film!

Hi Mitch, I hope you are looking for comment rather than praise, and as this is your first wedding I would like to make it absolutely clear that the style of DSLR, music based shortform video is something that I don't like. So please disregard my comments completely if you wish.

I would assume from your style of shooting that you have a photographic background, by the framing that you use and your incredibly repetitive use of shallow DOF. On the positive side, unusually for me, I like the structure of your video and a good use of the actual audio from the day, rather than just simply removing it all. What I don't like is that almost every shot starts out of focus and ends with just the immediate subject in focus. I find that very irritating and tiring to watch. For me, a wedding is about the people interacting, the fun, the setting and the emotion. In your video, the setting looks very picturesque, but apart from the lovely shot where they are looking over the lake towards the end, almost everything in the background is permanently out of focus.

Shallow depth of field should be used sparingly to isolate the subject and enhance the moment. With a wedding video, much of the interest can be what is going on around the couple not just the couple themselves. You show details on a table with the background blurred, but what about the whole table in focus to show how it has been arranged and the painstaking decoration of the whole room. Seeing all the guests around the B&G responding to them during the dance, is as important as the dance itself, rather than all the guests out of focus.

The couple will want to see their wedding day, not just themselves, so personalities and characters are important. You have gone further than most shortform videographers by showing the bridesmaids etc individually, and I really like that intimate feel.

It is very easy when you are new to wedding video, to shoot a number of short clips of important parts, to cobble together a highlights music based video. If that is the style you want to continue with, then fine, but if clients want perhaps all of their ceremony and speeches recorded, then you will find that impossible to do using the type of focus and shot that you are using. A single DSLR will be the most unforgiving and difficult type of camera to use, being ideal for stills but not for video. You may want to consider adding a video camera to your equipment to easily maintain focus on moving subjects and much deeper dof for overall shots. I would also try to shoot everything with a tripod, as although it may not be so convenient, the difference in stability is immediately noticeable. It is also far better than trying to stabilise at the post production stage. Shooting without a tripod is quite common with those coming from a photographic background.

So overall an interesting start with some good ideas, shoes, individuals, audio etc, but go easy on the focus and think about what the couple would like to see.

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Old November 4th, 2014, 03:15 PM   #5
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Re: Please review my first wedding film!

Hi guys,

Thank you for your opinions and feedback, very much appreciated!

Whilst not from a photography background (just a hobby rather than professional), I must say I do like the shallower DOF look on video, rather than everything being in focus. In saying that, I have realised how much of a skill it is to nail focus, so need to compromise on this aspect of shooting.

As for format, I did this wedding for free and positioned the format that I'd be delivering (longer highlights if you will), and that's what I wanted to achieve initially. I don't have the amount of gear needed to capture full ceremony and speeches in a way that would make for compelling viewing. As I'm doing these films to learn and also generate enquiries, I wanted to provide a format that digestible to potential clients.

Overall on the feedback, I think collectively you've hit the nail on the head with a few key points being:

- Focus: no need to shoot so shallow in well-lit situations, because I risk being out of focus on important shots. Nothing wrong with having background in focus and using the shallow DOF sparingly for impact. I must admit that as I was using a 70-200 on my 6D with a Kamerar viewfinder for outdoor shooting, I got in BIG trouble for missing te screw to a second baseplate. This meant that whilst I had a baseplate connection lens to monopod, I had to hold the viewfinder the whole time, rather than benefiting from it connecting magnetically. This meant a lot of messing around andossed focus moments. SO frustrating!

- Rack focus: used far too much throughout, which loses impact and is quite distracting to watch. As Roger said, use it sparingly for impact. May remove some of the shots from reception portion as it was definitely overused there.

- Stabilisation: looking to get a proper B Cam (my current B Cam is my old 550D, which is simply unusual in even slightly low light) and have this on a tripod to capture speeches in full/be another ceremony angle. Nothing beats Benro monopod for flexibility, but need locked off shots for certain ceremony and speeches.

Overall, first wedding was a great learning experience and by doing it for free, it gave me the freedom to get started. Some aspects worked well, but lots of others need work, and I look forward to improving with each wedding!
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Old November 4th, 2014, 04:10 PM   #6
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Re: Please review my first wedding film!

HI Mitch,

I agree that this is a really great first wedding. A couple thoughts:

The color balance doesn't match between shots. It's close, but the outdoor stuff is definitely more blue than indoor.

During the opening speech you have some cutaways to things like pillows. I understand why you did it (I think the speaker said something about bed/sleep or something), but I think that it took me out of the speech because it felt random. If you connected a sequence together on top of the speech I think it would flow better or you can put reaction shots from guest there.

I really like how you showed off the venue. You had some really great shots to show where they were. I really liked the shot of them leaving the ceremony.

I'm curious how you picked the music. If you ever need to use slow motion to fill a shot and it's only shot at 24fps you can use optical flow to help blend frames (if you use FCP X). It's invaluable.

I really think this is a great first wedding. The bride/groom will love it.
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Old November 4th, 2014, 05:16 PM   #7
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Re: Please review my first wedding film!

Thanks so much for the feedback Daniel, and glad you enjoyed it!

Will definitely look into the colour balance, as you're the second person to mention it. Will look to soften the blue in the outdoor shots to match indoor footage more closer.

The feedback on the opening sequence is really good, and makes total sense. I may drop the pillow shot to show more of bride speaking, or use other shots as a sequence for the outdoor setting.

In terms of music, it actually worked well that the opening and closing tunes are the couples favourite songs. I don't want to get into the habit of using B&G's favourites, as they need to work well with the footage and copyright-free moving forward. Will be an interesting one to assess once editing of the second free wedding I shot has begun.

Optical flow is a great tip and something I used a lot. Apart from the bridal party portraits and sunglasses sequence (shot at 50fps) everything else was 24fps meaning I needed to smooth out footage if slowing it down.

Thanks again for feedback, it's greatly appreciated!
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