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Wedding Video Editing and Final Product Question

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Kevin LaBonty
Wedding Video Editing and Final Product Question
on Oct 19, 2008 at 6:54:30 pm

I have been a wedding photographer for the past two years and moved into videography. Shot my first wedding yesterday. So here are a few questions:

1) Do you deliver a long and a short version of the wedding? The short being a 50 minute chronology of the day that I would call the main deliverable? Do you also deliver the entire day edited or just the typical 50 minute "final"?

2) Formal photo's where to put them? During the photographer shoot I captured video. Do you have a "bridal and formal photo section" in the video or do you place clips of them throughout the video?

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Mark Suszko
Re: Wedding Video Editing and Final Product Question
on Oct 19, 2008 at 8:44:29 pm

It boils down to whatever they ask for and you negotiate. Just be sure it's understood and on paper before the event. It is going to cost more to shoot a lot of wall to wall coverage and then edit it down, than to "edit in camera" and just hand off a tape or disk of that at the conclusion of the evening or the next day, budget accordingly.

Some brides and especially the moms, will want a copy of every last second, not for immediate use, but as an archive for when Aunte Gertrude passes away or whatever. Others like to have the entire receiving line recorded somewhere, as a way of putting faces to names of people you don't know, to "take attendance" for thank-you notes later, etc. but this is usually not a highlight of a wedding tape. A LOT of the parents paying for the catering asked me to take shots of the reception room, tables, and food before and during the reception, whether for accounting purposes, possible legal documentation, or what, I dunno, but they really insisted on it. Often the M.O.B. takes a lot of credit and pride for how this part comes off, so neglect the coverage at your peril; since it is short-lived, only photos will preserve it. But would it make the final short version edit, likely no.

Some folks insist on the entire service word for word, and the customer is always right. Others want the best highlights compressed into a fast montage of about 15-20 minutes. Remember, while TV programs are called one hour shows, they actually are closer to 43 some minutes after commercials and etc. so for audience of short attention span, less is more.

Regarding formal photos, one of my favorite tricks was to tape a lot of the post-wedding formal stills being shot, then, wherever the still guy hit his strobe flash, do a white transition to a scan of the stills in post, with a slight pan-and-zoom move on them. This is a good visual section to lay down some voice-overs from the family members and wedding party wishing them well or commenting on how pretty a couple they are, etc.

Putting the formal stills in front before the ceremony I think is a spoiler to the story. Either put them in here and there during the whole thing, like chapter markers, or add them all afterwards as if they were an end credit sequence. Maybe run a crawl of names from the guest list below it, or text of their vows, or some appropriate verses or poems.

That's my opinion, anyhow.

And we didn't even get into any special added bonus stuff like music video montage mixes or the popular montage of stills from the bride and groom growing up, etc.

So I would say the optimal deal, since you're going to edit, with their permission, is to do a shorter, tighter edit, then offer all the raw footage on a long-play DVD as "added value" for the completists in the family. Add in a coupon with the raw footage that says for a one-year anniversary you'll cut a different version of the footage, or a music vid, for a slight discount, maybe adding voice-over interview comments from the bride an d groom a year later, etc. or whatever.

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Chris Bryan
Re: Wedding Video Editing and Final Product Question
on Oct 23, 2008 at 11:39:32 pm

I typically give brides an hour long edited DVD. Generally about half an hour of the final product is the service. Besides cutting out long pauses I never edit the service unless specifically asked to. I shoot the ceremonies with two cameras and cut back and forth between a wide shot and a closeup.

The other thirty minutes of the DVD are comprised of footage of reception (entrance, toasts, first dance, cake cutting, bouquet, garter etc.), getting ready, and photos.

Personally I think you are coming at the footage of the photography from a photographer's point of view, I typically don't consider who's in what picture and just work out the footage so that it flows nicely with some nice music. While the photographer is taking pictures of groups of people I like to get footage of people standing behind the photographer watching. Those people are always smiling and laughing and I can't tell you how many times I've caught the father of the bride wiping away a tear while watching his daughter.

Also, if you take the advice from above, you don't have to wait for a camera flash to cut to the photos, you can "create" a flash effect anytime you want using a dip to color dissolve in FCP.

I like to cap the DVDs with a 3-4 minute highlight section that replays what I think are the best moments from the wedding.

They can have the raw footage if they want but I've only ever had one bride ask for it.

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