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What to do with dancing wedding footage?

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Linda O'ConnellWhat to do with dancing wedding footage?
by on Oct 10, 2013 at 1:09:41 am

I am a newer wedding videographer..(4 years or so) in the past I have shot the ceremony and toasts and then I am done. Lately, I have been asked to stay longer to get everyone dancing/having a good time. However, what do I do with that footage? I have small segments of people dancing the chicken dance, hokey pokey, the YMCA... Do I take out the audio and use a different song to make it sound less choppy? Or is the average wedding videographer leaving it as is with just different songs coming in and out during the dance? What are others doing with all that footage? Thanks!

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Mark SuszkoRe: What to do with dancing wedding footage?
by on Oct 10, 2013 at 3:29:28 pm

From a purely legal perspective, if you are doing this video for money, you're in violation of copyright if you leave in the original music without clearances and paying royalties. You don't have to like it, but that's the law as it is today.

That said, most of the low-end wedding guys just roll the dice and hope not to get sued, and montage the dance footage with the existing nat sound. Before the web, wedding editors sought safety in their relative obscurity; you don't have that protection today. Everything ends up on youtube at some point, and bots will quickly find music that wasn't paid for. What happens after that could be nothing much... or could end up in court. If you put scenes on your own web page "reel", better use cleared music only. That's the safest policy for you.

Some clients will have a problem about subbing the music, or shortening the dance footage by montaging it. There's no perfect answer to this, but if it was me, I would just give them a dub of the raw dancing footage along with the master cut, using only legally-cleared music. Bets policy is to talk thru this issue with the clients before the contracts are signed and before you shoot a frame. See if they are all right with you substituting cleared music before this becomes an issue.

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Linda O'ConnellRe: What to do with dancing wedding footage?
by on Oct 10, 2013 at 7:06:43 pm

Thanks I am aware of the legality of it.. I was just wondering what are people doing to make it look decent. I was thinking about putting all the slow songs together as one montage and fast as a different montage and use royalty free music as the background. I didn't know how that would look with people doing the chicken dance, the hokey pokey etc.
Any ideas? What are others doing?

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Mark SuszkoRe: What to do with dancing wedding footage?
by on Oct 10, 2013 at 7:36:07 pm

No reason you can't slow down some of the fast dancing parts and mix them into the slow dancing.

That's fast dancing, slowed down. The music ties it together.

You might even add some spoken word stuff over it, maybe an interview or conversation between the couple, taken at the rehearsal. Or the "best wishes" messages from the guests.

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Peter GroomRe: What to do with dancing wedding footage?
by on Oct 15, 2013 at 1:01:44 pm

I dont know where youre from, but here in the UK we have an alternative.
Not fashionable, or even fitting with the worlds download for free culture, but we BUY a license.
Is say we buy, but should have said we "can buy" a license, as I fully appreciate that lots of people operating in this type of arena will just take their chance as previously stated.
A Limited manufacture license from the MCPS/PRS covers weddings programmes up to a defined number of minutes up to a certain amount of copies, before you go up into the next price bracket.
Legal problem solved.
Now all thats to decide is what yo do with the footage.
Personally I shoot the 1st dance and then about 20 mins of partying, cand cut this down to 6 or 7 mins across a couple or three tracks. Thats enough to show the partying into the night........

Post Production Dubbing Mixer

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Mark SuszkoRe: What to do with dancing wedding footage?
by on Oct 15, 2013 at 2:15:24 pm

I have envied the setup the Australians use, but in the U.S. large corporations like Disney and Sony (and others) have tied-up the I.P. and rights issues into a mess for the small time shooter, thru extensive lobbying. Unless a whole LOT of us complain to our congresspeople, I don't expect it to improve any time soon.

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Mike CohenRe: What to do with dancing wedding footage?
by on Jan 30, 2014 at 10:17:05 pm

Does all of this only apply if the wedding video was done as work for hire?
If your Uncle Frank records the wedding on his phone and edits it in iMovie, retaining the natural sound music, and of course posts the edit to YouTube, what are the ramification? I suppose a record company could sue Uncle Frank.

Mike Cohen

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