What My Friends Teach Me

A couple of posts ago, I talked about the Wedding and Event Videographers Association (WEVA) Expo that I attended two weeks ago in Orlando. One of the highlights was meeting with members of the Video University forum. VU as we call it is a forum devoted to professional wedding and event videography. While I have met some of the attendees, most were people who I only knew online. It really was a pleasure to put faces to names. What is most important though is the wealth of knowledge in this group. Some of the top videographers in the world are regulars on the forum. And no one looks down on a newcomer. When I started out VU was an invaluable resource and now as an experienced professional I am still learning. As a group we are very willing to share techniques and business methods. There are few “trade secrets”. This makes us all better.

Video University is not the only online forum devoted to wedding videography. There is also WedFact, a forum that concentrates on artistic wedding filmmaking. While I spend more time on VU, I enjoy WedFact too.

Then there are the local videographer associations. Here is the Philadelphia area it is the Greater Philadelphia Videographers Association (GPVA). As a group GPVA has a lot of talent. Almost every year there are members winning national awards such a the WEVA Creative Excellence Award or being named to the EventDV 25 list of top videographers worldwide. And like VU, GPVA members share and benefit as a result.

I never want to stop learning and improving my craft. Online forums and professional videographers associations are a wonderful way to keep on top.

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Timeshifting The Wedding Story

Until this year our short form (Wedding Story) videos were edited in a linear fashion. That is, that the narrative proceeded from pre-ceremony, through the ceremony and concluded with the reception. While we produced some very good wedding stories this way, I was dissatisfied with the results. The entire idea of the Wedding Story is to capture the emotion and feeling of the day in an artistic and and dramatic manner. The highlight of the wedding is usually the vows. The problem is that this occurs early in the narrative. Wouldn’t it be nice to conclude with the vows (definitely a happily ever after moment).

There is no rule in storytelling where you have to start at the beginning and end at the end. A good example are stories told as flashbacks. The narrator is who ties everything together. In a flashback narrative it is acceptable to tell the story in a non-linear manner as there is a device to tie everything together and keep it coherent.

So what we do is to evaluate each project. Some will be better when edited in a linear timeline. Others will tell the story better when time shifted. Here are two examples. The first is uses a linear time line. Jason and Darlene’s wedding story starts with the bride and groom getting ready. It then proceeds to their first meeting, and then to the ceremony. After this we see the entry of the bride and groom, the first dance, toasts, parent dances, a montage of more dancing, and concluding with a recap of the day. The story is told in about 25 minutes.

Jason and Darlene's Philadelphia wedding video

Jason & Darlene - Click to Play

Below is an example of a time shift edit. Amber and Dan’s wedding starts with the bride and groom getting ready followed by the pre-ceremony photo session. But interspersed are voice overs by the rabbi and father of the bride recorded at different times of the day. Part of the ceremony is shown but this is interrupted by the first dance. During the dance we hear the voices of the matron of honor and best man. The first dance flows into the parent dance where we again hear the father of the bride (from his toast) and ends with the toast itself. We then return to the ceremony for the vows, rings, the kiddush cup and breaking of the glass (all important parts of a Jewish wedding). The father of the bride’s voice reappears right at the end providing a satisfying emotional conclusion. The length of Amber and Dan’s wedding story is only half as long as Jason and Darlene (13 minutes) but is stronger emotionally proving that less can be more.

Amber and Dan's Philadelphia wedding video

Amber & Dan - Click to Play

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Quoted in Sorenson Media Press Release

We were quoted by Sorenson Media this week in their press release for the Wedding and Event Videographers Association Expo. Sorenson Squeeze is a video encoder that we use for all of our web and iPod video.

Whenever I do a wedding, I put a trailer on my Web site and traffic increases. Its very important for trailers to look good, said wedding videographer Alan Robinson, owner of Bonnie Blink Productions in West Chester, Penn. I use Sorenson Squeeze to create top quality Flash video for my Web site. Several colleagues have commented on how good my Web video looks and I recommend Sorenson Squeeze to them.

Here is the link:

Wedding and Event Videographers Capture Top Quality Encoding, Workflow Solutions from Sorenson Media

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