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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Beyond Wedding Video

“Beyond Wedding Video . . ” This is the new lead phrase on our home page. What do we mean by this? Wedding videography has seen enormous changes in the past decade. In the 90s most videographers did little more than record the events of the day. Sadly enough, the result was often a long boring video that was watched once or twice and then put away in a drawer. To many videographers still deliver nothing more. For couples who have seen “old school” videos, there seems little reason to spend money on something that they don’t value.

We along with other progressive studios are taking a different approach. To produce short beautifully crafted mini-movies of the wedding day. The emphasis is on feeling, emotion and beauty. It is all done in the edit. We match words and music for emotional impact. Great care is taken in the look and sound of the film. The challenge is to find and draw out the bride and groom’s story.

It wasn’t uncommon a few years ago to load wedding videos with effects. We don’t like to use any effect unless it enhances the story. So you will see almost no fancy transitions in our work, perhaps an occasional blur or cross dissolve but mostly straight cuts. I always say that if it doesn’t look good with a simple cut, then it hasn’t been edited correctly. We do use slow motion occasionally, but only a little and only if it enhances the story. Our titles are simple white on black as fancy titling is nothing more that eye candy.

Of course every client gets a “documentary style” edit of the ceremony and reception. That way there will be a complete record of the day. But the centerpiece is always the Wedding Story, because it is there that the real meaning of of the day will be preserved.

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