Today’s film tells a standard, light-hearted story of two high school sweethearts, but with some fresh twists. Obviously we love it when couples write notes to each other and read them on camera. When I start editing a highlight film where that’s the case, I almost always start with those clips somewhere early in the timeline. My justification is that those moments in real time were happening earlier in the day anyway, but more importantly it’s one of the best ways to immediately engage with the couple on an intimate, personal level. I stand by that reasoning. However, because this couple’s history dates back to their high school years, they’ve got a rich community of family and friends that’s maybe a little more intertwined in their love story than most wedding parties would be. Thanks to those anecdotes and the couple’s goofiness, I felt like I got to know them pretty well without directly hearing from them. BUT THEN. When we do finally hear the couple sharing their heart in the third act, it just ramps up the intimacy even more. Thanks, the Cinematic Age, for not being afraid to mix things up from the norm.
Video courtesy of The Cinematic Age
Music: “In the Morning (with Oohs & Ahhs) – Instrumental” by VOWS licensed via Musicbed
Gear: GH4 and Zeiss glassRead More »
Because the summer is going by all-too-fast, we’re taking a little break from weddings today just to watch something fun. Nick Collingwood shot this footage all on Super 8 film at last year’s Jazz Age Lawn Festival in New York. Even though Kodak didn’t release Super 8 film until 1965, you’ve got to admit this medium is an uncanny fit for this event. There’s something so magical and captivating about this video to me. There is this intangible quality that tells you it’s obviously not the 1920s, but it doesn’t look like 2015 either. Go ahead and pour yourself a Highball and enjoy.
Video by Nick Collingwood Vintage
Music used from the YouTube audio library.Read More »
This is the perfect video to balance with Tuesday’s post. Last time we saw how you shouldn’t be afraid to slow things down because a slow paced film can just as effectively connect you to a location and a couple as a fast paced one. But what if the bride and groom come from a long line of adventure seekers and they have a destination wedding complete with all kinds of excursions with their friends? Could long takes be effective? Maybe. Would they be the most effective technique? I would argue no. In today’s film there is an energy to its editing style that enhances the adventure-seeking personalities of the couple and the vibrancy of Guatemala. The antithesis I was arguing against on Tuesday was an all-too-prevalent style that resorts to quick cutting out of laziness. Or maybe more specifically, a style that allows for lazy shooting because so many more shots become usable when you’re only going to show 15 frames of them. I hope it goes without saying that today’s post is anything but lazy. In fact it is the opposite of lazy filmmaking. The care that went into this film is truly remarkable. I mean that sound design. Holy smokes. And I’m not just talking about the voice over (but for real, that voice over! Holy smokes!). Take an extra three minutes and give this film a second listen. It’s worth it.
One other quick thing. Of course we always want to strive for excellence in our work, but life (ie weddings) doesn’t happen in a vacuum (ie on a set). We’ve got to stay humble enough to sometimes get the best shots we can get with what the circumstances give us. Last month I landed in Jamaica only to discover the threading on the camera I had rented did not match screws on my quick release plate. I probably gave myself a concussion from the face palms. So instead of using my fancy shmancy $1000+ fluid head tripod, I used an aluminum one I borrowed from a local that probably cost $10. And you know what? It was fine. I got some great stuff. I love that this film includes bits and pieces from GoPros and iPhones. Again, the quicker editing pace serves the story. Being able to sprinkle those shots in amongst the gorgeous 1DX mk II shots enables the filmmaker’s to add an element of authentic personality to the film. All in all a beautiful little highlight. Thanks for the submission. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a voice over to go re-listen to.
Video courtesy of Bride Film
Music licensed via MarmosetRead More »
Ahh the long take. In narrative filmmaking many of the great directors have masterfully employed this technique to great effect. Why don’t we see it more in wedding filmmaking? For one thing, it takes ton of skill. Anyone can take 8+ hours of footage from a wedding day and edit them down to 3 minutes by quickly cutting from shot to shot. It’s easy to pitch face-paced videos as energetic and fun. However, it takes real cojones to tell the audience to slow down and take it all in. I love how these shots allow little moments to develop at their own pace. Take the opening where the couple ends their conversation with a kiss. Or take the groom protecting the bride from a downpour of rice. Each of those moments could have been shown in quick, 2 second edits: kiss CUT rice! But there’s something more deeply satisfying about watching it all play out in “real” time. Did you feel like you were missing anything by only seeing 10 shots in the first 2 1/2 minutes? I sure didn’t. This video proves it’s possible to genuinely connect the audience to people and to places without cramming a million edits down their throat. Fantastic job.
Video courtesy of El Zarrio FilmsRead More »
A lot of elements can be that icing on the cake of an awesome wedding video. It’s the stuff that just can’t be faked. Sometimes it’s the stunning location or maybe it’s a gorgeous floral/decor design. In this case, you’ve got a groom who happens to be an extremely gifted story teller. That’s an obvious choice to provide a great backbone to the edit, but I want to point out the filmmaker’s storytelling skills as well. Notice how every shot has its buddy. Every little scene is established and then well covered before moving on. This gives a real feeling of purpose to the edit. All of the information is communicated effectively without turning so formulaic that you lose the tone and emotion of the couple and their day. One such little scene that I want to point out is the couple driving away. From experience I know that the quintessential “couple driving away” shot is almost impossible to get if you don’t set something up before hand. The real moment usually doesn’t happen at a great time or place for video and the couple and their families are starting to transition from the dreaminess of the wedding day to the reality of a marriage. That being said, the driving away motif is still an iconic wedding moment so it’s nice to see the care that went in to setting up that scene. The drone shot with the car driving away is one of the best uses of a drone I’ve seen in a while.
Video courtesy of Epic Studios
Music: A mashup of James Newton Howard and Han Zimmer’s The Dark Knight and Inception scores. Jk. “Honor” by Ryan Taubert licensed via Musicbed.
Gear:Read More »
Cameras – Sony a7S II (The a7S II’s 4k ability definitely helps increase your ability to get coverage. Being able jump from a wide shot to something tighter feels like a whole new lens length), Canon C100, Canon 5D mk III
Lenses – Canon 70-200, Canon 24-70, Canon 50mm, Sigma 35mm, Canon 100mm
This film is really the total package and there are several things about which I could ramble on (engaging shot composition, great pacing, fantastic use of the vows to connect us to the couple), but I want to take this opportunity to talk about something that I don’t go into detail about very often: color grading. The colors in this film are simply on point. They are warm and rich without being heavy handed. Building consistency in your film’s colors from shot to shot always strengthens your storytelling. A good color grade can take a video from looking amatuerish to professional. There are too many great resources out there from Da Vinci to Speedegrade to Filmconvert (what this filmmaker used) for you to not have great looking colors in your films. It may take investing some time to become proficient (again tons of great, free resources on the tutorial side of things), but the final product will be well worth the effort.
Video courtesy of Tim Kang
Camera: Samsung NX 1Read More »
I’m back, baby! After doing some work in the Caribbean, I’m ready to get back into the swing of things here at home, but I’m definitely missing the summer sun and island vibes. This short elopement highlight did just the trick for me. How’s your summer going? I hope between wediting (Does anyone else call it that? No? Just me? K.) you’re taking some time to enjoy the season with your family. Life’s too short, mon.
Video courtesy of Seth Dunlap
Music: “Stars” by Secret Nation licensed via MusicbedRead More »
Good gear can never fully compensate for bad filmmaking. But man, when you put a high quality camera in the hands of an expert, amazing things can happen. It’s easy to tell from this footage that some of these shots were under some pretty harsh light. And yet (like I said, in the hands of experts) nothing is ever overexposed. There is so much detail in these vibrant shots. Just watch it and enjoy.
My internet access is a little up in the air over this next week so we’ll see how posting goes. If you don’t hear from me, keep the submissions coming and I’ll see you guys in August!
Video courtesy of Untitled Images
Music licensed via Audio NetworkRead More »
I’m getting ready to be out of the country for a few days so I don’t have a ton of time to write much, but honestly, this film speaks for itself. A few quick things jumped out at me though: 1) I love the dreamy tone the opening dance footage gives this film. (Quick sound design side note: higher frequencies tend to not travel as far as low frequencies. So if you take an audio clip and pull down the higher frequencies in your EQ, it will sound further away.) Of course normally you wouldn’t want your audio to sound like it’s far away, but in those opening shots that effect totally enhances the dream-like setting. 2) I love the playfulness of the camera. There is so much energy in some of those b-roll shots that is the perfect balance to the established vow angles. It’s never sloppy or lazy, but rather it’s as if the camera is constantly looking for the next exciting thing to see. At times it had a very Terrance Malick feel to me. Thanks Riccardo for the submission. Fantastic as always.
Video courtesy of Kreativ Wedding
Music: “Borealis” by Jo Blankenburg licensed via MusicbedRead More »
Filmmaking. Funny how “film” is right there at the beginning of that word and yet we hardly ever actually touch the stuff. Sure it’s seen a resurgence in wedding filmmaking in the last few years in a hip, vintage kind of way, but most of the time the film footage is sprinkled throughout the video like an aesthetic seasoning. The “real” shots of the video are always digital. And of course they should be. Put your nostalgia aside for a moment and admit with me that the images digital cinema cameras capture today are of a higher quality than film (especially the 8 and 16 mm varieties used by the large majority of wedding filmmakers who shoot on film). That being said, the folks at Living Cinema are doing it right. They are not simply participating in a fad. This is true, honest-to-goodness filmmaking. The exposure, the synced sound, it’s all executed to perfection. Not to mention the Rainbow Room is absolutely the perfect setting for this medium. The 16 mm Kodak brings out that glamorous, time-gone-by tone so well. Enjoy it.
Video courtesy of Living Cinema
Music: That’s right, folks. “When I’m With You” by Ben Rector licensed via MusicbedRead More »