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Editing Inspiration

June 2, 2011

Editing weddings are a funny business. Does more of your inspiration come as you record the various events (Pre-ceremony (getting ready), Ceremony, Post-ceremony (picture taking), Reception) or do you shoot with as many cameras as possible (4+) and then have all of your creativity come to life during editing? Is it even an Either/Or situation?

During my last wedding shoot I used 3 cameras; 2 Canon GL2 and a Canon 60D (the color from the 60D is amazing, did I mention that?) That leaves a lot of footage to go over and compile and edit into something that the customer likes. I’m not complaining, mind you, this is fun for me.

The wedding I shot prior to that I used a 1 GL2 and 1 Powershot SX20. Less footage so it required much more creativity to put together, especially when you consider lost shots when both cameras are moving at the same time. I didn’t have an assistant so my wife “volunteered” to help me shoot using the Powershot. She did a great job and she had to deal with the rickety tripod (since been replaced)! The thing about shooting any event is to have one steady camera and a few roaming cameras. When moving the roaming cameras the steady cam is your main camera so that you never miss any action. Trouble happens when everyone wants to be a roamer including the steady cam! Well, now you’ve got that spot to fill.

Then there is the imagination needed to transform an event into something that will bring a smile to everyone’s face. Shooting a wedding has it’s challenges but if you were just handing out raw footage it wouldn’t be so bad. Having to go back and edit it, keeping  essence of the moments while also elevating it to provided that “WOW!” factor is what separates the visionary from the mere cameraman for hire. ‘Gotta make ’em cry…’ is my motto but you want to do that without falling back to the same techniques on each video.

But that leads to an additional question? How do you leave your signature in your edit without it feeling like the same thing in each video? Sort of like Spike Lee’s technique to “Actor-on-a-Dolly” shot (last seen in Inside Man). He has found a way to add that technique to most of his movies without it seeming like an unnecessary ploy while still declaring ‘This is my movie and now you know this is my movie’.

Along with each wedding I like to incorporate things not included in the actual ceremony such as the photography session, when you get to see the photographer setting up the shots, as well as the Bride and Groom interacting with wedding guests. Sometimes the easiest way to do that is with short clips or even a slide show. But since the most of my clients come by word of mouth and usually because they have seen one of the videos I want them to be surprised the first time they see their own video and not feel as if it is just a carbon copy of what they saw on their friend’s wedding video. That’s where inspiration comes in. Even when shooting the wedding I have to have some idea of what I want to do with a particular shot while at the same time leaving myself room to change is something else catches my eye. But a lost shot is lost for good. It’s not like I can get everyone back together for another “take”.

Where does your inspiration come from?

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