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Editing Wedding Videos
Assuming you’re familiar with using a non-linear editing software program, here are some techniques to use when editing your client’s wedding videos.
Before getting started, be absolutely sure you have enough storage space!
If you shot with multiple video cameras, you’ll definitely need enough gigabytes before importing. Wedding footage takes up LOTS of space--even if you have just one camera! First create a new project on your non-linear editing software program and be sure to set a new scratch disk before importing any of the footage. Poor file management can be a nightmare, especially when editing! Once you’ve started a new project and have a new scratch disk, you may begin digitizing the footage.
Before capturing your footage, be sure to select the appropriate settings (e.g. if you shot in 60 fps, be sure the capture settings are the same.)
If you shot with more than one video camera, capturing will assumedly be more time consuming and of course take up more gigabytes. The entire wedding ceremony, from each camera, will need to be captured in real time. Therefore if you had 3 cameras recording a 45-minute service, it will take just over 2 hours to digitize the entire service (and this is just the service!). Be sure to organize and digitally label everything you capture so it will be easier to locate for later. For instance, Service Cam 1 --you’ll instantly know that this was camera 1 (in the back-or wherever you placed the camera during the service).
When capturing the reception and/ or other footage, such as the bride getting ready or the bouquet toss, to save time and gigabytes, it’s best to simply import the footage you prefer to use, even if you wind up not using it at all. *It’s best to capture, from each camera, the footage you have that actually plays out: first dance, cake cutting, bouquet toss, garter toss, etc. The other shots, such as cutaways of flower arrangements, wedding gifts, candles burning, etc. should be captured in separate clips for easy access.
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Non-linear editing programs such as Final Cut Pro have an editing timeline window (also called sequence) where you may cut, layer, and organize your clips and audio. For the ceremony, bring in each camera clip and sync them together by stacking them on separate layers. There are several options in doing this, but preferably the clip you’ll use the most (or the master shot), should be on top. By layering this way, you can simply cut out the shots you either don’t want or whenever you choose to cut to another camera.
For instance, Camera 1 was static through the entire service and located in back. In the sequence, this clip is layered on top. Now, as the bride and groom are reading their vows you want to go in for a closer shot. Cut to either Camera 2 or Camera 3, whichever is the best shot, emotionally.
Unlike editing the wedding ceremony, editing the reception allows you to use more of your creativity. You may want to layer the first dance with a nice soft glow or flower matte, color filters, etc. Get creative, but don’t overuse the effects! When editing, always consider the mood you’re trying to portray.
It’s always very helpful to use cutaway footage of the bride’s bouquet, flower arrangements, cake, silverware, candles, etc. In addition, by creatively using these cutaways in layers, mattes and/or transitions, you’re capturing not just the scene, but creating an everlasting memory. Therefore, when the bride and groom watch your video years to come, imagine their reactions when they’ll relive these memories, such as seeing Aunt Lily’s expensive China set again and even the bride’s bouquet with all the little flowers and ribbons!
* A wise suggestion is to put the service on a separate timeline than the reception, and if there is an after party or a slideshow, place each of these on a separate timeline as well. Set up your sequences based on the Menu buttons options on the DVD.
Unless you've arranged specific guidelines with your client(s) in the package plan beforehand, plan to edit the video several times! No matter how impatient you may get, be courteous with the client's decision; if something you know doesn't fit or isn't needed, or is too long to be included, offer your ideas as professional advice.
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Non-linear software usually offers a handful of transitions to choose from. Don’t overuse transitions. Choose the right transition that fits the mood. Having either a poorly-used or overly-used transition looks amateurish and may be annoying!
If you used an external audio source to capture your audio, you’ll need to import this into your project folder as well. Sync the audio with the video before you edit. You can always lock the audio with one of the video clips in the sequence. After you have all the video clips edited in the order you want, you’ll need to go back and tweak the audio by either adding in audio transitions and/or filters, and/or adjusting the sound on each clip. If you’re using more than one type of audio (e.g. on-mic camera with an external digital source), pay special close attention to sound differences. This will definitely need tweaking. (Some programs, such as Soundtrack Pro enable the user to master their audio separately and then export it back into the editing software - Final Cut Pro).
Titles & Graphics
Choose a nice font style that compliments the images. Keep it simple; in other words you don’t want the font to draw away from any imagery on screen. Stay with one font style for your main titles. If you have subtitles, you can use the same font style with a smaller font size or use another font style, as long as it doesn’t conflict with the main titles’ font. If you have time, you may want to express your creativity by using some of the bride’s bouquet such as the colors and/or flowers, etc. with or around the titles.
Copyright! Yes, it is illegal to use music without having proper consent from the copyright owners; unfortunately, many videographers do it. However, there are other ways to legally acquire the right music. First, there are plenty of royalty-free music sites and musicians that give you license to use their music--some may charge small fees or ask for a donation. Or, better yet, another idea for music is to either do it yourself or get a musician you happen to know to create the music. Either give him or her a small token fee for helping you out; or if they’re serious about creating music, let them use this as a sample on their demo reel. (ask your client’s first; most likely they won’t mind.)