wedding video, how to edit?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by peter, Aug 17, 2006.

  1. peter

    peter Guest

    I have 1.5 hour of video from a wedding reception that I'm trying to cut
    shorter. The longest sections are the speeches by various people and the
    dances (different combination of bride/groom/family members). Any

    For examples, the speeches. I can extract a few sentences from each person.
    Or I can remove the audio from these speeches and add music background. This
    way I don't have to decide what the best part of each person's speech is and
    I can also use a shorter clip of each speech. But does anyone actually want
    to hear the speeches?

    For the dances. I don't know whether to include a small clip of dance from
    each combination with their respective background music, or use a small
    video clip from each dance but use one song as a continuous music
    background. This would give more feel of continuity to the video, but some
    people would appear to dance off beat since they weren't actually dancing to
    the music I dub in.
    peter, Aug 17, 2006
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  2. peter

    Bob Ford Guest

    I would pick pertinent comments and use short clips with the audio.
    You may encounter some jump cuts in doing this. Try adding a very
    short blip of white between the cuts as is often done on TV.
    86 the idea of replacing the S.O.T. with background muzak.
    I would use short snips and do the white blip between.
    Using the same music thereby making people dancing off beat would be
    very distracting to me but what do I know, I produce dance competition
    videos ;-^)Bob Ford
    Images In Motion
    Bob Ford, Aug 17, 2006
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  3. Hi Peter,
    I have done a few wedding videos, and like you I also started with about 90
    minutes of video.
    If you ask the target audience, i.e. the bride and groom and immediate
    family you will find that most likely they want the complete speeches at to
    them they mean something.
    The party afterwards is a little different. Keep the original sound with
    the video and select pieces that mean something, alternate that with
    cut-aways of the crowd that is sitting down. For continuity you can have
    the same sound track (dance music) for one bit of dancing and one cut-away,
    and then fade to a new bit of dancing followed by another bit of the crowd.

    Be careful not to have the same people dancing and in the following scene
    sitting down as you might not notice it but the target audience most likely

    Have a go, as it is not hard to beat the "proffessionals" as they usually
    lack the time to do the editing properly.


    Martin van derPoel, Aug 17, 2006
  4. peter

    davesvideo Guest

    I much prefer to do a slow disolve of music and dancing from one scene
    to the next.

    davesvideo, Aug 17, 2006
  5. peter

    Rick Merrill Guest

    If there is a transition (e.g. fade/overlap) between the scenes I do not
    see why that would be a problem. Can you elaborate?
    Rick Merrill, Aug 17, 2006
  6. There is a difference between what we as unrelated bystanders want and
    what the wedding clients want. It may be boring as watching paint dry
    to us, but they love every second of those speches and whatnot, because
    they know the people int he shots, and more often than not, only want
    you to tighten-up the dead parts between the "content" parts.

    What I used to find was the best arrangement was to edit down a
    tightly-cut highlights reel of less than 30 minutes, then append the
    extended version of "everything", sans any bad cuts, mistakes, etc. The
    idea is, for a quick viewing for any and all audiences, the
    20-30-minute montaged thing is what they'll enjoy, and then once a year
    or so they will play thru the longer version. The short version lets
    you indulge your MTV spastic-cut muse if you wish to get creative with
    transitions and the like. The ceremony gets cut way down to some set-up
    shots, the vows, and the getaway, then snippets of the highlights from
    the reception.

    The extended Directors Cut version (grin) is wall-to wall, for the
    times someone old who was there passes away and the couple wants to go
    back and see as much of that person as you were able to capture. That
    sort of thing. Because the couple is getting everything they paid for
    in the long version, you can relax and indulge yourself in the cutting
    of the short version because you/they are not "losing" anything.
    nobody special, Aug 17, 2006
  7. peter

    David McCall Guest

    I'm not in the wedding video biz, but I think you hit the nail on the head.

    There is a difference between entertainment and documentation, so
    a short and entertaining video (the shorter the better) along with the
    documentation that includes everything. If you want to get fancy,
    you can put in lots of chapters so people can get to that speech
    from Grandma Smith without having to sit through the whole thing.

    We can often get caught-up in the concept of trying to do it right,
    but you should still try to be appropriate. I've always contended
    that there is value in raw documentation. For instance, a company
    buys a custom milling machine and the guy that designed the
    machine drops by to teach the staff how to use the machine.
    The company understands that there is constant turn-over both
    at their company, but also at the company that made the machine.
    10 years down the road, there might not be anybody around that
    was there at the initial install and instruction.

    Does the company need to make a full production? Perhaps not.
    It might be adequate to just shoot it hand-held in real time. It may
    be necessary to have the demonstrator repeat himself occasionally
    if the person shooting missed something. There may never be the
    need for anyone to watch the entire demonstration, but questions
    might come up later. Again, if you want to get fancy, rather than
    editing in the traditional sense, it would be more valuable to put in
    copious chapter points so that people in the future can quickly find
    what they are looking for.

    David McCall, Aug 17, 2006
  8. peter

    Jukka Aho Guest

    With reasonable planning and a good DVD authoring tool, you could even
    make a disc with two different "viewing paths" - both utilizing the same
    base video material, but the shorter one automatically skipping over the
    boring segments. (That is, instead of storing the same material twice on
    the same disc.)
    Jukka Aho, Aug 18, 2006
  9. If the fade is short il looks like uncle jim is dancing one minute and
    telling a joke one second later.
    If you take several shots of people dancing and they have the same record
    playing it does not seem to matter much that the music jumps when you move
    from one scene to the next.
    The cut-aways are an essential part as it shows the crowd sitting down
    having a good time (make sure they are having a good time in the chosen


    Martin van derPoel, Aug 19, 2006
    dhartproductions, Aug 19, 2006

  11. I'm of the school that says after 150 years of film making and evolving
    editing technique that you use dissolves to show time passing and to a
    lesser extent, locations changing, and cuts to jump in time while
    remaining in the same place, or changing place while retaining the
    time. People are used to these conventions and I don't break them

    One time in college, we were doing an 'experimental' video, that was
    supposed to be creepy and scary. I asked the TD to make EVERY
    transition a dissolve, not one cut in the whole thing. It was
    disturbing, but not in the ethereal, dreamlike way I intended, it just
    looked lame.
    nobody special, Aug 22, 2006
  12. peter

    ushere Guest

    hear, hear....

    if you can't get by with cut to cut, or either a dissolve or fade to
    black, then there's something seriously wrong with your script or story
    telling (incl. weddings). then again, there's nothing like piling on the
    fx's for the bleary eyed 3am tvc audience. oh, and don't forget to
    scream the vo....

    ushere, Aug 22, 2006
  13. peter

    peter Guest

    Aha! Even though I'm unschooled in film making, I also use this convention.
    Nice to know it is a convention.

    Where can I read more about film cutting/editing conventions?
    peter, Aug 22, 2006
  14. peter

    ushere Guest

    there are endless books written on the subject - but nothing educates as
    well as practical example - just watch classic movies (any type, any
    age), and you'll see the art of editing - or rather you shouldn't see
    the editing. i taught video production at uni, but found nothing got the
    point across better than having my students watching tv - and i mean
    WATCH ;-)

    ushere, Aug 22, 2006
  15. I would suggest the short, fast-reading and interesting "in the blink
    of an eye" by Walter Murch and also "The conversations" with Walter
    Murch, as a beginning. You could also wiki or google the great pioneers
    like Eisenstein, Kuleshov, Griffith, Welles, etc. and the modern men
    and women editors as well... there are plenty of free resources
    available if you just search using the right terms.
    nobody special, Aug 23, 2006
  16. peter

    Bill Guest

    Now that you mention it, it would be very interesting to edit a wedding
    video using Eisenstein's principles. Is the bride thesis or anti-thesis?
    The father of the bride presents anti-thesis-- he glowers at the groom
    waiting at the front. The groom is thesis. Cut back and forth until
    the bride reaches the front: synthesis, which gives rise to a new
    anti-thesis, as the maid of honor casts a sidelong glance at the best
    man... the antsy child in the front row vs. the elderly aunt... the
    choir director vs. the organist, and so on....
    Bill, Aug 24, 2006
  17. Sergei Eisenstein was briefly a student of Kuleshov's, but the two
    parted ways because they had different ideas of montage. Eisenstein
    regarded montage as a dialectical means of creating meaning. By
    contrasting unrelated shots he tried to provoke associations in the
    viewer, which were induced by shocks.

    Like Kuleshov, Eisenstein was a theorist in addition to being a
    filmmaker. He established five "methods of montage":

    1. Metric - based solely on the length of a shot
    2. Rhythmic - based on the length of a shot, plus the visual
    composition of the image
    3. Tonal - based on the dominant visual style of an image
    4. Overtonal - based on the interaction of dominant visual styles
    5. Intellectual - based on the symbolic content generated by two
    (or more) juxtaposed images; a film metaphor

    Stanley Kubrick noted that the editing process is the one phase of
    production that is truly unique to motion pictures. Every other aspect
    of filmmaking originated in a different medium than film (photography,
    art direction, writing, sound recording), but editing is the one
    process that is unique to film. In Alexender Walker's Stanley Kubrick
    Directs, Kubrick was quoted as saying, "I love editing. I think I like
    it more than any other phase of filmmaking. If I wanted to be
    frivolous, I might say that everything that precedes editing is merely
    a way of producing film to edit."

    In his book, On Film Editing, Edward Dmytryk stipulates seven "rules of
    cutting" that a good editor should follow:

    * "Rule 1. Never make a cut without a positive reason.
    * "Rule 2. When undecided about the exact frame to cut on, cut long
    rather than short" (Dmytryk, 23).
    * "Rule 3: Whenever possible cut 'in movement'" (Dmytryk, 27).
    * "Rule 4: The 'fresh' is preferable to the 'stale'" (Dmytryk, 37).
    * "Rule 5: All scenes should begin and end with continuing action"
    (Dmytryk, 38).
    * "Rule 6: Cut for proper values rather than proper 'matches'"
    (Dmytryk, 44).
    * "Rule 7: Substance first-then form" (Dmytryk, 145).

    According to Walter Murch, when it comes to film editing, there are six
    main criteria, which are (in order of importance, most important

    * emotion
    * story
    * rhythm
    * eye trace
    * two-dimensional place of the screen
    * three-dimensional space of action
    nobody special, Aug 25, 2006
  18. Really now. So what newspapers and book-publishers do is not, uhm editing?

    Martin Heffels, Aug 25, 2006
  19. Interesting that you should ask that. It is a different sort of thing,
    IMO. Newspapers primarily edit to correct factual errors of the
    reporter's finished work, and to shorten or lengthen the article to fit
    the demands of the page space. Newspaper editors also choose which
    stories even get INTO the paper in the first place, so in that sense
    their power would be more akin to the film equivalent of a producer,

    Film editors are more like co-reporters from a newspaper, sharing the
    storytelling job. The film director and cameraman and actors create
    elements of performance, based on the script. But the final form those
    elements are given, and the way the selections shape the message and
    how it is told... that's all the film editor's magic.

    The way Europeans and Americans look at editing is interestingly
    different. The following are generalizations but hold true generally.
    In Europe, the editor is often called a "joiner", and editing the film
    is called "joining" it. The film is "built-up" from bits joined or
    spliced together. Like a sculptor that builds up a statue from little
    lumps of clay until it is a whole statue.

    American editors are called "cutters" and editing is called "cutting";
    the main idea being to cut out all the meaningless or boring or
    too-long bits from the pile of things the director shot and handed you.
    Retaining the sculpting metaphor, the American style is to chip away at
    a monolithic block until all that remains is the finished sulpture.

    Of course, these are crude exaggerations; both types of editors do both
    things, and the best ones first build-up like Europeans, then re-assess
    the work and remove anything that is extraneous to the story, reducing
    it back down to the purest, most effective message. There you have
    perhaps the ultimate form of the concept of Montage: disparate elements
    with one set of meanings, combined skillfully in certain orders with
    certain timing, create an entirely distinct meaning, a "third meaning".
    The project grows and shrinks in this way many times during the edit,
    and non-linear technology has made a tremendous difference in how this
    can be done effectively. What comes out is superior and "more than" to
    what came in, even though it's usually shorter.

    It is one of the things I enjoy best about this job.
    nobody special, Aug 25, 2006
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