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rc2727

Looking to improve gh2/gh4 user wedding videos

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Hi all,

I was wondering if you wouldn't mind looking at some of my work and giving me some constructive criticism. I've graduated from film on the gh2 to currently the gh4 and I've started my own local film business. Nothing massive just a hobby I enjoy so why not get paid to do it. Please take a look and let me know what you think.

I'm always willing to try new things and learn from past mistakes.

Thanks for your time

http://m.youtube.com/channel/UCcn5e_l0y_ryAUJ5VXSXK3A

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

You need to frame your shots better as there's often too much going on in each shot. A longer lens and shallower DOF would help too.

 

I would also advise getting a monopod or something as a lot of the shots look very handheld, giving an amateur feel.

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What Inazuma said + lighting. I think almost every shot was backlit with burned highlights and underexposed faces.

I think you should take your grilfriend,friend, or whatever family you have nearby and excersise some shoots. I think the best way would be building a repertoir of some standart easy shots you can perform in every wedding and that look great, that's how I've seen many wedding photographers work.

For example, since you got the GH4, try to get some longish lens (some cheap manual focus 50mm 1.4 with an adapter shouldn't cost more than 60pounds), and then shoot closeups of faces with the 96fps mode, get really close (fill the frame and cut parts of the head if you need to) and try to get as much nice expressions as you can. Afterwards you will take these shots and play them back at 25fps, this will give some very nice slomotion. You could do the whole video with takes like that, after all it's the most important part.

Maybe you could try to use a flat profile, and in post overexpose with a gentle gamma like curve, this should give something very smooth and flattering.

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For starters, doing weddings well is not an easy task for sure. You're supposed to run and gun with cinematic end results, whilst not being in the way and distract the ceremony. Weddings are very effective yet somewhat 'ungrateful' chances to learn. So whatever criticism you get here, keep on doing weddings, if that's your thing. Your possible shortcomings is nothing that some more practise and further editing wouldn't fix. 

 

With that said, the Natalie & Jack wedding, as well as the Angelo christening suffered from same kind of little niggles. They looked a bit inconsistent, and both were a bit too long, at least for the kind of edits they were. I won't comment lens choices, grading, lighting or exposure here, I'll just concentrate on the videos themselves and how they work.

 

A considerable part of the footage looked like it was shot by "uncle Bob" with his camcorder, whilst some other bits looked much better. There seemed to be a bit too much camera movement for the sake of movement, especially when it was handheld movement. That was a bit distracting. Some of the cuts didn't work too well together or with the music. You could have used more medium and closeup shots, too, and some of the ones you had suffered from shaky movement.

 

I know it's sometimes hard to get the good looking bits without becoming a distraction yourself, but especially after the actual ceremony, you could have gone closer to the action, pre-plan some clips, even direct the talents and shoot with less camera movement. There were some pretty nice clips, too, for sure, and some of the existing footage could be improved by simply editing them a bit more. 

 

Which leads to the length of the video and the use of sound. Both videos were a bit too long for a "music video." You could have cut out some action and made some clips shorter, used only a part of the whole song, and been more careful in syncing the action with the chosen music. I think you could (should) have used the audio from the venues, mixed them together with the music, and edited the whole thing a bit tighter. Both in length and tempo. If the video was intended only to be a music video to begin with, it still could have been a bit shorter and tighter. 

 

Jody & Sarah's is perhaps a bit better than those two mentioned. It, too, could have had more sound from the actual event, and if this was the short version, I wonder how long the long version was, and did it have any audio from the venue. This being the short version, you could shorten it even more, leave some of the clips out completely, as well as a half, or even two thirds of the music used. Actual voices from the clips would have been nice.

 

It may be a matter of taste, but if you insist on using b/w clips in an otherwise colour film, use the b/w clips either in the beginning or in the end only, as fading in or out clips, underneath the credits, for example. Not in the middle of the video. It would make the flow of the story more coherent.

This YouTube video also had quite a long a black tail after your end credits. Again, by removing that little blooper will make the video look better and more professional.

 

Same goes for Amy & Rich's, which is probably the best among those videos. Or it could be, if only it didn't have that cheesy 8mm film preset, which ruins the whole thing, an otherwise decent wedding day story. Some of the clips could be a bit shorter, too, or some of them could be simply left out. You could also experiment with out of order editing while at it. Well, it could work in stories like this, more so than some fake film preset. Hearing more of the actual voices and ambient sounds would have been nice here, too. 

 

There are way too many wedding "music videos" in YouTube already, and often with soundtracks ripped off copyrighted CD's, too. Even if your music was proper royalty free stuff, you wouldn't want your wedding film to look like those YouTube clips, would you.

 

I know I'm hardly qualified to give criticism as a wedding shooter, I've only done a few myself, and have chosen not to pursue weddings as a career. But as a general member of the audience my four (gear-related) tips for you (with a disclaimer in the end) would be as follows;

 

1. Unless you haven't already, buy a proper monopod and a tripod asap, and use them. 

Even though the GH2/GH4 is deceivingly small and light, and the Lumix lenses come with OIS, don't let that fool you into thinking that you'll get away with hand holding the camera throughout the event. You won't. You simply need a proper tripod and a monopod. When doing venues like weddings, a proper monopod can also work as an improvised slider for certain detail shots.

 

In the future wedding videos, go closer to the action, anticipate the movements and use variable angles. Don't move so much, let alone handhold the camera unless absolutely necessary. Shoot plenty of short clips from varying distances, and move between them. Shoot to edit, and then add drama and action by cutting the short clips into a coherent story.

 

2. Unless you haven't already, buy an external recorder and a couple of microphones, and use them. 

Good audio is very important in making a quality product. Don't underestimate it by simply slapping on a music track. Your audience will love the sounds from the event. A simple music soundtrack without voices and ambient sounds tend to be more boring.

 

3. Use more time in editing, and be snappier when you edit.

It's not uncommon to use a day for the shooting, and three to five days or even a week for editing. As mentioned by many, the handheld movement in those videos was a bit distracting, and you can get rid of that not only by using a tripod, but also by editing. One of the trickiest part of the basics may be editing different clips of medium, close and wide shots together so that they work together as well as possible, and the end result flows well. 

 

You could even re-edit those videos already in YouTube by cutting off the bits with the most annoying handheld movement, and by cutting them shorter in general. Watch the videos with your friends. If they start chatting during the video, you'll know it's too long and you're losing the attention of your audience. (I learned that the hard way, too)

 

When doing your next videos, go closer, shoot long, relatively stable shots, and then in the editing stage cut out all the wiggly & wobbly bits, leaving only the rock solid bits intact. Oh and partially for the same reason, always record a separate audio track (primary audio) with an external recorder. Don't rely on the in-camera audio alone, even if you've got a decent mic attached to the camera. Using the audio tracks is another handy way to hide dodgy footage. Try doing carefully placed L and J edits with the soundtracks, and the audience may not even notice the shortcomings in your video clips. It's trickier if you use music only.

 

4. Carry on doing weddings, you don't suck, and you'll get better quickly with more experience. 

 

Disclaimer:

I have no idea if you knew all this basic stuff already, but I wrote it as if you didn't. Just in case you or someone else finds this useful. 

This turned out to be an awfully long post, but by watching your videos, thinking about these things and writing them down I'm also learning myself. I'd like to think I'm always learning. Hopefully this was helpful to someone out there.

 

In case someone finds this just a boring waste of bandwith, I'm sure they've skipped it, anyway.

Have a nice weekend.

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Seriously all thank you so much for all your comments and advice. Seems like I've got a lot to work on. I'll add a few more since I've done four more weddings recently that I'm currently working on from my hospital bed. The clients seem to be very happy currently but I know I can do better. I'm in hospital so I'd like to take the time to reply to each of you and thank individual if that's ok and also when I've reflected a little more. Thanks once again so so much it means a lot to me.

If any other have any more comments feel free to add to this topic.

Ryan

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Yea, I'm going to go with editing (pacing needs to be tighter) and camera handling as your top two fixes. After that learn a bit about exposure.

 

Weddings are a pain because they're events that really constrict you. Good luck with your future shoots!

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Hang out and pay attention with people that are incredibly better than you.  That's the best education right there.  Nothing better.

 

Always work with/for talented people and you'll pick things up quickly.

 

Yep, not only are there a ton of tricks to pick up from such people, but it's also a huge motivator to get better and quickly.

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Nothing different than before. You need positive examples to learn and build your craft.

Right now it looks like you're just shooting and editing without informed consideration.

You could develop your craft at a university I suppose, but the most pragmatic way is by working with folks that already know how to do what you want to do...and do it well.

I mean, I could tell you to go off and study Sergi Eisenstein for some useable theory on how to create effective montage, but why do that? The school of hard knocks and hands on is the fastest route to practical learning.

If you can't find a crew to join, then I suggest you straight up copy an awesome production shot for shot.

Doing another wedding soon? Find the best wedding video you know and do the exact same shots and the exact same editing. Gotta hone your craft someway.

It's like becoming a musician. You start by covering your favorite songs, learn the techniques, and then grow from there.

Good luck

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I thought there was a lot of improvement actually. Although the music and slow fades made it feel a little sad for  a wedding.

 

I think you should pull down the exposure a bit indoors. It just looks too clean and bright at the moment. No mood. Also try adding my >colour balancer LUT to your footage.

 

Check out this guy's stuff https://vimeo.com/stayinfocus I quite like it. Also this guy does really wedding good photos http://www.danielkcheung.com/ Yes they're photos but the same composition and lighting principles apply.

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I agree, there was some progress to the previous ones. This time I won't go (too) deep into details in this thread but I tend to agree with Inazuma about the use of fades/dissolves between somewhat nervous cuts in the first half of the video. I would have liked to hear even more of the ambient sounds and voices from the actual venue, and not just a 'music video.' It was a bit hard to hear what the speakers were saying. The sound will get the audience hooked, even if the footage itself is not Academy Awards level cinematography.

 

I also agree about the link inazuma provided. The featured teaser of Lyuda&Misha's wedding was a great example of how to shoot sequences and how to cut (edit) for wedding videos. It wasn't perfect, either, but there was some beautiful footage, and I recommend  using it as an example of using sound and a music bed together.

 

See how he used ambient sounds behind the clips, not just music, and how clear the sound of the vicar was. The sound of the falling water(?) in the beginning never got justified in the video, but perhaps it does in the actual wedding film, and it still worked fairly well, didn't it. Together with the flow of the clips it created a nice, compelling ambience right from the beginning.

 

Personally I'm not a fan of using plenty of slo-mo and sped up footage, it tends to get overdone these days, and thus has become a gimmicky cliche to avoid. Something to be used with caution. When in doubt, leave it out.

Nevertheless, it was a nice looking teaser with some beautiful shots and fluent use of sound, a nice example to get inspired by.

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I think your shots are ok but you've used FAR too many dissolve transitions, to the point that I found it hard to watch. This is also accentuated by how short most of your edits are, so the viewer doesn't get a chance to take in one shot before it's merging into the next. Quite honestly I would far, far rather see no dissolves at all than even just one too many. Using just a basic "cut" is also the best way to learn how to edit well. Part of the art of editing is to make the audience NOT notice it. 

 

I think it's great that you are asking for feedback and my criticism is given in that spirit. I agree with the others that you need to watch a lot more other of peoples stuff. Just sign up to a wedding video group on Vimeo and watch everything until you find a few videographers whose work you like and you feel wouldn't be too ambitious to emulate (i.e. no hexacopters, no slick colour grading, etc, etc).

 

Try this one: https://vimeo.com/groups/wedding

 

Concentrate on the important stuff like nailing focus and exposure and keeping the camera steady. All the other stuff will follow. When it comes to the edit keep it simple and unobtrusive. Less is more, as they say ...

 

My $0.02

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The cuts are much too fast. Try to nail the focus and try to avoid shaky movements. The edit seems like a fast cut trough the wedding, showing 2.5secs of every single thing happening one after another. Try to go for rythm, keep important and emotional secuences longer, and details or less imporant stuff shorter,etc... Some wideshot closeups following the movements also work nice to change the rythm a little bit.

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Another video. Getting better with the color grading correction. I think at least, tried really hard not to use many cross fade. This was a difficult wedding since there wasn't a lot to shoot.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=V0tJdn2YJN0

I've watched a ton of other people's work and tried to emulate some of my favorites.

I think this person is amazing:

What cuts are the ones early on in the video? Flash cuts? I love them whatever they are. Thanks again group much love with your help/advice

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For me that was 100X better than the last one you posted. I think there is now a strong foundation to improve on all the small things that over time will add up to make your videos look more professional. 

 

The first - and not small - thing you need to address is your audio. If you'd recorded audio with a separate recorder (or even a decent external microphone) it would have doubled the production value of this video. It gave it away as amateur straight away. Audio is half of video, so get it right!

 

By far the most important thing you need to know about recording audio is place the mic as close to the source as possible! If your microphone is more than 5 feet away from the source your audio is going to start suffering. DSLR's have notoriously awful microphones so at least use an external shotgun microphone (e.g. Rode VideoMic Pro).

 

IMO the cuts were much better and the grading was decent. For me the cuts were still a bit too quick, but only slightly, and that stuff can come down to personal taste. It's better they are a bit too fast than too long ...

 

But great progress on the fundamentals.   :)

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Rc, you are not making wedding videos for us, you are doing them for your clients. You are showing some progression in those links you posted. I liked you used more live audio, you edited better (in the first one you cut a lot of times to a similar frame, in the second the fades "fade away" the attention) and you are improving. One recommendation, don't get too fixed on flares, color correction or a cool wipe. A plug-in won't make you a better videomaker!!! Those are just the icing. 

 

I don't do wedding videos, so take my advice with a grain of salt! ;-D 

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Like any film, you should be telling a story. Establish things, build momentum, reach an emotional climax.

I'm not a wedding guy, but if I were forced to do it - I'd get a vest and a steadicam - just a sub $1k Came/Laing (I have the Came and it's dynamite for the $$, no vest though - vest and steadi for a DSLR is about $600 or so). I don't know if any wedding guys do that, but for the way I shoot, I'd totally try it.

And... I'd guess the best-shot weddings have (at least) 2 talented shooters.

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