May 23, 2007

Telling Your Story: Inside the Wedding Edit

If I don't write a very interesting first line to this blog entry, you probably won't want to continue to read. You still there? Well, I passed that test. Are you still reading now? Good. I've still got you interested in what I am writing and you are anticipating the next sentence, hoping it keeps moving this blog and story along.

Well, the editing of a good wedding video is done much the same way. Many people hire a videographer and assume that as long as that person knows every detail of their camera and owns top-notch gear, the wedding video should turn out great.

That's not necessarily the case, however.

While it is very important to have a videographer who owns the latest equipment and who knows how to use it, what's more important is that once that footage gets back to the studio, the editor knows what to do with it.

If the editor doesn't get a feel for your wedding day and you as a couple, the finished product can sometimes feel like somebody else's wedding. It's all about choices: what music to use, how long to keep a shot on the screen, whether or not to use transitions, natural sound or music, all of the toast or just the parts that won't embarrass people upon video viewing....

As much as I love to film weddings, it pales in comparison to the joy I receive when I get to edit that footage into roughly a one-hour movie that tells the story of YOUR day. I am a painter and the footage from the videotapes is my paint. What I do with those tapes and that footage will determine if your video is viewed as a priceless Picasso or a $5 painting from the flea market.

Telling your story involves more than just putting the footage on the computer and adding a few songs. It's about getting a feel for what makes you tick as a couple, understanding the ambiance and mood you established for your wedding, grasping your style and flair, knowing your preferred musical tastes, knowing what details are important to you and more. It's about knowing certain conversations with bridesmaids and groomsmen before the ceremony are better served NOT to be covered by music while other conversations due to content SHOULD be covered!

Before I even got into filming weddings, I was a writer and storyteller first. At the University of Michigan, I minored in Film but majored in English with a special interest in creative and expository writing. Upon graduating I wrote two manuscripts (one of which is getting published in 2008) and worked as a reporter at Sports Illustrated. One of my greatest challenges at Sports Illustrtated was to come up with a lead line so compelling that the editor would not only want to keep reading, but that he might comment to me later that he enjoyed the story. If this were the case, then I knew that the readership of the magazine would most likely also be just as riveted.

It's the same feeling I take to the editing bay when I sit down with your video. You are that editor from Sports Illustrated who I want to win over and your friends and family are the general readership who I aim to please just the same.

When you play the finished DVD, I want the story to grab you and those you are watching it with. I want you to anticipate what is coming next without thinking about how terrible the music is or that the 30 second dance sequence with Aunt Doris is on screen for 29 seconds too long. I want each moment to move to the next and each part of the day to come naturally, all the while telling your story in a style that suits you. When the video ends and the credits roll, I want people to be disappointed that it's over already but at the same time feeling that they didn't miss a moment.

And like a good writer who starts with a good lead line, I make sure your video ends with a powerful close as well. Once the credits roll and the excitement and the enjoyment sink in, I just might throw on a few outtakes- perhaps even that forbidden conversation mentioned above- a memorable close in the most important movie you will ever own!

You still reading? Great! Glad to see I took you to the end!

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