Oh no…another newbie!

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    • #39200

      This is a great board you guys have going here. I’ve been hanging around for a few days, reading posts and learning. I am especially impressed with the level of professionalism in not only your work (I’ve checked out many of your samples) but also your willingness to help the less experienced. Thank you from one of them!

      I am new to video editing obviously and would like to be able to produce some family stuff that won’t have the in-laws running for the door when the idea of watching comes up. I don’t have anything hi-tech…just a free copy of VideoStudio 8 that came with a firewire cable & video card I bought off ebay. All told I think the 3 were $5! Strangely enough, it works! I’ve played around a bit with it and even put together a short video with footage from my son’s hockey season…I threw some cool music and slo-mo stuff in it and even the wife was impressed…a feat not easily accomplished! (My son too thought is was the coolest thing he’s ever seen, of course he’s only 7.)

      Anyway, I just purchased a book online called "The Little Digital Video Handbook." The reviews claim it is a great starter book for what I hope to do with all our endless footage of family video. BUT, my question to all of you is this: What advice can YOU give me to help ensure I put together videos that 1.) Bring tears to eyes, 2.) Keep people awake, and 3.) don’t make family/friends cringe at the mention of watching one.

      Finally, I have one last light-hearted question of all you pros who do weddings. If you’ve been in the business for any length of time, you must have been witness to some unexpected wedding excitement or two…you know, the ones where the drunken brothers brawl, cat fights, etc. X-D How ’bout sharing some of your best stories?

      Thanks in advance for your help and continued success with your ventures.


    • #169839

      One thing to keep in mind is the length. As parents you can watch your kid walk for the first time for hours. As a viewer 30 seconds is enough. The thoughts are "yah, he can walk we get it" Try to keep transition down to one or two, Videos with 20 diffrent transions are distracting. If you add music don’t let it over power the sound track. Other then that have fun.

    • #169840


      Chapman had great advice in keeping the time down on videos.

      Something to keep in mind is that most viewers judge a video based off their experiences in seeing video, e.g. on television and in the theartres. That means that to keep their attention you either need a phenominal plot that’s constantly moving and telling a story for 90 minutes, or that you really need to pack it all into a 20-30 minute video. For home videos, I would definitely aim for the second option there. Keep it short to maintain attention spans.

      Also, remember that video isn’t meant to simply document a chronological series of events. A video is meant to tell a story. That means that sometimes your video segments don’t have to all be in the order they were even filmed in, so long as it tells a story that people will remember and enjoy watching.

      Let’s look at an example: your child is an exceptional soccer player, and you filmed a recent game where your son kicked the winning goal. The game was a tough game, which is obvious by the score being so close at the end. Through most of the game it was a goal for one side, a goal for the other side, etc, etc…

      What makes the video more interesting though, is to emphasize how tough the other team was. The way to do this is to mix up the chronological order, and put more of the opponents’ scoring points at the front. Even though chronologically, the game stayed pretty balanced point-wise, the truth of the story is that this team was tough. So to express that toughness, you string those losing clips together at the beginning. Then, because it’s your video, and your son is the hero, you make a pivoting point in the video, when your son really gets down to business. Now we turn the tables, and play more and more of your teams’ winning shots.

      For more dramatic flavor, at the end, you can show the opponents kick a goal, and then show that the score is tied. Finally, end the game with a clip of your son kicking the final shot, and your team winning.

      Because you’re keeping it short, you’re taking out a lot of the game. Just edit out all but the important stuff, and it will be a lot better.

      Because the video is short, builds drama and suspense, and has the positive outcome, it will keep the viewer’s intrest.

      Other than that, the only other advice I can give you is to watch your audio as best you can, and avoid too many fancy transitions or effects. Cutting to the next clip is a lot less distracting than fades, spirals, and all that other stuff, and it’s better for you too. Less calories and all that πŸ˜‰

      As far as wild stories from weddings, I suppose I have a few, but they all just sort of blur together anymore. It seems like every wedding has at least one thing happen that’s just unique.

    • #169841

      One last thing. I personally try to keep each shot around 5-10 seconds. This keeps the viewer’s attention far better than a 2 minute hold on a shot. Plus, if you watch TV, you’ll see that’s the way the big shots do it πŸ˜‰

    • #169842

      …for your help. Just the kind of tips/guidance I am looking for!


    • #169843


      For social videos (family, friends, parties), two practices I try for always (among other things): 1) I attempt to include everyone who was present in the video. 2) I attempt to exclude as much as possible anything which is not a highlight in the distribution version; the mind set is top 10 or top 20 best moments/shots (or greatest hits). This can make for short videos, but its nice when the group asks for encores. When shooting these fun gatherings I am not averse to being a director and asking could you repeat that line and prompting the talent by actually saying the line myself if they dont know what Im talking about. Keep the camera running (the first principle of unscripted doc film making). Often, in the repeat, the line is better, and the resulting drama and people cracking up over it is a natural born highlight.

      For informal gatherings and for candids at formal gatherings (e.g., wedding receptions), I get better results (less unwanted attention, less obnoxious showboating — you may want some of that — but not just that) when the red recording light is shut off. About the first thing I do when I pull a cam out of the box is shut off this light. Basically, if you have the cam in you lap sitting down or hanging by your side if standing and you are looking the other way you can shoot away while giving the impression you are not. For example, if a fight breaks out at a wedding reception, keep the cam low with the light off and if you have practiced this angle you should get some good action footage to enjoy later. If the red light is flashing and you are obviously looking in the viewfinder or LCD in that direction, your subjects may be inhibited about rolling around on the floor (this inhibition might not be a bad thing really); or they might want to smash your cam instead of each other.

      Some years ago (I was more adventurous then), I shot lot of footage of quite a massive gathering of tanks (not ours) in Beirut using the above techniques. I dont know whether this was O.K. or not. I didnt ask permission. Did get nervous looking at the images later and wondering about it

      Also, (once upon a time in China) using the camera in the lap technique with a wide angle, I am prrrrrrrrrrretty sure I inadvertently shot a drug deal going down in a busy central alleyway of a famous guest house in Hong Kong.

      Happy Shooting!

      REGARDS … TOM 8)

    • #169844


      In regards to making things more interesting, make sure you use lots of various music and sound effects during editing. By adding certain sound effects at those special times like when someone trips or something like that, you will get huge chuckles. Same goes for some somber mood music and the use of slo-mo during maybe a sad time that has occured in the past. Adding various video effects will also add some interest as well. All of this of course would have to be done in your editing application.

      But the one thing that you really have to watch out for, which was already mentioned a few times by the other guys is don’t carry on too long on the same scene. Chances are you have a ton of footage waiting for you so make sure you keep the show moving.

      Good luck!


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