Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Why should wedding videographers be cheap?

With the rising popularity of professional wedding videography there are many wedding videography companies out there offering a variety of services for your wedding. But, there are also a variety of costs for different wedding videographers.
This comes as no surprise as with this there is also a variety in quality of the wedding video that you will get at the end. Wedding videography can range from as little as £395 to around £5000. This is a wide gap. However, similarly wedding photography will be varied in the same way. There is an element of truth in ‘you pay for what you get’.

What is noticeable first is the look of the wedding video. The lower end videos will adopt a home video look, the shots  and angles may be less impressive, but mostly the editing can let the film down by being either predictable with poor transitions and bad editing which ends up as just a montage of static clips to background music. The higher end wedding videographers will adopt a film look, the filming techniques will be more advanced and impressive, and editing will be seamless.

So, if you want a high end wedding videographer why should they come cheap?

What I really can’t understand is those who want a videographer but don’t want to spend much. I never really hear this of a photographer? Often a videographer is last on the list and only if the budget allows or if there is a bit of money left over. Many high end photographers are even more expensive than a videographer and have a far less work load. A wedding videographer will have to use far more hardware filming kit throughout the day to capture the variety of shots and filming techniques; they will need to capture audio by using a variety of different microphones on different people and locations, then when the day is over the videographer has even more work with weeks and weeks of post production editing to produce your finished film. So it pains me when someone would expect a wedding videographer on the cheap. Yes, if you do want this then, as mentioned, there are those that could probably meet your budget….if you want that kind of finished film, but don’t expect what you can get at the high end. Try comparing their films and see what you think.

In my opinion a wedding videographer should cost double what a photographer charges solely because of the work load that has to go into it, but wedding videography is only starting to become a more widely known professional product, and many still don’t know what is on offer with film nowadays. When it has taken it’s rightful place at the top end of the wedding planning check list then maybe prices will accurately reflect the service.

Don’t just settle for still images, but let a professional wedding video bring your day back to life.

If you would like to see some of our wedding videos and view our wedding videography prices then please visit Trapdoor Films

The rise of modern wedding videography

Back in the 1980’s with the development of the video recorder being available, the novelty to film everything that moved grew. If you were lucky enough to own one it seemed a good idea to get your Uncle or pal to man the video recorder and document your wedding day with the good old shaky hand held effect. This was amazing. As video recorders were quite pricey it didn’t take long for individuals and companies to start offering their services to video your wedding day. This would still consist of the good old hand held camera effect, or if you were lucky you would have a video camera set up on a tripod and left in the corner unmanned to capture everything that moved backwards and forwards in front of it. At the end you would be presented with a 4 hour video tape to trawl through all sorts of mind numbing material. Still, you had it recorded forever.

With the development of digital camcorders, the drop in price and the improvement of quality it became even easier to pick one up and video your wedding. You had a better quality, but still had the good handheld shaky cam consistent with every home video.

As time has moved on and the video industry developed, the stigma of the ‘wedding home video’ has been hard to shake off, people still believe this is what is on offer when mentioning having a wedding filmed.
When my wife and I got married back in 2006 having a wedding film was and after thought for us and not a priority. We, like many others, settled for a family relative to man the camcorder for the day. This was a biggest regret. Even though the development of wedding films was still nothing like they are now, we could of still had a well filmed and edited piece to remember.

Today, the wedding video on offer has gone in a completely different direction. No longer must you settle for hand held shaky camera, no longer must you settle for s static boring camera angle, no longer are you restricted with bland depths of field, no longer are you restricted with filming techniques.

With the introduction of DLSR video technology it became possible to make the most gorgeous still image with lovely depth of field and bokeh to come alive into a moving image. It was possible to produce what you see on your TV. Along with the filming hardware to produce the shots you want and the capabilities of the video editing software there was nothing that couldn’t be done. Along with this the audio capturing capabilities  have moved on, so no longer is it the sound of everything in a ‘bathroom’, but individual voices can be captured and edited.

Wedding videographers now can offer and produce a piece of film work second to none, those wishing to have a wedding video can now effectively have their own mini feature film of their day. The most popular wedding videos are the ‘short form’ films which range between 18-25 mins in length. Basically, when you have wedding photographs and pick out all the best ones and have them in a photo album…..that is effectively what the short form video is, all the best parts edited to make a consistent story of your day. This can be an emotional roller coaster set to music and integrating things that were said on the day.

Like every service on offer, you will still get some better than others. There are some photographers that take better pictures than others, in the same way there are some videographers that produce work that still reflects a home video appearance. There is an art to producing a wedding video that looks like professional film. These videographers are the ones you will pay for, just like you will pay for a good photographer….you really do pay for what you get so remember this when deciding to book your videographer.

Wedding videography is here to stay and is increasing each year in popularity as the word gets around and what you can really have. So get in there, budget for it and book your wedding videographer today because it will bring your wedding day back to life!

To see some of our wedding videos and wedding packages then you can please visit Trapdoor Films


How to get the wedding film look with DSLR


When I began filming I desperately wanted to achieve that ‘film look’ that everyone asked about in the video world. I remember reading many articles on trying to emulate the look the film producers achieve when watching your favourite movies, and trying to steer as far away from that home video look as much as possible. It seemed that unless you owned a RED camera then achieving this look was difficult. Most of what I found didn’t work the way I wanted and so I had to piece together the parts that I thought were useful with the parts I discovered to make the look I wanted, and it took a while.

Although you might see the film look you like in a movie it’s also important to find out what actually works for a wedding. For example, there’s little point opting for the Matrix film look unless you want the bride to have a bleach bypass look with a green tint. Whereas there may be some fundamentals that are the same to begin with when developing your film look the point I’m making is just because it looks good doesn’t make it right for your video.

1. Camera settings

The first and most important thing to master is what camera settings you need to shoot for this look. We use DSLRs at the moment and so my settings will be geared towards these, however whatever camera you choose for your wedding shoot some principles are the same. The idea is to shoot flat with little definition. Films are shot like this and produce a flat look. This is what moves it away from the video look.

Picture Setting:
DSLRs come with different picture settings as a basis for what you might want to shoot, from landscape to portrait, and the camera will adjust colour, contrast, sharpness accordingly. Don’t use these.
I was introduced to a picture setting you can download called ‘Cinestyle’, and it was the best thing I have done. This is free and installs on most DLSRs easily.
So why Cinestyle?
This setting has been developed so it is flat which is perfect for the film look. In other words, there is no additional light and shade added to give extra definition. When you see the Cinestyle setting it won’t be flattering in it’s colour because it’s not meant to, and here’s the benefit….
When you use any of the other picture settings and frame anything that has dark shadows you will see that most of the detail in the shadows gets lost as the darkness loses this information. Although this might not immediately ne noticeable or might not instantly look bad, if you film and record this you can never get this information back as it has been written in the file as a dark area and no other information in this area has been written. So that’s it. If you now film and record the same area with Cinestyle flat look all the information is still there in these dark areas. So now if you use your colour curves in post production to bring up the dark and light areas to now add the definition you will see that the dark areas, and are as dark as another setting except the difference is you have retained much more information in the Cinetsyle setting giving more detail. The same applies for the light areas, you have much more control on the information retained which might otherwise of blown out. The colour curves will automatically bring out the colour more as you adjust it as well, and you a free to add colour when you want in post to exactly how you want.

Cinestyle picture setting comes with pre-determined sharpness, contrast & colour settings which are all taken down, here’s why, and why these can destroy the film look.

Remember we are not taking photographic still images but moving images, so take your sharpness right down. You might think that the whole point to HD is the crispness of what the cameras can produce, yes, but not by using the built in sharpness. . When taking a photo it’s all about the sharpness of the image, but if a moving image is that sharp it will appear adopts that glassy video image that moves away from filmic to video. Sometimes a moving image can appear too real, as though in your front room, to enjoy.

The basic rule here is ‘contrast is your enemy’. Get rid of it in your camera settings. Take it down to 0. This again will give your picture an over bold look which is adds to that glassy video look. If any shots require a little more contrast this can be added in post with more control over it, but don’t get it written in to the file which can’t be taken away.
I remember first trying to get the film look and reducing contrast in post over the top of film which had contrast already recorded, it doesn’t work.

Not quite as an issue as sharpness and contrast, but again it’s important not to have too much written in that can’t be manipulated later in post. Cinestyle already has this reduced by default but they even suggest taking it down further to give more scope in post.

2. Post Production

So now that the footage has been shot flat we can now look at grading the footage to get the film look. This is what I have found works for me as a standard template for a wedding film look. Although some shots may require an adjustment on this depending on their own characteristics.
I use Sony Vegas Pro 13, but the settings can be found on all similar editing platforms.

Colour Curves:
I don’t have an exact template for this as I find that each shot require slightly different adjustments depending on how much light etc. The S-curve is what you are aiming for. As soon as you begin to raise the high curve and lower the bottom curve you will see how the light and shade is brought out and the image starts to have more depth and life with more detailed information retained.

Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks:
Use No.85 as a basic preset template. This works for me for nicely for weddings. If you need to adjust the preset high curve on this look if your whites look a little blown you can. You can also achieve this look by suing tints, colour corrections and making it yourself, but the whole point of this software is that is has provided something that fits for you so use it!
When you first apply this you may be horrified at how dark and over saturated it may be, you might even think it’s contrast is way too high.…calm down and bear with it, we haven’t finished but it’s important to have this. This look provides the dark and light we will need, with an added tint that works well for the film look.

Colour correction:
You might not need this for all shots, but I find with indoor shots you might.
You can either mess around with adjusting the colour on the No 85, Magic Bullet look to reduce a bit of yellow tint, or what I find easier is the simple Vegas Pro colour corrector.
You might say why choose the Magic Bullet look if you need to correct it afterwards? It’s the way the curve and tint has been put together in Magic Bullet that works, we can adjust what we need after.

This is what will top it off. Apply -200 contrast on top. Now you will see how the dark areas have been lifted more to see the information again, and the light areas have calmed down. Films have low contrast to give this look. If you took away Magic Bullet and the -200 contrast, the information will be similar but you will notice the difference in the light and shade tint that Magic Bullet added to give the film look. But we need the -200 contrast over the top of it.

Broadcast Colour:
Finally, Sony Vegas Pro has a broadcast colour function, if your editing platform has this or similar use it. This has been designed for broadcast requirements to stop white and black being too light and dark beyond the requirement for broadcast quality. Whilst editing you should see on your scopes if these are too high or low, but applying this can just makes any little bright window, or dark shadow taken care of. I use the ‘conservative’ setting to make sure.
I have found that since using Cinestyle setting that I rarely have this anymore. Some adjust this broadcast setting to give an even flatter image on light and shade for the filmic look, which I used to do, but be careful with this as this can appear a bit over the top, again Cinestyle took care of most of this.

So I hope this has helped. I hope to get images on here to give examples of my points at some point. This is my basic template for a film look for weddings. You might want to experiment with looks for other kinds of film styles, but as long as you have the initial settings first you should be ok to experiment.

If you want to find out more about our filming at Trapdoor Films then please visit Trapdoor Films