Usually, I will get bookings 3-6 months or even a year before a wedding dates. For Asyraf and Azean, it was really last minute as in one month notice.
I took up this job because three reasons.
1. I had no bookings for that particular date.
2. I would like to find out on how I can help them in the wedding videography.
3. Why they keep it to the very last minute ? I would like to know.
They came to me as the sweetest couple. Easy going. Funny. We met for coffee and discuss things over. The more we talk, the more comfortable we get with each other. And that’s how I found out on why they kept it to the very last minute.
They are supposed to get married in Feb 2015. Due to unforeseen circumstance, the solemnization had to be pushed forward. The wedding reception will still be carried out in Feb 2015.
This is to realize Asyraf”s father dream. To see him married before Mr Abdul Hamid passed on. MAN ! That is so huge and heartwarming. Both families, especially Azean’s, they are doing their best to make it happen. I can understand that it is not easy to arrange everything at very short notice. To do things at a short notice, a lot of things need to be sacrificed. This is where I saw Asyraf and Azean big hearts. I am sold to help them out.
So I drafted out a package just to suit their needs on the spot. $1800.00 of wedding video investment to be made in one month is really going to burn a big hole in the pocket. I am not running a charity organisation and I value my skills and time. As long as I can cover my costs, I just hope they engaged me.
And they did. And the next thing is, they are media trained. Meaning they are involved in video making day in day out. Azean is a trainer for media/video editing in a school. Whereas Asyraf is a videomaker for a government agency. That’s their rice bowl. MAN !! Suddenly, all eyes are on me.
The big day came. I were covering Asyraf. I saw his dad. There was this one very moment that I saw and it made me cried. Bear this in mind, Asyraf’s dad had a stroke recently. Meaning, he doesn’t has full control of his body.
But what I saw, was a man who wants his son to be happy on his big day. A man who wants to tell his son that everything is going to be okay. A man who is proud to see his son got married. How did he do that without talking ? He did not allowed his wife to help him up from the bed. He wanted to get up all by himself. I cried while capturing this very moment. Mr Abdul Hamid reminded me of my two late grandfathers. The strength and courage that a man should have. In terms of video making, it may not be a beautiful shot. But this is real!
I remembered telling Asyraf that he got to be strong for his dad. Enjoy the day. Show your dad that you are happy. What can I say, praises to Allah, the big day for Asyraf and Azean went smoothly.
Mr Abdul Hamid passed away a week after their big day. Al-Fateha.
This is one wedding video engagement that I would never forget. I am glad that Asyraf and Azean were happy with my work and services that I rendered to them.
For the past couple of months, I have been asked “Bro, how do I edit a video ?” and “Can teach me how to edit ?”
I decided to share my thought process when editing a video. In a way, what kind of story that I want to tell my viewers.
5 by 5 - What is the concept ?
This is a technique that I learned from Vimeo Video School and couple of video makers online. This is a technique where you need to tell a story in 5 video clips where each is video clip is only 5 seconds long. Initially, you may find that it is too short to show what you want others to see. You may find some difficulties in completing your story in just 5 video clips. These are the issues I faced when I first started. Over time, you will realized, it is more effective in making your story or video interesting to watch or perhaps engaging.
Over time, I reduced 5 by 5 to 3 by 5. It means that I need to tell a story in 3 video clips and each is only 5 seconds long. Somehow or rather, I find that using odd numbers of video clips is simpler. Like you have an intro, body and ending. If 5 by 5, you have intro, body, body, body and ending. It is like back in the days where my English teacher taught on how to write a composition. That’s how I work around this technique.
So I made this a simple video where it revolves around my son. Don’t focus on the shakiness of the video clips. I made this video for keepsake purposes. With this video, I will share my thought processes on editing or storytelling.
What is the story ? – I want to show the fun he had, all the running he did and any unexpected stunts that he may pull. My equipment of the day was just my Canon 60D, Tokina 11-16mm and Canon 100mm.
The first 3 clips (3 video clips by 5 seconds) - The first video clip, I was trying to create curiosity where you can see a crowd is looking towards one direction. 2nd clip, I made a close up shot of a drummer. The last clips, I revealed that it was a performance.
The next 7 clips, I wanted to tell a story that my son was running till he heard a loud music. He ran towards the music. The last clip, it was the performance.
The next 3 clips, my son is running and trying to copy what the bigger boys did. I am trying to show that we are running to another destination.
The next 5 clips, it was a new place where all the kids playing water. The 2nd – 4th video clips, I was trying to show again that my son wanted to do what the bigger did but he is afraid. My son and bigger boy in red singlet running into my camera. The following clip, I showed that another big boy in yellow singlet running into my camera. Next, I revealed that again, my son is copying whatever the bigger boys did.
The last 3 clips, my son and previously bigger boy in red singlet, formed a brother relationship. As you can see, in a way, he is looking out for my son. Sharing his chips.
Mini Stories – What I did, I was creating mini stories. These mini stories made up my one big story that I want to tell.
Syncing with Song – This is what I interpreted from Stillmotion. Your story should not be dictated by the song. The song should enhance the story that you want to tell. In this case, I chose the song because it is able to complement or uplift the spirit of all the running and freedom these kids enjoy. BUT, I chose at only certain tempo to introduce a mini story.
Pretty much, this is the skeleton of how I edit my videos for both corporate and weddings. From this skeleton, I will explore and create the story that my clients want to share.
There are so many ways going about on how to edit. For a start, you can try this method. Create a mini stories to make up one big story. Keep your mini stories to 3 by 5 or 5 by 5. Your editing starts when you go out to shoot. Remember that.
I am sharing my mistakes. I am still learning. Feel free to comment or feedback. I greatly welcome them.
When Wenie first contacted me about re-editing her video, I wasn’t expecting much.
Probably, her wedding videographer did not made her a wedding highlights. Rather, gave her 6 DVD copies of her wedding event. You know, like disc one is from 9am – 11am, disc two is from 11am – 1pm and so forth.
Probably, her wedding videographer is a traditional one man show.
These were what I was expecting. Based on my experience, these kind of shooting style, the good thing is I will have all the unedited shots and her wedding moments. The setback is I would be missing out on the film-making technique. Still, there is so much I can do to make it like how I make my wedding videos.
BOY! I was wrong.
Her videographers were so technically inclined in film-making or cinematography. It has wide shots, mid shots, close-up and super close ups. With these compositions, I can actually move the story more “dramatically”. Not only that, there were sliding and gliding technique. Colors and exposure were all in controls. No shaky shots. Superb!
The setback is there is only one DVD copy. Meaning, her wedding videos is already edited. It also means that I could be missing some wedding moments which I might be interested. It has been color graded and transitions added.
Honestly, her wedding videos were beautifully made. I, myself, really like it. Wenie kept saying she did not like it at all. She said all her family members including her husband love it but not her. I just don’t understand. I probed further.
” There were so many things in the video, not like I imagine it. All I remember that night was my mom’s speech. I really felt it. I treasure all the things she said that night. “
MANAGING OUR EXPECTATIONS.
First thing that I shared with her was the video quality. The DVD quality is already compressed data. If I managed to extract the data, it will further compressed. And if she wants me to deliver in DVD, it will be further compressed. A lot of data are lost.
Second, allow me to interpret your wedding. Meaning, Wenie do not have any creative control. I asked her to watch my wedding videos and share with me her favorites.
Third, I will not deliver in DVD as I do not want to further compress the video quality.
Forth, I am able to deliver in 3 months time because I have other wedding and business video deadlines.
After much discussions and sharing, we agreed.
I am so happy that she like it very much with my re-edit.
CANNOT RIP HER DVD
The only challenge I faced with this assignment was, I could not extract the DVD via Windows Media Player. I search the internet and downloaded couple of programs but CDCheck works perfectly.
The only set back, the video I extracted came in parts instead of the full video. Some parts are missing from the video. So what I did was, I close other running programs and run CDCheck only. Woo Hoo! Now I got all the video.
I am just happy to be able to fulfill Wenie’s expectations. Tonight, I will sleep a happy man.
No matter how much I pushed, no matter how I tweaked my questions and no matter how I lead them into sharing their love secrets. They only have one reason.
One fell in love because of her voice. The other fell in love because the way he stares at her. Simply, it is just that.
Another thing that is quite unique about them, they are so looking forward in getting married. They really don’t care about the future. They just want to get married. That’s all they can think of. I find it kinda cute.
Get rid of the slider and say hello to Kessler Crane Traveller Jib !
I rarely used crane for wedding assignments because there are 2 things which I am very concerned.
1. SAFETY – My number 1 priority. Crane is bulky and requires a lot of space. You cannot slip or mishandle it because it may lead to accidents like injuring someone, falling down.
2. MANNING INTENSIVE – Seriously, I need a person literally there all the time, even when he is not operating. To operate this, I do need to transfer the cost to the customers, which I am quite reluctant to unless, customers wants it.
BUT WHY I USE IT ?
The production value it adds to your workflow. It just that simple.
So, once I identified that 2 concerns, I made sure I got all that covered. So, I get one videographer to handle it all day and make sure stay clear of the wedding cake. I do not want Orangefill to be the cause of destroying the wedding cake. That was my fear. Thank to God, it went smoothly but we do need a lot of practise on how to maximize its potential.
PLUS POINTS (compared to my Fotocrane Ultra Light)
- Super light weight. Comparable to Fotocrane.
- Easy to set up. No cable or “strings” fix up like the Fotocrane.
- Easy balancing with the fixed interval slots.
- It compact that you can fit into your tripod bag.
- No lob-sided camera position. Unlike my FotoCrane, my DSLR tend to slant down more on the left. So, I need to correct the positioning using a mounted ball head.
SETBACKS (compared to my Fotocrane Ultra Light)
- No tilting of your camera platform. Unlike Fotocrane, you are able to tilt your camera when doing craning up or down.
My honest opinions are :-
- Depends on how you see it. This is a very high quality product. For $1000.00SGD, you are paying for its worth.
- At the same time, there are also options like my FotoCrane UltraLite, LCW Trapezist Jib and some China brands which going to cost you half the price.
I will go for the number 2 options as I would like to get more Return Of Investment. Who know, when I got more higher value video assignment in the future, I will invest in Kessler Traveler Jib.
Whatever Rocks Your Boat.
Thought of sharing some simple tips or guides that I have learned from fellow wedding cinematographers, videomakers, video business owners for the past 3 years.
These are the common practices which I observed and were taught. This is just a skeleton of the bigger workflow or processes.
Video making is not so daunting as you may think. With these simple and quick tips, I hope it could inspire you or tip you over the fence to just go out there and make one.
So, grab your hp, camcorder or DSLR and start making a video.
If you have any questions about video making, forward them to me. I will try my best to shorten your research and speed up your learning journey.
For small business owners, I know you believe that video could works for your business. Contact me to find out. It doesn’t cost you anything, just an email.
For wedding couples, you want someone than you can trust and comfortable in sharing your story. That’s how I always do for my wedding video services. You can trust me, can you ?
Seriously, no wedding is the same. You can say, all malay weddings have this, have that and blah blah. Trust me, no wedding is the same to both bride and groom. After all, it is your wedding. The wedding experience and memories is so unique and meaningful to each couple. I believe same goes to videographers as well.
One of the most memorable thing that happened during this wedding was WE FORGOT THE PHOTOGRAPHER !! Hahahah. That’s was cute. All of us went to Lorong Buangkok for the outdoor shoot. When all of us were happily mingling and waiting, someone popped the question ” So, who is going to take the pictures? “
I thought I had it…
Seriously, after shooting quite a number of weddings, I thought I have it all under control. Boy, was I challenged.
MOVING CLOUDS – Me and my team members, we have faced this situation before. Where the sun was being blocked and unblocked by the moving clouds. The difference of exposure caused by the moving clouds were so significant that we need to change our settings quite often. We were already shooting at 25fps, 1/50 and ISO100, still, our highlights are clipped. That is how bright it was, even we were under the tentage.
AUTO EXPOSURE – Canon 6D has this function AUTO EXPOSURE. Sure, it is of a great help but to certain extent. When the situation is quite bright, the function really does it job very well. When the condition became cloudy due to the moving clouds, boy, my video clips were so underexposed where I am losing my blacks/shadows details.
You can see what I meant in the video at 02:40 – 02:45
Me and my team member talked about this and we have decided we need to start using ND Fader filters even when we are shooting indoor. That will be our immediate investment. We cannot afford to have this kind encounters again. With ND Fader filters, we should be adjusting the number of stops on the filters instead of meddling our camera settings.
SELF INDULGENCE / SHIOK SENDIRI – I do not know why I really really love my Samyang 35mm F1.4 that day so much. I was playing with the focusing in and out. Till I forgot about my composition. This is what malay say shiok sendiri. Attention of focusing was so short that at times it was strenuous to the eyes.
Other than that, the rest of the video making process is pretty much similar compared to previous assignments.
Oh, another thing that is unique, this wedding has Ice Kacang Live Station for the guests. It was really refreshing on a hot day.
** If you are looking or want to find out more about my wedding videography services, forward your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do need a video service for your branding, presences, products, forward them as well. We do provide other kinds of video services besides wedding.
I was really surprised when Ben “King” contacted me requiring my video services. I mean, a business owner of the largest paintball park operator in Singapore.
He stated that he wanted to do a online video to market for his business. A video that will market the sport itself and aiming to propel sales.
I was hesitant at first because I am not too sure whether I can fulfill his expectations. If I do not take this opportunity, when will I learn and progress. So, told myself, ” Let’s do this “
We met, we discussed, we brainstormed and we tried to manage each other expectations. It was totally a whole different “ball game” compared to making wedding videos.
I have to come up with shot lists. I have to present and describe the final video with the assistance of the shot list. I really the appreciate that Ben and Jane, really pushed me to the point that I felt uncomfortable. Uncomfortable means good. Uncomfortable means I have something lacking. Uncomfortable means I need to buck up.
They have expectations and have to be met. The video have to be precise in terms of information and the visuals have to be enticing. My formula is just get straight to the point and using beautiful effects to enhance the video. I NEED and MUST integrate visuals, concept and music to present the branding and the sport.
Ben wanted only one video which is online video but I wanted to do more for Ben, so I proposed that I will do another video for purpose of presenting during corporate engagements.
All was set and agreed !
But things didn’t go as planned.
- I need actors or volunteers in order to choreograph the actions. If I am able to choreograph, I have more control of the outcome and I can plan my shooting time.
- There were no actors on the day. Ben totally forgot about the arrangement. I became intensed. Knowing that video shooting a recreational games played by non-paintballers, the actions will be way way much lesser and much lesser of aggression.
- What I did was, I tried to talk to the players. Telling them the way to win the game. I planted the “seeds”. It worked though, only for the teams that listened to me. 60% of the time, they are playing the game as though they are shooting a real gun in a battlefield. If you know what I mean. A lot of hiding. A lot of military actions which don’t really worked for paintball games.
- The only consolation I got from Ben, was assuring me to do my best and not to worry so much. I am freaking worried because he is the pay master. I would not want to disappoint him. Every minute, I got to think of something. Out of the 2 days of shoot, only about 30% of the video clips was usable for me.
2. AERIAL VIEW
- WHY WHY WHY WHY !!!! Out of all times, it had to be on the day I shoot. My heli broke down after flying and shooting for freaking 45 seconds.
- When the quadcopter crashed to the ground, my heart sank! I was like OH SHIT. I am going to get it from Ben. I got some explaining to do. Ben was disappointed and still, he did not demand for the heli shots. He kept encouraging me to do my best. Where can you get a nice pay master.
- Luckily, I brought my portable jib/crane. Still, the video composition will not give the same feeling. At this point, it is better than nothing.
3. POST PRODUCTION
- After 2 days of video shoot, time to edit. This took quite a while as I needed a write-up from Ben about his company and what he want to convey in the video. It took quite a while before Ben could replied to me. I understand, they were organizing tournaments in the coming months after February 2014.
- I took the liberty to come up with the write up. I proceed with first draft of editing and presented to them. To do a write up, it is not easy. I am not good with writing. I managed a C6 in my O-Levels. Now I know why video companies provide copywriting services.
The whole production took about 3 months.
What were my ideas and directions for this production ?
1. If a picture paints a thousands words, a video will paint a thousands words at a rate of 25 times per second.
- It does. I need to grab attention and build influences within the first 15-30 seconds of the video. I need to create that luring feel and making viewers continue watching, engaging them. I believe I did judging from the comments given when Ben and Jane shared the video.
- It is not about mixing visuals, text and music. It is not like that. You have to concept the whole approach. In a way, you got to tell a story. Music itself has its own story. The visuals and text effects itself has its own story. Video clips has its own story. You need to integrate them together. I may not produced a perfect video but this is what I was thinking and doing when making this production.
- The video has to provide information and invite video play-back.
2. Content (Video Online Marketing)
- In this production, Ben clearly have set its contents and knew what he wants. He wants to promote paintball. Using video as a medium.
- What are contents :-
- Paintball is a sport that can be played by anyone.
- Paintball can promote team-building – seriously, it is a team sport.
- Paintball scene in Singapore at glance – for those who wanted to play more competitively after trying out a session.
- Brand awareness.
- With these in mind, I came up with a story.
3. After Action Review
- After I made the first draft, I asked myself this question. ” If the video to be replaced with just a image and text, will it able to convey the same content? “
- My answer is NO. Image with text will not have the same effect.
- But if my answer is YES, it means my process has gone wrong!