THE FINAL CUT
Modern wedding videography is a storytelling device that allows you to experience your special day all over again, in a beautiful and captivating way. Georgia Jordan speaks with the director of Perceptions Wedding Videos, Colleen Gerritsen, about the editing process and which footage makes the final cut.
Film allows viewers to relive special memories through storytelling, making it an increasingly popular way for Australian couples to immortalise their wedding day.
Creating a faithful reproduction of a wedding day is a delicate task that requires open communication between a couple and their videographer. While a videographer will have the tools to put the pieces together, Colleen Gerritsen says the path to your perfect wedding film starts with you.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
Taking the time to seek out the right videographer is essential to the quality of the final product. If you have a friend who has a wedding film you adore, make a beeline for the videographer who made it, “otherwise, go online”, says Gerritsen. “First, look at the [films] made in your own home town [for inspiration] – these are companies you know will be able to do what you like and the locations will be similar to yours.”
“We [videographers] all put up our best work and it can be hard for a couple to pick… but if you see enough clips, you’ll start to see either a pattern of excellence or the terrific ability to cover up for a lack of actual talent.”
If you come across a style you like, approach the company and ask if they are able to be involved in your wedding. “Don’t ask a company that might be cheaper to try to reproduce something from a more expensive company – this won’t work,” says Gerritsen. Choosing a skilled videographer with specialised equipment and the expertise to produce a tailored wedding film will be well worth the extra expense.
IMAGE CREDIT: Kevin McGinn Photographer
To ensure no important moment, heartfelt exchange or stolen kiss is missed, your videographer will film as much as they can on the day, using multiple cameras and angles. After recording the preparations, photo shoot, speeches and dancing, Gerritsen will typically “end up with between 2–3 hours [of footage], and even more when the other cameras are added in”.
The duration of a finished wedding film is roughly the length of a piece of string. “Some clients want the entire day represented in a straightforward A–Z fashion, with a reasonable representation of all of the events, and with the ceremony and speeches in full,” says Gerritsen. “Others want a short, fantastic highlights [reel] that will blow the audience away.
“Everyone wants something different from their wedding [film] and that’s how it should be.”
THE CUTTING ROOM
After the wedding, your videographer will sit down and edit the hours of captured footage into your wedding film’s ‘final cut’. The film’s length plays a vital role in this creative decision-making process. For example, “there’s no room for the ordinary or the banal” in a highlights reel, which will be made up entirely of spectacular ‘A-shots’, says Gerritsen.
The bulk of a longer wedding film – that runs for an hour or more – will comprise of mostly B-shots (which often include walking down the aisle, the vows, signing and speeches) that are “punctuated by those fabulous A-shots that we [videographers] all catch when we can”.
A shot might be cut due to time constraints, or because it falls into the C-shot category. “There’s lots of little things that can make a shot unusable,” says Gerritsen. “Cute pageboys run off mid-shot. Grandmothers wipe their noses. A bridesmaid [might] step in front of someone doing up the buttons on a bride’s dress during a close-up…
“Personally, I overshoot way too much and a lot of it has to be left behind, but I’d rather shoot heaps and pluck out the best things than shoot just enough and have to work with what I have.”
Footage of the bride and groom and the bridal party getting ready is often included in a wedding film, along with the mise-en-scène (rings, perfume, shoes, flowers etc).
“No matter the length [of the film], the same things will always be represented,” says Gerritsen. “[The bride] arriving at the ceremony and walking down the aisle, the vows, the rings and the kiss, walking back up the aisle as a married couple, some killer shots from the photo shoot, walking into the reception, some speeches, the cake cutting [and] the first dance as husband and wife.”
While these moments are essential to the film, “there’s so much more to a wedding than just that”, says Gerritsen. “It’s the decorations, guests, food, music and fun that really bring a video alive.”
CAPTURING YOUR STYLE
If you have a clear vision in mind for your wedding film, you might be wondering how much creative control you’ll be afforded during the editing process.
“I personally don’t involve the couple in the actual editing [of the film] and I don’t think many companies do,” says Gerritsen. From a practical perspective, leaving this stage of production to the professionals makes sense; “it takes way too much time to have a couple sit and go through their wedding shot by shot.”
Instead, the key to ensuring your videographer will achieve a film style that suits you perfectly is to do some research early on and communicate your ideas. “I see what samples they like – whether from myself or other people – and reproduce that same style,” explains Gerritsen. “We go through the day in detail in advance, so I can grasp how they want their video to feel.”
You will be able to choose your own music and your videographer will usually workshop thematic ideas with you. While some couples want a simple, straightforward style that’s easily accessible to every member of the family, “some clients like the over-coloured, filmy look, with quirky cuts and frame jumps”, says Gerritsen. “Others like the wan, under-saturated look of raw film.”
The growing professional market of wedding videography continues to raise the bar in terms of quality editing and storytelling. Seeking out a talented videographer requires you to “do your research carefully and diligently… [and] trust your instincts”, advises Gerritsen. “When the cake is eaten, the presents are opened and the dress sits quietly in a cupboard somewhere, all you will have of your wedding day are the images that someone else created for you, so choose well.”