For over eight years we have been producing wedding films! When I first started shooting weddings in 2004 I would make the long wedding film which included the entire ceremony and reception in order. This film would range from about an hour to two hours in length. It was a documentation of the day and showed everything in real time. For portfolio purposes and to make something shorter the couple could enjoy, we made what we called “Wedding Highlights”. These short 3-5 minute films were the best parts of the day set to music and were hugely popular and the main reason for our success. We made one for nearly every single couple because we enjoyed making them so much and wanted each of our couples to have a shorter version of their film which was more entertaining, easy to share online, and really showed the story of the day.
A few years ago things really started changing though. We began using the same cameras we use for photography for video. These cameras gave us a far superior image quality, better low light capability, smaller form factor for mobility and overall a more filmic image. Instead of using things like auto focus and auto exposure, as we would on our video cameras, we now started setting everything manually including exposure, focus, shutter speed, and ISO (sensitivity to light). This approach is much more like filmmaking than videography. We even record sound on separate recorders for the ceremony and reception and sync it in post-production. This type of wedding filmmaking has totally changed the way we plan, shoot, and edit our wedding films and has greatly increased the quality, emotional impact, and production value of our wedding films.
As storytellers and artists, we want to make films that inspire us, that greatly entertain us, and that push the envelope when it comes to creativity. In the coming year, instead of making long films that can be well over three hours in length for Indian weddings, we are now focusing more on what we call “Feature Films”. These feature films will be closer to 15-30 minutes in length give or take. They will be more focused on story rather than simply recording and delivering the content captured in a linear format. By allowing ourselves to create a story rather than capture every second from one angle, we will be able to move more and get a variety of shots. We will be able to create impact by layering voiceovers with different parts of the wedding to make a more compelling piece that we feel will be more appreciated by our clients and will make wedding filmmaking even more exciting for us.
We feel these shorter films will get watched more because they are not so long and instead of having to forward through the less exciting parts, all the most important parts of the wedding and reception will be included with the speeches being the backbone of the story. We will still make highlight films because 3-5 minutes is perfect for sharing with friends and family who live far away and will be watching on the web. As people’s attention spans grow shorter and shorter our highlight films will even become more popular and the 15-30 minute films will not feel overly long or short.
What happens to the long version? We still can produce long version films for people if they want that instead of the Feature Film length version. We can also add it to the package if they would like the highlights, feature film, and long documentary film. Also, raw footage is still available if clients wish to have all the shots from the day to hold onto for posterity sake. They can simply go to the raw footage if they want to see the entire ceremony or the entire speeches and dances. We think that having a long wedding video is still wanted by some, but we feel this market is not in the majority. Even parents who used to want to sit and watch a 3+ hour wedding film are not as inclined anymore. They would rather sit with their family during the holidays and watch an entertaining and emotional film in 30 minutes or less and be wowed, rather than bored and fast forwarding through a 10 minute speech that may contain little content meaning wise to the couple.
From a technical and budget point of view, to make a long version film and short version film requires more cameras. Some cameras need to be stationary while others move and get the close ups etc. This means more cameras needed and more people needed to man those cameras. Cameras, lenses, microphones, tripods, and all the other stabilizers we use on our films are not cheap so adding additional cameras and gear to our arsenal will ultimately mean our prices would have to be increased.
From a post-production standpoint, having all this footage is consuming hard drive space more than ever, with some of our films hitting 1TB or more in data. That is a lot of data for a wedding film and this data must be backed up to 2-3 hard drives for redundancy and backup. By making shorter films that are 15-30 minutes we will be able to tell better stories with two camera teams and will ultimately create higher quality end products. We will continue to keep our prices fair and reasonable in our industry so we can benefit the maximum number of couples that seek our services. This will be a win win for all!
We would like to take this opportunity to share Preeyanka and Nikhil’s Feature Film below to show an example of how this editing style looks. It is 23 minutes in length and includes their Sangeet, Wedding, and Reception. It has portions of all the speeches, dances, and includes the most beautiful moments from their wedding perfectly woven together. We would love to hear your comments about this film in the comments box below!