Some clients have a very specific vision when it comes to their wedding video. The cinematic approach is the one that appeals to them the most. Recently, cinematic wedding videos have gained a lot of popularity among couples. As a wedding videographer, you should know how to deliver such a product.
A couple of distinctive characteristics separate the cinematic wedding video from other films. Knowing what they are and focusing on such essentials during the post-production process will result in a quality outcome every single time.
What Is a Cinematic Wedding Video?
Before moving on to editing and post-production suggestions, let’s first examine the characteristics of a cinematic video.
The simplest explanation is this one – a cinematic video is one that resembles a film.
Wedding cinematography elevates the classic clip to a next level of creativity. Editing, the use of film music, creative shots, dramatic lighting and even a bit of directing will be required to get the job done.
Check out these examples for a better idea about what a cinematic video looks and feels like:
As you can see, lots of details get captured in interesting ways to paint a complete picture and tell a story. Slow motion footage and close-ups also help to give the film more depth and intricacy.
If your clients are looking for wedding cinematography, you will have to plan both the shoot itself and the post-production work.
You need to have some idea about the direction and the story you’re going to tell. Based on this information, you will conceptualize a list of shots and you’ll also coordinate the efforts with your clients.
Organizing a Cinematographic Shoot
In order to ace post-production, you need to plan out and execute the shoot itself impeccably.
How do you do that?
When talking to the bride and groom, put together a storyboard. What is the movie trying to tell the audience? What should the ambiance be? Are there specific shots you need to capture?
The storyboard will create a vision in your head and help you keep the work focused during the wedding day.
You’ll also have a good idea about the quality of the footage. If you’re not happy with how it’s turning out, you can do a second take to reduce the amount of post-production work later on.
Discussing music, sound effects, filters and visual effects in advance is also good.
Ask your clients for some examples of videos they like. While you have your own style, having a visual reference to go back to will ensure compliance with the client’s requirements.
Chronological or Not?
When doing a cinematic wedding video, you have the freedom to edit clips out of order or do something unusual.
To determine if the video should be organized chronologically, ask yourself what story you’re attempting to tell.
You can start with the happy couple saying goodbye to everyone and embarking on their honeymoon. Next, transition to a few hours earlier and show the audience how the “protagonists” got to where they are right now.
The best advice to follow is that you should order the clips in a way that tells a cohesive story. If you believe that chronological story-telling is the best approach, go for it. Alternatively, you can order clips according to importance.
The asynchronous approach can give your video cinematic value but it can also create confusion. Be careful wen employing such techniques. You need a solid reason to present footage out of order. Otherwise, your audience isn’t going to understand the idea or like the outcome.
Cinematic wedding videos also tend to feature lots of transitions.
Transitions that are done in a sloppy manner can ruin the entire clip.
This part of editing is the one you should focus the most time and skill to.
Before going through the footage, work on planning the required transitions. The amount of post-production work will be brought down significantly when you know how one clip is going to end and where another one will start.
So many approaches can be utilized to make transitions smooth. Fading to black, cross dissolve, light leaks for easier transitions from one scene to another and many other techniques will ensure the continuity and visual integrity of the footage.
If you are not that confident in the quality of post-production work you can do, consider outsourcing your video editing. Working with a professional who specializes in this aspect of filmography will make it easier for you to focus on capturing quality footage. The rest will be left to someone who does editing for a living.
Tone and Pacing
Do you know what one of the most important elements in a Hollywood movie is? Pacing.
The right pacing keeps the story moving along. It creates dynamic appeal and keeps the audience fully-engaged.
Pacing and rhythm deserve a separate guide of their own because of the importance of such elements. To simplify things, however, we can narrow down possibilities to two. Fast pacing is used to build intensity and excitement. Slow pacing allows the audience to focus on key elements and take that in.
A good balance of pace isn’t that easy to achieve.
If you go too fast, the film will seem rushed. Going too slow makes the final outcome boring.
Switching between slow and fast pacing creates a specific rhythm. Abrupt transitions, prolonged sequences and poor composition all signal the lack of rhythm. Even when viewers aren’t professionals, they will sense something is wrong.
Experiment with pacing and know which parts of the wedding film deserve the most attention. When you master the rhythmical aspect of the film, you can also work on enhancing the tone of the footage. A few effects, color corrections and even the audio can be selected especially for the purpose.
Be Careful with Special Effects
Sometimes, special effects like slow motion footage, going black and white and deliberate color shifts will add to the emotional appeal of a cinematic wedding video.
The problem with these effects is that many inexperienced wedding videographers will go overboard.
When the use of special effects is heavy handed, the final outcome will lose some of its impressiveness. Used sparingly, a special effect creates an impactful moment. Too much of it will bore the audience and it can even make the clip difficult to watch.
Use slow motion or color corrections whenever you want to highlight an essential part of the wedding, a tender moment or a candid shot that’s unique.
Always Go Back to Composition
You can get carried away with special effects, filters and other cool parts of post-production. If you feel like this is happening, go back to basics.
Good composition is the number one essential for a quality cinematic wedding video.
Whenever your composition is lacking balance, no amount of post-production will get to fix the clip.
Wedding cinematography obeys the classic rules of film composition. Symmetry, frame within frame, leading lines and other rules are 100 percent applicable.
As a cinematographer and a director, you have to view every single frame as a painting. You need an eye for detail and a good sense of balance to make that happen.
Needless to say, you can educate yourself and improve your composition creation ability. Learning from the work of others and finding inspiration in the films of the great masters is one of the easiest ways to evolve your own style and elevate the films you’ve been creating up till now.
Pay Attention to Audio
A final aspect of creating a cinematic wedding video is focusing on music and the audio.
The use of sound is one of the easiest ways to set the mood and evoke a specific emotion.
In classic wedding videography, you’ll be reliant mainly on the ambiance at the ceremony venue itself. When doing wedding cinematography, you have the freedom to add music and even sound effects to the clip in post-production.
Just like you need to be careful with filters and visual effects, don’t overdo it with audio add-ons.
If you are putting external audio into the clip, it has to serve a purpose. Sound effects for the purpose of being cool or artsy will not give your clients the sophisticated and modern film that they’re hoping to get.
Don’t Be Afraid of a Challenge!
A cinematic wedding video is a challenge.
Not only will you need to be an excellent cameraman, you will also need to have an artistic vision for the final clip.
Some inexperienced videographers may feel threatened by the prospect. Wedding cinematography, however, provides a lot of freedom and opportunities for creative expression.
Don’t fear the chance to show clients what you’re made of. If you believe in a concept, share it with the couple and discuss the specifics together. Most clients will trust the instincts of their videographer and they’ll go with the concept.
Finally, do focus on your post-production work and skills. Most of the time, these are the ones that will make or break a film.
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