As a professional wedding videographer, you’ve probably had all kinds of unusual requests from your clients. Based on these interactions, you’ve even modified the range of services you offer. Have you, however, ever had to deal with DIY footage?
Imagine the following scenario – A couple comes to you and brings you a disastrous DIY wedding video. Their request is for you to work your magic and give them a good clip out of the amateur shots.
Is it possible to put together a professional wedding video from low quality DIY footage?
The short answer is “yes.”
The longer answer depends on the specifics of the footage, your qualifications and even the post-production software you rely on.
If you take on the task of fixing bad DIY wedding videos, you’ll need to follow several rules to potentially improve quality and get a decent outcome.
Overcome Shaky Footage Problems
One of the problems you’re almost 100 percent certain to face with amateur footage is shakiness. People who’re not professional will usually refrain from using a tripod or some kind of stabilization. As a result, the video will be all over the place.
Adding a strobe effect during the editing process is one of the best ways to overcome the problem.
With this effect, you can hold some frames on the screen for a longer period of time. Others can be skipped, which brings down the shakiness and improved the flow and continuity of the amateur footage.
In addition, the strobe effect makes the footage appear a bit more artistic. That’s a nice added bonus, especially if the clients want to transform the ambiance and switch up the mood of the original DIY wedding video.
Some editors also work with slow motion effects when they have to deal with shaky footage. The trick here is to refrain from overdoing the effect. Slow motion can get irritating when the placement is heavy-handed. Thus, you should rely on the technique sparingly to fix bad shots.
Out of Focus DIY Wedding Videos
Professional wedding video prioritizes focus and clarity of the shots. This isn’t necessarily the case with amateur footage.
As a professional, you will sometimes have to deal with unfocused amateur footage. Just like shakiness, blurriness can be overcome through the selection of the right post-production techniques.
The sharpen filter is the first and the most obvious tool to test out. Sharpening the focus, however, will work only if you’re dealing with some soft blurring. If the main subject is completely out of focus, there will be very little you can do to salvage the shots.
Masking around the out-of-focus subject and giving the background a bit of a blur is another technique that can make the visuals pop.
This process is known as rotoscoping and creates the visual illusion of the unmasked part of the frame being more in focus.
Rotoscoping can be difficult to execute if the subject is moving around a lot. In such instances, you will have to do frame by frame masking work. Needless to say, this is going to get tedious without necessarily producing a high quality outcome.
Do Proper Framing
Proper framing can do miracles for low quality DIY wedding videos.
In some instances, professional framing is all that you need to elevate the original footage.
Putting the footage in a frame and cropping to the best portions is a go-to technique for salvaging bad footage. You can easily eliminate blurry edges and shots that are too wide this way.
Alternatively, you can frame the footage and scale the frame down when you’re done. This strategy shrinks the footage and makes it fit the frame. The technique helps for the elimination of poor details. It takes attention away from such elements, creating an overall consistent picture.
Improve Color Quality to Create a Professional Wedding Video
Amateurs aren’t that aware of color balance and you may have some balancing work to do when creation a professional wedding video from poorly shot DIY footage.
Most often, the problem stems from the improper white balance.
Most types of professional video editing software platforms offer at least basic color and white balance correction. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience, you can eliminate the unwanted tones quickly and effectively through manual tweaks.
Color correction will also be needed whenever different people use their devices to create wedding footage. In this instance, you’ll bring all of the footage to the same color balance and get a bit of continuity.
Usually, you use some of the footage as the reference and all other shots will be recalibrated to match the tonality.
Be Honest about Professional Wedding Video Creation from Bad Footage
The final thing to remember is that as a professional videographer, you have to be honest.
Don’t promise your clients something you’re incapable of delivering.
Hearing that a DIY wedding video is unsalvageable can be tough. At the same time, it’s a lot worse to set unrealistic expectations and give clients a subpar outcome.
Watch the footage together and discuss the possibilities. Ask your clients what style they’re drawn to and whether you can get creative with their DIY footage. If you manage expectations and you give your customers a realistic idea of the outcome to expect, chances are that they’ll be much more respectful of your professionalism and satisfied with the outcome.
A final option you may want to consider is outsourcing the wedding video editing process.
Editing and post-production teams have the skills and the equipment to achieve much better results with amateur footage. If you partner up with such professionals, you’ll greatly increase your ability to give your clients reliable, high quality and versatile services.
Good wedding video has to tell a story. Often, the goal can be accomplished even if the footage is subpar. Use your editing skills to take the audience on a journey. And remember – a defect can be turned into an effect if you can “convince” the viewer that the specific element (mistake) is there on a purpose.
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