• [Q of the Week] – You Ask, We Answer

instead of answering just one question this week we’ll answer a handful of questions that we have either received multiple times from different people or are just perfect for short form answers here on the blog. from the feedback we’ve received this seems like something you guys enjoy once in a while so we’ll do a mix of single & multiple question of the week responses throughout the month.

Q1. Hey guys, my question is how much footage is too much footage? I recently shot a wedding and it great, but I took a heap of footage, and it just was a nightmare to edit later on…Do you sort your footage in a particular way? Especially if you have 3 or 4 cameras as you must do, how is your workflow in a SDE?

ah yes the age old question of how much is too much. for us its much less about a number of gigabytes as it is going into a shoot knowing what the storylines are, what you’re looking to get out of it and being aware of things that may or may not relate. in short, we try to cover things that are relevant to the story and if it’s not, then your time is probably better spent looking for things that are relevant rather than to shoot everything. not only will you have less footage to go through later, but you will also have more meaningful footage to work with too.

we typically have 2-3 cinematographers at each wedding and the footage is sorted the same way with or without a SDE. the folder structure is setup such that it’s super easy to find what you need during an edit. individual EOS folders are renamed per the formula below, telling us where the footage has been downloaded to, what folders are missing and what footage is on which folder.

[first_initial_of_the_location_of_footage][# of download] (description of footage)

in the example here, you can see the first 3 folders were download by Joyce (j1, j2, j3…) and there is a short description of the contents of the footage in each of those (hockey, signs, farm scenics). notice that this is what is downloaded onto my laptop, but not necessarily what i shot – i.e. j3 (pwl photo session) is the 3rd folder i downloaded, with footage from the photo session shot by Paul.

if you have more questions check out a full tutorial on SDE workflow here

Q2. How to light an interview and without getting reflections in the talent’s glasses?

well there are a couple ways to go about this. one is to try to raise the light so that it’s slightly higher than eye level on your subject.

this often works well and solves the issue. you can also try to light indirectly and bounce the light off a white surface instead. if you are still getting reflections, look around to isolate the source – sometimes it could be from a window. if it is (and assuming you aren’t lighting with the window light) try covering it up with duvetyne or any dark cloth you have handy. if it’s a scripted scene and the glasses are just a prop you can also consider popping out the lenses and have the talent just wear the frame. generally speaking if you are shooting off axis to the light, meaning the light is not directly in line with or next to your camera, reflections in your subjects’ glasses should be minimal. reflections can be a tricky thing to deal with at first and in some tough situations there’s just not much you can do about it but the more you work with it the easier it becomes.

Q3. I really enjoyed A Game of Honor and I am trying to find it online. Is there any way to purchase A Game of Honor?

currently there isn’t a way to purchase A Game of Honor, at least not that we know of. we have heard from the folks at CBS/Showtime that it will be available for purchase either in the form of DVDs and/or digital download but we don’t know when just yet. many of you have been emailing and asking about this so as soon as we hear anything we’ll be sure to put it up on the blog here and let you guys know where you may be able to see it.

Q4. How do you get such good quality audio on your wedding shoots?

they say audio is half of what you see and if you look at so many of our wedding films it’s a big part in what drives the narrative and pace of the piece. just like lens choice and camera movement, where and when we opt to mic someone is based on what we feel is relevant to the story so rather than focusing on audio just during the ceremony, think about where else audio might have a huge impact. is it during the game of golf with the guys in the morning because it’s important to his character development or during the emotional gift opening during bride preps because it relates to her mother’s speech later that evening? we certainly put a lot of effort into capturing audio and we lav people at weddings more often than we used to but it can also be as simple as being present and getting close to the audio source with your rode mic to get better sound when important things are happening.

now what and how we use to capture audio at weddings is a whole other question of the week in and of itself, or rather an entire series of SMAPP tutorials, so i won’t go into details here but the point is simply that the use and understanding of gear (much like with cameras, lenses and things like steadicam) is useful only when you have the matching approach on how and when to use it. we’ve used everything from mp3 recorders to sennheiser wireless lav sets with small portable recorders to full blown professional sound recorders, it just depends on what fits best. and yes we do mic the bride in her dress – want to find out how? come join us at KNOW :)

Q5. Where do you usually work on your same day edits? A corner in the reception location? The car? A cafe nearby?

we have a 5 min rule for same day edits. if you are not filming or doing anything else for more than 5 mins, you better be editing. we don’t have someone who solely edits for the SDE, everyone shoots and cuts their own footage and then one of us leads the edit and puts it all together. that often means we are editing in the hallways of hotels, in the car as we ride from one location to another and even in the back of the church during long ceremonies. we edit wherever and whenever we can, for something like a same day edit, every second counts. at the reception, we ask that a table be provided nearby the reception so that we can be close to the action in case something happens, but also have the space to work on the edit as we get close to show time.

lil’j

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7 Thoughts on “[Q of the Week] – You Ask, We Answer

    • not everytime. in an ideal world that would be the case as no one knows the footage better than the person who shot it, but this isn’t always possible or realistic due to scheduling, project and/or timeline constraints.

      this however is the rule we take for same day edits during weddings. for something with such a short turn around, it makes way more sense for each of us to edit our own footage during that day since we just shot it and can do it much faster.

      lil’j

  1. what’s the point knowing who has downloaded that specific footage or where the footage has been downloaded to?
    Isn’t enough to know what do you have on that folder, like footage from reception, ceremony…etc?

    I usually have specific folder for each shooter.
    thanks.

    • when you’re doing a same day edit and people are in different places, each editing on their own machines, it’s important to know where things are so that you can easily find a specific shot you need. if at the end of the day i see P1,P2,P3,P5, P6 then i know i’m missing a P4 folder and can go ask him about it.

      this is the same system we use on larger commercial shoots where we have a series of shoots, even more shooters, multiple ACs and DIT – with so many moving pieces, we’ve found this to be a great way to keep things organized. in the end there’s many ways to do this and the big thing to note is just make sure there is a system in place, whatever that may be, so long as it works for you :)

      lil’j

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