COMMON QUESTIONS REGARDING WEDDING FILMS...
While couples love our films, most people we work with don't come from a background in film/video production. We felt that providing in-depth answers to some common questions could be helpful for the boldly curious. And if you're still unclear about something, email Micah! He's our principal cinematographer and loves sharing how he makes our films :)
VIDEO? FILM? VIDEOGRAPHY? CINEMATOGRAPHY?
People have been video-recording their weddings for decades. However, the recent invention, manufacturing and distribution of DSLR (digital single-lense reflex) cameras has brought cinema-quality video to a more accessible level, and has opened the door for all kinds of event filmmaking…in this case, wedding cinematography. Because this is still a relatively new frontier, the terms and definitions of what we do aren't clear to everyone and are often disputed. And it can be confusing for you. Here are our interpretations of terms you may be hearing...
Video: This is the media we work with. Like a sculpture who works with stone, or a digital photographer who takes digital photographs, we take video. It's also used as a noun (i.e. a video), but we tend to not use it for our work because of the emphasis it places on the media. We're much more focused on the story and content of our work.
Videography: The art of process of making films with a video camera. (via Dictionary.com) We're not fond of using this term again because of the emphasis it places on the media. In our opinion, videography also has too many ties to uncle Bobs running around with VHS camcorders. Definitely not what we do.
Cinematography: The art or science of motion picture photography. (via Dictionary.com) For us, cinematography implies a more intentional, artful, and story-focused approach to capturing video. Because this aligns closely to what we do, we tend to refer to our method of capturing weddings as cinematography.
Film: A motion picture or movie. (via Google) For us, film implies an intentionally and artfully crafted story. It's well thought out, edited with expertise, and ultimately gives you a powerful experience when you watch it. Because our passion is telling stories in an artful way, we tend to refer to our work as films.
Furthermore, we produce what we call creative films…not that other films aren't creative, but we like people to know we place extra emphasis on capturing your story with an artistic approach to cinematography. We love thinking outside of the box, taking risks, and reinventing our techniques for every story we tell.
CAN WE GET THE "RAW FOOTAGE" OF OUR WEDDING?
The idea of getting "raw footage" stems from common misconceptions about how we make our films. We cannot provide raw footage of weddings for several reasons...
1) Storytelling. Probably the most important reason. Your wedding day is a unique, meaningful and exciting story. And couples work with us because of our ability as storytellers. The actual filming of your wedding is only a fraction of what it takes to successfully tell your story. It's the tremendous amount of time and hard work we put into the post-production stages of your film that really bring the story to life. To browse through your raw footage would not come close to the experience you have when watching your final film. It would be like going to an exceptional baker, being awed by the creative designs and floored by the delicious combinations of flavors, and then asking if you could simply go home with a bag of flour and a couple eggs. Trust us. It's not the same :)
2) Picture Quality. We film in what's called a neutral picture profile, which allows us to attain better exposures in the very many too bright/too dark circumstances we encounter on a wedding day. Images look unflattering straight out of camera (desaturated colors, low contrast, soft edges) and it requires a tedious process of color correcting and grading each shot. This is all part of the final stage of our films, giving them a beautifully polished and finished look. To sit down and watch your footage prior to this process would be a disappointing representation of your wedding, and wouldn't look anything like what you see in our finished films. For the same reasons, professional photographers never give clients images without first doing some kind of editing.
Below is a comparison of raw vs. graded frames of Katherine getting ready.
3) Sound. There's a common saying in production that good sound is half of what makes a quality film. Many say it's even more. While the type of cameras we use for filming weddings (Canon DSLR cameras) allow us to capture exceptional image, they unfortunately lack in the audio department. For this reason we record our audio on separate devices. It guarantees that the audio from ceremonies and speeches is high quality, but it also means we have to sync audio up with video in post, and individually mix levels to give you a clear, crisp audio track. This is another very tedious but necessary process that happens during the editing of a film. Footage of vows and speeches without a finished sound track isn't worth watching.
4) Motion. One technique we often use in our approach to cinematography is filming in 60 frames per second (60fps). This allows us to tell parts of your story with dramatic, slowed down movements. Like our neutral picture profile, 60fps footage straight out of the camera has doesn't look very good - it has a fast moving, super digital, action/sport feel. Once we slow down our footage and place it in the properly edited context, it then takes on the beautifully smooth quality you see in our final films.
WE REALLY LOVE THE SONG ___ BY ___. CAN WE USE IT IN OUR FILM?
The use of music is another commonly misunderstood aspect of wedding filmmaking. To include a piece of music in a wedding film, we must have a license for its use. Without purchasing proper licensing, using someone else's song is a violation of copyright law. And while we could always "make exceptions", we believe in handling our business and your precious story with integrity. You can read more about the ins and outs of music licensing here.
This is common knowledge among professional filmmakers and production companies. That's why the music you hear in professional films and video production is purchased through music licensing agencies (popular ones are www.themusicbed.com or www.songfreedom.com). For large productions, scores and soundtracks are hired out to professional film score artists.
Rather than paying (and charging our couples) for licensed music, we decided to write and record our own soundtracks for our films. Not only does this help keep our prices down, it gives us an additional tool to tell your story. Like sound, music is hugely important in film. And not all songs are suitable to be a soundtrack. As lifelong musicians and experienced filmmakers, we have a unique ability to create music that truly supports your film, rather than detracts from it. Our made-for-film-music is a large part of what makes our storytelling so effective.
We hope this gives you a little bit of insight into our unique approach and process. Have additional questions about our wedding films? Fire away.