If your wedding video consists only of raw footage shot by friends and relatives because your budget had no room for professional videography services, don’t despair. You can still have a beautifully edited video by doing it yourself or hiring a video editor.
In either case you can save substantial time and money by first organizing the footage yourself with the help of a secret tool called “logging.” Logging is a process whereby you review/playback the footage and write down or “log” the starting and stopping times, per the time code, of your preferred shots.
You can make your own log sheets simply by taking blank pieces of paper (8 1/2 x 11) and drawing grids containing rows and columns. At the top of the page you can have rows and columns in which you insert basic information about the program you are editing.
For example, you will want rows for the name of the wedding, the date, the name of the cameraperson, and the videotape cassette number. This is important if the footage comes from more than one camera that used more than one tape. This way you will know who shot the footage and which videotape cassette your are logging. Don’t forget to have a place where you can number your log sheets (e.g. Page ___ of ___). This helps to keep you from getting lost when you have multiple log sheets/pages.
Now add about twenty-five rows, divided into four columns. Head the columns as follows: “Action” “Start” “Stop” “Comments”.
As you play back the tapes, write down the specific action you are viewing (e.g., “entrance of first bridesmaid,” or “mother of bride being escorted to seat,” etc.) Write down the time code when the action starts and then write down the time code when the action stops.
Most newer digital cameras place an automatic time code on your footage. (The time code isn’t really “on” your footage, but is a part of the playback display.)
However, if you’re using VHS or another analog format, before viewing the footage, be sure to reset the video player’s counter to 00:00:00 for each tape before you begin logging.
You will also rate or “comment” on each one of your log entries according to its suitability (e.g., “don’t use,” “must use,” “so-so,” “really bad”), or any other notes that you wish to remember about a particular shot.
Once the logging is complete, and you have selected all the shots you want to use, you will have a blueprint for editing the video. This “blueprint” will have the added benefit of substantially reducing the time you or an editor spends in the editing suite. Since most professional editors charge by the hour, this can result in significant cost savings.
Video editing is the process of building a video program, shot by shot, by electronically cutting and splicing the raw footage, in order to tell a story in the most seamless, compelling and entertaining way. Editing allows you to keep the good and dump the bad, thereby creating a finished product that is more than the sum of its parts.
Picture the footage as a very long chain. The footage, like a chain, is made up of individual shots or “links”. You select and assemble the shots or “links” together to tell your story.
Video editing is a very creative and exhilarating process. However, you might want to resist the temptation to channel Steven Spielberg, by getting carried away with effects like too much slow motion, or using every wipe and dissolve in you editing program’s arsenal. Remember… this is about the bride and groom and not about you and your burgeoning editing talents.
Whether you decide to edit the footage yourself or hire a professional editor, using the secret tool, “logging” will put you well on your way toward having a beautifully edited wedding video that you will treasure forever.