Here is the behind the scenes write-up from our recently posted highlights of Emma & Gavin. In these posts we like to give you a little bit of a technical behind the scenes look at what went into producing their highlights.
THREE MAN CREW
This was one of our three crew weddings. We often find that Jewish weddings are fast paced, full of content, and really need that extra person there – if only to move bags from one place to another or drive and find that illusive parking space in central London. On this particular shoot we used one of our new team, Gavin, who was able to capture some excellent cut away shots of guests reactions to the speeches. When we use a third crew member, it creates an extra level of comfort during these moments, when there are 350+ people in the room, and plenty of reactions to film.
This shoot started out with us meeting with Emma and Gavin before the wedding to go through concepts and the general running order of the day. We always do this. Personally, meeting up with our couples was the best decision we ever made – they often give away little bits of information which can help the shoot become much more personalised, and making a connection with your couples is really the key to them feeling comfortable being filmed – to the point that they hardly notice your presence.
We were excited to film at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, mainly as it hadn’t been open long and really had been exquisitely refurbished, which we wanted to show case. The Groom was also very keen on the architecture of the Hotel and wanted this represented in the film. The highlights does show some aspects of this, but the couple will get a more comprehensive review of this in the full film. So, we decided that we would film lots of location shots, i.e. outside the hotel on the Steadicam, on the train platform and details inside the hotel, using the slider and Steadicam. One of the main features of the Hotel was the staircase, which was excellently filmed by Danny with the Steadicam which just loves those smooth stair glides.
The concept of the piece really centred around the Grooms speech, where he talks about his wife and his commitment to her. It really creates a nice story thread, and we use these vocals over the top of footage which correlates nicely with what you are watching. You will also notice near the end of the highlights, that we have a shot of the statue of two people embracing on the platform of St Pancras, which then blends into the shot of the couple enjoying their first dance. This is a great transition and creates synergy in the imagery. Its smooth, and easy on the eye. It’s exactly the shot that you want with those powerful vocals.
We decided to open with one of the most important aspects of their day, the evening celebrations. It’s also a nice change from our usual linear style of opening with the bridal preparations. In fact, you will notice that we have no bridal preps whatsoever. They happened but they offered very little gravitas to the day and many other elements warranted focus. We also decided to use slow-mo here. We very VERY rarely use it as there is little reason to do so but here we had high energy moments with a much slower pace of music. The slow-mo was used to help the visuals match the pace of the song and feel less jarring but also to allow you, the viewer, a greater opportunity to take in what is happening. Usually we would film at 50fps on our 7D to achieve these shots but at the time this wasn’t the plan. So we made the change in post production using Twixtor for Sony Vegas. While not as magical as true 50fps footage it still offers a smooth slowness you cannot achieve by simply slowing your footage down in your NLE by 50%. The rest of the piece then returns to normal speed until the final shot which is a nod to the slowdown of the opening (we finish as we started). The end result is you are left with a totally different feeling than you should have, a little play on your senses.
NIGHTIME TIME-LAPSE OF LONDON
We filmed a number of time-lapse scenes that day but our favourites are always those from the evening, especially in London. We usually create our time-lapse shots using a series of photos. This not only gives you an instant time-lapse when placed in our editor but also saves on disk space vs recording video and speeding it up. This method also allows us to create some wonderful long exposure time-lapse shots of London at night. This is also why we chose to shoot from the opposite of the road as the long exposure allowed us to get the streaking of the traffic as it passed by. The long exposure (usually around 2 seconds) also gives a beautiful look to the building which a video recording with a shutter of 1/50th simply cannot pickup. For this time-lapse we used a Canon 5DMK2, Canon 24-70 f2.8 lens and a cheap £20 timer from eBay. Below is a single frame from the time-lapse where you can take a closer look (click for a full size version);
The music choice is fully licensed from The Music Bed, a track called Heartbeat by The Co. It has the right pace for the filming, and has some fantastic crescendos in the right places. It took a bit of digging to find exactly the right choice, but no more than an afternoon spent doing this.