(Def: Chop Suey Editing – basically home video footage cut into montages, documentaries, or MTV style vignettes.)
In shooting weddings, is it important? Sure. Is it easy? Oh Gosh, yes…. Most of the time. When I shoot people's weddings, I document the songs they use from their ceremony to their reception. Go home, get on Itunes buy five dollars worth of songs and drop them on the timeline. From there it's just a matter of pacing the picture around the music.
In doing my wedding, it has not been so easy. Sure, I'm deathly attached to it which makes it harder for me to just slap it on a timeline and start cutting, but again, this one, like Wheeler & Steff's, Ryan and Jess' is no regular wedding video. This was the FINAL INSTALLMENT OF THE TRILOGY. (You get that if you read my wedding intro on my site.)
So OK, with the Wheeler Wedding, I actually maintained a theme both visually and musically. In the visual department, I kept the color flat with restricting saturation on all levels so if you watch the film the footage appears very blown out in parts and your color palette is white, gray and blue. Sure there is color, but your primaries are very cool neutrals. Even the titles stayed relatively flat. Musically, I mixed it. Some older stuff with some new stuff of all variations from rap, the Beatles, Staind was used. The older stuff was mainly, music Wheeler and I listened to in High School and early college. (It had meaning.)
In the Weitz Wedding, I had approached it differently. This was my College Gang and we had developed quite a different taste in music. I hardly forsaw having Ryan and Jess say their vows, kiss and walk down the aisle as Slipknot kicks in when they hit the doors. Their wedding also took place in Vegas. What could be a better theme than an Oceans 11 style. Ten friends reuniting in Vegas after years of being a part was destined for that kind of feel. The footage was saturated. The color palette was off the screen and the titles were big color, big pop. With the heavy metal years of college being a nit even for one of my friend's weddings, Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy were on the mark, only going out of the range for the finale of Coldplay that would pave the way for future montages with this reunion of friends.
With that, it leaves my wedding, and a stumped editor that has no idea what to do. I have made some creative decisions so far, but still kind of out in the dark on others. I have mixed and matched music far too much to feel safe with my decisions. One of the decisions I have made is the color palette. It will eat up a least a week of editing because it is very hard to convey to even well rounded camera men and women who are shooting on the fly and from the hip that I want every thing slightly desaturated so I can treat it with a warming filter to give it sort of a bronze effect. Their reaction would have probably been, "fucking film student." With that said, I will have to do it all in post, hence time. So as the Wheeler wedding was grey and cool, the Weitz wedding fully saturated, the Lane Wedding would be orange and warm. I wanted to keep sort of a Southern feel to it. Here's the rub: The way I did the titles for this one I fell in love with immediately and almost refuse to change them. They are simple yet, contemporary so don't really fit into a more traditional southern kind of feel. That is problem 1.
Problem 2 is much bigger. The music used. Like I said, I have already traded out music several times which worries me, because I normally know what song I am going to use the minute I envision the clip edited. That is not the case this time. I won't say I am over analyzing this because it is MY wedding and I want it to be perfect, because that would be easy to make that assumption. There are actual variables to which I find the conflict.
The weekend went by so fast I don't remember any music ever being played.
I drove a big white van around for three days. In that white van there was only one CD. It was a timeless classic from the Black Crowes entitled, 'Amorica,' and I could really almost cut the whole show using that whole album and get away with me being completely satisfied, but there is another more important person involved…
Mandi… And we have the exact opposite taste in music. Granted, there are exceptions that manage to conform to both of our likings, (See Wedding CD we gave away at reception,) but honestly there is no way to evenly spread the different tastes out in this video.
So you say, well why not use your Wedding Compilation CD to do it… Well, half the CD again, does not fit with the video and some of the songs we share are rather gritty. Mandi and I are not saps, so there really are not any O Town, Mariah, Rod Stewart or Shania Twain love songs in our I Pods.
So then I went to the 'Southern Rock and Roll Theme.' It would include some of my Crowes and anybody's favorite rock songs. I could mix up a little of Mandi's Rascal Flatts, but would leave off entirely any hip hop or 80's music that I am sure she would like put on.
I mean even the songs I picked from the start, (my first instinct in editing is always the best…. In some cases,) are not flowing. Hell, I was dead set on putting Pearl Jam's 'Alive' in it somewhere for my boys and I and I can't find even a remotely good place for it unless it belongs at the party back at the hotel after the reception. The Ceremony walk and picture montage was to be Peter Gabriel's 'Book of Love.' It is a beautiful song, but it does not transition into Rascal Flatts 'The Day Before You.' Which basically starts off right after it. Hell, the opener!!! It looked great… The first ten times I saw it, but the more I look at it, the more I think it's not right and it's the effing music there that is throwing the monkey wrench. Uggghhhh.
I will say that I am happy thus far with two songs used and it makes me happy that both of them were on my list to start and were to be used exactly where I had envisioned them. Train's 'Free,' which is one of Mandi and I's shared songs and 'Simple Man' by Lynryd Skynrd. The first script I wrote my Sophomore year of high school was fucking awful, BUT there was one really good scene where the main character, busts into the bad guy's brother's house walks through the kitchen, up the stairs, and into the bedroom where he and a whore are goofing off under the sheets. The brother looks up and not one pause, beat or word is said and the main character fires three bullets, killing them both. We follow him back down the stairs and out and the whole scene is in real time and the radio in the house is playing 'Simple Man.' I have for 18 years tried to find a way to incorporate that song into something. It works here.
OK, you are saying… "Dude, it's a wedding video." I am saying, yes it is, but I have my vices and my particulars and this is one of them. Yes, it's my wedding. No it doesn't have to be perfect, but this one will be the one, that I will watch in six years and don't want to say when I do, "Why did I use that song there? I should have used this," or "I could have cut five minutes off this scene, tied it in with those two and just used that one song." I want to be able to sit down and watch it and be relieved that it was perfectly put together. God knows, if I had the time and energy, I would recut the Wheeler Wedding in a heart beat. Now think about how I feel about mine if I second guess anything.
I have had a break from it while doing some corporate jobs and Tag Along, so maybe when I go back, it will come to me.
To give you a little insight of what all this mumbo jumbo means, I have stuff to look at.
This was a scratch piece of paper I wrote on as I watched all this footage being captured. I made a timeline, inserting different songs in different places, trying to figure out before hand how I was going to cut it.
When I spoke of color palettes, titles, etc—
This was the trailer for the Wheeler Wedding aka The Jersey Bootleg. Notice the color in the clips. Lots of white, blown out, flat, gray and neutral color.
Wedding One - The Jersey Bootleg Trailer
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You wanna' see more clips from Wedding One Click Here
This is the trailer leading up to the Weitz Wedding aka Vegas Wedding. Although there is no actual footage of the wedding in this clip you will immediate get the idea of the 'Vegas/Ocean's 11' theme used.
Wedding Two - Vegas Wedding
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You wanna' see actual clips fromWedding Two Click Here
And finally, a clip from the Lane Wedding aka The NC Incident. I wasn't big on giving any sneak peeks, but I feel I need to explain myself so you don't think I'm crazy. The clip is still rough so sound and picture will be a bit unclean but you will get the point. This is the clip where Train's 'Free' is used. It's the night everybody gets in. The title flashes across the screen, but this is really already about 15 minutes in. Notice the warm bronze look and the simple yet non traditional use of titles.
Wedding Three - "Reunion"
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Let me know what you think.
And honestly, if all this shit I just spewed clicks with you, I would be happy to have any creative input on the matter.