Lamb to the slaughter

10 replies [Last post]
David L Lewis
Joined: Jan 11 2006

taking the view that you can only learn by your mistakes I offer this piece for comment.
The web space is just somewhere to store videos, its not meant to look professional..Only a few people and now members of this forum know its there

The video was all shot and edited on consumer equipment and the choices of music aren't mine, they were the couples.

David L Lewis

Hello I'm in Mensa, Is there anything you would like me to explain to you?

Joined: Nov 20 2003

I can't comment from a position of expertise on the wedding elements of the video as i'm not a wedding videographer. From a technical view point the first thing I would say is that overall I liked the piece. It has some competent elements throughout the shoot. For example at about 8'30" the shots of the family groupings for photographs outside the church have a very nice depth of field with the trees in the background. The ceremony was well shot with good camera angles, although I would have positioned the groom differently while he was waiting for the bride to appear.

The sound is ok but the hiss distracts slightly. This may be a result of the equipment limitations rather then position of the mics?

I get a feel from watching it that it is a series of "stills" stitched together. What I mean by this is that for me it doesn't flow. Yes it has a start, middle and end but because you use straight cut transitions extensively it feels stop start. The exception to that is at around 9 minutes you use some cross dissolves around the car shot and it flows much better.

I also felt on some of the shots that they were "mimicking" the still photographer shots and my only comment on that would be to use the motion characteristics of video to differentiate the two. The bride and groom need to see different things when they look at the video and the wedding album.

I really liked the end credits, they were very nicely done and I thought the edit to the music was also good. The transition between the two pieces of music was well cut to the video.

Overall David, in my view this was a commendable piece of work and given it was shot on consumer equipment, well done.

Well done also for putting it here for review.


Neil Ashcroft
Fastroc is Media in Motion

David L Lewis
Joined: Jan 11 2006

Thanks Neil for taking the time to watch and pass on your views.

Agree with the comments about the groom's positioning. It was something we had discussed at the rehearsal. You probably noticed how restrictive my positioning was. I had to film between two wooden posts so couldnt move my camera to the left or right or for that matter come back far enough to get the couple in full length. I knew that the groom would obscure the view of the bride as she walked down the aisle and had asked him to moove slightly to his left as he waited but on the day he just simply forget. I guess he had other more important things to worry about.

Fully accept the comments on the sound. I used a sony ECM -MSD1 mic which sony describe as "ideal for weddings". Who are they kidding? good sound is as important as good video so I took the plunge and have now bought a "professional" camera with XLR inputs and invested in a good Sony Microphone to pick up ambient sound and Sony's UWP- C1 wireless mic to use on the groom.

Agree with your comments about the "flow" of the piece and mimicking the stills photographer. I think I need to try and create movement in some of my shots by using pans and tilts or simply moving position.

Once again thanks for the feedback because its only by getting people to cast a critical eye over our work and taking on board their comments that we are all going to learn.

David L Lewis

Hello I'm in Mensa, Is there anything you would like me to explain to you?

Mike Walters
Joined: Oct 29 2002

Hi and congrats on a good piece of work and the courage to place it here for review.
I echo all of Neil's points and also point out that as i am not a wedding videographer either so these comments are not from an experts point of view.
A few things leapt to mind when watching the video. Firstly that the bride and groom would probably have been very pleased with their video - nice cutting to music and a nice atmosphere.
I loved the framing of the church through the leaves and felt there may have been scope for more of that kind of shot.
I did feel that most of the shots were from the same height - ie shoulder height. This was particularly noticeable when filming the children. It would have been great to get the camera down to their level and capture more of their character.
Like Neil i did find the straight cuts to jar slightly from time to time. As a romantic montage some more gentle dissolves would have helped.
It would have been nice to have had some close ups of bride and co with a shallow depth of field - ie background out of focus. This may have been a limitation of the cams so now you have new kit its a great opportunity.
And finally, a bit of slow motion here and there would have worked a treat - particularly the bride and groom kissing in the car.
That said, great piece of work and i LOVED the closing titles.

hedleyw's picture
Joined: Oct 3 2000

Firstly well done for posting - peer review is a great way of improving technique.

On to the work...

I agree with the comments so far, particularly static group shots. These are a necessary evil imho as they are part of the day and so need to be recorded. To help them flow try the following. Vary your shooting position - try side on, get some zoomed in close up shots of individuals within the group as well as the whole group. Include some shots of the photographer (but don't overdo it) - otherwise why are they standing there? - you need to tell a story. The odd shot over his shoulder will help and gives foreground interest - something that is needed to give a 3d feel to the video (you used it really well in the establishing shot of the church with the leaves in the foreground). Also a few shots of people walking to the group shot, the photographer/usher/best man calling guests. Try the reverse shot - stand behind the group and film the photographer using them as the foreground interest so you get their perspective (be careful not to do this when he is about to take his photo though!!!).

Varying camera height will help add another dimension. Children are best from their eye level or even lower.

As the guests exit the church moving in close on a wide angle will get you some great shots as they congratulate the b&g - look for parents and close friends, often emotional moments but they are lost if you are too far away. Forget the tripod. Try some camera movement, circling around couples as they talk for example.

Love the credits, but close ups would improve them, especially if you can get some shots where they are not talking - moving lips and no voice on the soundtrack never works for me.

Enjoyed watching your work - keep posting :)

Hedley Wright Web design: Follow me on Twitter

Joined: Mar 3 2004

Hi David,

If I was to only give you one piece of advice mate, it would be to let your subjects walk of the screen more often. This simply trick will enhance the production value of your work greatly, and it's very simply to incorporate into your array of techniques.

Well done for posting your work for critique mate.

James - TVC.

Same As It Ever Was! :(

Z Cheema
Joined: Nov 17 2003

Not bad David, but try to add some movement to the static shots if you must use them eg, crab around the line up, start low and then stand up. Some closer shots to get the details of the face so we can connect to the people / items in the video. With slow music it is difficult to cut to a some beat, there are some there and it just makes the video flow smoother with them, the cross fades you do, work better.

Joined: Dec 5 2005

Well done David, a nice piece of work for the couple to keep.

I'd echo the comments about the straight cuts - I'd have used fades far more frequently and varied the duration of the fade as necessary. I also spotted a few 'jump cuts' where the cut goes between two very similar shots - a three quarter to a close up of the same subject for example - best avoided unless used for a specific effect.

I'm picking nits though - overall I add to the congratulations!


Joined: Oct 24 2005

Some nice footage, but the straight cut transitions were a bit abrupt for the song......for my taste anyway, some nice cross dissolves would have flowed better with the music.
Good job

Paul Mac users swear by their computers. PC users swear at theirs.

tom hardwick
Joined: Apr 8 1999

Is this the film you gave the couple or is this the 'highlights' section David? Whatever, it's time for the brave pill.

I liked a lot of it. The static camera removes much distraction, and I know only too well the hassles a tripod brings to the game. If this was the entire movie than it's an excellent précis of the day, fitting so much into 8 minutes or so.

As has been said above, the cuts are too harsh and not synced to the music beat. Dissolves free you from this restraint as well as smoothing the day and hiding the many jump cuts. The auto exposure disturbs me as do the sudden hand-held shots - it's so tripod static most of the time that the wobbles look worse than the realy are.

The little pageboy just looks cross at the beginning, and the 'popping pills' scene is an oddity. And there really aren't enough closeups - weddings are portraiture sessions as much as anything, and more big bold CUs are needed.

The flowery font at the end is rather difficult to read though I guess the sharper original is better, and there's a strange colour cast on a couple of the inserts here.

The tripod has added stability, but it also seems to have compromised the framing. Often there's lots of sky and trees and yet all the feet are cut off. Remember the bride's shoes cost £250 and took 3 months to find. :)

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but I admire your bravery for letting us all steam into it. I trust the couple were delighted?

Summary: good solid stuff, but rather lacking in style. All shot from 5' 6" off the ground. No differential focus or sweeping wide-angles. talking heads but no talk.


David L Lewis
Joined: Jan 11 2006

Many thanks to all of you for taking the time to view and again thanks for all of your excellent comments.

I'm a great believer in this sort of thing as I feel that you can only learn from it. All your comments I agree with particulary the use of mainly straight cuts rather than crossovers.

Wasnt sure wether to include the popping pills bit ( actually they were Tic Tacs I think ) but it happenned and I left it in.

Like most amatuers I tended to be afraid of taking control of the camera and left most things on automatic but when you look at things closely you soon realise its many limitations .Ive now learnt some of the many benefits of taking full manual control. Ok I miss a few shots while I'm trying to adjust some of the controls but the end results are far more satisfying.

Ive also been trying to introduce movement into static shots by either moving the camera or my position. Having now watched hundreds of on line demos you start to get a feel of what looks really good and what doesnt.

Yes of course the bride and groom were delighted as were the parents and were all still on speaking terms :-)

I still need to learn a great deal more and Ive managed to persuade a local established company to take me on as a second camera man with a view to doing some single camera events later in the year

That suits me fine as I'm not ready yet for many reasons to commit to this full time well may be never full time but i'm far from ready to go solo. I still need to improve my editing skills and equipment but I saw that as a lower priority to getting decent equipment and learning how to use it.

The next Video I'm committed to doing for friends isnt until August so hopefully by then I will have learnt some new skills and techniques and will be able to apply them and offer a much better peice of work for analysis.

Many thanks once again for all your comments.

David L Lewis

Hello I'm in Mensa, Is there anything you would like me to explain to you?