Recently I had the opportunity to create a short video for a friends wedding ceremony. The concept was simple. It involved Michael and Lainee talking through how they met, how they grew closer together and then deciding to move forward with marriage. Michael and Lainee wrote and recorded the voiceover so I was just left to do the shooting and editing. Here is how the final video turned out.
We had planned to film in both Langley and then in Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver. Unfortunately, due to the distance between the two locations, we could not find a day that would making filming possible. For the final scene, we really longed to film at Lighthouse Park during ‘golden hour’. We compromised and filmed all the car driving and Langley scenes on Saturday morning. On Wednesday afternoon, we were able to film the final scene at Lighthouse Park just as the sun was setting. Filming over two days wasn’t ideal, however, past experience involving multi day shoots proved that this experience was far more relaxing as we weren’t trying to cram all our shots into one full day. The other perk of shooting on more than one day is that you have the opportunity to look at your dailies and perform a quick cut in order to view your progress. This is a great time to take note if any of your story is missing.
The shoot itself went great. We had all our locations planned out and knew what we hoped to capture. Now, let's jump into the more technical side of things. I filmed mostly on the Sony FS7 using the Canon 35mm 1.4 and the Canon 100mm 2.8 for the closeups. I have been finding the 35mm a perfect focal length for walking or following a subject. I shot quite a few clips of slow motion at 120fps and mixed them in between regular speed clips. I also had my DJI Ronin, with the A7S, with the Canon 20mm 2.8 for shots that required more movement, where I did not want to utilize the slow motion function of the FS7. For the most part I used natural light but there were a few shots that were just too dark (especially while shooting at 120fps indoors) so I had my spousal unit hold up my Westcott Ice Light. At Lighthouse Park, I also pulled out the Canon 50mm 0.95 for a few shots. Although it is an old lens I was able to find a strictly manual adapter that lets me attach it to the FS7. I have used this lens on my A7S before and it provides a pretty unique look. I really wanted to try it out on the FS7 and thought this would be a great chance. So, after I got my shots with the 35mm and 100mm (I want to stress the word ‘after’ here)...this meant I had captured all the shots I needed before I pulled out this lense to test. I liked the shots from the lens at 0.95f, but I did find it tricky to match this depth of field to any other shots with the 35mm and 100mm. Simply for this purpose I chose against using them in the final cut. I did include a graded still from a clip, which is above. It is a very unique lens and I’m still trying to find out a way to incorporate it into other projects. The last shot, of Michael and Lainee sharing a kiss, is a simple track up and out with the DJI Phantom 3 Professional. This was one of my favourite shots to pull off. It involved me hiding behind a tree to the right of the couple and having the drone fly out from between several trees and then up and over the water. It was a bit windy and I found myself throttling a little to the right in order to keep Michael and Lainee in the center of the frame. Once the shot was completed I flew the drone back in and landed on the rock beside the couple. I am always proud to say it was a crash-free day of filming.
My biggest concern in the edit was the length of the voice over compared the scenes that we had filmed. As mentioned before, as the shoot was spread out over a two-day period, I had the opportunity to cut about 80% of the video prior to filming the last scene at Lighthouse Park. This enabled me to see how the cut was looking and consider if we needed to add another scene to match the length of the voice over. Thankfully, we had enough footage to match the voice over, and I didn’t really need to stretch any of the footage.
Overall, I am pretty happy with how the finished piece turned out. Here are a few more photos from the shoot.