Editing a wedding video is a mystery to many. Couples see us doggedly filming their wedding and then — whoosh! — we’re no longer in sight.
Then weeks and sometimes months go by, and you wonder: Hey, what IS Cindy doing with our footage?
I’m not lazying about eating bon-bons hoping for “inspiration” to take me by the hand to magically edit your video.
I’m in my editing “cave” pouring over footage and wrestling with story, pace, emotion, music and a host of other options.
As the editor at Sweet Pea Cinema, I spend roughly 80+ hours on every wedding project.
Here’s how that breaks down.
Step 1: Editing for Safety and Preparation
Downloading (3-4 hours): We collect between 300 and 500 gigs of material that has to be downloaded onto our main computer.
Backups (1-2 hours): We’ve never (EVER!) lost a project. Why? Because we maintain three copies: primary, first backup and a “deep freeze” backup. Every project gets cataloged, so it can be found if needed.
Organizing (2-3 hours): We ingest all footage and audio into Adobe Premiere Pro in a custom template that has to be further tweaked because every job is different.
Synchronizing (3 hours): Because we record with multiple cameras during the ceremony and reception, footage and audio must be paired. A program called Plural Eyes helps us, but it can be glitchy, requiring some manual tweaking.
Multi-cam edits: (4-6 hours): We’ll cut those synced sequences — or multicams — by choosing the best camera angle during every second of the ceremony and reception key moments. Then I move on to prep, card readings or interviews, and finally onto reception for entrance, toasts, cake cutting and formal dances. While making these camera choices, I’m also selecting scenes with great audio that tell the story of your day and copying them to a fresh sequence for further review.
Step 2: Creative Editing Process
Music bed search (5 hours): A music bed is the soundtrack of your wedding film. During the sync process, I listen to tracks hoping to hear songs that fit your personalities and music tastes, as well as match the mood of the day or scene. Previews get downloaded and pulled into the project.
Sneak peek (12 hours): Now I turn my attention to what I’ve pulled to that fresh sequence. What really moves me from the day? Sneak Peeks are soooo quick, that moments have to be swift. It could be a toast. Or a card reading. Or a first look. The options are endless and I often wrestle with the best moment to launch a Sneak Peek.
Blog post & social media (4 hours): Yea! Once a Sneak Peek is done, it’s time to share it with you … and the world beyond. This is a joyous moment for us, because we FINALLY get to share! A blog post anchors each Sneak Peek and is filled with details and our impressions of the day. We also showcase the awesome vendors who made up the team. Lastly, we add our creations to Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Final editing of synced footage (8-12 hours): I finish Documentary edits of your project — ceremony and reception key moments — before tackling the Feature Film. That way, the footage is so familiar nothing can escape my eye and ear. In all candor, it’s also a tedious task. Watching a 1.5 hour wedding Mass four times takes patience, and that’s why you pay an editor to do this!
Feature film (32-40 hours): This is where the glory and agony of editing live. We produce a variety of Feature Films lengths, which is why the editing time varies. Again, I start with the content — the words spoken on your day — and begin arranging those moments to flow with emotional highs and moments of relief. Then, I’m boosting that “base” with B-roll — all those breathtaking shots we took throughout the day. The goal is to move you, from moments of wonder, to tears of joy, to laughter, to blissful romance.
Step 3: Final editing touches
First review (1 hour): Dean is my No. 1 critic, and he reviews all features. If he’s smiling and tearing up after watching a feature, I’ve done my job right. He’s also great a sounding board for ideas and flow, and I’m often tweaking scenes that he feels need work.
Last tweaks (5 hours): After the main edit is complete, then polishing begins with stabilization, color correction and grading, more audio “sweetening,” motion graphics and titles.
Final Render (1 hour): I export all sequences and watch them again to ensure that all effects, grading and editing choices are flawless. Often I’ll tweak a Feature Film three or four more times to fix the tiniest of issues.
Final exports & menu-building (2-6 hours): Once everything is set, I will export files in the highest HD possible for delivery. While exports are churning, I start work on custom menus, which require pulling stills from footage, creating structure, linking videos, etc.
Copy to USB & upload to Mediazilla (1-2 hours): At last! We’re putting the project on an engraved thumb drive and uploading to Mediazilla (our private video sharing & storage platform) for delivery.
Package and mail (2 hours): We adore getting presents in the mail, which is why we like to carefully curate a wedding film package for you. Yes, it’s got the thumb drive in it, but it also has a small treat and a tiny gift, as well as a Thank You card.
I just have to try summing up what filming someone’s wedding means to our studio! Hollywood films are edited for months, and I only get two weeks.
These tasks — some glamorous and creative, others deadly dull but critical to the safety and flow of a project — are why the cost of a wedding videographer can be “unseen” but they are equally as important in the final project.
Can’t wait to get editing on our 2018 films!