How many wedding videos have you seen that showcase the events of the wedding day in chronological order? How many of these videos have you made? This is how we always did it when we first got started a handful of years ago. We were excited about using cool gear and getting beautiful footage, but we assumed that that was enough to make a compelling wedding film. However, whenever I watch wedding videos nowadays and the plot is predictable, I will stop the video and not waste my time. I can usually tell if this is the case if I’m getting bored within the first 30 seconds!
So how do you make a compelling wedding film when most weddings happen in the same predictable way? We’ve found that it’s all in the editing.
This might seem counterintuitive, but one way to make the story of the wedding day more gripping is by editing things out of chronological order. We view the day in terms of the day’s story arc or plot: the inciting incident, rising action, climax, and resolution. Remember learning about those things in middle school literature class?
Now that we are thinking in terms of story and not simply a montage of wedding day events, we have to intentionally plan out what a particular film could look like. To do this, we map out the plot points before editing. We use whiteboards, notebooks, or even our editing timeline to set markers.
What event is the “inciting incident” that hooks the viewer and pulls us in to the story right away? Maybe it’s a line from the groom’s interview that is shown right away. Maybe an emotional part of the vows. Next, what is the “conflict” present in the wedding day? Maybe this is the couple’s desire to see each other and get married of course. So we would show them getting ready separately and incorporate parts of their interviews talking about how they can’t wait to see each other. These moments are the rising action of the story, leading us to the climax. What is the moment that we’ve all been waiting for? Is it the first look? The bride walking down the aisle? The bride and groom’s first kiss after being pronounced husband and wife? And then how do all of these moments fit with the music and the story as a whole?
This might be obvious, but incorporating audio is crucial to telling a story. Check out this post [LINK NEEDED] for why and how we capture great audio on a wedding day. When editing, we need to use the audio that’s already been captured and weave the content (bride and groom interviews, vows, reception toasts, etc.) into a logical story that supports our plot points. Maybe the maid of honor does a great job describing the sweet character of the bride, so using that audio when the bride is getting ready makes sense. Or while the couple is getting set up to have their first look, we hear the groom talking about how he’s nervous but can’t wait to be with his bride. Audio is important because it adds another dimension to the storytelling. It sets the scene and drives the story forward, so don’t neglect it.
This change of perspective will take your storytelling of a wedding day to a new level. Intentionality is the key. It’s important to remember though, that like Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. As the editor, you have the responsibility to stay true to the heart of the story in each editing decision that you make. We believe that great editing, even when changing around the order of events for example, can more effectively convey the heart of the couple and their story than simply putting things together in a montage.
To see these concepts in action, check out some of our recent wedding highlights and films here!