Friday, August 15, 2008

Did we videotape it?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: we did now!! (sort of)

Check it out! (You'll need to turn up your speakers).

Part I
(Procession through Hannah's Dad)

Part II
("The Luckiest" through Recession/Reception Montage)

If you want a copy of this video/slideshow, let us know! We'd be glad to put it on a DVD (playable in most standard DVD players) or to send you a digital copy.

Keep reading for making-of details.

Someone--I'm pretty sure it was my grandparents--asked me right before the ceremony if anyone was videotaping it. I'm pretty sure I mumbled something about assuming that somebody probably would, and if they did, hopefully they'd let us have a copy. The truth is that the term "videographer" never once crossed our minds in the course of planning this whole adventure. It's something I'd seen kicked around reading about weddings, but it wasn't something we ever thought about bringing in. I had thought about it so little that I was honestly unprepared for the question, so I didn't have an answer ready.

Our reasons were simple. We were on a tight budget. Bringing in a videographer would have been risky--I wouldn't have wanted to spend hundreds of dollars on some single-handheld-camera pan-and-scan operation. Bringing in someone with a more elaborate setup would have, of course, destroyed our budget. And of course, there's always the risk that we would have ended up with someone both expensive and incapable of making a good movie. None of this was ever openly discussed between Hannah and I--it didn't need to be. It was obvious.

I'm not sure when the idea of doing a full-length slideshow like this actually occured to me, but when you have a complete audio recording of an event and almost 1000 high-quality pictures of that event, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to come up with the idea. In fact, Lara Swanson's amazing pictures made it damn near impossible to mess up.

It was pretty painstaking. When I asked Dave to lend his recording skills to our wedding, my main goal was to get the music; I didn't specifically ask for him to record the whole ceremony because I didn't want to make it too big of an operation. Fortunately, just recording the whole thing made more sense than him having to press "stop" and "record" every 5 minutes, but since it wasn't recorded with ceremony itself in mind I needed to use my limited audio engineering skills to make a few enhancements.

A much less romantic view of our wedding.

Apparently, it was hard enough to hear Shade at the actual ceremony--it was even harder to make him louder on the recording without it sounding like he was in a wind tunnel. Overall, I think it turned out pretty well, and I added a couple of items to my recording bag of tricks in the process. It's still a bit on the quiet side and some sections are much louder than others, but it's definitely listenable. Setting the pictures to music was easier, but much more time consuming, because of the sheer numbers involved.

This is me trying to use special effects to show Hannah's and my parents all merging together to create one Superparent, a la the Megazord.

For example: I know it's hard to see, but that one screen shot above encompasses the first five and a half minutes of the slideshow, and almost 70 pictures (the preview window is transitioning between numbers 19 and 20). I never did count up the total number of pictures used in the whole thing, and I'm a little afraid to.

The point of this isn't just that I worked really really hard on this with a piece of software that was included with Windows and is so inflexible that whenever I went back and changed a picture in the beginning of the slideshow I would have to spend 15 minutes compensating for the resulting changes in timing through to the end, butterfly-effect style.

It's that, in my opinion, the work that went into this thing, and the fact that it ISN'T a video makes it tremendously more satisfying and entertaining to watch. When I was putting it together, I loved the flexibility that the photographs gave me. I loved that I could zip from right in front of Hannah, Shade, and me to a wide shot of the whole chapel. I loved the ability to hone in on a single gesture or moment--being able to zoom in on Hannah's admiring gaze during her dad's reading, or on the eye contact between me and my mom during hers. In a true video, these moments would have zipped by without anyone even noticing. With pictures, I was able to milk them. And of course, I was also able to do more interperetive, abstract things--particularly during "The Luckiest."

Don't get me wrong; it's pretty much the video of a wedding, so it's not Star Wars. There's lots of talking, no explosions, and only one picture of me pushing Hannah in a shopping cart. I think I got to touch upon a lot of the emotions that day, though. It took a lot more work, but I think the finished product is much more artistic and emotional than it would have been if it had been just one dude's camera's view of the ceremony.

But that's just, like, my opinion, man. Let us know what you think, and again, let us know if you want a copy!

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