It is often said that movies are made in the editing suite. I agree, the time and skill involved in editing a film has the single greatest impact on whether the film will be good or not. Sure, the planning and filming are essential, but with the editing you have the opportunity to turn mediocre footage into something great (or if you aren’t careful great footage into something mediocre!). I also think the industry adage that films are made or broken in the edit suite, couldn’t be more true for the wedding video industry.
At Bloomsbury Films, we film nearly 70 weddings and events a year. Despite the considerable preparations we make, filming any live event is very difficult indeed. You have virtually no control over the action and yet must creatively capture footage that is better that most TV documentaries whilst being very discrete. Our crew at Bloomsbury Films are amongst the best in the industry, but the unpredictability of weddings and live events can leave us with plenty to sort out in the editing suite! When we started, I remember being asked by a client if we would provide a copy of the raw footage as an extra. I privately thought ‘absolutely not!’, we’ve just spend weeks editing the film, why do you want that? I was persuaded to grant the request however, but I must admit one motive was so the client could see what an amazing puzzle converting their raw footage to a polished film actually is!
One of my rules for editing our wedding films is that nothing should betray the effort needed to capture the material. Shots are precisely cut so that not even one frame of camera shake, re-focussing or light adjustment appears in the film. The sound is so meticulously edited that clients genuinely believe their epic wedding ceremony really only lasted 20 minutes! They say the best editing, is the editing you don’t notice. This is certainly true for us as we go to great lengths in our wedding films to carry our audience through the story of their day in a way that makes them forget it is actually edited. In short, good editing appears effortless – the truth however is that it is anything but!
At Bloomsbury Films we take a minimum of three months to edit each client’s wedding film. Whilst this may seem slow compared to some other event videographers, we know that editing a film, like any piece of art, is a process of careful refinement. At any one time, we have at least six films being edited, each of these are personally reviewed by me at various stages. Like most of the film and TV industry, we believe creating a professional video project shouldn’t be a one man enterprise. Directors like me exist to provide guidance, feedback and a fresh point of view. That’s why we don’t simply hand clients tapes over to editors after a shoot and let them see what they make of it. The rushes from every wedding are reviewed by me before they are handed over to the editor. This is because before starting the edit, I need to decide how we are going to tell the story. A wedding isn’t just a lot of stuff happening, it is a personal story affecting the lives of many people (not just the couple!) that over time will become a significant piece of family history. Therefore the wedding video needs to be properly structured and the storytelling must have the insights necessary to make it interesting to watch time and again. Once the raw footage goes to the editor it usually takes a few weeks to get the first cut done, this goes to me for comment and then subsequently goes through a series of cuts, before it is finally complete.
When clients receive their finished wedding video, they no doubt hungrily devour after excitedly awaiting its arrival. On seeing the quality of the finished video, many subsequently ask is there any more? At this point I feel like Gordon Ramsay after toiling in the kitchen to distill the finest tasting experience. Its a bit like hearing the diner say “I’m still hungry, is there anything else left?” I’m genuinely flattered that clients want more, I’m only sorry the film can’t make itself!