This past weekend we had the great opportunity to try something new. Something risky, but that in theory would work. We would shoot, edit, and present a full (or close to full) 4K Wedding Short Film in a matter of hours.
A very popular item among wedding videographers these days are ‘Same Day Edits’. That’s where we shoot throughout the wedding day, and towards the end of the reception, we show a video of the special moments that just happened that same day.
Now, this is no easy task, not if you want to do it properly anyway. Doing a highlight video of the day in a matter of hours can be simple, you get your music, you pull some pretty shots on a timeline, and you’re done. Ingesting footage into your computer will probably take you longer. However, cutting the video into a story, or at least cutting to music, is much more involved. You have to think and move fast, you need to organize your thoughts, and attack it without looking back, because the clock is ticking, and you don’t really have time to change your mind. After all, your client is expecting to see a video at the end of the day, and every guest will be able to witness how good or bad your video ends up being. This is very important since most wedding videographers depend on a good word of mouth.
We are no strangers to Same Day Edits. We’ve done a few by now, but we had never even considered trying it with our 4K camera. Not till we figured out a proper workflow. We thought it was going to be a LONG time for something like this to be a reality, but after much studying and testing many different choices of method and software, we found that working with Apple’s FCPX was going to be perfect. In fact we found that working with RED 4K was much easier and faster to work with than with our Canon Mark III footage. Since we only have one 4K camera I knew that I was going to have to mix it with some HD footage, but I would do my best to shoot as much as I could with our RED.
Here are some numbers to show you what I mean:
1 RED Scarlet Camera
3 Canon Mark IIIs
1 iMac with 32GBs of RAM
1 4TB G-Tech Thunderbolt Raid
What we shot:
- 380GBs of RED 4K footage (about 3 hours of video)
- 180GBs of Mark III HD footage (about 4 1/2 hours of video)
The final video is composed of 95% RED footage and 5% MarkIII footage. It’s 4:30mins long.
Offloading a 32GB 400x CF Card of HD footage through USB 3 took about 23 minutes. That’s about 45 minutes of video.
Offloading a 128GB RED Mag of 4K footage through USB 3 takes about 11 minutes. That’s about an hour of video. That is a HUGE difference!
RED footage in our workflow doesn’t need to be Transcoded, so no loss of time there.
Mark III footage should be Transcoded so it works more fluidly, with FCPX this happens in the background, so it’s only a minimum loss of time, but we need every second we can get.
With RED RAW I can balance the color of all my clips though RED Cine. Since this just deals with metadata, I can do some color correction without having to render my media. No time loss.
With Mark III footage I don’t bother to Color Correct unless it REALLY needs it. Though the render happens in the background, I have to wait to finish rendering before the show so it plays properly, that’s time I may not have.
The reason I use FCPX is because of its keyword structure. I can bring footage and organize it very quickly, and have what I need available to me.
Now I know that I just went full nerd on you all, but I was impressed how easy it was to work with RED 4K footage in FCPX. Though this particular wedding had one of our shortest turnarounds we’ve ever had before, it probably was one of the easiest for me so far. I don’t usually have the chance to start editing until after the ceremony. The ceremony ended at 5:45pm, and the video was to be shown at 8:50pm. That is just over 3 hours to bring all the footage into my computer, cut it, and plug the computer onto a projector to show it. It’s easy to say, but the truth is that it’s insanity! I’m not sure I could have done as good a job if I would’ve chosen to NOT do a 4K workflow. Here is the video as it was presented during the wedding day. Eventually, we will correct the color, the audio, and we will sharpen our cuts and our story a little bit, but for having done this in a matter of hours, I was extremely happy with the result.
I hope I can get a second RED camera sometime soon. This way, my Mark IIIs would be Photo only cameras, and I could promise my clients that their wedding is shot in full 4K. Some of them might not know what that means today, but they will very soon. I only want to give them the best.