Cut Lines | Final Cut Pro Tutorial: Incorporating Wedding Design Elements into Your Productions
A bride and groom spend months (and in some cases, years) planning and obsessing about all of the details of their wedding. The color of the dresses, the number of tiers on the wedding cake, even the typeface on their wedding invitation. When it comes to the video, however, the creative decisions are, in most instances, left up to the videographer. Granted, the couple usually shops around for a videographer who will meet their creative, personal, and budgetary needs, but essentially, the bride and groom’s input into the video ends when the deposit is paid.
Most videographers prefer it this way—after all, wedding video production is a creative process, and most of us do our best work when we are given free rein over the artistic direction of the video. But that doesn’t mean that the video can’t look like it was created as part of the couple’s planning process. Since they have spent so much time planning the exact look and feel of their wedding, the video will fit more into that vision if we bring some of the design elements from the wedding into the production. Using Final Cut Studio, you can incorporate those elements to be subtle or very obvious, depending on your editing style.
Some weddings have very definite themes, whether they are color themes, font themes, or floral themes, so why go outside the wedding for influences when those expressions of the client’s taste are right there waiting to be plucked? My company, Future Vision Productions, has been fortunate to be hired for the weddings of a few graphic designers over the years. These are weddings in which the couple has not only chosen every aesthetic aspect of the wedding, but they designed it as well.
While I will give examples of a few different weddings in this article, I will be concentrating mostly on a graphic designer’s wedding that we shot recently. The first thing to note is that these people are very creative, and giving over complete control of their important wedding memories is difficult for them, which made it especially important to make their design choices a key part of the video.
Step 1: Matching and Incorporating Color
In the first example, our designer/groom loves the colors green and yellow. He loves these colors so much that the bridesmaids’ dresses were chosen in this color scheme. The invitation was green and yellow, as were the flowers. It became obvious to me that these colors had to be prominent in the video. Using the color picker tool in Final Cut Pro, I selected the exact shades directly from the video and the invitation. The color picker lets you save colors for use later, even long after the video is gone from your hard drive. In some cases, I have fallen so in love with a color from a wedding that I have used it in other productions.
We started off with a shot of the wedding program, which we scanned into Photoshop and imported into Final Cut. We used a simple 3D filter to animate the graphic. While not as advanced as Motion or After Effects in this respect, it does give us simple control of the X, Y, Z space. For a background, the wedding program at its full resolution gave us a nice close-up of the floral design on the front cover. There is a great filter from Noise Industries’ FxFactory called Spotlight (my review of FxFactory will appear in the March issue) that I used for a nice atmospheric effect. You could also use the render lighting filter in Photoshop to create the same effect, but I prefer the FxFactory plug-in for FCP because you can keyframe it for some very cool results. I find that using lighting filters adds a more realistic touch than just using Photoshop images straight from the scanner (Figure 1, below).
Step 2: Creating Image Composites with the Color Scheme
I continued to use this lighting filter throughout the video, including this shot (Figure 2, below), which is a composite of images from two different video clips. Using my color scheme again, I created two boxes into which I will insert video. The boxes are a nested composition created in Final Cut using simple color mattes. With the composition nested, I added the spotlight filter; it affected both layers of the box. The result was more appealing to the eye, and it continued that atmospheric look which started at the beginning of the video. Even our company logo has been altered to fit in with the look and feel of the video.
The groom has used the same few fonts in the design of everything from the programs to the seating chart, so we carried these fonts into the video. (You might not have the exact typefaces used, and sometimes a little guesswork is needed, but it doesn’t have to be a perfect match.) With the composite image in Figure 2(above), I added some text to the background behind the video images, but you can insert other images from the wedding as well. I recommend lowering the opacity or adding a Gaussian blur filter to the background in order to not draw too much attention to it.
Step 3: Creating a Three-Screen Processional Shot
Later on in the edit, I shortened the processional by having three bridesmaids walk down the aisle in the same screen space (Figure 3, below). Editing in 16:9 really helps because you have the extra screen space to create your composition. If you are editing in a 4:3 workspace, it will be a tight fit because you need to keep the images large enough so your viewers can tell what or who they are looking at.
For this procession shot you will need to leave some extra space, unless you have perfect centering. Your subjects are moving, and you don’t want them to move right out of your cropped space.
Step 4: Creating a Scrapbook Effect
Let’s switch to an example from a different wedding. The bride at this wedding created scrapbooks for the guests to sign. I carried this scrapbook theme into the video, and for inspiration I headed over to my local scrapbooking store. There are lots of ideas to be found, but it can be quite intimidating to someone who isn’t an avid scrapbooker. I decided to pick up some fairly inoffensive earth-tone sheets and some photo corners. There are plenty of wedding-themed scrapbook kits and pages, but I find many of them a little over-the-top. Once the pages and photo corners were scanned, I brought them into Final Cut and started on my composition (Figure 4, below). The first step was to create a photo border around my video image. Final Cut comes with a perfectly fine border filter, so I added that and changed the color to white. The next step was to add the photo corners, which is as simple as dragging them from the browser onto the canvas. You can use the scale and rotation controls to get them to look just right. Since we didn’t need to do anything more to the video clip at this stage, we nested (Option-C) the video image and the four corner images together.
Next we imported the background. You have a lot of flexibility here, as there are thousands of color and texture choices at your local scrapbook stores. Sometimes I like to change the images even further by adding my own color tint or level adjustments to the background. If you’re trying to carry a color theme through the video, this is a great opportunity to add some tinting to your scrapbook image.
Step 5: Extending the Scrapbook Technique
In this example, our scrapbook served as our credit roll, with a new page for each couple in the wedding party. I added some text to each page and then added some motion to the whole clip. This clip was animated using Final Cut’s Basic 3D filter, which adds a nice look. I’m not a big fan of looking straight down on a Photoshop creation, but I don’t always want to load another application to handle 3D effects. Final Cut does perfectly good perspective effects, and if you add a lighting filter it makes your composition look more natural. In some weddings I have had the opportunity to scan the couple’s actual scrapbook pages and insert video clips into the image holes already provided. Another extension of this technique involved inserting video clips into picture frames, which can be animated (Figure 5, below). Again, this looks really cool with the spotlight filter added.
Step 6: Using the Program to Show the Wedding Date
Let’s go back to that first wedding again. I decided to do a close-up crop of the wedding program, rather than create my own text, to let the viewer know on what date the event took place (Figure 6, below). This is a simple process involving cropping and some motion effects. The groom has already created this attractive text box, so I cropped everything else but that text box, and then I animated it from left to right.
For the background, I did the same, but I reversed the motion so it moves right to left, increased the scale, and added blur and lighting filters. It’s cool-looking, and it uses elements that were created by the couple.
Step 7: Case and Disc Design
us one last chance to work in our theme. The case is the first thing the couple sees; therefore it has a big impact. A professional-looking case design suggests that there’s a professional product inside.
We took our image of the wedding program from the beginning of the video and placed it right on the case cover (Figure 7, above). There was no need to add the couple’s names, because it is right there on the program. The green and yellow color scheme was carried through here as well. Now our clients will feel that they helped design the video, even though we maintained creative control the whole time.
Joe McManus (joe at fvpro.com) is co-founder of Future Vision Productions, an award-winning wedding and event videography outfit based in London, Ontario. He is the founder and president of the Ontario Professional Videographers Association (OPVA), and he was named to the 2005 EventDV 25. Contact Joe with Final Cut Studio-related questions and he’ll try to address them in Cut Lines. Comments? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or check the masthead for other ways to contact us.