There's a common complaint among writers, journalists especially, that once we publish something, we rarely get feedback. It's not that we're so egotistical or insecure that we need a pat on the back for every word we write (though that certainly comes into play); it's that most of the time we have no tangible proof that anyone's even read the words we worked so hard to craft into a story. Even negative feedback is feedback; at least we know someone's taken a look.
Videographers at least know that somebody's going to see the fruits of their labors, even if the client is the only sure bet. But sometimes you have to wonder if even the subjects of the video witness what you've captured. Did the bride's father see how beautifully you captured that kiss as he gave his daughter away? Does the best man know that his attempts at breakdancing during the photo shoot have been captured for posterity? Does the groom know that his fiancee's eyes welled up when he surprised her with that song during the ceremony?
You certainly hope so, and the odds are on your side. But let's face it, videographers and writers share a common bond: we create what we create because we want to share it with people and hope they get out of it at least a little of what we put into it. Nonetheless, we're rarely around to see it when they do.
Enter the same-day edit. Chances are, even if you haven't attempted one, you've been tempted by the tantalizing possibility of taking what you've shot, giving it a quick, clean edit, and displaying it to a crowd still caught up in the thrill of the moment, whether at a wedding or another event. You'll get a round of applause at the end of the night, and—more importantly—your clients will get to relive a once-in-a-lifetime moment with the very people they shared it with in the first place.
Of course, the benefits of the same-day edit go beyond the emotional. Adding the service to your repertoire is another way to set yourself apart from the crowd and—lest we wax too idealistic—bring in additional revenue and clients. It's also a good way to silence the NLE naysayers who say wedding videography was better in the pre-editing days when you popped out the tape at the end of the day and handed it over, however rough and raw the footage. With an SDE, you get the instant gratification, but with the editing touches we've come to expect—and a chance to do a more lavish edit later on.
"I've never gotten as many ‘How did you do thats?' and ‘Could I have your cards?' as when I do a same-day edit," says Dave Williams of DVideography in Philadelphia. Here's a look at the opportunities and challenges presented by the same-day edit, as well as some practical advice from experienced videographers on how to get the job done.
All in a Day's Work
Mark and Trisha Von Lanken are something like same-day edit pioneers, having offered same-day services for years as part of the packages available from their Picture This Productions studio in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The couple has even put together a training/demo DVD, Wedding Day Edits: The Ultimate WOW Factor, to promote their work and share their knowledge with others in the field [see David Chandler-Gick's coverage in "Continuing Education," January 2005 EventDV, p. 16].
Mark says there's nothing quite like the experience of showing a same-day edit at a wedding reception. "The client actually pays you to show your work to hundreds of their closest family and friends," he says. "Remember, most people didn't get to see close shots of the bride and groom as they saw each other, the emotion in their faces as they exchanged their vows, the ring slipping on the finger," he says. "People are used to seeing a photo montage or even a love story (at the reception), but a wedding-day edit—that's truly breathtaking."