A detailed explanation of the wedding film Once More
I was introduced to Phoebe and Kris by their wedding planner, Stacey Rogan of Rogan & Co. Events. Stacey informed me that they are an adventurous couple in search of a wedding videographer who could capture their authentic selves. After speaking with them, I was inspired by their traditions, values, interests, and perspectives; I knew our Full Story package was the right fit for their wedding video.
There are many connecting threads in “Once More,” and each element of the film centers around the circle of life and perspective. On a cosmic scale, we feel small, but what we choose to do in our lives can make us significant.
This wedding video takes on three perspectives illustrated by Mike Doran, the voice-over actor tasked with recording the film’s script. The first perspective introduced is that of the individual with a pessimistic point of view. The second perspective is from the “we,” representing the curiosity and optimism of Phoebe and Kris. The final perspective is that of the unbiased and all-knowing natural world. Throughout the story, these three perspectives are both logical and paradoxical, in conflict and in harmony with one another.
Before the wedding, it was paramount that we film their annual hike in Germantown, NY. Scaling up and back down the mountain, we had an opportunity to depict Phoebe and Kris’s passion for nature and adventure, the cornerstone of “Once More.” During the hike, we had Phoebe and Kris speak about certain topics we would want audio for later in the edit, specifically, their philosophy on “type 1, 2, and 3 fun.” Recording this audio during the hike was an artistic choice to capture the labor in their speech as they hiked.
For this wedding video, we felt a voiceover would be the best tool to show the multiple perspectives of the film. The script, written by our team of story creators, is actually a poem. The line “Here we go again” which introduces the voice-over makes three references. The first is the cyclical theme of the film as well as the title “Once More”; it also foreshadows that the film will end the same way it began.
At the end of the film, we hear “Just go there.” This is a call to action as we aim to inspire Phoebe, Kris, and all viewers to explore, adventure, and be the positivity they wish to see in the world. This line also plays into the looping nature of the film as it brings us right back to “Here we go again.”
We used a variety of techniques and tools to tell this story. Composition, action, and camera movement were the main focuses for composing the cinematic language of this wedding video. Some compositions used trees and other natural foregrounds to show the perspective of nature. The symmetry (and lack thereof) in certain shots is a commentary on the pessimistic, curious, and all-knowing perspective. Certain sequences are filmed in slow-motion or time-lapse to provide a more immersive representation of the scale motif. Drone shots, especially the one revealing the title of the film, are also used to show the scale and nature’s perspective.
Being a film about nature, we mostly used natural light, but occasionally imitated natural light with a combination of artificial film lights and reflected light. For indoor shots, we shined light through windows and used soft diffusers to mimic a cloudy sky. It was important that the sky, people, and trees were all exposed properly to further the point that everything in our world (and beyond) is connected. This means we occasionally had to reflect light or add light even when filming outdoors.
In sequencing Phoebe and Kris’s wedding video, it was important that we were able to seamlessly tie the footage, audio (speeches, vows, voice-over, etc.), and message together while allowing the motifs and morals to reveal themselves as the film progressed.
The variety of music selected serves many functions while reinforcing the film’s main ideas. We hear multiple languages, but the message is similar. Each song makes connections to love, adventuring, and experiencing the world. The final song, in particular, speaks to Phoebe and Kris’s drive for adventure in their eternal search for the mountain they can’t climb.
To create a more immersive film, a lot of foley was added. For those unfamiliar with the term, foley is the practice of adding separately recorded audio into a video during editing. From wolves, dogs, and birds to hatchet chops, twig snaps, and footsteps, we were able to add texture to the audio through foley. Keeping with the theme of the film ending as it began, the wolf calls (which we recorded while descending the mountain) were added at the beginning and the end.
When deciding how to grade the color for this wedding video, as a team, we agreed that it would be best to work with the fall colors by amplifying the warmer tones. Blues and greens were given less luminosity and slightly less saturation while the reds, oranges, and yellows were given added saturation. To add a more dramatic look, shadows, blacks, and whites were made slightly darker while the highlights were slightly increased in luminosity. In the end, we were able to create a dramatic look while maintaining a high dynamic range.
The Final Film
As much as I’d like to go more in-depth about all the details and practices we implemented to create this story, I think I’ll end it here (my first draft was 8 pages long). The ultimate goal of this film is to inspire everyone who watches it to be the best version of themselves by adventuring, exploring, loving, and creating their legacy. There are infinite perspectives for viewing the universe, but you will only see the true beauty life has to offer with an open mind and open heart.