With the inclusion of more videography to Reset the past couple of years, we’ve had some powerhouse speakers, and we’re so lucky to have some amazing filmmakers joining us in 2017. Enter Tyler & Allison Blair, owners of Happy Camper Films, based out of Kentucky and New England. They offer mentoring and specialize in handcrafted wedding films and cinematic storytelling. Welcome, Tyler & Allison, and thanks for sharing with us for today’s blog post!
Connecting Music and Emotion in a Wedding Film
When you think of some of the biggest films in the past, have you ever thought about how the music or score below a moment can really draw you into the scene? The simple, ominous strings in Jaws. The moment when Rafiki holds Simba up at the beginning of the Lion King. The connection of dynamic music moments in the recurring “Mia & Sebastian’s Theme” in La La Land. And I know we have all gotten goose bumps when Patrick Swayze pulls off the big move with Jennifer Grey at the climax of Dirty Dancing. The emotional power the music brings to each scene makes us, as viewers, fully invest and be drawn into the moment!
One of the most important components of producing an emotion-filled and engaging wedding film is the music selection. Wedding films have a huge potential to leave the viewer connected to a wedding day, and even connected to the couple. Draw your the audience in to the intimate moments, the emotional moments, and the epic moments by editing your film to connect with the music.
Music Moment – noun – an opportunity for you to deliver your audience an emotional punch to the gut.
Okay, sure, we may have made that definition up, and it may a bit ridiculous. But, the premise really is important! When you are selecting songs, whether it is a singer-songwriter lyrical song, or an instrumental, cinematic score, they always
have these moments where the dynamics take the listener for a ride. In a cinematic song, it will often come in the form of a dynamic change from a mezzo-piano (softer, subtle) section of the song to a mezzo-forte or forte (loud, powerful) section; or it may come in the exact opposite order. In a lyrical sing, it may be the transition from the verse or bridge to the chorus. Either way, THIS is your music moment.
If you connect an dialogue excerpt that transitions into a powerful dynamic change, along with accompanying visuals, you are giving your audience a moment of emotion that is connected on all levels. One of the great things about editing programs is the ability to visualize the dynamics of the song via waveforms. When you bring a song into your timeline, it
will produce waveforms along the track to visually see how loud a song is at certain moments. When you see a sudden increase in the waveform to indicate a dynamic change, you can easily see a moment to connect your film to!
Music and Storytelling
We once heard Rob Adams of Rob Adams Films put it best when he said to edit your overall story with mini-stories. What this means is that a great way to put together one big story (the film) is to interconnect several small moments from the day. A mini-story may be the first look, reading a letter, the first dance, or any number of moments from the day. You can use sections of the song to connect these smaller stories together. If there is a mezzo-piano section of a song late into the film, it may be a perfect time to break from the epic dance scenes and to cut to the more intimate, romantic shots from your golden hour session. Or use a mezzo-piano section mid-film to highlight vows being exchanged, and when that section of the music ends, throw in the this kiss connecting right on the downbeat of the moment the big music dynamic hits. Try to connect the smaller stories of the song, with the smaller stories of your film!
Dialogue and Music
Whether or not to use clips of dialogue from a wedding day in a film is entirely up to the filmmaker, but we have found that using this narration in a film can bring the story and emotion out ten-fold compared to music only. However, in doing this, you also want to be sure that the viewer can understand clearly what is actually being said when you are using these clips! Loud dynamics in music, or music with lyrics can create a clash that creates an audio mess. If you have chosen an instrumental song, this often is relatively simple – just bring down your song levels during moments of dialogue. If you have chosen a lyrical song, this can be a bit more difficult, but still very doable. On many music licensing websites (we will get to those later), many lyrical songs may also have an accompanying instrumental version that can be bought at a discounted rate if buying the pair. When you are in your timeline, you can lineup the instrumental and lyrical versions on top of each other, and switch (via changing music levels) to the instrumental version anytime you plan on introducing dialogue. If you have only the lyrical version of a song, consider using breaks in lyrics for the dialogue. The more you can avoid having two voices at once (the singer and the speaker), the better and clearer your audio will be!
A couple of final music tips:
Licenses – When actually selecting music for a wedding film, be sure you are following the legalities that come with music licenses. If the film is intended to be shared via social media, Youtube, etc., you will want to use one of a few websites
that have affordable one-time use licenses for songs. The two main websites we use are TheMusicBed.com and SongFreedom.com. Both have licenses in the range of $30-50 per song, and have a huge selection of music to choose from!
File types – you often have the selection between an .mp3 or a .wav version of the songs. We recommend going with a .wav file, as they are higher quality and can give you better results when you are needing to adjust levels with dialogue and