Wedding Video Editing: Montages and Transitions

Wedding video editing is a specialized and important craft. It is your job to string together the best moments of most important day in a couple's life together. They could very well be watching this video fifty years from now, so you better make it good. Part of that rests on a good camera man and a great wedding, but another part of the equation is you, as the editor. There are various tools at your disposal when working on building a great video; two of them are montages and transitions.

What Are Montages and Transitions?

Montage and transitions are only available to the editor. "Montage," a french word that means "putting together," is a filmmaking technique that involves combining a series of rapid shots with music and special effects to draw an emotional response from a viewer. Editors typically use them to show a passing of time, such as in a movie when we see a sequence of a boy and girl dating and becoming closer over the period of a few days.

Transitions are effects used to move from one shot to another. The most well known examples are dissolves (used in older movies to show the passage of time) and fades. Cuts are considered to be the most basic of all transitions. This is simply cutting from one clip to the next.  For the purposes of this article, we won't include cuts under the umbrella of transitions.

Using Effective Montages

You should approach your wedding video like you're a story teller. It begins with people arriving for the ceremony, and ends at the party afterwards. Tell the story of the day in a linear fashion. If you're all over the place, like going from the cake cutting to the vows, your customer is likely going to be displeased with the video. 

Because you're going to be telling the story of the wedding day in a linear fashion while trying to include everything, you will find that the montage is a very powerful tool. For example, begin with a montage of the guests arriving, then show the ceremony, and then go to a montage of the cocktail hour. It's a way for you to include everything while keeping things interesting. Before you edit, talk to the bride and groom about what music they want to use. Also, try to keep the flow of your clips in the same direction. Don't keep cutting back and forth between the camera panning in different directions. Keep the montage smooth.

Inserting Appropriate Transitions

Transitions look great, but don't go overboard with them. There is a very thin line between "this looks awesome" and "this looks cheesy." Your editing program probably offers a lot of transition choices, but try to use the more subtle options. Dissolves are fine, and fading between different events works too, but applying checker wipe might not be appropriate. Use your transitions sparingly and with wise judgment. 

If you use the montage and transitions effectively, you will have an excellent video that your customers will love for years to come.

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