After United, I realized I had a lot of new, interesting ways to improve my business and differentiate myself from local competition. Fusion Videos, a concept I learned from Isaac and Karen Stott in their class at United,one of the latest trends in the -ography field, is just such a way.
Here's my experience with it:
First of all, the most important thing for me was ease of implementation. I'm a busy mom, I own two businesses, and my husband is a full-time engineering student--so we've got a lot on our plate. What I did may not work for you, and that's totally okay. Tweak as fits your needs, peeps!
What it is: Fusion Videos combine small video clips with your portraits in a slideshow with music to provide a different way to share images with your bride and groom. It's emotional, it's easy to put together, and it involves a little extra time, and basic knowledge of changing your camera to video, knowing how to change your portrait settings to Monochrome (for those inside videos with crazy lighting), and knowing when to get video clips, and when to get pictures.
1. Always Get The Picture First. ALWAYS. You're hired as a photographer, not a videographer, and unless you're used to toggling back and forth, it's best to get the shots you want first, and then switch to video for the clips you need. They're a perk, but again, not what you're hired for.
2. Have A Second Shooter I'm of the opinion that this is pretty much necessary, if you want to succeed at fusion videos. While I shot artistically, my second shooter (read: indentured husband) took back up pictures, grabbed candid shots, and got videos. If it had just been me, there would have been 3 videos. But with my husband TJ with me, we ended up with close to 70 to chose from.
3. Shoot Black and White Inside, Color Outside. Remember how I said keep it simple? Shooting in Black and White inside makes it simple. You don't want to take the video home, upload it, edit it (which takes in INSANE amount of time) and then make a Fusion Video--unless you're making a high, high end product. In which case, knock yourself out. But for the rest of us that just want something with a bit of an extra spark, shoot B&W indoors, and you're welcome.
4. Shoot Video In 5 Second Increments You want to have just enough emotion to tie the story together--not just enough pictures to tide the viewer over until the next clip plays. 5 or 10 second increments work perfectly to get the movement/emotion you want, without overwhelming or downplaying your amazing photography.
6. What Do You Use For The Slideshow? I use Animoto for my Fusion Videos. If you're willing to shell out 30 bucks a year, you can upload 10 second video clips, and your choices are incredibly limited. But if you want complete freedom, you can upgrade to their Pro package, which is closer to 260.00 a year. Pricey, but then you can have multiple songs, access to more songs, access to all their slideshow templates, and HD quality slideshow videos. It's worth it, if you have the moolah to do it, but if you don't, the 30.00 option works for just starting out.
7. So How Do You Put It Together? This is actually a mix of advice from the Stott's, and Katelyn James. On Saturday, I shoot the wedding. On Saturday Night, or Sunday morning, I cull the images, and pick the ones I want to use for the blog post/fusion video. For this wedding, it was close to 200, but to be fair, It was my first wedding fusion video, and I got carried away. You could probably get away with 100, or 50. <.< Once I get those edited, I upload them to Animoto, along with my video clips, arrange them until they're pleasing, add a text box to the beginning with the information about the wedding, tag the vendors, and share it on Monday. On Tuesday, I cull my favorites a little more, Blogstomp them, and share my blog post. By Wednesday, the rest of my images are edited, and by Thursday, I have the PASS Gallery up, I've sent a separate gallery for the vendors from the wedding, the bride has seen the Fusion Video, had blog post, and now has all of her pictures, and I'm done with that wedding.
Transparency is important, and so is keeping true to who you are and what you can handle. If I was being honest, I'd say I need to work on making sure my videos are black and white while inside (as you'll see in the video), making sure I'm not moving all over the place, and making sure I keep my focus on photography first. I'm hoping to improve on those in the next wedding.
I heard a few people asking for more information, but I'm definitely not the authority on the subject, I just wanted to share my experience, and hopefully, help those of you interested in it get more comfortable with the process!