Can This Disastrous Wedding Footage Be Salvaged?

As both the photographer or videographer, and the client, horrendous results are our worst nightmare. So when the videography of a wedding was dire and deemed unsalvageable, Josh Yeo stepped in to see if he could rescue it.

A wise veteran photographer gave me a lesson in the first few weeks of me owning a camera. Using a macro filter and a nifty fifty, I nearly captured an ant looking at me through a hole in a leaf. It sounds poor, but it could have been a brilliant image. However, due to my entry level camera, poor macro setup, and lack of technical ability, the shot is far from what I wanted. Undeterred, I slapped it around Lightroom and Photoshop for hours trying to make something of it, and finally showed some photographers I was friends with. The aforementioned veteran said — and I'll make this family friendly — "trash in, trash out."

The essence of his words has stuck with me for over a decade; he was completely right. Another way of putting it, is don't try to polish a turd. You're better off reshooting and getting higher quality results in camera than trying to save something in post. But what happens if you can't reshoot and you need to polish that turd. Is there any way you can have trash in, but not trash out?

Josh Yeo of MAKE. ART. NOW had some close friends go through the worst case scenario with their wedding videography: it was dreadful. Not only was the photographic prowess of the footage non-existent, there was no B-roll, no drone footage, very little footage of bride and her family, very few reaction shots and emotion, and last but not least, bizarre defects in the files that leave digital artifacts in the form of grain. The bride and groom chalked it up as bad luck and decided nothing could be done with the collection of footage from their wedding day, but Yeo wanted to see what he could achieve.

How do you think he did? Is there anything he could have done better?

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6 Comments

Bernd Stoeckl's picture

The essence to me is - use a pro and not an amateur. LOL

cameramanDop Shanghai Hong Kong's picture

We will fix it in post!
The burn footage on the intro of the video can't be fixed in post... Sorry

Martin Melnick's picture

I think you salvaged it pretty well. There's some really decent advice here. The one thing though - I can guarantee no bride or groom will be okay with seeing footage of hands that aren't theirs, holding a box that isn't part of their decoration, with a wedding ring that is blatantly not their own. Like, I would just stick to abstract B-roll in that case. Or set up a meeting with the bridge and groom to do a wedding ring shoot later on.

Luke Adams's picture

Cool video . . . and I really enjoyed the message he was trying to get across of time, vision and work ethic. However, it was a bit of a letdown that he had footage of his own from the wedding and their engagement sitting in his back pocket. Most people in this situation wouldn’t conveniently have that at their disposal.

Joe Black's picture

Lovely footage. Nice end result. Thanks for sharing.

Great work and message. But it was made super easy by happening to have extra footage. I suppose you could "reshoot" that stuff. But what if you cant and it's just that 6 minutes of raw shots? The real lesson is, use pros and check your gear.