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GIRIJA SHIVAKUMAR | 17 MARCH, 2016

Chronicling The New Indian Filming Trends


NEW DELHI: In the last decade, we have experienced a paradigm shift in the photography industry. From print to screen (digital), from DSLR to mirrorless, from complex to compact, traditional to contemporary. And now the onset of new age wedding videos are nudging the traditional “shaadi videowalla” and his blinding light out of the frame.

Traditionally, wedding videos have always been hours and hours of poorly shot, obtrusive images that end up gathering dust for decades and just fade away unless someone really adventurous attempts to mine through them. Mumbai-based Vivan Chopra is one of the new breed of video editors, who are side-stepping the slow trajectory of documentary film making and using their cinema degrees to breathe new life into traditional long-winded wedding films.

The new-age wedding film business is far from an amateur stint. This format takes the entire experience of a wedding, often over the course of a few days and compiles it into 60 – 80 minute film which serves as a memory that one can watch over and over again.

The wedding filmmakers offer a standard package that includes a 90-second trailer and a full feature length documentary. Everything is shot in High Definition with multiple cameras including drones and professional lights. The editing is done with the same software that is used for feature films and can also include a personalized song that is written and composed for the couple. The final film is delivered to the newlyweds about three to five months after the wedding.

“When we talk of wedding videos specifically, those 3-4 days bring an entire collective of people together for a single purpose and the outpouring of emotion is immense. A film-maker couldn’t ask for a more perfect scenario to apply his or her craft to,” says Vivan Chopra.

A few years ago Vishal Punjabi founded the company The Wedding Filmer established the trend of wedding film making in India, creating a template for an entire section of cinema that didn’t exist previously. Mr. Chopra too was fast to ride this wave with The Wedding Filmer.

For most film makers, the big-budget wedding films are a sure shot way to break in to the mainstream entertainment industry. The wedding industry, estimated to be worth a whopping Rs1,42,596 cr($25.5 bn), is showing no signs of slowing down. According to the Taj Group’s Wedding Barometer survey 2012, the industry is recession-proof and is growing at a staggering 25% per annum. While middle class families spend close to Rs19 lakh, an upper middle class family, on an average, spends Rs6 cr on each wedding.

On the making of these videos, Mr. Chopra points out that “if you ask any editor they will tell you a film is made on the editing table”.

“The editor has the privilege and responsibility of crafting a story out of (in the case of wedding videos) a collective of random images. The creative satisfaction of shaping a film is immense, you are essentially not only the editor but also the writer of the film,” he adds.

Indian weddings lend itself to a lot of entertainment. In addition, wedding videos seem to cut across all religions and cultures in India. After all, film essentially at its root is a single or collective expression of emotion.

“The most satisfying part of editing a wedding film is sitting the bride and groom when they watch the film for the first time. The fact that we are able to transport them right back to one of the most important moments of their life and watching them relive it is a beautiful thing” says Mr. Chopra.

(Photo courtesy: Rani Pink)

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