Fusion Videos: What They Are, How They Work

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!

F A M I L Y || Tucker’s First Birthday

Chris, Sara and Tucker have a place in my book as Coolest Family Ever. Not only have I captured them before, wearing amazing mustaches, and braving freezing cold temperatures for gorgeous winter shenanigans, but they invited me back for Tucker’s First Birthday.

The party was carnival themed, with the emphasis being mostly on making sure every child there had a BLAST. And I do believe they did. Even though a random Thunder Storm came rolling in, and big, fat raindrops threatened to dampen the mood, everyone at the party sat back, relaxed, and pulled up some tents to carry on the festivities. The food was a mix of hot dogs, salads, watermelon slices, sweet juicy strawberries, and individual buckets of popcorn gloriousness.

Sara, I am in AWE of your craftfulness. Teach me  your ways. F’reals.
Enjoy some pictures of this incredibly good-looking family, their festivities, and CAKE.

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Aren’t they just so cute? Just wanna squish their *cheeks*!

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It’s probably biased that I decided to throw in a picture of my little guy playing with her little guy,
but I couldn’t stop myself. THEY LOOK SO CUTE.

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Tucker’s best friend in the whole world, Olive.

2013-07-04_0019      The pies in the middle were HANDMADE GLORIOUSNESS. And they tasted AMAYZING.

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Washing up after eating cake!

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F A M I L Y || Spokane Maternity Photography

Michelle is my personal cheerleader, and I’m not kidding. If she didn’t have an incredibly full life to live, I have no doubt that she’d be at all my weddings, cheering me on. And I’d totally hire her, if I ever won the lottery, to do that for me, haha.

Michelle, Zach, and Ramzey are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of baby Nikole. Their little princess already has them in a flurry of activity to make sure everything, from the home birth (which I shall be capturing *eeek*) to having beautiful outfits fit for a princess, ready to go.

I absolutely adore this family, and I love it when I become more than business acquaintances with my clients. Michelle and I hang out, make paper flowers, eat cheese….yep. Good times.

Enjoy this sneak peek, and then make sure to check out her PASS Gallery for the whole kit and caboodle! Don’t forget to leave her some heartfelt congratulations and well wishes! ❤

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Oh, Michelle, you are such a beautiful Momma!

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I went a completely different direction with this shot, because it BEGGED for an ethereal look. 🙂

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Make sure to check out her Gallery to see more beautiful family shots! And don’t forget to leave her love on her guestbook!

 

F A M I L Y || Mandy & Isabella

I’ve been so swamped lately–not a bad thing by ANY means, but it has meant less time to share what I love doing with all of you. Recently, I offered a Mini-Session event to those who either don’t want a full session, or couldn’t afford one. It’s something I plan on doing, from this point on, only once a year, it’s simple, it’s focused, and I cherish it. There’s nothing more fun than spending a day discovering new places to take pictures with different people. I challenged myself to try new spots every chance I got. I wanted to make sure that each family had unique images they could cherish for a lifetime!

One such family was Mandy, and her Iz, as she calls her. I call her a deer, as my own little joke from one of my favorite movies, Simon Birch. What an amazing duo! Mandy is a photographer as well, an amazing personal friend, and a great lover of Jesus. Iz…..well Iz loves affection, talking with other dogs, and looking at everything BUT a camera. Though, I’m finding that this seems true with most dogs.

Here’s a few favorites from their shoot! I hope you enjoy!

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Day 14: Movement

Life moves so quickly. One day, you’re thinking of a name for the new life inside of you, the next, they’re spitting their sweet potato puree in your face, because it’s “fun.”

Today, we decided to move a little more slowly–or quickly, depending on how you want to look at it. The handyman from our apartment complex was supposed to come fix our air conditioner yesterday, and did not, so we’ve been handling the heat of the bottom floor, and the top floor, plus our windows face the sun during it’s hottest times. All in all, our little abode is a FURNACE. So, we’ve been going on “drives” so we could justify using the car’s air conditioning.

Today, as we were sitting in the living room, watching Liam, barely moving, so we didn’t have to get warmer, I realized I needed to do today’s challenge. CAPITAL IDEA.

We jumped in the car, and made for the country, and the gorgeous spring colors! So, here a few “motion shots” I got of the trees, and a double exposure of me taking pictures of the trees, and a second shot of motion-ful trees.

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Okay, so, not a tree. We got home and I saw these sprinklers going, and I wanted to capture the water droplets flying over the dandelions and violets that scattered the grass. <3

Okay, so, not a tree. We got home and I saw these sprinklers going, and I wanted to capture the water droplets flying over the dandelions and violets that scattered the grass. ❤

Day….What Day is this….8?…9?…Whatever-Favorite Colors is the Theme. So yeah.

I got a late start today-I tried something new. I left my phone in the room this morning, I did not check my messages, I did not read my emails, I did not play Candy Crush Saga, and I didn’t text my early bird friends.

I decided to spend the first hour of my morning with Liam. Unplugged. No TV. No phones. Just him, his bottle, and me, snuggling until he finished his meal, and gurgled at me, and tried to roll out of his boppy pillow.

We HAD to do laundry today. We slacked so badly, our room was almost impossible to get in and out of. Mountain ranges of different fabrics stood at impressive heights, making me feel like I was in the Sound of Music, and they were ALIVE. With the STENCH of BODY ODOR.

But the good news is, we found a rad laundromat with soft blue and yellow walls, stainless steel appliances, FAST machines (Loads finished in 17 minutes, and dried in 30!) and incredibly friendly staff–they really, really wanted to take Liam home. Here’s some shots of today, and my current favorite color.

Stainless steel, frothy suds, brilliant colors....it's the ULTIMATE in elementals that make this girl happy.

Stainless steel, frothy suds, brilliant colors….it’s the ULTIMATE in elementals that make this girl happy.

We switched him back to the old car seat for a *little* longer. When he falls asleep in the other one, his head hangs off to the side--I know he's okay for breathing--but he looks incredibly uncomfortable.

We switched him back to the old car seat for a *little* longer. When he falls asleep in the other one, his head hangs off to the side–I know he’s okay for breathing–but he looks incredibly uncomfortable.

When we were folding clothes after the fact, one of Liam's newborn pajamas made it into the batch, and TJ had a hard time not crying, and asked if we could keep it. <3 *sniff* I then bawled, and said yes. So hard to believe he's growing up so fast!

When we were folding clothes after the fact, one of Liam’s newborn pajamas made it into the batch, and TJ had a hard time not crying, and asked if we could keep it.

His newest obsession--hanging upside down to see what the world looks like. I got nauseated just watching him.

His newest obsession–hanging upside down to see what the world looks like. I got nauseated just watching him.

My current favorite color (and my current favorite accessory) is seafoam green. I love the soft pastel color, the cool look and sleek, preppy feel it has. I have a LOT of this color in my closet. And coral. And soft yellows. Blame my branding team, "Hey Sweet Pea." They've got me hooked on my branding colors!

My current favorite color (and my current favorite accessory) is seafoam green. I love the soft pastel color, the cool look and sleek, preppy feel it has. I have a LOT of this color in my closet. And coral. And soft yellows. Blame my branding team, “Hey Sweet Pea.” They’ve got me hooked on my branding colors!

Starting Over….or….The Blogocalypse

It’s time for a fresh sheet of paper. A gorgeous new theme, to match my beautiful website, to match my beautiful new branding that’s consistently in the works, to match my beautiful couples.

It’s kinda beautiful.

So, with that, I decided I wanted to focus on much more than posing, on perfect portraits with perfect lighting. I want to live in every moment, and find something beautiful to photograph, no matter where I am.

So, to help inspire me, keep me on task, and further the drive I have to continually improve my skills, and get my creative juices flowing, I decided to do a 1-a-day challenge for the next month.

Good luck to me, since I can't barely eat food two days in a row. (Just kidding. Food is amazing.)

Good luck to me, since I can’t barely eat food two days in a row. (Just kidding. Food is amazing.)

So, Today is the first day of this ambitious project. It was actually really cool-I ended up taking several shots that I absolutely adored while waiting to find what I was looking for.

Cheddar Cauliflower Soup from the High Nooner

Cheddar Cauliflower Soup from the High Nooner

This glorious bowl of soup is my favorite food……of the day. See, when it said Favorite Food, I was like “I can’t afford to go to the Melting Pot…..sooooo…..” And then I realized I could go the other way and be all….open minded. And stuff.

So, here’s to you, Cauliflower Cheddar Soup of Cheddary Cauliflowery goodness! And thumbs up to you, High Nooner, for having glorious avocados that I can slurp out of my sandwiches.

P.S. Your chicken is suspiciously gross and fake looking. But your avocados are AHMAYZING.

Here’s two other shots of things found whilst thrifting with friends:

While I know that there's a thing about people being shoved into trunks.....don't you think the bad guys would just.....not....buy that type of car? Because....I think I would just NOT buy that car--if I was in the habit of shoving people in my trunk.  But I don't, I just shoot them.

While I know that there’s a thing about people being shoved into trunks…..don’t you think the bad guys would just…..not….buy that type of car? Because….I think I would just NOT buy that car–if I was in the habit of shoving people in my trunk.
But I don’t, I just shoot them.

If they hadn't been size 2 1/2, I was all sorts of ready to get them. *sigh*

If they hadn’t been size 2 1/2, I was all sorts of ready to get them. *sigh*

Just a few snigglet’s of goodness. Thrifting is great, great fun!