Matt Johnson’s Wedding Film Framework Course Review


Who is Matt? Chances are if you’ve spent any time exploring the wedding filmmaker world, you know exactly who he is. If you are asking yourself this question, stop what you’re doing and check out his YouTube channel, Matt WhoisMatt Johnson.

I have always enjoyed Matt’s content, so I was thrilled to meet him at Venture Workshop in Colorado earlier this year.

He’ll be there again in 2020 so check out the Venture website for more information!

If you’re on the fence about attending in 2020, check out our 2019 recap post.

The amount of enthusiasm he brings to his videos, along with the immense amount of research that obviously goes in to each one, has made his channel one of my go-to’s. When I heard about his Wedding Film Framework Course, I immediately asked Dave if we could get it for our editors.

Even though we have our own systems at Archaius, it’s always nice to see how other filmmakers tackle projects. Sometimes we get stuck in our own ways, put up blinders, and miss out on opportunities to improve our own skills; so investing in continuing education is a must for any video professional.

Matt’s Wedding Film Framework course walks you through the entire process. From ingesting your media, to music selection, to color correction and final delivery, you’re getting a TON of information from this course. The best part is he’s working through an actual project from start to finish, so you can easily see how this would translate to your own films.

We worked our way through the entire course, and these are some of our favorite topics.

Organization is key

Something that is always difficult to fully explain is the importance of systems and file organization. It was refreshing to see Matt advocate that the more work you do to build a solid foundation for your edit, the easier it will be to create a story. It may seem tedious to take the time to organize your footage, but when you’re ready to actually start cutting the piece, you’ll save so much time by being able to quickly navigate your footage.

I was happy to see how much organization is involved in Matt’s workflow and systems. It was great to see that his projects start with organizing the media before even pulling the footage into Premiere (it really made my anal-retentive heart grow three sizes larger). Honestly, the look of a well organized timeline is so pleasing to the eye.

Developing some type of organization system will keep the project contained to one location on your hard drive, so you won’t accidentally overwrite or delete media. This is really important for cameras that use the same naming structure for clips. Putting the clips from one camera/card into it’s own folder will help you, or your editor, if the footage needs to be relinked later down the road. Also, starting the prep work at this level can carry over to your Premiere project, because the folders will turn into bins once they’re imported.

Matt takes the organization one step further and shows you how he organizes his footage in Premiere, from laying out the B-Roll, to syncing the multi cams. When I first started editing in Final Cut Pro 7, I spent a lot of time making sub-clips and color coding them for the different wedding day events. This process was tedious and very unorganized, so it was nice to see how much Matt’s process streamlined everything for modern wedding filmmakers.

If you don’t have a system to organize your footage either on your computer or within the project, Matt’s system is a great starting point.

Sweet, sweet music

Look, if music isn’t your forte you should purchase this course simply to learn how Matt sources and edits music. The man is a machine! He mentions using 4 songs in a 5 minute edit…WHAT?!

One thing I hear from everyone is, selecting music is a huge time sink. Either you don’t know where to start because the big music websites have SO much music to sift through, or you’re tired of hearing the same songs over and over again. If you could use a helping hand in navigating music licensing sites, Matt’s got your back there too! Check out Matt’s Music List, a subscription-based service Matt offers to filmmakers looking for that perfect track while also keeping their selections fresh. I really enjoyed hearing Matt’s process in looking for music that both fits the couple’s style as well as the story he’s planning to tell. I think it’s a great blend of letting the couple influence the music for their wedding film, but making sure the integrity of your edit is not impacted negatively.

Being able to manipulate music to tell the story that you want to tell is a sign of a strong editor. You should never take any piece of the edit at face value. If you’re like me and not musically inclined, but don’t have someone like Dave to bash music theory into your brain, I think Matt’s demonstration of music organization will be extremely beneficial. Matt offers some great tips on how to cut music to create a flow for your film, and some unique ways to transition between songs.

Once the foundation of the music is laid out, Matt demonstrates how he matches his story elements to the music. Matching music to the emotion and sentiment of the story, is another indication of a strong editor (IMHO). Matt offers some great tips and guidance on how to find the best story elements in your footage, and demonstrates how pairing the story with musical queues accentuates the emotion.

P.S. Matt lists his top music websites in the course, and a few of them have some awesome promo codes attached. If you’re looking to get a music subscription, this course gives you a nice little bonus!

The Good stuff…Editing!

Basically, this course is a live edit, so if you’ve ever wondered how FilmStrong Wedding Films creates beautiful, emotional films this course provides a unique peek behind the curtain.

By this point in the course you have your story elements, you have your music, so now you get to bring it all together. The fun part if you ask me! This is the longest portion of the course and Matt takes you, step-by-step, through his editing process. Matt demonstrates how all of the prep work at the beginning of the project streamlines the actual editing portion (amen!). Again, if you don’t have a system for your editing, Matt’s workflow can really give you a place to learn what works best for you. When you’re up against the clock on your deadline, anything to make the process faster, while delivering an amazing highlight, is worth trying.

I was very happy to see that Rachel reviews the films with Matt once he has a rough cut put together. Editing can be an isolating thing, and stepping outside of the editing cave and getting someone else’s opinion is great. This is a process we have adopted here, where our editing supervisors review projects with the editors in order to maintain each filmmakers’ brand standards. We really try to foster a creative environment, so this allows team members to help each other with creative problem solving, or encourage each other to try new things. I think everyone should try to have their films reviewed by another person, because art is subjective and getting feedback from someone helps you know if your work is evoking the emotions you want. And wouldn’t you know it, Matt offers live film critiques on his YouTube channel as well!

I haven’t watched someone work through an actual edit since I started here at Archaius Creative, so it was fascinating to see! I found Matt’s process to be more unique than most wedding editors I’ve encountered, so even if you’re a seasoned pro, you’re still sure to find some useful information here!

Color grade like a pro

Here at Archaius, we’re fortunate that we have a colorist that touches all of our films, so usually at this point, my job is done! I don’t really understand color grading (or audio mixing for that matter), and I found it easy to follow and learn the way Matt explains it.

If you’re interested in the color software, Magic Bullet Looks, that’s what Matt uses in this portion of the course. So, you’re getting extra education! He does mention that the basics of how this program works can be translated to Premiere’s built-in tools, so don’t worry if you’re not ready for Magic Bullet yet!

After spending so much time crafting a beautiful film, you want to be able to put a pretty bow on it. I think some people forget about the “finishing” aspects of color and mix, so I was happy to see these things included in the course. Matt explains the theory behind a “hero shot” and how that can streamline the color process. He also talks about color matching between different cameras, and then walks you through applying this look throughout the timeline to create a cohesive film.

This portion of the course has me confident that with some practice I could color my own films, but I think I’ll leave that up to our colorist, Alex.

Exporting the final product

Alright, we’ve built an emotional film with fun music, the color grade looks great, and the audio sounds awesome, all that’s left is getting it to the client. So, which codec is best?…What’s a codec?…

At the end of the course, Matt walks you through his preferred export settings and explains what some of the different elements do. He also has a preset linked, so if you don’t want to remember the settings every time, you can add the preset to Premiere.

With digital video starting to lead the marketing/sales world, making sure your finished film looks its best is key. There’s a ton of information out there about codecs, bit depth, 4K vs. 1080p, and I think Matt sums it all up nicely.

This course is stuffed full of great information, and whether you are new to the wedding scene, or you are a seasoned veteran I think you will find this course very useful.

Check out all of the details on Matt’s website, and let him know your friends at Archaius Creative sent you!

If you’re looking at this freshly-published article, there’s a promo code for this course! You can save 15% with code “BF2019,” but hurry the code expires December 2nd at 11:59pm CST

One pitfall of editing weddings is that it’s usually a solo endeavor. It’s easy to get stuck in the same cycle, which can lead to creative burnout. Stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring other workflows is a great way to jump start those creative juices. At the very least, you may learn something new that makes the process faster, or even better, something that makes your edits stronger.