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Old June 16th, 2002, 09:38 PM   #1
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Advice on my 1st shoot

I am shooting my first wedding (outdoor too) this coming weekend. I have a question for anyone who has done this. I will be working the XL1s by hand and have the GL1 on a tripod in the back. My question is, when you are that only camera up front and the b&g face each other and exchange vows - how do you get both of them as they do it. Obviously with 2 camera people it would be a breeze, but how do I do it?
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Old June 17th, 2002, 01:42 AM   #2
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You won't be able to. However you should get near the middle so you can see both of them, but slightly to one side to favor the bride. Make sure you are there for the rehearsal, as you will learn how and when everyone will do what they are going to do. That's when you also will find out that they are planning on dimming the lights WAY TOO MUCH for your cameras to pick up good images. The reception is where you beg to the church people and explain how the video will look to the bride's family if the lights are turned down that much.

Back when I used to shoot weddings, I always used no less than 5 cameras and my "record" was 12. The idea here is to get as many as you can, so it might be a good idea to try and team up with another couple of people with MiniDV cameras, or set up an arrangement where you can rent them for the day (that's what I frequently did). You'll want one up high in the back, at least one on each side near the front, one hidden behind a big chunk of flowers or some greenery pointing outward, toward the audience and one portable which you will be carrying. (I always had my portable unit on a Steadicam J.R.) As I moved around the church, I would reposition each camera that I passed by to get different shots, so when they were all edited together it would look like even more cameras were being used. You'll just have to get all of them running before the wedding starts and run up front so you are in every camera's sight and clap your hands for a sync point. The other nice thing about shooting weddings with a lot of cameras is that you can set up different mics and run them to different cameras and decide which one turned out the best, or do a mixdown. I found that PZM mics sounded best during the music and the wireless mics I put on the bride and groom worked magnificent during the vows.

By the way, never ever trust the people involved in the wedding to let you know when something important is about to happen at the reception. They will almost always forget to tell you and they will not be pleased if you miss the cutting of the cake and other events. Try to run 2 cameras with 2 operators for the reception. You can do the same thing here if you like by syncing the two via the clap of the hands and then let them run until the two tapes run out. With non-linear editing, that makes things super easy to edit. If you can't get a second cameraman, at least set up a second camera in the room with a wide shot. You may end up turning to that camera for emergency use and/or audio occasionally.

Before I forget, always take the blank tapes out of their shrinkwrap. Don't just carry a stash. If you are in a hurry to change tapes between the ceremony and reception, you won't want to be messing with little things like that. It's also a good idea to have someone else there to watch over your equipment and break the extra cameras, tripods, mics or whatever down for you while you continue to shoot. Numbering your batteries also helps you to make sure you have a fresh one in a pinch.

One final tip, never ever rewind your tapes on site! By not rewinding the tapes you have shot, there is no way you will accidentally erase over something if you should get confused during tape swapping. Wait until you are home to do your rewinding.
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Old June 17th, 2002, 09:18 AM   #3
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Hello Brad:

Just out of curiousity, what was your usual turnaround after shooting a wedding with using your average 5 cameras, editing, and getting the product to the client?

Mr. Crisco, I hope that your shoot goes well and that the weather holds out for you!


Kyle "Doc" Mitchell
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Old June 17th, 2002, 11:42 AM   #4
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I am not a wedding videographer and can't offer any tips from experience. But your note made me wonder why you plan to mount the GL1 and hand-hold the XL1. With the GL1 so much smaller and more maneuverable I would think that you'd want to do just the opposite. I have both cameras and most often choose to hand-hold the GL1 and use the XL1s for mounted shots.
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Old June 17th, 2002, 12:05 PM   #5
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This was back in the late 80s and early 90s when I had to manually edit each shot together between two VCRs and maintain sync. It involved creating a master audio tape, which was played in sync with the master video tape (both on videotape) to make the dupes. As such it took me on average at least a few weeks to get it all done. With non-linear editing it could be done in a few days.

By the way, I agree with Ken, use the GL-1 for portable stuff. You need to be as mobile as possible and as discreet as possible when moving around.
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Old June 17th, 2002, 02:53 PM   #6
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We use 2 to 3 XL-1 cameras to film a wedding and editing takes roughly a week. Even with 2 cameras, we are finding many locations that place extreme restrictions on where we can locate our cameras (we've already had our front camera in doorways TWICE this MONTH). I can't imaging trying to convince the clergy of the need for 5-12 cameras. I also can't see much benefit to 5 cameras over 3 - with 3, you get the back shot, a shot of the bride, and a shot of the groom.
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Old June 17th, 2002, 03:34 PM   #7
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I will give you this advice only- Do not leave your camera unattended! I was in the exact same situation, when a young boy decided to grab the tripod and start shaking it. If I had been further away, or less attentive, it would have been a disaterous turn for my brand new XL1s.

Take someone with you, if to do nothing else but guard your equipment!
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Old June 17th, 2002, 06:38 PM   #8
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Brad Miller - wow thanks for the valuable info! I really appreciate you taking the time.

Ken - Good point on the GL1. I just ordered my 2nd tripod this morning so I'll have one for both cameras.

Capt. - Excellent point on the kids - or anyone else who might interfere with my stuff. Luckily the wife has been drafted to watch over camera 2.
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Old August 27th, 2002, 05:53 PM   #9
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I couldn't imagine trying to edit 12 cameras!!
2 cameras is already a pain! I do most of my many weddings with 1 camera. I'm much more ceative this way. I edit as I shoot and the end result is good. If I had to edit 12 cameras and sync them all up I would make .01$ pre hour. Crazy man! :)
Adam Wakely,
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