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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old June 25th, 2003, 07:07 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Frederiksberg, Denmark
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Shot my first wedding...

Just shot my first wedding here in Denmark, using my Canon XM-2. I have spent quite a lot of time going over the forums, that offer a lot of excellent advice on how to do this. Thanks to all the people who have shared their experiences over time.

This one was a freebie, since I regarded it as practice for myself. I was actually a bit surprised that several of the guests asked me for price quotes for their wedding - first lesson learned.

The next surprise was that I never realized how physically hard work it would be working straight from noon (bride preparing) till well after midnight. I lugged the camera and tripod around, and although not very heavy, carrying it for 14 hours or so made my arms and legs very heavy.

In Denmark it is generally not allowed to shoot video in church during the wedding ceremony. I thus only got pre ceremony shots up to and including the bride and her father walking down the aisle. Next scene I could film was the married couple walking back out. I did however record the audio for the entire event, and I figured I would do a little montage with bride entering followed by sound playing from various crucial parts of the ceremony (the "I do's") combined with exterior shots of the church as well as spectator faces I had shot pre ceremony.

If anyone has some good ideas to improve on this I will be all ears...

I looked over most of my 5 hours of footage, and my 2 favorite shots so far are:

1. The party took place in a garden tent. Since there were 50 people in there it got very hot, and the groom was wearing a tux. After 4 hours of dinner, speeches etc. he was finally able to go outside to the "beer on tap" machine. He poured himself a nice cold one, and I ask him whether it was good with a cold beer. He doesn't realize that the camera on tripod is on and replies: "This is perfect. It is soooo good. It is the only thing I have been thinking of ALL day". Takes a sip of beer.

Short pause, then he looks straight towards the camera and says "You are not shooting this are you?"

Then you just see his "I'm such an idiot" expression when he realizes that I just got that on tape :)

2. Cutting of the cake. After the cake was cut, I set up a shot from outside the tent (opened a flap into the tent) The cake with a plastic figure of bride and groom on top was close to the camera, and at the far end of the tent was the real B & G. Set up a rack focus shot where the plastic figure is out of focus and you see the real ones looking into each others eyes. Focus changes to the plastic figure, and at the same time you can see the real B & G kissing each other out of focus. Of course it took 10 trys to get this without anyone walking into the shot, and the B&G not looking away etc. but it finally worked with a stroke of luck with the kiss. Now I just have to decide whether to play it forwards or backwards :)

Now there is just hours and hours of post left for me to do. All in all it was a great learning experience for me, and you invariably get home, look at the footage and slap yourself for not shooting this or that.

Again thanks for the goldmine of tips on this forum. Could never have done it without it.

Hans Henrik
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Old June 25th, 2003, 08:17 AM   #2
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Nice post! Can be quite fun doing weddings!

During the unfilmed ceremony: I guess there aren't any stills either? If there are you could copy those & play sound on top, or use still portraits & put the sound on top, or maybe you can get them to cooperate and film some re-enactment close-ups of their faces saying "I do" or something like that.

Good luck with the editing!

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Old June 25th, 2003, 08:25 AM   #3
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Thanks for the feedback.

I think I could get some stills actually as some despite the ban on photography fired off still cameras. My XM-2 is not really something you can play "candid camera" with though.

The reenactment is a great idea too. I could do some extreme close ups of that.

Hans Henrik
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Old June 25th, 2003, 10:13 AM   #4
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I would get baby pictures of the bride an groom and use them in a photo montage during the audio of the wedding.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 04:08 PM   #5
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I'll second Ron's suggestion - at least on principle. Because any shot of the bride and groom distant in time and/or space from the event at hand will in the circumstances be seen as a lead-up to the event. So you could use shots from stages in the preparation, early or on the day, shots or stills from childhood, like Ron said, and even shots/stills of parents' and grandparents' weddings.

About shooting at the ceremony:
If Denmark is like Norway you may shoot by the altar at some weddings; it's up to the priest to decide. There may be a policy at each church, but still the priest may over-rule it (both ways). For your next wedding, try this: The priest may be more at ease with a small un-manned camera taping the altar part of the event than actually having someone up there shooting. So borrow a non-pro camera (or whatever you can get) put it in place and just start it before everyone arrives, but still early enough to get what you want. If you explain that to the priest beforehand, I think she (or he) will find it easier to step aside from what might be the usual policy. You'll find that for most priests this is not really a religious issue, but one of dignity; they simply don't want people disturbing the ceremony. If you can suggest a way to get your shots quietly, many of them will let you.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 05:05 PM   #6
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Thanks for the good suggestions. I tried phoning the minister days before the wedding and explained exactly that I could place an unmanned camera somewhere etc. but they had a strict policy. No video manned or unmanned during the ceremony :(

Good idea on the child photos though...

Hans Henrik
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