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


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Old July 13th, 2003, 11:11 PM   #1
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Shooting your weddings in 30p or 24P?

Are you guys shooting your weddings in 24? It's very temping but then again it might look too grainy or movie like.

What are you guys doing?
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Old July 14th, 2003, 06:03 AM   #2
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For now it's all 60i, but that's only because I have to shoot along side of other 60i camera(s). If I had more than one DVX I've love to do a all 24p wedding. The only problem would be the lack of gain in the reception. I'd be forced to work with onboard lighting which I try to avoid if I can.
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Old July 14th, 2003, 06:12 AM   #3
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Available light might be a problem. Also it may look not real enough
(more towards a film look) which they might not want (or perhaps
they do). Keep in mind that most people watch the movies on a
TV and not as a movie but more like a documentary I think.....
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Old July 14th, 2003, 06:28 AM   #4
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I know a guy who shot a wedding in 15P for a friend's wedding a couple of years back. They haven't spoken since then. In fact, he hasn't used his VX2000 for at least a year. (I was waiting for him to decide to sell the thing, hoping to snag a deal, but the guy dropped it last year---and hard too.) I think shooting in 24P would make a nice effect for short segments of a wedding video, but 95% should be interlaced---that's what most people like to see in their wedding video, I think.
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Old July 14th, 2003, 07:14 AM   #5
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Not to ruffle feathers, but...

I really have a hard time believing anyone would say "Gee, this really looks like a wedding out of a movie, I sure wish it looked more like home video". The very reason someone gets paid to shoot a wedding is to bring together the quality and experience you have to offer in a beautiful, high quality format. They want to look like hollywood stars on the big screen, thats what its all about.

Light it up and go for 24p.

I would also frame shots with the intent of cropping to 16:9 in post if its going to DVD (not for VHS, too low res) -- Everyone produces to DVD, right? In just a few years, HD or widescreen TV will be the norm, and these wedding videos are keepsakes to be viewed years and years from now. Wouldn't it be nice to view full screen in 16:9 on these monitors, not scrunched-up in 4:3?

Ps - I don't shoot weddings, so consider the source. But I really have a difficult time thinking anyone is looking for a NEWS or home video look for their wedding STORY.

-Rodger
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Old July 14th, 2003, 07:56 AM   #6
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I don't shoot weddings either, but wouldn't it make sense to keep all these options available to the client/customer? After all, it's their wedding, let them decide if they want a film vs. video look or widescreen vs. 4:3. A lot of "normal" people still fear widescreen and believe that most widescreen films have been cropped or chopped vs. the 4:3 pan-n-scan counterparts. They don't realize that when they see a movie on the big screen that it is wider than their TV set.

Fortunately, this is slowly starting to change as more people are lured in by HDTV and wider screens when they go TV shopping.
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Old July 14th, 2003, 08:14 AM   #7
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Maybe...

For those who know their own minds, I would certainly agree. Problem is, do they?

I guess these people doing weddings will have to test the waters and see what works and doesn't.

I also think that once one is done in 24p (16:9 and 4:3), it would be a simple matter of comparison for clients. Just produce a demo DVD with all the different shooting methods you want to offer.

Again, I don't have experience in weddings, so don't get too excited by anything I say please.

Good luck.

-Rodger
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Old July 14th, 2003, 11:28 AM   #8
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"The very reason someone gets paid to shoot a wedding is to bring together the quality and experience you have to offer in a beautiful, high quality format. They want to look like hollywood stars on the big screen, thats what its all about."

exactly...

thing is, weddings are so finicky and so much a free for all, that the flexibilty to compose a shot manually is virtualy non existant...

for the mini movie or interview, getting ready and ceremony, i run it in progressive mode, IF and only if lighting permits...Most of teh time howeve,r im shooting in auto focus more, manually adjusting the iris as i go along and the envirnments change...

at the reception, i usualy have no choice but to run it in 50i as i need the extra gain...
Some moron put it in these brides minds that lighting isnt necessary, this has set a precedent for inferior productions which WE as videographers must work with, now that the brides have it in their minds that lighting "isnt needed" .. believe me its not good when youre in a thousand seat amphitheatre and the only thing illuminating the place is fairy lights 30ft up.. and the bride DOESNT want a cam light to be used... waht do you do then?
You tell them that sure u can do it, and it will be dark.. and you tell them you can bump to footage up a little but but colour will be lost, and you can also tell them that it will take much longer in post as colour corrections and bump mapping is used to spotlight the footage... but you HAVE TO tell them thats its gonna look like shit if they go this way... regardless of how good your editing box is, nothin is gonna fix up a crap shot... thats what these people dont realise as they dont know how much work is actualyl involved...
Sure u can shoot in 24p, but if they dont want lights forget it, i woudlnt even offer it...
First thing i ask ALL my clients, is "How is the reception going to be lit"
i then call teh reception and ask tehm to take afew stills and email them to me (if i cant make it persoanlly) at least if they carry the theme over form other weddings ill have an idea...
You have to do your research...

Like all things wedding oriented, information and education is the key... i educate my clients and offer THEM the choice of how it shot, edited and presented...
Reason being, it falls on their heads not mine if anythign goes wrong. Theyre advised of the limitations and from tehre its up to them..., and if they dont like the look, the contract states that this was their choice...
Sounds mean, but hey, im running a business, and theyre only gettin married ONCE...
they NEED to know the real deal, and if they go to someone else coz they dont like what they hear, they will end up coming back to me to "fix it up" coz theyre not happy with the results...
(And THAT has happened afew times...)

NEVER do a wedding without written agreement...

whether it be from shooting progressive to tripod safe areas, to parking....EVERYTHING have it in writing.
This way if anything goes wrong thats beypnd your control you are not liable...

its all good to have the gear, and its all good to have teh ABILITY to produce a good wedding presentation, but in the end its up to the bride and groom...

and their lack of education and preconceptions about the technology with regard to what we do as professionals hinders us form producing something really special...
In the ned, you have to remeber its THEIR CHOICE.

In the end, YOUR the one responsible for DOING WHAT THEY ASK. THATS YOUR CONTRACT.
But if you have it down that they chose a shot in this manner, theres no turning back...

I have in my contract a clause which states that lighting will be discussed and permission requested before any lights a re turned on..
I offer it clearly, and carry lights regardless of what they choose...
if I feel i need light, i will tell them. If they say no, and its a bad shot, tough titties... At least i know i offered.

In the end, do what needs to be done in the manner in which you believe it should be done.
YOU are the professional, they will be looking to you for direction.

Let them know YOUR limitations and they will know what to expect.

Movie like, yes, but movies are made with lights, expensive mics, and camera stabilising equipment among other things... if they want their wedding to look like a movie, you can tell them to expect the use of all this gear... if they feel its too intrusive, tell them they wont get the same results theyre looking for...

Its quite simple, they tell you want they want, and you TELL THEM whats required for production. If they clash, try to work out an alternative...

theres no right or wrong way, but there is THEIR way.. and your paid to it as such...
So long as BOTH parties write it all out and theres no preconceptions of what theyre getting...

geez i ramble, its late and im tired.. :(
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Old July 15th, 2003, 07:01 AM   #9
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Peter, good stuff. I had not thought of putting in lighting considerations in the contract. Would you be willing to share your contract template?
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Old July 15th, 2003, 09:33 AM   #10
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Yeah Pete has fired me up about this subject a bit. I just visited a couple last night to show them some of my work and describe what packages/options I offer along with prices. The couple and her parents seemed quite impressed with my work and seemed excited to talk about details regarding to their wedding and what options they wanted to include. When I explained what it would cost to do a wedding with everything she wanted she seemed a bit put-off and suprised. She explained, "I dunno it's just a bit much just for a video"...JUST FOR A VIDEO?! Now mind you it wasn't even close to what most of my clients have paid for more elaborate packages- and I even included a fully authored DVD, 2- manned camera coverage the entire day. And UNLIMITED coverage of the reception- no time limitations.

I don't know it just urks me that photography is viewed as so prestegious and video is just a second option. When in reality it's much more challenging to shoot a wedding than to photograph it. Your constantly monitoring audio levels while adjusting exposure, composition, and coverage. It's a constant- not like setting up a pic and snapping it. Plus once the photographer is finished shooting that day- all thats left is simple development and insertion into pre-made album templates, etc. The video guy has to go back with the 6-8 hours of tapes, tediously log and capture and spend roughly 60+ hours glued in front of a computer monitor brining the wedding day to life with titles, music, effects, etc. It's truly an artform. Sure anyone can have good equipment and be on top in the technical aspect- but it take that something extra to actually take that footage and make something truly remarkable with it.

So what I'm saying is...it upsets me that brides will shell out $4k-and up on photography but view video as sub par and not even worth half as much. Us videographers get the short end of the stick- less respect and more work. *sigh*

Oh yeah, and Pete...I, also, could use some help designing a contract. Do you mind emailing me when you get a chance. Thanks.
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Old July 15th, 2003, 10:46 AM   #11
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Glenn, I've been wrestling with the same question about why Wedding Photographers are held in such high regard by Brides whilst the videographer is often treated as the alsoran. The best that I could come up with is that photographers deliver to their clients in more of a physical form that can be shown well to freinds and family in a casual setting. Couples will often wip out their wedding album to any ole friend who happens to come over to the house but its dowubtfull that they will give the video the same treatment. Anything other than really close friends and family have no desire to sit through a wedding video when they come over to a friend's house for coffee. Since couples can't as easily "show off" their wedding with a video and they can do so with photos, the photos and the photographer get top billing and respect. It has almost nothing to do with the amout of work one has to do to deliver the product.

I also think it has to do with the fact that videography is a newer field and its simply not as established as photography. "After all, my Uncle Joe has a camcorder and can tape our wedding for us." is probably something that you have heard many times and you probably have a good reply to this statement too. But how often do you hear the same being said about the someone taking the stills? I think as our productions get better and better and new means of displaying them more casualy improve, the respect will increase. But since we are using largely the same technology that it is affordable to the masses, it will continue to be difficult demand high pricing for our work.
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Old July 15th, 2003, 10:55 AM   #12
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All you wedding shooters need to do is figure out how to hang your work on the bride and convince her just how much more beautiful she looks with those DVD accents on her wedding gown -- Money would be no object then ;>)

That is the real problem. She can't ware it, can't put some on each day to look great, for the most part can't even show it around only once or twice a month to her girl friends.

What you need to do is sell her on shooting new and editing old footage and stills they may have of the bride and groom growing up. Have different packages put together with this pre-wedding stuff the big pitch. It can be shown at the reception or dinner as the primary entertainment. Somehow you need to sell the bride that this is really necessary and beautiful.

-Rodger
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Old July 15th, 2003, 11:24 AM   #13
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Roger, I'm doing the prewedding photo-montage now. It is ALWAYS a huge hit at the receptions. People love it once they see it (themselves) but its difficult to charge enough for my time for them. I'm spending at least 30 hours just doing the montage (and getting faster all of the time). I take the snapshots, scan them, clean them in photoshop, edit in the NLE with music, put onto DVD and set up the projection equipment show at the rehersal dinner. But now I'm competing with power point presentations of slide shows. While I can explain until I'm blue in the face that the video presentation is much more enveloping, people are often willing to live with Uncle Joe and the power point presentation. The one thing that I have that the average unlce joe does not is a portable DLP projector and 60" screen.
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Old July 15th, 2003, 12:19 PM   #14
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You'll never sell to someone who is happy to have an amateur (who will work for free) do it. I would walk away pretty quickly as it is most likely only going to lead into price bickering at every turn.

I think the better course is to pre-qualify. Set a minimum pricing policy up front so you can weed out the window shoppers. Life is too short to give up time to those who only want to know how much uncle joe is saving them.

Just my 2 cents of course.

-Rodger
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Old July 15th, 2003, 12:26 PM   #15
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My hat is off is too anyone who shoot weddings for a living. Years ago (early 90's), I did two wedding for friends as a favor. And swore never to do one again. Brutally hard work, tricky live coverage (miss that moment and you are so screwed), equipment anxiety, endless post and complete lack of appreciation from most clients, non-wedding peers and world at large.

At least WEVA is around to pat people on the back. Because despite the sheer technical & logistical problems, people (including the samples here) turn out great stuff.

I would have to make at least $1000 an hour just to pay for the 2 week vacation after every shoot.

Narrative filmmaking on a zero budget is probably equally hard, but it's a completely different kind of hard.
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