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


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Old May 9th, 2008, 10:27 AM   #1
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Intrusive Camera Operators

I just wanted to get clarification on this. In the wedding videography business, what are some things videographers SHOULD NOT do during a shoot.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 10:41 AM   #2
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I just wanted to get clarification on this. In the wedding videography business, what are some things videographers SHOULD NOT do during a shoot.
Fart loudly?

It seems to me what is considered intrusive varies from place to place. The guys over in the Philippines can get away with stedicaming down the aisle and moving around to get angles from just about anywhere in a church, where as around here they want you to not move at all once the ceremony starts. Rules differ greatly from church to church as well. It's hard to say what's considered intrusive. It's always best to talk to the priest and ask what the house rules are & ask the bride if there's anywhere she doesn't want you to go & do your best to accommodate those desires.
If you're in the wrong spot to get the shot you have to have (it happens to all of us from time to time) then don't be afraid to move. In my book, a few passing moments of aggravation from a grumpy guest or priest beats the heck out of totally blowing a shot.
Other than that, just use your best judgement & don't be obnoxious.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 10:49 AM   #3
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Ethan - thanks for making me laugh. I needed that.


What about during the reception (being intrusive, not passing gas)?

I guess I'm basically looking for rookie mistakes, or things you've all seen/heard before and thought - wow, that was a bit much...
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Old May 9th, 2008, 10:55 AM   #4
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As said above, it depends

I like it when our clients call us invisible, which can be a good or bad thing. Good in that it means we are not holding up the progress of the day, unlike the......nevermind. Bad in that we may miss some shots because we're not close enough what have those critical closesups etc.

Videography is one of those animals that really, you only get one shot, very few doovers. That being said, the pace that we work is at an arobics speed. In and out of the shot is what we typically do. As for ceremony's, I've yet to feel comfortable in this area of going down the isle in the front. I will however roll my tripod/dolly down the back behind the bride about 20 feet or so.

As for the reception, we're pretty much in the 'mosh pit' so to speak, as well as on the edge of the action with another camera.

So, I think your original question is always something to discuss with the client and venue director.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 11:04 AM   #5
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I don't know Nick, I mean I may be a little more on the intrusive side. I'm not shy about doing whatever to get my shot. That being said, I try not to steal the show, or be obnoxious.
I'd say the worst thing you can do is be rude to people, or constantly barge into situations that don't need disturbing. Tread lightly, use the zoom, stay out of the way till you just can't anymore.
Oh, and be positive in everything that comes out of your mouth even if you're not thinking it. This took me a long time to learn as I have little to no brain/mouth filter. I learned this by watching some of the better photographers work with people. Whenever they'd blow a shot, they'd spin it, and say something, like "that was great, I'd like just one more" instead of "ah crap, messed that one up... can we try it again".

*EDIT*
Another thing I've learned (sorta) through personal experience is, Shut Up. Stop talking so darn much. I have a bad habit of talking to people around me, and nobody wants to hear the video guy talking over their reception footage. I still struggle with that one.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 01:06 PM   #6
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Another tip is to observe the B&G and family and guests very carefully. You can learn a lot about what people will find acceptable just by watching them and their reactions and mannerisms. Example, if the bride is loud and rowdy and half-drunk by the ceremony, you're likely to have more leeway with shooting her. Same goes for a bride who is quiet and sober, but shows a love for hamming it up for the camera. I had one bride who was really shy and nervous, but she still loved being in front of the camera, so once I identified this I ran with it the rest of the day.

Another example is where I've been filming random guests on the dance floor at the reception. Sometimes you'll have that guest that gives you a look or just always turns away from the camera when you put it on them. With that type of person, you need to either avoid filming them (because you're not likely to get good footage anyways), or you need to back off and use the zoom and try and catch them when they don't see you (wear black!).

As to Ethan's comment about the talking, I don't talk hardly at all. I'm good at that and learned that lesson early on. But my wife is a photographer and she talks like crazy and basically becomes part of the family, so I'm always fighting with that, lol.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 01:52 PM   #7
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... But my wife is a photographer and she talks like crazy and basically becomes part of the family, so I'm always fighting with that, lol.
Travis, ask her to 'shhh'.......... let me know how that goes.

As for talking, it depends. If the photog is yaking away, I'll just mimic or shadow them. If not, then I will engage the people. Sometimes, you can find that camera hungry dancer and use that a catalyst to get other people doing fun things on camera.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 02:23 PM   #8
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I hate these old skool videographers around here who shoot with a brightass Smith Victor lights attached to the hotshoe and the light is AC powered!.. YES! Meaning no battery.. and dragging a long blue extension cord behind him..

I guess some people will really go to the extremes to achieve that deer in the headlight look.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 02:35 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=Yang Wen;874623]...and dragging a long blue extension cord behind him..
QUOTE]

One word, Liability. I've never seen that. As for the deer in the headlight look, that's pretty comon when people want to turn the ambient light off.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 02:49 PM   #10
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I hate these old skool videographers around here who shoot with a brightass Smith Victor lights attached to the hotshoe and the light is AC powered!.. YES! Meaning no battery.. and dragging a long blue extension cord behind him..
Now that is FUNNY. I can't imagine doing that, I mean I at least put my gas powered generator on wheels so I can keep my cable runs down to a minimum. Never can be too safe.
I don't see how someone can call themselves professional if they don't use a generator (never know when the power might go out) and keep it on wheels at all times so that it's within arm's reach.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 10:16 PM   #11
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Hey Nick,

I'm generally guided by the couple when it comes to how 'gung ho' I can be during the ceremony.

Some couples don't mind whatever you do, they just want you to get the shots you need - as long as you don't knock grandma over in the process etc ... Other couples are more conservative.

The couple may also be able to let you know the rules of the church. I had one minister tell me he would stop the ceremony if I ventured too far down the aisle - other ministers/officiants are cool with most anything.

Try to introduce yourself to the minister before the ceremony, maybe at the rehearsal if you can.

Introducing yourself to the photographer can also help your day to go smoother as well. Nothing worse than a photographer who sees you as some kind of rival for the day.

And don't forget to hit 'record'! :)

Cheers,

Matthew.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 10:45 PM   #12
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Some great advice here. Where I am, we are allowed to move around a bit during the ceremony. Usually, they just don't want us to come up to the altar.

I wait at the top of the aisle for the processional, then move to tripod until the vows. For the vows, I come off tripod and move to centre. Then back to tripod.

Off tripod for the signing. Then run around, and back up in front of the B&G for the recessional with the photographer. We'll even stop them and ask for a pose or for them to kiss. Then out of the church.

On the other extreme, I shot a Bat Mitzvah the other day for which I had to shoot from a box in the temple. Not only was I not allowed to move, I was hidden from view. But hey, that's what works for them, and for sure there was no chance of the photographer or videographer distracting anyone during the ceremony.

I think what several have said already is the most important. Get a sense of the B&G's culture, values, temperament, etc. You will quickly understand what does and does not fly.
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Old May 10th, 2008, 08:24 AM   #13
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Vito, that's a lot of running around! Just curious, but how many cameras do you use? How many cameramen? I'm wondering about the shots that you miss running from one place to another.
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Old May 10th, 2008, 02:24 PM   #14
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Moshing it up

I love receptions, and I love the .3 semi-fish eye I just got. I used it a lot for the reception on my most recent wedding because it made the crowd that much closer and more involved. I didn't need to do anything to get the bridesmaids to play to the camera. It was perfect.
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Old May 10th, 2008, 09:12 PM   #15
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Vito, that's a lot of running around!
Tell me about it. It's the most stressful part of the day for me.

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Just curious, but how many cameras do you use?
That's why it's the most stressful part of the day for me. It's just me, no assistant, one camera. Once in a while two cameras and shooters. 99% of our contracts include full day coverage, so I arrive at a run at the church, trying to beat the arrival of the bride, whose house I've just left. I barely have time to mic up the groom and the podium and set up my tripod before I have to run back out and try to get her arriving. Not a chance of setting up an unmanned camera.

Meanwhile, the TWO photographers are languidly walking around, snapping shots here and there and chatting. It's nuts.

Quote:
I'm wondering about the shots that you miss running from one place to another.
Surprisingly, if you time it right, you don't miss anything. You are repositioning yourself at the same time that the B&G and officiant are repositioning as well.
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