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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old May 26th, 2008, 07:08 PM   #16
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#1 DOA, no surprise there, I'd NEVER bother with it - the emcee trick helps so much with #2, I suggest it up front - people are looking at "camutus of borg" asking them stuff, and it doesn't work...

But a member of the wedding party or the "audience" handing them a mic, saying "are you having a great time?", "isn't this a great event/party/day" - they already say YES by reflex... old marketing trick, after that, it's SMOOOTH! You may get a few "runaways", you can actually almost make a gag out of those, chase them a bit and add the ol' "COPS" theme... you will get some useless stuff, but that's what the EDITOR is for anyway <wink>!

Try it next time you find yourself stuck with the request, it's worked perfectly every time I've tried it!
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Old May 26th, 2008, 11:36 PM   #17
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I think the trick is to not be uncomfortable doing it. It's like how animals can sense fear. If the guests sense that you are uncomfortable with it, then it makes them uncomfortable. Now, that said, I've never been comfortable with it, so maybe the idea to have a guest help with the interviews would work a lot better. If you have a real outgoing personality then you can probably pull this off on your own really well.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 12:49 AM   #18
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I've only done this once - a few weeks ago at a 40th wedding anniversary. I got most people to comment - briefly.

But a couple of things I found. I wanted the people to speak straight into the camera so that they were speaking to the couple. When I started off I was standing normal height behind the camera - which was at head height for those sitting, and on a monopod. I found people would look at me, even though I had told them to speak to the camera, and would speak about the couple rather than to the couple. I couldn't fix the second issue but I could fix the first - more or less. I found I needed to kneel behind the camera so my head was obscured for them behind the camera. That way if they tried to look at me they ended up looking at the camera. Once I cottoned on to this it improved.

Another thing I found as a resut of not monitoring the audio. I had a Rode VM on an extension cord and tiny tripod -which I sat on the table in front of people. The mic was too close and clipped. Its usable but I know now - I think.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 07:17 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Jason Robinson View Post
Brilliant idea. I was fortunate enough to do a wedding for a friend where another mutual friend was a news Anchor & Reporter so he was smooth like butter behind the mic. I gave him a preposterous "breaking news story" about somethign wrong with the wedding hall, and we went around gathering "first hand" reports of the groomsmen, Bridesmaids (and Groom & Bride). Great footage. It really helps when you get someone that knows how to work a camera (and mic).
I'd love to see that.

As for the orginal thread, interviews are some of the hardest things to do, depending on how the reception is going. We've been using a steadicam mostly at receptions, so I'm hard to miss roaming around, so my wife will talk and I film. That's working out ok, but I do like the idea of having someone from the wedding party doing the emceeing.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 03:17 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
I think the trick is to not be uncomfortable doing it. It's like how animals can sense fear. If the guests sense that you are uncomfortable with it, then it makes them uncomfortable. Now, that said, I've never been comfortable with it, so maybe the idea to have a guest help with the interviews would work a lot better. If you have a real outgoing personality then you can probably pull this off on your own really well.
I'm real outgoing, but when I'm monitoring audio, the other possible events at the reception, and the video, I can use a little help!

Plus, from the interview-ee perspective, I'm behind the camera (most likely on the steady stick or other prop by that stage of the day...), and the light (well diffused, but can't really get on without it in a dark reception hall), and so whether I like it or not, I'm probably not as accessable as an "emcee" with a wireless mic in hand (my arms are too short... don't forget to think that through!). This is a place where even a cheap wireless with a stick mic is the best option.

The interviews are the one stretch of footage that is usually pretty hilarious - it's unrehearsed, it's "live", and it's "you were there", warts and all. I have more fun editing that part than anything else! Unlike the ceremony which is usually cookie cutter and formal, this is casual stuff, doesn't have to have the same production level, and done right it's a great add in.

I can certainly understand the challenge, having had to improvise on the fly when "method #1" was a total bomb!! Got lucky with the emcee trick, haven't looked back, and hasn't failed yet!

I now try to get the emcee picked in advance if possible, but it's usually easy to "spot the ham" in real time if need be.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 03:32 PM   #21
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The 1st time we did guest interview, we tried to do option #1, but we quickly found out that most of the guest not use to this kind of interview. They are more comfortable with option #2.

I guess option #1 would have a better result if the guest is fully aware and prepared for the interview before they come to the wedding.
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Old June 8th, 2008, 06:09 AM   #22
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yesterday i set up a cam on a tripod across from a couch/loveseat around the exit area. i had the dj announce to make sure everyone sends the B&G a message to be included on the official wedding dvd. he literally cleared the dance floor! i would guess 90% or so of the people still there said something on tape. if it was a couple and one was reluctant, i had no problem convincing the reluctant one to just sit next to their date and they didn't have to say anything. most of the reluctant ones ended up speaking too! i didn't monitor the audio or the video much. i framed it up, used auto levels on the audio and disabled the tally light on the front of the cam. i would roll from the time they started to sit down until they stood up. (got some funny stuff! ) with most i checked the sound briefly in my headphones after they started talking. my cam has audio levels viewable from a side display so i didn't make anyone nervous by being the stranger listing to their personal message. i basically just said "its ready when you are, i'll edit the gaps" and stepped aside and focused my attention elsewhere.

comfort is key! the guests clearly jumped at the option to say a few words on THEIR terms. they could talk to the B&G without others around them listening to every word, had time to work up courage to get in front of the camera, younger guests (friends of the b&g, early 20's to 30ish) got a kick out of the "real world confessional" feel. being put on the spot by a stranger with a big scary camera & microphone can be extremly awkward, stressful & even painful experience for both you and the guests. i regret not running a cam like this the entire reception! tons of painless, exceptional, personal footage!
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Old June 9th, 2008, 01:57 PM   #23
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I only do it if requested by the couple. When I do, it is always method #1. One of the negative stereotypes that we hear about videographers is of the guy with the big camera and light shoving a microphone in the face of the guests while they are eating dinner.

So what I do is set up a camera outside of the main reception room, and have the DJ make an announcement. Results vary. Sometimes we have had quite a few people turn up, sometimes not.

Interviews are like photo montages. I will do them, but would rather not.
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Old June 10th, 2008, 08:29 AM   #24
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I don't like to set up lights/ bg/ etc. Things tend to feel too formal and intimidating for people. Keeping things handheld and candid (for us) is the best. We'll usually just mount a nice shotgun on the camera and find a nice lit area and we're good to go.

Our method:

1. Scope the place for anyone that seems outgoing, upbeat. Hit them up first. They are the best ones on camera and usually the ones that make the edit more fun and festive.

2. Of course...ask first. "I'm filming video messages for the bride and groom. Anyone willing to say something short to them on camera?" And while you're doing this always have the camera pointed down and away...especially when you're not filming. If you have a partner doing interviews, have them walk to people to ask...and as a cameraperson, keep your distance. If it's cool, flag the cameraman in. This takes some pressure off of whoever you're interviewing. Also, doing interviews in groups vs. one at a time will often put people at ease. If they say no that's your cue to say, "no problem, thank you" and move on.

3. Don't take what you're doing too seriously and actually listen, be personable, and give some sort of sign that they are doing well on camera. People being interviewed feel more at ease with someone who gives them some sort of positive feedback as they speak. Nod your head, smile, give a high five when their done, something that gives them something more than a stoic cameraman just doing his job. It also helps others who are watching you from a distance feel less intimidated by you.

4. We've found the best time to do interviews is before and after the reception.
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