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

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Old May 22nd, 2008, 05:58 PM   #16
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Bozeman, MT
Posts: 215
I think that Steve House has hit the proverbial nail on the head. Being handed 4 tapes and being told to "shoot, shoot, shoot everything" could really have a number of different meanings among several different people. A 2nd camera might presume that he's shooting B-roll material, and that he's been given 4 tapes to make sure he doesn't run out... not necessarily that he's expected to fill them.

When I use extra camera operators I always meet with them well in advance and give general and specific instructions (i.e. "I need plenty of coverage, so you'll want to be rolling nearly continuously. I'd also like you to conentrate on mid-to-tight shots, as I'll be covering the wider to mid shots. Make sure when person X is getting ready to speak that you lock off and frame him from the waist up, and watch your headroom... etc etc).

If I'm using new people I assume that I will get nothing usable. That way I'm never disappointed, reagrdless of pay. A couple of months ago I needed to tape a 15 minute one-time event, so I brought on 2 additional camera operators. One of them who has his own Canon GL2 (the same cameras I have) gave me footage of which not one frame was usable. The other Op who had never shot with a GL2 did an extraordinarily good job, and I actually used more of his footage than my own when cutting the video together.

It takes time working with other people to learn what their styles are, and how to mesh them with your own. But I have to agree with the others that the man is owed the fee you agreed upon, but certainly you'll want to commiunicate to him very specifically about your needs before you hire him again. And it may well be a good idea to review his footage with him to get his take of what was going on in his head.
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Old May 24th, 2008, 07:52 PM   #17
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Toowoomba, Australia
Posts: 370
I would agree with the others - you need to pay him - that's the professional thing to do.

Then, I'd suggest looking to the future ...

Can you see yourself working with him again in the future despite his mistakes?

If so, then I'd sit down with him and chat professionally about the footage and how he can improve and shoot to suit your style etc ... after all, you're paying him to do a job for you and regardless of his experience he needs to shoot the way that you want him to shoot.

If you can't see yourself working with him again, then pay him and write it off as a learning experience.

However, if he's a friend then it becomes more complicated. You still need to pay him but it really comes down to whether you'll be working together in the future. If he's a friend then your friendship should be more important than the money.

Communication is the key - and it's even more important when working with friends. Next time, (either with this guy or another 2nd shooter) don't assume anything. I'd be meeting with them well before the wedding and coming up with a plan for the day of the shoot, and showing them your videos and clearly outlining your expectations for the footage that they'll be shooting.

At the end of the day it's your butt on the line. You're the one that has to answer to the bride and groom, not your 2nd shooter.

Don't leave anything to chance. That's what I'd be doing next time ....

Good luck ... and let us know how you get on.


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