Just got back from my first "wedding shoot" at DVinfo.net

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

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Old November 23rd, 2008, 11:06 PM   #1
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Just got back from my first "wedding shoot"

It was actually something called a "Mendhi Party" for my cousin. It is basically a small wedding with only the groom or bride present (I dont know how to explain it for christian/jewish weddings).

My cousin has a professional getting it recorded, but I was interested in getting into the wedding business (especially the south asian weddings) so I asked him and the other videographer if they mind me bringing my equipment. They accepted.

The XH-A1 being truly handheld rather than shoulder supported really takes a toll on ones back and arm. I think I did well, but I wont know until I start to edit it.

Now I have some questions.

I know most of you do traditional western weddings, but some tips should be universal. How much should I expect to record? I was afraid of missing anything funny/emotional because a customer would hate for me to not have that on video. I was basically flying around the ballroom shooting everything I could. I guess I was thinking about how I would edit the video as I shoot without staying calm and consistent. I'm guessing thats not a smart thing to do for something formal like a wedding type event.

How do you guys approach a wedding? Do you expect yourself as much as possible, or do you follow a personal "code" on what you will get and what is not needed?
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 11:58 PM   #2
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To be perfectly honest, it changes all the time for me. When I first started I shot EVERYTHING because I was afraid of missing something. Now I'm much more selective, but I'm sure in another year or so I'll be at a totally different place.

When you're first starting out, shooting a lot is a good idea because you need to build up experience .. for both your shooting skills and your anticipation skills.
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Old December 1st, 2008, 07:25 PM   #3
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To start, it's probably best to shoot as much as you could. More is definitely better than less. And then in editing, once you get into a workflow and style of how your final product will be, you can then decide in future wedding shoots what exactly you need to record and what isn't necessary.

On a two-camera wedding shoot for a full day, I've been using as little as 7 tapes and as much as 12 tapes. Depends on how much formal events are taking place throughout the day.

I shot a Mendhi party once myself earlier this year. There was nothing really formal going on, and I didn't know what to expect, so I shot as much as necessary, and it just turned out to become a 5 minute or less montage...
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Old December 2nd, 2008, 03:50 AM   #4
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At the least a general "shot list" is advisable if at all possible - nothing like going to shoot a movie without a script...

BUT every live event is likely to throw you some curve balls, so you've also got to be ready to go with the flow too...

As you shoot a bit (and especially after you EDIT a few times), you'll start to find a structure to the events, and certain things that you want to have when you sit down to edit and create a final product.

Either that, or you decide shooting live events is NOT for you and find a less stressful pursuit <wink>! And that's OK too... not everyone is cut out for the high wire act!
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Old December 4th, 2008, 01:06 AM   #5
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basically what I found out from the professional on the job is to invest in a dolly for my tripod so I can roll it around the venue, but of course not at all times.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 05:08 AM   #6
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I think he was pulling your leg with the dolly bit...

Seriously, if you've got to move about, the chances you'll have a reasonably smooth floor to scoot around on are pretty slim. And the probability you'll have a human obstacle course to negotiate is about 110%... Last wedding I did was on a slope, wet grass, and was murder on the feet/legs...

I think the "mobility/stablity" issue is probably the most frustrating thing in shooting weddings, as you're going to want to be on a tripod SOME of the time, yet you need to be in several different spots to get good coverage of the "money shots", and sometimes you've got to be able to move during the shot to get the best footage. It's a bugger, really...

The short of it is, you sort of end up with a conglomeration of tripods, monopods, shoulder supports, quick releases so you can switch beteen them quickly, etc, etc. until you find what works for YOU. I rely on several strategically placed cams on tripods with the framing preset so I can visit them to zoom as needed during the cerenony.

For my "handheld", it's a steady stick type setup - the DV Rig comes highly recommended around here, you should look at one of those as well. A setup like this gives some stability, some mobility and helps a lot to transfer the weight to your hips from your arm/back...

I'm currently fiddling with a monopod with a shoulder type mount attached after that "grassy knoll" wedding. Uneven ground made steady footage tough...

Oh, and then there's the "steadicam" rigs...

Dollys... not too likely.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 10:01 AM   #7
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each piece of stabilising gear has it's purpose and none are perfect for every job. In most churchs I use a tripod on a set of dolly wheels (5 inch wheels) but I've also used a monopod, a DVMultiRig and gone handheld. I just depends on the situation. When I was using a full size camera going without a tripod was fine at least for the processional but once the ceremony actually started you have to be on some sort of stabilising gear. When going to the long end of the lens no one and I mean no one can hold it perfectly steady for that long a period of time. A small movement at the camera will be a hugh shake on the screen.
I don't always use the wheels when on the tripod but about 99% of the time I do. It makes moving from the front to the back easy and steady but again, I've done it without. Each situation is different.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 01:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
I think he was pulling your leg with the dolly bit
Maybe I'm using Dolly int he wrong context, but tripod on wheels basically. He didnt tell me the idea, he was doing it. A lot of south asian weddings are on stage 80% of the time so a wheeled tripod seems like a necessity. Quick release as well, since I dont want to be fumling around to get the money shots.

I am also looking into steadicams because the cinematic feel they add is something I think would separate me from the run of the mill south asian videographers in my area.

The XH-A1 is a small camera so the lack of shoulder support can really get you sore.
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Old December 4th, 2008, 02:43 PM   #9
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Hi Arif,
You can get a shoulder mount for the XH-A1 from cinevate which will allow ease on the body. I use a dolly in the church with my tripod and a steadicam flyer afterwards. Get a good tripod and head and you can learn to move quickly when needed. The steadicam offers great shots but is a bitch to learn right away. It is not the kind of equipment that you just grab and go. You can get a glidecam 2000 which will help in moving shots as a beginner step. Invest in a good tripod to start and monopod and master on staying balanced before investing in all the other gear. Just my two cents.

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