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


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Old December 31st, 2008, 08:19 PM   #1
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Do you remember your first...

…wedding, that is. After playing with event video for a couple of years and thoroughly enjoying it, I just agreed to do my first wedding in two weeks. To be honest, weddings scare me. I have heard and seen what can go wrong with professionals even with years of experience. I feel I have built up a good rig that has served me well. I am not interested in HD yet but know it’s coming soon.
The wedding is for a couple I attend church with and 50 friends and family. They like the presentations I have done for the church and even though I told them they would be my first wedding, the bride and groom have no expectations of perfection to go along with their budget wedding. I intend to do an excellent job for them.
What can you veterans share with me that you would have done different on your first wedding and also learned from experience.
We agreed to a charge based on what I feel is reasonable considering the situation on both sides. I need the learning experience. They have a need.

Happy New Year to all!

Thanks for any wisdom,
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Old December 31st, 2008, 08:45 PM   #2
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One of the biggest mistakes I made when I shot my first wedding was relying on the onboard mic for audio... I quickly realized how important the need of good audio is.
Luckily for me, it was a wedding shot for friends... I was in the same situation that it sounds like you were in.
You most likely have more experience than I had during my first wedding... So i'm sure you know all about what I just mentioned before.

Just wanted to let you know the biggest mistake I made.... A digital recorder hooked to lav mic on the groom is an easy fix...
Good luck though, and have fun.
Steve
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Old December 31st, 2008, 09:43 PM   #3
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Probably the best thing I did was, during the walk through, I looked up over the garden where the service was to be held and noticed a large branch of a tree was split and dangling dangerously in the breeze. The facility called the tree man the next day. The day of the wedding was very windy.

I did my first, and probably my only wedding last August for a friend. Since he was a friend I wanted to do a good job for him and his bride. Although I had experience shooting lots motor sports and other events, I wanted to cover all the bases for what they wanted. Having been married thrice, I may have had more perspective on that than some.

I spent a lot of time checking out this list for expert experience. There's good info here if you poke around. Armed with that information, I stuck to what I knew. The moves were conservative. My coverage was redundant (3 cameras and 3 mics and I mic'd the preacher which was the only usable audio with all the wind). If I was to do another wedding (shoot me now... please!), there were a few things I'd do differently to add dimension to the story. I think experience is the best teacher there.

There appear to be different opinions on mic placement, but the wired lav on the parson worked since he read most of the script. Another lav on the groom to a recorder would give better coverage.

Important: Schmooze the DJ. He will be directing the action at the reception, or at least wrangling it. If someone wants to do something, like a toast or tell a story, they'll go to him first. If you get forewarning from him, you'll be ready for what happens. Big plus there. It might also put you in good for future referrals if you're so inclined.

End result was the couple liked the video. The bride said that it looked like a movie, which was the look I was going for.

That's a lot of words for a guy who's only shot one wedding. Hopefully some if it will help.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 02:27 AM   #4
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rules of thumb:

1) use backups. at least two cams. may be three.
2) unattended cameras (or even ones you are operating) are where the photographer will stand, so convince a friend to stand by a cam and do nothing but make sure someone doesn't bump it or stand in the way.
3) don't zoom. Ever.
4) If you need to zoom, then be absolutely sure another camera is clear and recording so you have a cover shot in post.
5) get your own mics on the officiant / groom. Getting audio from a soundboard has ALWAYS caused problems for me. I've tried it lots of different ways and they all ended in 60Hz hum / buzz or picking up an AM radio station.
6) go to the rehearsal. Know the order of events. Swipe a program for the wedding so you know what is happening and when.
7) Never stop recording.
8) get somethign in on paper that says you can use their likeness & images for promos & marketing should you enjoy doing weddings and want to make a demo for future clients.
9) If you gear is your livelihood, make sure you have damage theft insurance.
10) Have fun! Nothing ruins the mood of a shoot like a scowling vendor. The B&G will pick up on that. You are one big friendly smile till you get home and can soak your feet in a nice hot shower.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 02:23 PM   #5
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I would buy an iriver or 2 with clipon mics, think you can get them second hand as well and their quite cheap and idiot proof, only make sure the batteries are fully loaded so they don't die during a recording.

Use a tripod and only take the camera off when you need to, f.i. during the rings.

About zooming, I would say, only zoom in to your subject if you can control your cameras focus manually, otherwise leave it alone. Don't zoom during a recording, unless it has a meaning.

If you only have one camera, don't turn it off during the ceremony, by turning it on/off all the time you could make mistakes or in the worst case get a "dirty heads" warning so your better off letting a run for an hour.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 04:11 PM   #6
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re: Do you remember your first...

Thanks for the great comments. Many of them I realize could happen, the others I would never have thought about. I'll keep you posted on the upcoming processes and post some edited clips so you can dissect my work.
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Old January 1st, 2009, 04:46 PM   #7
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agree with the dj comments, has helped me in the past
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 07:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
If you only have one camera, don't turn it off during the ceremony, by turning it on/off all the time you could make mistakes or in the worst case get a "dirty heads" warning so your better off letting a run for an hour.
Noa, Sounds like your using a DVX100... I have the same problem with my camera (DVX) every now and then... Letting it run is good advice.
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 01:29 PM   #9
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in 25 years of weddings I can not think of ANY time during the ceremony that you would shut the camera off. To me it's wrong on so many levels. I've done weddings with 1 camera and up to 5 and once they are started they don't get turned off until the recessional is done. I can't think of any reason to shut the camera down during the ceremony except to change tape in the #1 camera during a Catholic Mass ceremony and then I change during Communion of the masses. Since I know how long it takes to change (18 seconds) I know that during that portion of the wedding I'm not missing anything of real value.
Don
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 02:35 PM   #10
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Huh? What is this talk of turning the DVX on/off will lead to dirty head warning? I'm found the exact opposite to be true. Sometimes, when the red X pops up, a simple power cycle will remove the warning, whether it actually does something to the tape mechanism to rid itself of the offending particle, that's a totally other story..
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 03:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yang Wen View Post
Huh? What is this talk of turning the DVX on/off will lead to dirty head warning? I'm found the exact opposite to be true. Sometimes, when the red X pops up, a simple power cycle will remove the warning, whether it actually does something to the tape mechanism to rid itself of the offending particle, that's a totally other story..
I agree.. But I know that I'm not the only person who has had the problem when switching from standby to record... Which for me, and others from what i've investigated is when the red X appears.
Either way, leaving your camera on record is a good idea :-)
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Old January 2nd, 2009, 04:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen J. Williams View Post
I agree.. But I know that I'm not the only person who has had the problem when switching from standby to record... Which for me, and others from what i've investigated is when the red X appears.
Either way, leaving your camera on record is a good idea :-)
My red X always comes on while recording....
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