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


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Old January 2nd, 2009, 09:18 PM   #1
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Vest-Arm/Stabilizer use in weddings

I know many incorporate Steadicam type stabilizers in wedding video but how many find the vest and arm practical? Where do you use them vs tripod. I can see me using a vest setup for pre-ceremony, recession, post ceremony and all the non-dance reception stuff. I have a FlowPod and my arm kills me after minutes of use so I only use it for a few shots pre-ceremony.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 11:56 AM   #2
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In about 2 hours I am going to shoot my first wedding ever (in 10 years of wedding videography) WITHOUT a tripod.
I have rigged up my glidecam (which I have not used in years) with a 3 foot bar which goes into the handle of the glidecam and the other end rests in a socket attached to a special belt, kind of like something a flag bearer in the military might wear.
I also have a zoom controller attached to the glidecam since the camera will now be 6 inches over my head and the zoom will be hard to reach.
I believe I will be able to hold this contraption rock solid for 15-20 minutes. After the ceremony I will take the bar out and use it as a traditional glidecam for the reception.
I may try to put a picture up of the thing if anyone is interested.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 12:24 PM   #3
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How do you shoot with a glidecam if you shoot solo? In my opinion, you need at least a 2 people team if you want to incorporate steadicam shots..
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 12:57 PM   #4
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How do you shoot with a glidecam if you shoot solo? In my opinion, you need at least a 2 people team if you want to incorporate steadicam shots..
Agree agree agree agree!

We use steadicam everywhere apart from ceremony (mood just isnt suited) and speeches.

That said. Just filmed an Indian wedding, absolutely huge and spent longer in the vest than usual. It was a mad, jam packed day so sometimes couldnt get a tripod up and had to be free. Which is why the highlights from that one are pretty much all glidecam. Even used it in the speeches as it was a huge big hall with no top table. One minute one table had the mic, then another so had to run from one side to the other. Too dark to zoom so being mobile helped.

For ceremony we use a static cam and now we have a glidetrack plan to use that too.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 01:05 PM   #5
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How do you shoot with a glidecam if you shoot solo? In my opinion, you need at least a 2 people team if you want to incorporate steadicam shots..
My thoughts exactly. My vision is on two cameras shoots, I have my front-right side on a tripod, and me in the back on a tripod for most of the service. (I can't se me standing perfectly still for a one hour Catholic ceremony.) Near the end of the ceremony switch to the Flopod/Vest for the kiss/introduction/recession (along side the still photographer).
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 01:16 PM   #6
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Danny, I just watched your Indian Wedding short on your site. Very good use of SteadiCam footage. I noticed you have a manned tripod diring the first dance for backup/continuity.

Were you you using a vest/arm?
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 03:43 PM   #7
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We shoot everything with 2 cams. Makes for great footage to be able to cut from one cam to the other and go from glide to static. Multicam is always the way to go.

Unfotunatly, on this occasion the second camera was ruined by speaker vibrations. When the beat kicked in the picture is unusable. Not normally a problem when close but it was on this occasion, so pretty much all glidecam.

We use a Glidecam smoothshooter vest with a Glidecam Pro-2000. Cameras are Sony FX1's (pretty close to weight limit).

If we had the money id get a Steadicam pilot of flyer. But for the money the glidecam is pretty good,

Only ever use it handheld in very tight spaces and then only for a minute at a time. In the vest (and with going to the gym for back strength) I can use the glidecam for several hours at a time.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 09:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Ganglfinger View Post
In about 2 hours I am going to shoot my first wedding ever (in 10 years of wedding videography) WITHOUT a tripod.
I have rigged up my glidecam (which I have not used in years) with a 3 foot bar which goes into the handle of the glidecam and the other end rests in a socket attached to a special belt, kind of like something a flag bearer in the military might wear.
I also have a zoom controller attached to the glidecam since the camera will now be 6 inches over my head and the zoom will be hard to reach.
I believe I will be able to hold this contraption rock solid for 15-20 minutes. After the ceremony I will take the bar out and use it as a traditional glidecam for the reception.
I may try to put a picture up of the thing if anyone is interested.
Please post your thoughts about how all this worked out.

I'm assuming you will be moving around somewhat during the ceremony, otherwise you would just put the camera on a tripod...? And that the don't intend to use the moving shots themselves, you are just using this as a mobile platform?

I would imagine that you would need to be somewhat telephoto at certain points during the ceremony, i.e. closeups of bride and groom etc. from some distance away, and it is quite a challenge to enact these with a stabilizer, especially a small one. Couple that with the exaggerated height that your bar places the rig relative to your body, which requires the operating hand to be somewhat unnaturally high which itself is fatiguing--sounds to me like the close-ups will be pretty "swimmy" as opposed to rock solid!

Certainly the zoom controller is a good plan, not just because it is hard to reach the lens due to height reasons, but also because it will also play havoc with the stability of the rig. Any force exacted on a stabilizer that far outside the center of gravity is never a good thing.

Like I said, let us know how you get on.
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Old January 3rd, 2009, 11:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Ganglfinger View Post
In about 2 hours I am going to shoot my first wedding ever (in 10 years of wedding videography) WITHOUT a tripod.
I have rigged up my glidecam (which I have not used in years) with a 3 foot bar which goes into the handle of the glidecam and the other end rests in a socket attached to a special belt, kind of like something a flag bearer in the military might wear.
I also have a zoom controller attached to the glidecam since the camera will now be 6 inches over my head and the zoom will be hard to reach.
I believe I will be able to hold this contraption rock solid for 15-20 minutes. After the ceremony I will take the bar out and use it as a traditional glidecam for the reception.
I may try to put a picture up of the thing if anyone is interested.

If you need to hold your stabilizer "rock solid" for 15-20 minutes you should be on sticks/monopod and not using a mig-shift stabilizer contraption at a wedding.
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Old January 4th, 2009, 09:43 AM   #10
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My arm is killing me!!!

However, the glidecam is much easier to lug around for 4-5 hours than my tripod.
Fortunately the ceremony was only 7-8 minutes long, and no the zoom shots were not as solid as they would normally be.
I would absolutely NOT do this again without a 2nd camera to cut back to.
I really like being able to move quick during the reception but the downside during the ceremony make it barely worth it. I think I need to get a quick release so I can go from the glidecam to a tripod quickly.

So, it was not a complete success, but not a total failure either (in other words, it wasn't so bad I would have to refund thier money!!)
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Old January 4th, 2009, 02:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mark Ganglfinger View Post
My arm is killing me!!!

However, the glidecam is much easier to lug around for 4-5 hours than my tripod.
Fortunately the ceremony was only 7-8 minutes long, and no the zoom shots were not as solid as they would normally be.
I would absolutely NOT do this again without a 2nd camera to cut back to.
I really like being able to move quick during the reception but the downside during the ceremony make it barely worth it. I think I need to get a quick release so I can go from the glidecam to a tripod quickly.

So, it was not a complete success, but not a total failure either (in other words, it wasn't so bad I would have to refund thier money!!)
A quick release is a must. I use a couple of manfrotto units, one on top of my tripod and one on the glidecam. So I Can go from glide to tripod in seconds. Typically the wife is on the tripod/glidetrack at the front of the church. My tripod at the back so I Can glide in and out with the bride and then mount up for the ceremony.
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Old January 5th, 2009, 06:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Steve Sobodos View Post
I know many incorporate Steadicam type stabilizers in wedding video but how many find the vest and arm practical? Where do you use them vs tripod. I can see me using a vest setup for pre-ceremony, recession, post ceremony and all the non-dance reception stuff. I have a FlowPod and my arm kills me after minutes of use so I only use it for a few shots pre-ceremony.
Hey Steve,

I started with the GC 2000 handheld and then used the GC 4000, also handheld but we incorporated the vest and smooth shooter this past August. Plain and simple, I would never shoot another wedding without the vest and s.shooter.

At first I thought I would look like Robocop at the wedding but it actually hasn't garnered me any negative comments at all. If anything, I get even more questions and I believe it makes things look even more professional.

You have to be careful in tight situations with the arm but other than that, it's a phenomenal investment and I would recommend it 200% (either the Steadicam or the Glidecam).
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Old January 7th, 2009, 12:17 PM   #13
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Bruce, I just watched "Stacy & Ryan" on your site - great job! I see you use the Glidecam a lot. I especially like the entrance to the church where you tilted while entering. Makes static shots seem so booring.

During the video you have shots where you walked up the isle with the full church, is that before the ceremony got started? Do you have a camera on tripod in the back of the church during the ceremony?
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Old January 7th, 2009, 02:52 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Steve Sobodos View Post
Bruce, I just watched "Stacy & Ryan" on your site - great job! I see you use the Glidecam a lot. I especially like the entrance to the church where you tilted while entering. Makes static shots seem so booring.

During the video you have shots where you walked up the isle with the full church, is that before the ceremony got started? Do you have a camera on tripod in the back of the church during the ceremony?
Hi Steve,

Thanks for your response and kind words! For the ceremony and reception, the first goal is always to try and get establishing shots without anyone there. The shots where I walk up the aisle is during the service while they're signing the registry in the corner. My 2nd shooter covers the signing, I take the camera off the tripod at the back of the church, mount it on the glidecam and do a quick glide down the aisle.

Hope that helps answer your questions and thanks again for watching the clip! Happy New Year!
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Old January 8th, 2009, 12:31 PM   #15
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It was a mad, jam packed day so sometimes couldnt get a tripod up and had to be free.
This is where I found that a double QR plate (one for the glidecam and one for the DVMultiRigPro worked out perfect. Switch to glide when I want to and switch to DVMultirig (and re-attach LANC cable, mic cable and re-attach Shotgun mic). The switch costs about 1 min if my wife is able to hold stuff while I get re-situated. Otherwise, putting stuff on a table and switching could cost 5 min.

ON my Nov wedding the reception was so crowded and dark and close that the glidecam was useless. No room to glide, and no light to shoot. So stinking dark. No candles, just lights at two ends of a room with a tal tall ceiling that didnt' bounce anything back. All footage had to have the light on which I had not balanced the rig to use, so everythign was shot on the MultiRig Pro.
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