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


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Old March 3rd, 2009, 09:44 PM   #1
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Amateur filming a wedding, would like advice

Hey I'm a RTF student at the University of Texas, but most of experience lays in the writing department of film. I've dabbled in directing, but have found that I havent the pushiness to get things done. It seems i do have a bit of an eye for cinematography though, if the last group i did a project for were being truthful. That being said my sister is getting married in a couple weeks and she asked me to film it for her. No expectations (she said as long as it was at the same level of my former work, which is IMO medicore at best) as long as I get the highlights on tape anything more would be wonderful.

Now I want to make this to the best of my ability (its my only sisters wedding) so i went ahead and put a reservation down on a GL2 kit with a wide angle lens, and I have 2 decent consumer grade cams (along with 2 friends to operate them). I figured that i would just have them running from different perspectives for B-roll and just incase of malfunction in the other cams.

Sound is what I'm really worried about, IMO you can watch somethign with bad video, but bad audio just makes it unbearable. It just so happens that I know little to nothing about audio set up. The wedding is outside, so im not sure if a well placed shotgun mic would be good enough to get a clear taping of the vows. I was thinking maybe a Wireless mic on the Grooms lapel? (however im not sure how that would affect things if the presider had a handheld mic of his own? Maybe a feedback issue?)

Finally the outside ceremony shouldn't be an issue for lighting, but the reception place is not exactly the best lit place in the world, but I'm going for the least intrusive set up I can muster since im not exactly promising great results....

IF there is anything at all yall could suggest on any of these points or if theres certain aspects i seem to be disregarding too matter of factly PLEASE share yalls wisdom. ANYTHING is appreciated, even if you think it just a get out of our forums bribe :)

Thanks for taking the time to at least look!
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Old March 3rd, 2009, 11:43 PM   #2
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You might want to consider doing a search...as this topic comes up way to often. My second piece of advice is to hire a pro with the right gear for an hourly rate (anywhere from $50-150/hour depending on area and wedding date). Roll 2nd/3rd cameras during the ceremony as an added 'bonus' for your sis. Do the editing yourself if you can hack it. But leave this type of event to the pros. You might ruin your friendship if this doesn't turn out well. Weddings are not a 'learn on the job' situation. Trust me, I've done it for 20 years.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 02:02 AM   #3
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Also check out the 'common mistake' post and try not to repeat them

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/wedding-e...n-mistake.html
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Old March 4th, 2009, 09:20 AM   #4
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Audio is so vital to a wedding, it is the vows your capturing after all.

A wireless system like a Sennheiser G2 will do the trick nicely. we use a shotgun mic to capture the rest.

Another option is a little audio recorder (like an Olympus DS-30) with a lav mic plugged in, nice and small, slip it in the grooms pocket.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 11:14 AM   #5
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Thanks for such quick replies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Arieli View Post
You might want to consider doing a search...as this topic comes up way to often. My second piece of advice is to hire a pro with the right gear for an hourly rate (anywhere from $50-150/hour depending on area and wedding date). Roll 2nd/3rd cameras during the ceremony as an added 'bonus' for your sis. Do the editing yourself if you can hack it. But leave this type of event to the pros. You might ruin your friendship if this doesn't turn out well. Weddings are not a 'learn on the job' situation. Trust me, I've done it for 20 years.
Sorry about that, but I felt i had a rather specific set of circumstances i wished to get advice on which is why I made a post. Do you recommend any other posts I should look at?

As for hiring a pro ... Theres many reasons why this not really an option
A) My family didn't hire a videographer, b/c this wedding and the economy already is putting the squeeze on finances
B) I'm but a poor college student
C) She wanted me to do it no matter how "professional" it came out
D) I want to do it for her to the best of MY ability

So this might not be a learn on the job situation, but like i said in my initial post, there are little to no expectations (only on par to a grade of work that i already know i can do)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SiuChung Leung View Post
Also check out the 'common mistake' post and try not to repeat them

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/wedding-e...n-mistake.html
Thanks, I'll be sure to read that over :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danny O'Neill View Post
Audio is so vital to a wedding, it is the vows your capturing after all.

A wireless system like a Sennheiser G2 will do the trick nicely. we use a shotgun mic to capture the rest.

Another option is a little audio recorder (like an Olympus DS-30) with a lav mic plugged in, nice and small, slip it in the grooms pocket.
So you think a combination of wireless AND shotgun mic? Interesting... Exucse my horrible ignorance how would i set that up for recording purposes?

Thanks Again for the Replies!
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Old March 4th, 2009, 11:39 AM   #6
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Having multiple cameras is a big help. Just make sure they are white balanced the same so when you cut between shots the color is as close as possible. Make sure to white balance again between outside/inside shots. Make sure one friend just stays on a wide shot and that all 3 of you keep rolling the camera during the ceremony so that you won't have to sync up the video over and over again in post. Your 2nd friend might want to get things like parents in the audience and wider shots of the B&G while you with the higher quality camera get the medium shot-close up of the B&G with you in the best position possible. Make sure someone gets the bride's walk down the aisle, rings and the kiss, those are big. If there's a photographer, without disturbing their set up, try to get the posed shots of the B&G and family on video since they can make for a nice montage and you can get a few extra kiss shots probably.

You HAVE to have some audio source on the groom. Wireless lapel is the best way followed by a MP3 reocrder or something like that but again, wireless lapel is the way to go. Make sure batteries are fresh and that you turn the mic on on the groom before he walks up the aisle. I second using the Senheiser G2. If the secondary cameras could have some type of external mics plugged in that will help them VS using camera mics. Bring headphones so that you can monitor the audio on all cameras.

Get the cake before hand and any decorations. All 3 of you should go around and try to get well wishes from guest on camera in a quiet place off of the reception area is there is one.

As far as lighting, boost gain and work with what you have in post. In one example, the bride danced with her father in almost absolute darkness. The final product was SO grainy I felt sick watching but she had tears of joy that the moment was caught on tape. So, just make sure to get as much as you can on tape.

Do you have tripods? Try to get a least one with a good fluid head for nice pans during aisle walks and to have slow zooms. The other two cams could probably get away with consumer tripods if they just use steady non-moving shots.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 01:56 PM   #7
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wow awesome reply man I really appreciate the input

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Phillips View Post
Having multiple cameras is a big help. Just make sure they are white balanced the same so when you cut between shots the color is as close as possible. Make sure to white balance again between outside/inside shots. Make sure one friend just stays on a wide shot and that all 3 of you keep rolling the camera during the ceremony so that you won't have to sync up the video over and over again in post. Your 2nd friend might want to get things like parents in the audience and wider shots of the B&G while you with the higher quality camera get the medium shot-close up of the B&G with you in the best position possible. Make sure someone gets the bride's walk down the aisle, rings and the kiss, those are big. If there's a photographer, without disturbing their set up, try to get the posed shots of the B&G and family on video since they can make for a nice montage and you can get a few extra kiss shots probably.
So as long as they are white balanced the same it should be a relatively decent transition from Consumer Camera footage, to the the GL2 footage? This was a concern i had, bc i wasnt sure if that would be a night and day difference. Then I would have to make sure i got every single highpoint myself which would be harder than spliting it up like you said wide angles with the Consumers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Phillips View Post
You HAVE to have some audio source on the groom. Wireless lapel is the best way followed by a MP3 reocrder or something like that but again, wireless lapel is the way to go. Make sure batteries are fresh and that you turn the mic on on the groom before he walks up the aisle. I second using the Senheiser G2. If the secondary cameras could have some type of external mics plugged in that will help them VS using camera mics. Bring headphones so that you can monitor the audio on all cameras.
I'm going to rent all the audio equipment tomorrow. So far my list includes
- Senheiser body pack Transmitter w/ME2 omni lavalier and portable Receiver
- Possibly a Shotgun mic? (somebody mention that you would want 2 audio sources of the vows?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Phillips View Post
Get the cake before hand and any decorations. All 3 of you should go around and try to get well wishes from guest on camera in a quiet place off of the reception area is there is one.
I already have a place scoped out for well wishes and the such on a nice spot off in this garden area. My question on this would be should I delegate this to one or both of my friends with the Consumer Grade Cams, or should i make a point to do these with the Nice camera? Also since its outside and it my be getting dusky about the reception time ... should i invest in extra light? Theres a single latern light above the spot where the people will be ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward Phillips View Post
As far as lighting, boost gain and work with what you have in post. In one example, the bride danced with her father in almost absolute darkness. The final product was SO grainy I felt sick watching but she had tears of joy that the moment was caught on tape. So, just make sure to get as much as you can on tape.

Do you have tripods? Try to get a least one with a good fluid head for nice pans during aisle walks and to have slow zooms. The other two cams could probably get away with consumer tripods if they just use steady non-moving shots.
Thats a 10-4 on the tripods I have 1 especially nice and sturdy one for the GL2 and the consumers will have decent ones.

Sweet man I really appreciate your help
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Old March 4th, 2009, 03:25 PM   #8
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Edward touched on some important stuff, I'll reiterate don't turn any cameras off once you start rolling for the ceremony.

The next most important rule for a new videographer to learn is to stay off of the zoom.

When you must zoom, keep it slow and steady.

Basically, frame your shot, hit record and keep movement of any kind to a minimum.

If you do that, you will have at minimum, a watchable video.

For the ceremony make sure the cam in the balcony stays wide most of the time, if not all of the time. You will always have at least one shot you can count on in post. I cannot stress that enough for a crew of inexerienced camera operators

During the vows, rings, do not move the camera or zoom at all. If you're sure the back camera has a steady shot, then first camera should zoom in advance of the vows, and hold the shot steady the entire time. DO NOT MOVE OR TOUCH THE TRIPOD. During this portion it is critical your back camera operator has a steady shot and does not do ANYTHING during the vows but hold his shot. He will be tempted to zoom, etc, but make sure you go over this in advance.

The main thing is you do not want two cameras moving, zooming, panning, etc at the same time ever during the ceremony. If you can plan your shots with your assistants so that there are no mistakes of this kind.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 03:29 PM   #9
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You will probably be able to tell the difference depending on how "consumer" the other cameras are but if you can tweak some color corrections in post it should be alright. I would definitely get all the key events with the GL.

A camera mounted shotgun would is an added benefit in case the groom accidently knocks the mic off, a battery goes dead, and also for editing because once the B&G walk off you will still hear the groom and you don't want to hear "I'm glad that's f%?_ing over". ;)

Extra light is a benefit but that also means possible needs of extension cords and access to power outlets. You will be less conspicious as well.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 04:35 PM   #10
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The reason for 2 audio sources is the lav mic may not pickup the vicar/priest. The shotgun is also good incase of wireless interferance. We have the cam at the back hooked up to the wireless and the camera up front on the shotgun mic.

THe alternative is to put the lav mic into an MP3 recorder and into the grooms pocket. Then just sync up in post.

Edit, another reason for the shotgun... when it comes to the hymns, you dont want to use the lav mic audio. Trust me.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 03:10 AM   #11
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Heres a crude sketch of the place
http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e2...ddingvenue.jpg
(The little circles are trees, the big circles around them are dirt patches and the iron gate looking thing is a trellis)
How would yall arrange the cameras if you had two consumer grade cams (with inexperienced operators), and 1 gl2

So I gathered from what yall have said so far is
- Use the GL2 for the close up stuff, and the consumer models for the wide shots
- White balance all the cameras the same
- no zooming, little to no panning
- Put a wireless lav on the groom, and maybe have a shotgun mic for the gl2? (does anyone know the quality of the onboard gl2 mic?)
- Quiet spot off to the side for well wishes (filmed with the gl2 or the consumer models?)
- Never stop rolling

Sorry for all the questions this will be the last for this post... If the presider gives the bride and groom a handheld mic what effect would that have on my wireless lav, or vice versa what would my lav do to the handheld mic?
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Old March 5th, 2009, 05:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
....When you must zoom, keep it slow and steady......
...or, just to elaborate on that with an alternative approach: when you must zoom, do it AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE (crash zoom) so when you cut it out in the edit, you lose as few seconds as possible.

And practice zooming/reframing and re-pointing the camera in one swift action - decide on your new framing and subject BEFORE you start moving, then GO! as fast as you can, then stop! (This only really works for cameras on tripods, so you can look around for your next subject/framing while the camera is still rolling - stationary - on your last subject.)

Again: to minimise the unusable footage that will be cut out in the edit.

Zooms, pans, framing adjustments (and wobbles) left in the edit all shout AMATEUR!

Oh! - and LEVEL the camera: non-horizontal horizons also look amateurish, and you can't fix that in the edit without a massive softening of the image (unlike still photographers, who CAN level things up afterwards, without penalty).

Of course, all these rules can be broken deliberately, but that's a different matter - and NOT an excuse for getting these things wrong in the first place.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 10:00 AM   #13
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Considering the equipment you have, instead of a wireless lav, I'd go with an MP3 player or Sony MiniDisc recorder that has a line or mic input. Plug in a lav mic, start it recording and drop it in the groom's pocket. It'll record for 4 hours+. Most of them will have a lock switch so no matter what they touch, it'll keep recording. You can then sync up the audio in post. If there's a sound system present (you mentioned there may be a handheld mic) be sure to plug a recorder into the sound board and sync that up later in post.

Another piece of advice: test, test, test everything! I'm amazed how many people will walk into a situation without ever having tried the stuff and expect to get it up and running in 10 minutes.

Another thing: don't sweat it. I got married 24 years ago and don't have a video. I'd kill or die for one - and I wouldn't even care if it's a *good* video. I don't care if I'd ever see the ceremony again, but I'd love to see the activity of the day. On your sister's wedding day, the ceremony will be the centerpiece, but in later years they will be more interested in what happens outside of the ceremony. Get as much of that as possible.

You're a good brother. Don't forget to enjoy the day.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 11:59 AM   #14
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You're a good brother. Don't forget to enjoy the day.
Matt, you might be able to enjoy the afterparty, because during the D-Day you will be extremely busy, as well as your friends with other cams. Make sure they're fully aware of that and don't decide to walk away on you in a middle of the reception. And you might have to convince them to stay away from the bar as well :-)

As far as the camera layout on your diagram:
- keep the gl2 on a tripod a little to the left from the couple, so you could capture the bride walking down the isle and then also you'd be able to capture all closeups.
- 2nd cam would be on a far right (under the tree) getting wide angle shot of the B&G
- 3rd cam I would put in the middle of the isle to have the other angle of the B&G

I'm sure there are other suggestions for layout - I'm just saying how I would do it.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 03:16 PM   #15
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Matt -
You've already got some good advice, but I'll add a few things - GO TO THE REHEARSAL if there is one, and have your 2nd/3rd operators there too if possible - take a few minutes to walk through the ceremony, and know where your shots are IN ADVANCE - if needed use a cue sheet so each cam is on it's mark at the desired time. A wide unmanned cam at the rear in not a bad idea for a safety cutaway. If you're shooting the main camera, you will likely be moving about, using the other two operators "crossfiring" up front (most important
is the one who is shooting grooms side towards the star of the day!) can get you some good shots of the vows/ring exchange/etc. I shoot 4 cams (solo) with that general setup, don't miss anything unless someone does something totally unexpected...

Co-ordinate with the DJ (if there is one) to make sure you're in position for any of the other reception "events" (Cake toss, bouquet cutting... trust me, by that time you'll be jumbled up too! <wink>).

Having even a cheap wireless on the groom (and for post interviews if you want to do those) is a good idea, but beware of interference. The alternative of an MP3/minidisk/small recorder that can take a lav mic input for the groom is good, sync in post. You mentioned this is outdoors - is wind going to be a factor? THAT will be enemy #1 to getting usable audio.

Those are a few thoughts offhand, and as noted, do a search as this comes up pretty regularly!
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