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


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Old April 15th, 2009, 02:59 PM   #1
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Questions for the bride/groom

In two weeks, I am filming my first wedding for a college friend. Since we are good friends, and I am non-experienced in wedding videography, I'm charging enough for gas, food and dv tapes. I just wanted to know which questions I should ask before the shooting begin (the pre production part).

These are the questions I came up with:

- Is the event going to be indoors or outdoors?
- If it is indoor, how dim are you planning for the lights to be?
- How long is the wedding/reception planned to last?
- Is the wedding using any sort of PA system?
- Is there any planned speakers at the reception?

Am I way off in left field on this, or do you all have any more suggestions. For the record, I'm just used to doing promotional shorts and commercials, so this a new monster for me.
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Old April 15th, 2009, 03:19 PM   #2
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If it's a church wedding, talk to the priest in advance & ask him what your limitations are in terms of shooting during the ceremony, haggle a bit if he wants you to stay in one place, ask him if you can move around during the vows to get best angle.

Also ask for the itinerary & the wedding reception program, so you know what to expect

my 2 cents
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Old April 15th, 2009, 03:23 PM   #3
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I ask things like;
Indoor or outdoor and if outdoor do you have a plan B in case of rain
How many girls/guys in wedding party
Flower girls/ring bearers
Officiants name
Type of ceremony IE; Catholic Mass etc
Whos the photog/DJ (he becomes your best friend at the reception tells you whats going to happen when if you ask)

On the surface these question may seem unimportant but over the years I have found the information to be VERY important
For example, Flower girl/ring bearer? How old are they? Why? Well when the little kids it's very easy to miss them coming down the aisle-if you don't know they're in the processional you could easily shoot right over them as they come down the aisle. It's not happened to me but I know a couple of folks that it did happen to. OOPPS!
The more information you have the bettr it is for you. That's why the DJ or band leader becomes your friend at the reception. Ask that person what's going to happen when after you introduce yourself. Being the first wedding you've done, ask him/her to give you a heads up before they do anything for example BEFORE they cut the cake, BEFORE he introduces them to do the first dance. Make sure you start rolling tape BEFORE these things take place, I try for 30 seconds but iff it's a minute or even 2 I don't care. Tape is the cheapest thing we use and remember, you can't edit what you don't have.
A wedding is to me like a breaking news event. Things happen fast, you can't re-do it and you need to be on your toes at all times. Hours of oredom, moments of terror but have fun.
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Old April 16th, 2009, 11:47 AM   #4
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I'd ask the couple what they'd expect to receive. DVDs? VHS PAL tapes? Blu-ray? 16:9? The speeches in full?

Use your side-screen, not the v'finder. Filming a real-time, no-rewind event means you'll need to keep your peripheral vision super-active so as not to miss happenings. People do the oddest things, and you'll be dancing on your toes.

Now go read Don Bloom's last sentence again.

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Old April 16th, 2009, 12:21 PM   #5
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I did just re-read my last sentence. Opps, I meant to say Hours of BOREDOM (not oredom-what's oredom?)
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Old April 16th, 2009, 01:20 PM   #6
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Ha, Don, the sad thing is that I did not realize you typed "oredom" and just read it as boredom.

Thanks for the advice - I would of been lost on wedding day if I didn't ask something.
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Old April 16th, 2009, 04:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noel Lising View Post
If it's a church wedding, talk to the priest in advance & ask him what your limitations are in terms of shooting during the ceremony, haggle a bit if he wants you to stay in one place, ask him if you can move around during the vows to get best angle.

Also ask for the itinerary & the wedding reception program, so you know what to expect

my 2 cents
It's best to use a bit of indirect psychology when talking to the priest (or officiant by any other name.) It is better to avoid asking what you can't do too directly. Speak in generalities about how you try to be non obtrusive and respect the dignity of the ceremony blah, blah, blah. The nature of some people is such that if you ask for things you can't do, they are happy to give you a litany of 50 things that you "can't do" - then you're stuck because you asked for it - literally.

You can also speak in generalities about how you are following the directions of the bride. The officiant is less likely to dispense arbitrary "rules" if he thinks it will conflict with the brides wishes. Keep in mind that the officiant in most cases is getting paid for the ceremony as well. Though it may sound funny, you are both hired hands of the bride.

If you have shot many weddings, keep an eye on the photographer if you want to see disruption - big time! Some of these guys are unbelievably brazen. But even then, if he has coordinated his shots with the bride and is following her wishes - - it's her show.
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Old April 16th, 2009, 06:07 PM   #8
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One bit of advice - go to the rehearsal, take notes of what will be happening when, and be prepared for all or part of it to change, but at least you'll have an outline. Take your camera and pretend you're shooting, find your cues and marks and again figure they will change...

NEVER count on "house" audio... have a backup plan for that for the ceremony.
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