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

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Old April 19th, 2009, 02:11 PM   #16
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I'm not doing weddings like you guys, but it seems to me that for at least some situations where people potentially can get in the way of a shot, you could go over them.

I've made my tripods to they will go higher than normal.

Also, I have rigged up a mono pod with a full tripod head on (which I've also made a long control handle for), which I can sit on a bracket on a waste belt. It works like a crane - can put the camera up at about 2.4m.

The monopod could do with having one extra section so it could, without any additions, sit on the ground and go decently over the heads of people. I'm planning on making an extra extension that would fit on the bottom and raise it an extra 300mm or so.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 04:07 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post

A truly professional videographer can make great videos no matter what kind of obstacles are thrown at them!
Man I wish I was a great videographer :-)

I would have liked to see the "out of control guest" as well... I might be going out on a limb by saying this. But personally if the person is not in my immediate family (brother, sister, mom or dad) I wouldn't even bother taking pictures. Most people take pics and never care to do anything with them. Just an obstacle for people in our profession.

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Old April 19th, 2009, 06:20 PM   #18
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Wedding guest ?

Thank you all for the great ideas. I just never had wedding guest get under my skin.
I guess she got the best of me.

Here is the clip for those who want a laugh.

YouTube - Wedding Guest ?
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Old April 19th, 2009, 06:27 PM   #19
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I'm going to risk the wrath of my colleagues here, but I have to speak up for the collective guests...and Walt, I'm writing to the whole group of us, not just you. I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience dealing with this guest, but since the video was posted, I feel I should comment on what I saw in the clip, apart from what you described. In other words, I'm addressing only what I saw in the clip.

Though I understand your frustration with the "leaning guest", as I've had it happen to me, it seemed from the video that your camera was basically in line with the ends of the pews. This camera placement is really prone to this exact problem. I had the same thing happen a couple times, but quickly changed my strategy so that I am now just a little more out in the aisle and basically beyond the lean of the casual guest-photog. I still occasionally get blocked, and when it does, I'll get a little creative with the editing in order to chop out the offender. However, from the video you posted, the leaner looked to me like an excited guest...and in itself, there's nothing wrong with that. As you described it, this was only the beginning of the problems with this particular guest (which I've never experienced) but I have to wonder if she took what you initially said the wrong way, and in turn made it her mission to become a pest for the duration of the day...regardless of how nicely you approached her.

I've seen some horribly obtrusive guests arm themselves with cameras and step all over what would have otherwise been some beautiful ceremonies and receptions, but I have to remind myself that these people were invited, and therefore deserve to be allowed to get excited about the wedding. This doesn't mean they deserved free reign, but blocking the view of others in order to take a photo is an incredibly common, and more importantly, accepted behavior that we witness at all types of events. I don't remember ever seeing someone shunned by a crowd when they "stepped up to get a quick shot." For a lot of people, special events like a wedding are signified by taking along a camera for the day, so I have to anticipate that those cameras are going to be put to use in exactly the fashion above.

Now combine this commonplace practice with the following...

As we all know, the general public does not understand the necessary conditions for creating a great film, so I have a hard time blaming them for moments like what we saw in the video. Another incident that I so often encounter is the person who decides they must walk past the front of my camera instead of behind it (even though I'm always careful to leave a route of passage behind me). They may even make a half-hearted attempt to stoop out of my field of view, which looks even worse much of the time, but I believe that they truly don't understand what they're doing to the shot. How about people standing so close to our tripod legs that the slightest mis-step (?) would definitely jar the camera. How about when people try to come up and talk to us, and expect us to respond, when we're obviously in the middle of an important shot (generally at a reception)?

There are lesser "problems" that people cause as well, such as an officiant refusing to wear a mic, the impromptu speech giver, the traditional "turning-off-the-lights-in-the-middle-of-the-first-dance", the ceremony that's planned to last 64 minutes (for those shooting on 63 minute tapes), the lack of an audio output from the DJ, and a whole lot more. The thing is, these are only problems to us, the videographers. They're not caused intentionally most of the time, but are in fact exactly what would be par for the course in our absence. So since we're walking into a situation where we need many logistics to be altered for our benefit, it doesn't rattle me when someone accidentally hurts the film in some way by their very act of being a participant. I stay professional, and like others have suggested...I find a way to fix the situation for the best possible results. This is the nature of event videography and a large part of our value is dependent on how we deal with the situations that will necessarily arise unexpectedly. Most people can get the easy shots, but a solid shooter has to be ready to adapt under fire. "It's no fun when it happens..." like we've all said, but it does.

I just finished altering the audio from a grand entrance segment where the DJ loudly shouted out the wrong last name for the parents of the bride. Was it my fault? No. Was the moment shattered? Yes. Did I fix it. You bet.

Alec Moreno
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Old April 19th, 2009, 06:57 PM   #20
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Guest ?

Greats points thanks, all taken well.

This lady was out of control all day. She even followed us to the off site photo shoot, with her point and shoot camera, 2 different locations.

She was the wedding Video guys Nightmare.

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Old April 19th, 2009, 09:57 PM   #21
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I think one of the problems is that some people have no concept of the fact that video is continuously rolling. They have never had a camcorder of any kind in their hands. The lady who blocked your shot seems to be "taking turns" taking photographs with you. She steps out in front of you to take her picture and then she steps back as if "now its your turn to take your picture".

From a practical point of view, you have to assume this type of blocked shot is going to happen and plan for it. Multiple cameras help deal with this even if the other cameras are just fixed on a tripod in strategically selected locations. Another dimension is height. If you can find higher locations for your fixed camera, it is less likely to be blocked. So when you are stuck with a shot of the back of someones head, you can cut to the wider shot when you edit even if its not the best shot, it beats a blocked shot.

The Canon HV-30 is a modestly priced camera that shoots quite well in lighting like in your clip. It's small enough to tuck unobtrusively in places that a bigger camera would be objectionable. But leave it in your bag for a dimly lit reception. It doesn't perform well in really low light.

I think its way overkill, but I recently read about a videographer who rolls six cameras at a wedding, five of which are unmanned and strategically placed. But with the shot "surprises" at weddings, one or two unmanned cameras can save the day.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 10:07 PM   #22
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Duplicate post

Last edited by Jim Snow; April 20th, 2009 at 10:16 AM. Reason: Duplicate post
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Old April 20th, 2009, 08:40 AM   #23
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How about Out of Control Wait staff

I have encountered leaning guest, sadly sometimes it is part of the show. I have never confronted them for fear that they might be a beloved uncle or aunt. And as someone said you should just be more creative during the editing.

Anyway, I shot a wedding last Saturday, how's this for out of control. During the Bride & Groom speech, wait staff decided to place his cart in front of the podium, gathering dishes, then coming back to the cart unmindful of the Speech happening in front of him. No problem as I just did a tight shot while changing angle. I asked my wife to kindly ask the guy to move.

My rant for the day.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 09:33 AM   #24
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I just used a hv30 for the first time Saturday and I'm buying another. They are fantastic to use as unmanned cameras.

The are terrible even in slightly dim light. But they are completely usable for interviews, etc if you have a light on it.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 01:12 PM   #25
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I shoot all small cams (4) currently, and yes, properly equipped, the smaller cams are excellent for multi-angle shoots if you know how to set them up and rig them. I'm waiting on an XR500V to see if it really is as good in low light as it appears, in which case for my market, may just skip getting another "big cam" and watch for a deal on a 5D mkII.

Adding in a small second or third cam and a stout tripod (doesn't need to be fancy with a good fluid head, just has to keep the cam steady, and preferably HIGH to get over the crowd when needed) is cheap insurance...
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Old April 20th, 2009, 04:18 PM   #26
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I tried to watch the video. What's up?

It's up... it's down. It's up... it's down.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 05:37 PM   #27
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