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


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Old April 27th, 2009, 11:38 PM   #1
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shooting the ceremony isn't THAT hard...

I mean, it is difficult to get certain shots at certain times when certain things happen, but what I mean is that it should be pretty easy to cross shoot 2 cameras and get good clean smooth shots.

Last couple weddings I've done I got friends of mine to help operate second camera. Basically tell them to be the cutaway camera and at a certain point get this certain shot blah blah blah. Every time I've had a heck of a time cutting the ceremony because they shoot poorly. On the most recent one my operator spent a solid minute shooting the rear of the church waiting for the bride who was already halfway down the aisle (procession was split into two sections, the second of which started at the halfway mark). That worked out alright because I noticed what he was doing and managed to keep a good shot until I got his attention to get with the program. He also kept zooming in and out, slowly, but not particularly smoothly. And I put him on autoiris so he wouldn't have to fiddle with the hv30 exposure knob, but most of his wider shots were composed to include the entirety of the huge sanctuary windows rendering the interior black...Talk about poor framing.

Now, most would say "well duh, that's why you don't hire your friends" which I agree with. However, these friends are all in film school, even up to 3 years into film school, with projects I've seen which weren't at all bad.

There must be something about shooting weddings that brings out the worst in my shooters.

I just wanted to vent, I think most of my frustration is because I had to shoot one camera in SD and one in HD so I can't multiclip it, and also because he kept starting and stopping record...so it's hard to multiclip edit anyway.

*sigh* anyone else have lots of problems with second shooters?
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Old April 28th, 2009, 12:02 AM   #2
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My business is way too important to hire film students. No offense, I was one back in the day, but a wedding is a LIVE event, not staged, no retakes, no setup time. You need an ENG shooter (think live news, broadcast events). They are used to the pressure of this kind of situation and will give you rock-steady, well-framed, well-lit shots.
Even the best shooters will surprise you occasionally. The fact of the matter is, if you want it shot 'your way', you'll need a clone. Otherwise, its best to have 2-way communication available...and an intimate knowledge of your 2nd shooter's capability.

Vent on.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 12:52 AM   #3
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Thanks for the comments,

I'm a film student myself...So I always find it hard to believe they can be so much worse than I. lol.

Of course, I've also done a bunch of ENG broadcast shooting so maybe that put me up.


Hopefully my next wedding will be better.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 02:18 AM   #4
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I am a film student but was television first. I try to hire people with this same background somebody who has or is studying film, but did tv first. So they have that film look idea, but they know the pressures of doing something live I need them to have that "I need to get it and it needs to be good or I am a dead man tonight" attitude.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 03:00 AM   #5
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louis,
I have the same training, tv first, film afterwards. That's a wise idea to get someone who'se done both because just a film student doesn't understand the urgency and a tv student doesn't spend that extra second fixing the shot proper.

Thanks for the input.
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Old April 28th, 2009, 07:13 PM   #6
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These are some of the various reasons I don't use second shooters. I'm neither TV or film school trained, so maybe that's the problem. But, I would never trust a critical shot to ANYONE! I would rather take the chance of missing the shot myslef because I'm not there than having to think that I trusted my business to a film school student or an apprentice at a tv station. Just me.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 01:03 AM   #7
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I promise you that there are people out there you could hire who you would be able to trust to get that critical shot. There are so many well trained people out there and if you ever feel like you need a second shooter, there is always certain places where those people can be found.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 08:37 AM   #8
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My second shooter always gives me rock solid shots exactly as directed.

Of course it's on a tripod.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 06:18 PM   #9
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I use second shooters often from my local video organization.
For one, I am familiar with their work and them personally. And since I know that they are similar video professionals with actual businesses, I haven't had any real issues.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 07:13 PM   #10
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This is why I always have a third unmanned camera, back up for the back up.
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Old April 29th, 2009, 09:21 PM   #11
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Video editor= Good Shooter. I bet if that person had to edit your wedding video, he/she would see how lousy his shots came out. So sometimes that is what it takes. See if they are willing to edit that bad footage .(You edit your version of course) He will never know what he did wrong until he has to clean up the mess. This is assuming if you want to use this guy again.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 12:37 AM   #12
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Quote:
video editor= Good Shooter.
That's definitely the case I think, if I planned on using him again I'd make him edit it. But I don't.

Great idea though.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 05:54 AM   #13
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I agree, it isnīt until shooters do the editing that they know how to shoot. One told me about a cameraoperator who hate to edit but love to shoot but he knows what the editor needs.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 08:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Schuurman View Post
There must be something about shooting weddings that brings out the worst in my shooters.
I just wanted to vent, I think most of my frustration is because I had to shoot one camera in SD and one in HD so I can't multiclip it, and also because he kept starting and stopping record...so it's hard to multiclip edit anyway.
*sigh* anyone else have lots of problems with second shooters?
The best way to break a bad shooter is to force them to sit in on an edit and watch their footage. be constructive in the criticism, but be frank and demonstrate all the problems it causes in Post.

Also, the above comments are on the money that live shoots are totally different from anything a "film student" is used to. The ENG style & mindset is what is needed for a wedding. It is entirely different from almost any other type of live video production.
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Old April 30th, 2009, 08:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Arieli View Post
Otherwise, its best to have 2-way communication available...and an intimate knowledge of your 2nd shooter's capability.
Vent on.
I suggest a pair of two way radios. They may not be the best, but worst case is you can get some GMRS/FRS radios and some ear pieces and then use the call button to startle the op and train them to stop what they are doing and look for you to get instructions via hand signals. That way you can always interrupt them if they are constantly touching the camera (which means you have no stable stationary cutaway).
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