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


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Old May 23rd, 2009, 06:53 PM   #1
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How Close Is Too Close?

Hi All,
I do videography as a part time hobby but lately it’s feeling more like the start of a business. More folks are asking me to shoot weddings. This is one discipline I was nervous about learning after reading about so many horror stories. Watching the experts on this forum gives me ideas and tips that allow me to do a better job with more confidence.

I just finished shooting my third wedding and it dawned on me that I may be standing too close to the pastor and B&G during the ceremony. I don't want to use too much zoom because it will amplify any movements on my part. I asked them after the ceremony and they were not feeling crowded.

What many of the attendees told me (laughing) is that I was standing a little too close to a candle at one point while getting an OS shot and they thought my shirt was going to catch fire! I told them I would do anything for the money shot…

My question to the veterans is how close is too close and what do you believe is proper protocol for a videographer during a wedding shoot when shooting the vows. I am still an amateur in many ways and want to get this right.

Thanks for any feedback!
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 09:10 PM   #2
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Hi
I use a good steady tripod and zoom in as needed. There is a risk of affecting the mood or the ceremony by going too close to get the money shots. I think that if the videographer is out of the photographers frame then all is ok.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 10:19 PM   #3
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Another technique to get "closer" is to shoot in HD and render to MPEG for a DVD. You can zoom approximately 20% in post without hurting the MPEG resolution quality. if you zoom more than that, the image will start to get soft.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 10:29 PM   #4
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I 'd suggest a tripod, asking a pastor, a priest about the distance could be helpful.
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Old May 24th, 2009, 12:52 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Loeffler View Post
Hi All,
I do videography as a part time hobby but lately it’s feeling more like the start of a business. More folks are asking me to shoot weddings. This is one discipline I was nervous about learning after reading about so many horror stories. Watching the experts on this forum gives me ideas and tips that allow me to do a better job with more confidence.

I just finished shooting my third wedding and it dawned on me that I may be standing too close to the pastor and B&G during the ceremony. I don't want to use too much zoom because it will amplify any movements on my part. I asked them after the ceremony and they were not feeling crowded.

What many of the attendees told me (laughing) is that I was standing a little too close to a candle at one point while getting an OS shot and they thought my shirt was going to catch fire! I told them I would do anything for the money shot…

My question to the veterans is how close is too close and what do you believe is proper protocol for a videographer during a wedding shoot when shooting the vows. I am still an amateur in many ways and want to get this right.

Thanks for any feedback!
Hey Steve,

You may find 2 things happen if you get too close: a) you could be called out in the middle of the ceremony by the priest (embarrassing) and b) one of your couples may eventually find it too invasive.

How close were you to the couple?

I'm not much of a fan of tripods but we do use them during the ceremony staying a minimum of 30 feet away from the couple and/or the minister. Are you using a tripod? If you are, it should minimize/eliminate any movement. Keep in mind that some of the floors in churches are old and if you wander around your tripod it could shift it a bit.

Hope that helps!
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Old May 24th, 2009, 09:01 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Steve Loeffler View Post
Hi All,
What many of the attendees told me (laughing) is that I was standing a little too close to a candle at one point while getting an OS shot and they thought my shirt was going to catch fire! I told them I would do anything for the money shot…
sorry for hijacking the thread but when I stopped laughing at the image, I started thinking...



you know you're too close when....


- you have to clean the hairspray off the lens

- the makeup artist keeps bumping the tripod

- even the widest shot still shows the hair on the brides upper lip quite clearly

- on their way down the isle the brides father threatens to punch you if you stand on the back of her dress again

- the priest keeps hitting you with his mike

- the groom has to look through the viewfinder to put the ring on

- the kiss peaks the on camera audio

- the photographer bails you up at the reception to explain that he only has 3 shots for the whole day where you're NOT in frame

- you keep frightening the guests when they turn around to see what's there

- the groom asks you not to rest your elbow on his back for your 'over the shoulder shot' of the bride

- you keep knocking wine glasses over when you pan

- with the on camera lighting, you can smell burning hair while you're following the 1st dance


sorry guys - I just had to get it out of my system.
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Last edited by Paul Mailath; May 25th, 2009 at 04:15 AM.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bruce Patterson View Post
Hey Steve,

You may find 2 things happen if you get too close: a) you could be called out in the middle of the ceremony by the priest (embarrassing) and b) one of your couples may eventually find it too invasive.

How close were you to the couple?

I'm not much of a fan of tripods but we do use them during the ceremony staying a minimum of 30 feet away from the couple and/or the minister. Are you using a tripod? If you are, it should minimize/eliminate any movement. Keep in mind that some of the floors in churches are old and if you wander around your tripod it could shift it a bit.
Hey Bruce how do you shoot the vows and the rings? I usually bargain for movement during the vows as I want to be as close as possible. I don't see that possible if you are 30 feet away. Thanks in advance.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 02:33 PM   #8
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Does anyone find use for a 2x tele converter during the ceremony or something like that? that way you could get the ring shots quite easily.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 02:46 PM   #9
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well, first let me state that every area is different and every church and officiant is different but by and large in my area you ain't gonna get up that close period. I shoot from the rear on a tripod and have never had a problem getting the rings etc except for the odd church with the 200 foot aisle. Fortunately most aren't like that. As for getting in as close as being considered part of the wedding party, well, my old school mindset says that's too close and honestly in my mind not necessary but that's just me.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 12:24 AM   #10
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Know your lens range and capabilities and position accordingly. No way I'd fit a teleconverter, vignetting is a problem. You should be able to zoom in enough if you stake out your spot correctly, and no you shouldn't be in the middle of the action...
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Old May 26th, 2009, 03:33 AM   #11
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I'd suggest something like Varizoom's Flowpod. You can use it as a monopod so you can have some super-steady shots when zooming, and also you don't have the restrictions of a tripod when you want to play with strange angles etc. Not only that but it can be transformed into a very good "steadicam" equipment in a few seconds. To me there is no better alternative during the ceremony.

In my case though, keeping the monopod steady during zoom looked extremely difficult in the beginning. But after some training, I managed to have the steady shots I wanted.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 03:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Loeffler View Post
Hi All, I just finished shooting my third wedding and it dawned on me that I may be standing too close to the pastor and B&G during the ceremony. I don't want to use too much zoom because it will amplify any movements on my part. I asked them after the ceremony and they were not feeling crowded.

My question to the veterans is how close is too close and what do you believe is proper protocol for a videographer during a wedding shoot when shooting the vows. I am still an amateur in many ways and want to get this right.

Thanks for any feedback!
1. You should not be within at a minimum of 15 feet of the B&G IMO, perferably more. You are not getting married, they are. A second unmanned wide shot camera can be behind the couple and the distance is not as critical for personal space.

2. Closer in shots with a wider lens setting is not flattering to the people being imaged. The further away you can be, and by using more zoom, you will get a much more slimming and appealing image. You might even get some bokeh in an optimum shot.

3. Before shooting a location for the first time, if possible (and it's not always) go in advance, preferably with the bride, to see how the shoot can be set up. Also make sure the officiant is okay with everything including the wireless.

4. Im more old school than some, but the attendees should never even remember there was a videographer.

With both a photographer and videographer at weddings, you don't want to cause too much commotion. And you don't want to ruin all of the photographers shots by being in them either.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 05:32 PM   #13
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Yeah,I have to agree with Jeff on every point. There are times however when it's OK to get up close and personal like when and if you have time alone with the couple prior to or after the ceremony or for some special shots or sequence but during the ceremony frankly I see no need or reason to be up there with them. In my mind it would be more of a detriment than a help to capture the ceremony not to mention the fact that in most cases you would be going handheld and while there is a certain look to that and I do it as well but not during the ceremony. It's been my experience that the ceremony is the one time you want to be as rock solid steady as possible but that's just me ;-)
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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:44 AM   #14
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re: How Close Is Too Close?

Thanks to everyone for the great input. After reviewing my tapes, I can clearly see from the stationary wide cam shot in the rear that I may have been a little too close, at times, to the B&G and the candles. I was no closer than 12 feet at any time to the B&G and 2" from the candles. :-)

I would have been mortified had I lit up in the middle of the ring exchange.
Believe me, this crowd would have laughed their heads off.

Do you guy's have any funny stories involving the videographer or photographer?
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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:56 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
It's been my experience that the ceremony is the one time you want to be as rock solid steady as possible but that's just me ;-)
Agree completely. I have done only 1 ceremony with a glidecam and would not want to do it again. I am 100% tripod during the ceremony. I also feel the need to treat the ceremony with the utmost respect, nobody has ever complained that I did not get a close enough shot of the rings, but they have commented that they appreciate the my low profile approach.
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