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


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Old June 28th, 2009, 12:52 PM   #1
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Enough already!!

You've all heard horror stories about how some photographers can get in your way at weddings. Well, late last night, I heard a horror story about just the opposite.

A photographer friend called me close to midnight to rant. The videographer they worked with showed up with 6 people in their crew! As you can imagine, they were everywhere, all the time. One person was dedicated to a Steadicam, one person to a Canon 5D, and the rest were shooting video from various angles. There were so many people trying to photograph the same event that it was inevitable to get in each other's shots.

During the reception, the emcee announced that a video will be shown. At that point, one of the videographers ran across the room, laptop in tow, to turn on the projector and connect the laptop. While the projector warmed up, the audience patiently waited. When the montage finally started playing after a minute or two, the audio was distorted. At some point during the playback, the laptop froze and had to be rebooted. Videographer yells to please turn on the house lights. More waiting. The couple looks concerned. All eyes of 300 guests are on the videographers. The emcee cleverly goes on to the cake cutting. As the videographers frantically tried to get the laptop running to show their SDE, the photographer is pretty sure they missed shooting the cake cutting. By the time the SDE is finally shown, the romantic ambience has long been lost. The SDE turned out to be a mass of unorganized video clips that weren't color corrected. As you can imagine, the photographer will not be referring them to his future clients.

As a videographer, it's good to try new things, or to try to stand out above the competition. But at what point do we say "Enough already, we're going to ruin the wedding?!"
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Old June 28th, 2009, 04:38 PM   #2
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That sounds like a pretty bad night for those guys. It's hard to judge against another company for having 6 guys on the shoot or having technical issues. Sounds like their work was not up to par either, though, and that's no good for upping our industry's value.
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Old June 28th, 2009, 06:31 PM   #3
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That's a new one for sure! The videographers outnumbering the photogs? Never once in my experience, but a good warning to us all. The adage that comes to mind is 'too many chefs'. I also get nervous when I see more than 3 photographers (or two with their assistants in tow) at an event. I know I'm in for a 'flyswatting' event. Its rare (nowadays) to see a photographer's assistant just holding a camera bag, bounce car, or tripod...they've all got their cameras and want to hone their skills.

I hope this 'more-the-merrier' approach doesn't catch. Beside being completely intrusive, it does bring down the value of our work. Why have 1 good videographer, when you can have 5 mediocre ones!

My apologies if this company is an award winner with many accolades and hard-working talent. They might have had a really bad day, but I hope they are reading this right now and rethinking their approach.
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Old June 28th, 2009, 10:09 PM   #4
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Hi Warren,

I think this is timely. It seems that one of the directions the industry is taking is crews of three or more using heavy artillery, i.e. steadicam, glidetrack, jibs and off-camera lighting. The samples coming out of these shoots deservedly gets a lot of attention, but at what point does the production overtake the event in spectacle?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
You've all heard horror stories about how some photographers can get in your way at weddings. Well, late last night, I heard a horror story about just the opposite.

A photographer friend called me close to midnight to rant. The videographer they worked with showed up with 6 people in their crew! As you can imagine, they were everywhere, all the time. One person was dedicated to a Steadicam, one person to a Canon 5D, and the rest were shooting video from various angles. There were so many people trying to photograph the same event that it was inevitable to get in each other's shots.

During the reception, the emcee announced that a video will be shown. At that point, one of the videographers ran across the room, laptop in tow, to turn on the projector and connect the laptop. While the projector warmed up, the audience patiently waited. When the montage finally started playing after a minute or two, the audio was distorted. At some point during the playback, the laptop froze and had to be rebooted. Videographer yells to please turn on the house lights. More waiting. The couple looks concerned. All eyes of 300 guests are on the videographers. The emcee cleverly goes on to the cake cutting. As the videographers frantically tried to get the laptop running to show their SDE, the photographer is pretty sure they missed shooting the cake cutting. By the time the SDE is finally shown, the romantic ambience has long been lost. The SDE turned out to be a mass of unorganized video clips that weren't color corrected. As you can imagine, the photographer will not be referring them to his future clients.

As a videographer, it's good to try new things, or to try to stand out above the competition. But at what point do we say "Enough already, we're going to ruin the wedding?!"
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Old June 28th, 2009, 10:22 PM   #5
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We had quite an opposite experience today. Covering a hindu wedding, and there were two photogs. For the bride entrance, I had my cam on the slider (on the ground) ready to do a nice reveal push while my 2nd shooter on tripod covering the safe angle. All of a sudden both of the photo dudes jumped right in front of us, totally blocking my 2nd shooter's angle. I yelled at one of them to move out. He kindly moved out and landed right in front of my slider push. Now, I have a nice slide reveal shot of his a**.
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Old June 28th, 2009, 11:27 PM   #6
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I am trying to remember a wedding shoot where me and my assistant (aka wife) have NOT outnumbered the photographer & their crew. But then again, I work with mostly medium to low budget brides, so they usually only have one photographer & one second shooter / assistant.

Though now that I think about it, this weekends wedding actually did have one photographer, one assistant photographer, and then two photo assistants (adjusting lighting etc). And I only had two of us!

But I sure can feel for that videographer (and bride!). In my nightmares that is what I look like when I try my first SDE (which I have not done yet, and probably will not do till I am tapeless).
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Old June 29th, 2009, 06:46 AM   #7
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Rule #1 Thou shalt not say that a videographer was wrong and a photographer was right (even if they were) :)
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Old July 3rd, 2009, 05:52 PM   #8
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I agree there is a line to be drawn when it comes to the amount of people with a video camera in hand when at a wedding...especially when there is a lack of planning and prep and shooters aren't mindful or respectful of the guests and their photog counterparts.

It saddens me as an artist to hear of things like this that worsen the credibility of our craft.

Thanks for sharing Warren.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 08:37 PM   #9
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I have 4 guys on my crew, but that is because I am very new, and need all the help I can get. We only run 3 cameras, but we have a girl that is VERY creative and she shoots the bride prep. then we have another guy who is great with the sound. I'm actually the only guy who isn't great! Anyways, I haven't shot a wedding yet that I haven't received Numerous comments about how "they never even noticed us" or something to that effect.

I think just using common sense, and actually caring, can make a huge difference!
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Old July 13th, 2009, 09:05 PM   #10
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William.. how do you guys make any money? Man, 4 of you for a couple grand a gig.. unless you have a lot of gigs booked.. it seems like after taxes and all that you'd barely be making $10 an hour or so if you factor in drive time, gas, editing time, etc. I am still trying to figure out how to make some money in this.. much less a living.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 10:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
William.. how do you guys make any money? Man, 4 of you for a couple grand a gig.. unless you have a lot of gigs booked.. it seems like after taxes and all that you'd barely be making $10 an hour or so if you factor in drive time, gas, editing time, etc. I am still trying to figure out how to make some money in this.. much less a living.
He just said its because he's very new. Its a good thing that he's trying to cover his ass and not risk his reputation.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 08:32 AM   #12
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A relative of my wife is getting married next month and had been working with a videographer in her area until she got frustrated that the videographer was trying to take over the show, and decided to dump them and not have a video at all. It's a good thing she was able to size them up BEFORE the wedding day.
The good news is that my wife was able to convince them to let us do it for free.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 12:49 PM   #13
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No, you are right though.
I'm still trying to figure out the money part ;-)
I figured I'll eventually have to scale back but I just can't figure out who to cut.
Fortunately I have/ had a great job.
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Old July 14th, 2009, 03:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Dortignac View Post
No, you are right though.
I'm still trying to figure out the money part ;-)
I figured I'll eventually have to scale back but I just can't figure out who to cut.
Fortunately I have/ had a great job.
Don't cut anybody, just send out two people per wedding and cover two weddings in the same weekend.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 08:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Peregrine View Post
Hi Warren,

I think this is timely. It seems that one of the directions the industry is taking is crews of three or more using heavy artillery, i.e. steadicam, glidetrack, jibs and off-camera lighting. The samples coming out of these shoots deservedly gets a lot of attention, but at what point does the production overtake the event in spectacle?
Joel I tend to agree with you with the exception of off-camera lighting. I feel, if done correctly, it can be much LESS obtrusive than on-camera lighting. Plus provide better lighting to boot.
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