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

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Old July 22nd, 2009, 05:47 AM   #1
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Birthday Video

I was approached last night with a question if I was capable of shooting an informal bday party video. It's not a biggie and I agreed. And now I have an idea and I'm curious what you guys think.

I've noticed that every time I'm doing interviews guests are always shy and trying to avoid me and the camera :-) What if I get one of those small pocket camcorders like minoHD or Vado and let it "flow" between the guests whole night and let them record themselves.

What are potential cons of such approach? Other then loosing camera to some "greedy" guest.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 07:39 AM   #2
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To avoid it getting stolen, what about putting it on a tri-pod in the corner of the room instead of passing it around? call it the "interview booth" or something like that.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 09:07 AM   #3
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Just have the bride and groom make an announcement at the reception that there will be a small camera passed around for guest comments and that it would mean alot to them if noone stole it. I bet you'd have a hard time getting someone to steal it from the bride and groom. Then the MC can make an announcement near the end of the night saying "where's the video camera can it please come up to the front" that way if it's stolen everyone will know.
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 12:52 PM   #4
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First, the average user will probbly give you unusable jello/whip pans/etc.

I'll presume lighting will be poor to horrid as well. Do you have a smaller camera with a workable on camera light?

I understand what you're talking about - people tend to be put off by a large camera (and lights are problematic - I'm looking forward to shooting the XR500 with it's vastly better low light performance...).

I've posted the "solution" before - find an "emcee" - someone outgoing and a bit of a ham preferably. If you can use a wireless mic, that's ideal (and is more likely to get you usable audio), let them go around "man on the street/Jaywalking" style - you may get a few "runners", but for the most part having a friendly face come around and prompt with a leading question (what advice do you have for "x" who's turning 29.5 again?) makes most people relax and give you some good material.

It's hard for a borg looking dude with a big camera to not put people off <wink> - so smaller camera, smaller rig (even with wireless and light it can be a small setup), and an "emcee", and now you've got priceless material.

Just an aside about a "video booth" - if the crowd is skittish, you could announce all night and get nothing. You have to plan to go get 'em... but even a shy crowd can usually be loosened up enough using the above technique!
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Old July 22nd, 2009, 01:17 PM   #5
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I'm doing interviews at every wedding and tried setting up my camera on a tripod, have it announced and ask someone of the family/friends to do the interview. Second I tried going around interviewing wherever possible using a wireless mic which is handled by a friend of the B & G.

In both occasions it all depends at what kind of people you are dealing with, I have had weddings were people ran off or didn't want to say anything. Also when I had the camera on a tripod I have had cases were almost nobody showed up, even after several announcements.

But I also had experienced the opposite were guests were very enthusiastic, very funny interviewers and people lining up to get to say something.
Last year I had an unmanned box with camera and sound build in which stayed all night at the party which was very popular but I had to stop with it because sometimes it got damaged due to drunk guests. It was also to difficult for me to combine with my regular videojobs (I had to pick it up the next day real early)

Passing around a camera as suggested is asking for trouble, what if they damage it? Who pays for it? The only thing I hand out to one person is a wireless mic and even then I tell him very clear to be careful with it.
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Old July 23rd, 2009, 09:18 AM   #6
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At most weddings, some kid comes up to me at the reception - typically he's a film student or a hobbyist - and simply wants to talk about my gear. I'll usually say "How would you like to take the camera for a while?" 100% of the time they're thrilled - and 90% of the time they get footage and/or comments that I never could have. Sometimes the footage is usable and sometimes it's not. The worst that's happened is that I got a 20 minute break.
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