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


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Old July 27th, 2009, 06:38 PM   #1
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1st Wedding: Suggestions on working w/ Photographer???

I caught a break and booked a wedding. Nothing crazy but still getting paid. Right now money isn't the issue I need a wedding to promote my business so I can get other clients. Which brings me to the topic of this thread.
When you guys shoot how to you work with the photographer that is on the set? Where are you standing in regards to him/her? Are there rules that I'm not aware of? What should I look out for?
Any constructive ideas that would help the "new" guy in this business?
What was your first experience like? Was it nerve recking? B/c Im sitting here and a bit concerned...I have all these ideas how I would like the video to come out and certain shots that I want. But I'm a one camera man with a unmanned camera as a secondary. I also have a glidecam but how do I switch around from handheld/tripod to glidecam. I don't have a great deal of time. There are no second takes in this business. Everything here happens in real-time.
One, I want the bride to be happy. If shes happy that means more clients for me and that equals happiness for me. Two, I don't want to overwhelm myself which could discourage someone.
Please any ideas or suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks,
Tom

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Old July 27th, 2009, 11:00 PM   #2
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Tom,

First, do a search of DVINFO. I can remember the topics of working with photographers, and tips on shooting weddings in general being discussed several times before. You'll get lots of good info.

As for working with photographers, I would suggest introducing yourself as soon as you can, perhaps mentioning how it is you would like to work, and offering to help if you can. Get yourself on a good footing and you'll be fine.

Usually, the photographer runs the show, cause they've been around longer than videographers, but that doesn't mean you can't make suggestions, or ask for a minute to do something, etc. Just be nice about it. I've found most photographers to be quite accomodating.

Good luck with the shoot.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 12:13 AM   #3
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Especially since your just starting out, let the photographer run the show. Not always the way it will be, but hopefully in this case the photographer is experienced and help things go smoothly. I think if you introduce yourself and like said above, ask if there is anything you can do to help out, they will return the offer and make the day go well.

I have worked beside both photographers, and videographers and never had a problem. If you plan on shooting any stills for menus etc. make sure you let them know that is what your doing. They make a living selling photos, do not want to see someone capturing their poses and giving images to guests.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 02:06 AM   #4
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The very first thing I do is meet the guy and try to strike up a friendship of sorts!! The last thing you need is a photographer who has it in for you cos you were rude. Make the first move and say "Hi I'm Tom I'll be doing the video today" ... If I shoot stills I usually tell the photographer that I just shooting a few stills for video titles and my DVD covers (even if I'm not!!) that way you are not capturing any of his glory. If it helps ask about his camera ..most are very proud of their gear and there is no harm is telling him "Wow a Canon 5D ... that's an awesome machine!!"

I have never gone head to head with the photographer as you are both there to do a different job and if you work together it's so much nicer. With all the guys (and girls) I work with, by the time we get to the photoshoot they are already posing the bridal party and after a dozen exposures they will say "Ok, Chris ..your turn" and I will film them on Stedicam... work like that and you will have no problems...compromise on space for the photographer as he will also look after you too.

I shoot with two cams during the ceremony and always tell the photographer where my fixed camera is so he knows where not to cross. Seriously most are really nice people if you start things off on the right foot!!

Chris
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Old July 28th, 2009, 03:04 AM   #5
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I have just been approached to shoot a wedding later this year. The couple looked at all videographer’ s in my area and showed me samples from other Video businesses. They complained that what they wanted was to expensive and could I achieve what they wanted.
I said I cant unless I have the budget for extra crew etc..
Anyway, They came back to me because I charge less and still wanted the same result which I cant do and they said the photographer was well respected and to stay out of his way and I was to be in the background.
Now this couple wanted this massive dramatic wedding video but I have to stay out of the action because of the photographer.
You know, the shot we are after, is almost the same for the Tog as it is for the video operator, we just need to share the space. I do as I cant move as fast.

Introduce yourself and then stand ya ground if it goes wobbly.

I just wanted to add Chris mentioned crossing the line. Man, some of the Tog’s I have worked with just don’t know this line.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 08:53 AM   #6
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I second Chris' comment, compliment the camera, ask how long he's being doing weddings, if it's a 15 year veteran tell him " wow, I always admire photogs who came from film, nowadays anyone who has a DSLR is a wedding photog", that usually works for me. Flattery always works. If it's a newbie, they are usually humble and can be easily "manipulated".
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Old July 28th, 2009, 06:01 PM   #7
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Hi Guys

Telling them where your fixed camera is doesn't means they are not going to walk in front of it. I must admit I did have one cam placed squarely in the aisle at an out door wedding and the photog walked in front of it and started shooting until I tapped him on the shoulder. A couple of feet to one side and he would have been out of my way. (Then again he was a "friend of the bride" Nowdays I tend to place the main camera off-centre just a little so if the photog comes up he has a little room to work.

I'm usually shooting cutaways and closeups away from the main camera during the ceremony and it's hard to keep an eye on the photog as well. If he looks like he will be a problem and keeps crossing the line, at least make sure you shoot plenty of footage with your "B" cam so you have a cutaway or closeup to cover the photog's ugly head!!

BTW: At the reception especially when they are having fun, people walking in front are not really an issue..it's just part of the party!!!

Chris
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Old July 28th, 2009, 09:18 PM   #8
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I have a GC as well. Buy several quick release adapters & adapter plates and put them on everything. One on the GC, one on the tripod QR plate. One on the MultiRig (if you have it), etc. So that at any time you can move any camera to any other device.

Attend the rehearsal so you can help "direct" placement of people. It also gives you a chance to meet everyone so they are less camera shy around you.

Get good audio. The biggest thing that a bride will notice is crappy audio. They can deal with shaky footage because they are used to it with YouTube, but they don't want YouTube style audio. Either get a stand alone recorder, or a wireless system (UHF, skip VHF).

Charge your batteries (bring several batteries per cam) and shoot as much as you can. Nothing helps you improve like trying shots.

as far as working with the photographer, if possible meet with him/her before the ceremony to go over who stands where, etc.they may be nice, they may not, but you at least need to try.

You at least have a leg up on most people starting out who try to shoot a good wedding with one cam (which in my opinion is nearly impossible unless you never touch the zoom and are simply providing a c-span style documentation of the event).

and.... SMILE. nothing cramps up guests like a frowning videographer. Look like you are having fun, and you will help people have fun.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 09:32 PM   #9
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This one is simple. Treat them as you would like to be treated.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 01:46 AM   #10
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I second both the last two post!! Photog's are used to working with us so if you are nice to them they are nice to you. I have never had a problem with a pro only one amateur as mentioned above!! In fact, there is a good chance if the photog is staying at the reception you, him and the DJ will probably be having dinner together so you don't want a frosty atmosphere while you are eating either!!

Audio is critical!!!! high on your gear list must be at least one UHF radio mic. If it's a Church wedding and they have readings then you need a second mic there too!!! Trust me I have learnt the hard way on that score!! The Church audio system will not be enough!!!

Good luck and give us some feedback on how everything went..you might even have a situation that everyone here never thought about!!

Chris
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Old July 29th, 2009, 04:45 AM   #11
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I just want to thank you guys for the advise. Im pretty confident it will all work out. I will give you guys the details after the wedding.

T.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 07:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robinson View Post
You at least have a leg up on most people starting out who try to shoot a good wedding with one cam (which in my opinion is nearly impossible unless you never touch the zoom and are simply providing a c-span style documentation of the event).
Can't agree here. I shoot one camera weddings all the time, and it's not that hard to produce a good product with intelligent shooting. But that's another thread, I guess.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 09:29 AM   #13
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Tom,

I just shot my first wedding recently and have been meaning to start or add to a thread about it. So I'll reply with some input & answering your questions here. I shot/editing etc one last weekend, for cheap, as someone else said, I saw an ad on craiglist for a couple who didn't want to pay much, and was willing to only get the ceremony taped. Like you, I want a demo reel, word of mouth references, and experience, and offer to shoot & edit the entire event. They were thrilled, yet at the same time are realistic in "Do your best & we understand" because of the rate. Hopefully your couple shares a similar philosophy, unless your charging them $2k, then better do good. Luckily, I also replied to an ad for a "second shooter" for a wedding 2 weeks ago, so met with the videographer, got some advice, and experience, yet at the same time, only shot it, and handed over the tapes. So the rest is on him, but it helped calm my nerves & think "I can do this".

I'd say the photog's probably vary, the first wedding she was very nice, and stated she was fairly new, learning. The second seemed a little pompous, experienced, was asking me alot of questions about my video background because the bride must have told her I was new, but she then mentioned she's also a wedding planner, so could get me alot of work/references if I do a good job. So, to start, you never know who you're working with. Myb they get asked alot if they also do video, or know someone, and might be looking for someone to do business with. In addition, from what I gather, photographer gets first priority. So look for the photog, and work around them. It's ashame, because they only need a split second, whereas video captures continuously. As a side note, I felt for me, I think the DJ position has to be the most nerve racking. Worrying about the mic/sound levels (feedback from people holding it wrong), cutting in & out, the timeline of speech, cake cutting, first dance, as well as worrying about people being on the dance floor, and if it's empty, changing the music up to fit the crowd. Just my little opinion.

As for any newbie advice, mic the groom with a lapel. You have 2 cams, which is good for cutaway shots I suppose, so you always have a backup to cut to, b-roll footage. If you do any soft focus, placing subject out of focus then focusing in that alot of people do very well here, hold it out of focus for at least 5 seconds, prob more, before focusing in. Also, get a standard shot of it, clean focus, and an artistic shot with the focusing. I tried alot of it but think I got too much of it during the pre-wedding stuff (Groomsmen hanging out etc) Get there early & shoot alot of shots at the venue, indoor & outdoor. It's hard to get the bride since she is usually hidden from everybody, so make sure to get alot of footage of her. Grooms are usually easier & hanging out with friends. Indoor lighting sucks. WIndows, daylight shining inside mixed with orangey tinted indoor lights, blahhhhh. I definitely need to get neatvideo.com. One last thing, be ready. EVERYTHING is always 2 seconds away from happening, I got about 10 seconds notice after the brides photos were done that the ceremony was going to begin walking the grooms Mom down the aisle. And the coordinator won't wait for you, so be sure you have enough tape left, or battery is charged enough, to last thru whatever is happening. Bring alot of tapes, because you may need to switch out during down time, instead of having only 5 minutes left for the first dance & hoping it's enough.

One thing they definitely liked, I got this Azden wireless lapel that came with a handheld mic off Amazon for only $150. I shot "congratulations" segments with guests, and they were stoked that I had that (weren't expecting so much for so little). Get shots of any little kids, people seem to like that. One young woman asked I shoot her Dad on the dance floor with her son. Pretty cute actually.

In the end, just be ready to record anything & everything. Introduce yourself to alot of people, people like that & friends or family saying "Your videographer was nice/working hard" can go a long way, at least they know you tried. The groom actually complimented me & said I was working hard & his friends saw me outside at one point shooting someone saying 'Congrats' & they said damn, I was everywhere.. Plus you never know who the Mothers/Fathers/brothers & Sisters are. Let the photog do their thing, and just shadow them & shoot around them. Even if they get in the shot sometimes it's a cool effect or doesn't make much difference. During the ceremony, I just kept it simple, put it on auto & didn't zoom. Then again I didn't have a 2nd cam.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 11:25 AM   #14
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Tom:
I am a photographer by background, and am new to doing video.
I would be glad to answer any speciifc questions about photographers you might have, but for the majority everyone here have given great advice about just treating them as you would want to be treated.
I always immediately go introduce myself and try to have a very nice/fun conversation about anything. Establish your sincerity, build rapport, and let them know you would like to work as a team so that everyone can best serve the bride and groom, which is the main point of being there.

I have seen 99% of the time that works out great, and most of us, photo and video peeps, have great attitudes when communicating like this.
Of course on both sides there are always that 1% that can be rude and stuck on themselves.
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Old July 29th, 2009, 08:35 PM   #15
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Thanks guys,
I feel a bit more calm. David, Vito and Kenzi do you have any video of your first wedding. Im curious to see what you have. I will definately share once i'm done. I think before I go for the main edit I will do a trailer for my bride.
Im actually renting 2 sony wireless mics. One for the priest and one for the groom. The bride will be picked up by the grooms mic.
You what sucks. I purchased a Indislider and was thinking about bringing it to the shoot. Whats nice about it you have all the features of your tripod plus the option of sliding your camera smoothly on whatever direction you want. The only problem is that rig plus the tripod weighs like 25 to 30 lbs. I went to the park the other day with this rig and walked around. I was spent within 1 hour of shooting. The slider is also 36" wide so you have to balance it. I dont think im gonna use it.
I have a glidecam as well. My second camera will be run by my fiance on a tripod. Ill keep her job simple. I just dont want to miss any shots. If running the glidecam Im afraid Ill miss a good shot somewhere else.
I just want to make this video really good. First impressions mean a great deal. Because the next client that comes to me will actually see a Wedding I shot. I want that wedding to be cinematic, dramatic, hip and fun to watch. I hope I can pull all this off or am I putting too much on my plate?
Anyway, if you have any footage please post I'd love to see it.

Tom
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