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


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Old April 28th, 2004, 03:57 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Norwich Norfolk UK
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A bit about weddings.

I read lots about those who shoot weddings and would like to pass on a few of my own comments.

Firstly I’d like to make it quite clear that weddings are our main business, we shoot approx. 30-35 a year and our order book is full till 2006. We’ve achieved this by perfecting our own technique and have a unique look to our finished productions, and 75% of our work comes from recommendation.

And no, we’re not cheap. The average cost is about 1800 GBP plus expences, for a 50-60 minute DVD.

We use Canon XL1s (x2) and an XL1 as a back-up, should anything go wrong and always shoot with 2 camera operators.
There are many words that jump out from the postings that irritate me such as; hand-held and unobtrusive etc.

You shouldn’t be shooting hand-held in the first place, except for a couple of exceptions such as; getting up close and personal when the bride is getting out of the car, and maybe during the dances later at the reception.

Use a tripod whenever and wherever you can. A tripod mounted XL is easy to quickly move around with, and will eliminate clumsy hand-held shots. Producing good hand-helds is an art in itself, sticking on the stabiliser will not produce a good hand-held, it’s a technique that has to be practiced and perfected if you want good professional looking results.

‘Unobtrusive’ is another one of those silly words that really gets under my skin. If you want to be unobtrusive and work from a distance, then you’re better suited to shooting wild-life with a long lens.

I was a newspaper snapper for many years and learnt that getting in close and personal will get you the shots every time. I always tell our brides that we are not unobtrusive, you will see us, and we will make demands on you from time to time. There are still many traditional wedding videographers who set up their kit 25 yards away, and hit the button. Thankfully these are a dying breed and with luck their days are numbered as they give the serious wedding producer a bad name.

‘On the fly’ and ‘winging it on the day’ are two techniques that are best left to the amateurs.

All weddings are the same, they all follow a pattern under 3 headings; preparation/arrival, ceremony and reception. Know the running order inside out. Plan your shots and camera angles and work to the same every wedding, that way you’ll never get caught out and with time you'll instinctively know where the good shots are coming from.

‘The unexpected’. There is no such thing. Everything that can happen at your wedding has happened before, and there’s nothing new that hasn’t been done before. Always shoot with both eyes open. One through the lens and the other taking in what’s going on around you. Yes, you will eventually go cross-eyed, but you’ll never get caught out by ‘the unexpected’

One final point. How many of you wedding producers actually review you previous jobs at a later date. Or do you just put them on the shelf and forget about them?

When I have the time, I find it useful to sit with pen and paper. Make notes as I watch. I guarantee you’ll find it positive for improving your productions.

Regards, Dave
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Old April 28th, 2004, 07:29 AM   #2
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" I always tell our brides that we are not unobtrusive, you will see us, and we will make demands on you from time to time. There are still many traditional wedding videographers who set up their kit 25 yards away, and hit the button. Thankfully these are a dying breed and with luck their days are numbered as they give the serious wedding producer a bad name. "

Mate u hit the nail on the head with this one..
I cant stand th e idea of attepmting a shot a mile away.. im not in their faces, but im also not afraid to get up close and personal..

all i can say is GREAT POST and i stand beside everythign u have written 100%

the biggest probelm we face here in oz is that there were afew moronic producers who decided that it woudl be good to say that theyre unobtrusive and didnt require lights..
from there it set a precedent for inferior workmanship..
Its good for me, coz im totally opposite to that mentality, however there are many people who are still uneducated about the importance of being as close the subject as the photographer.

again i totally agree with your post and backup every word written.

excellent post!
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Old April 28th, 2004, 10:28 AM   #3
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A bit about weddings

Thanks Peter, I thought I may have come in for a bit of flack.

I think the problem of poor quality wedding productions started back in the times when cam-corders first became obtainable to the masses. People with no experience, or idea, jumped on the band-wagon and saw it as an easy earner, which was to a great extent true, it was easy money.

Today's bride knows more about what she wants and shops around 'till she finds what she's looking for in the way of a wedding producer who's learnt his/her trade and can supply the goods.

There's a growing number of (younger) brides who strongly favour a filmed event over the traditional wedding photographer who's style has remained unchanged for decades. (We produced our first wedding this year where there was not a pro photographer present)

One of the biggest problems facing the videographer, is getting paid what the job is worth. A stills man works for a few hours, job completed apart from slipping a few prints into an album.

As we all know, producing a one-hour DVD is a lot more complex, and deserves a lot more money.

I don't know how you find your work in Oz, but we change our wedding demo's every couple of months to include better material.

Here's a tip:

We always ask the bride how she wants the finished production to look. Is it formal/traditional, or does she want a more funky feel to it. We then send her a demo that meets her requirements.
(We have 3 different ones, all less than 10 mins in length)

Last year our conversion rate was 92 per cent, which is pretty good bearing in mind that a lot of people still buy on price alone.
Give it a try, it may surprise you.

We covered a celebrity wedding last year and I'm sure we got the job because we prepared a special demo to suit their needs exactly.

Regards, Dave.
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