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


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Old August 15th, 2009, 09:34 AM   #31
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OK since I made the one camera is suicide comment, let me clarify.
FIRST, shooting a wedding with 1 camera is in my opinion one of the BEST things one can do because you have nothing to fall back on-none of the "it's OK to mess this move up because I have 1 or 2 or 3 other cameras running", it's a great learning tool and if one can keep a cool head and a steady hand you CAN produce a beautiful product. Robert Allen in NJ uses 1 camera, charges about a grand an hour with a 5 hour minimun and produces a beautiful product.
WHAT I meant to say and should have said more clearly is this; FIRST if you are doing a one camera shoot you'd best be on you toes and keep a cool, calm and collected head and have a shooting plan layed out. SECOND, have another camera in the bag with you in case your primary camera craps out on you. Remember there are only 2 kinds of videographers. Those that it HAS happened to and those that it WILL happen to.
When I first started in the business, NO ONE shoot 2 cameras. Couldn't afford them. You HAD to learn to shot with what you had. Of course churches then were much more restrictive than today but you still only had 1 camera.
Today with cameras being so inexpensive (relativly speaking of course) and small, it's easy to have 2 or 3 or 4 or more and place them around the venue to get (hopefully) a good or great shot but IMO the best shot is the one you see thru the viewfinder regardless of what shot it is. Everything else is a crapshoot.
So to reiterate. Single camera shoots are a great way to learn and produce great stuff IF you know what you're doing and how to do it AND have a backup in the bag and while I am not necessarily a fan of one cam shoots anymore I always SHOOT as if there is no other camera running. Things happen. Batteries die, tapes screw up (I know - go tapeless) shoots get blocked, cameras forget to get turned on. Stuff happens.
The best shot is the one in your viewfinder.
Gotta go, got a 3 camera wedding shoot to do! :-)
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Old August 16th, 2009, 04:24 AM   #32
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The client is understanding now that I explained the wedding was unorganized and the groomsen weren't missed, they just were already at the alter and didn't have a procession in.

I believe that I did not communicate adequately the limitations of a 1 camera, so I will do what the client wants, which is a photo-slideshow with vows video to cover up that and some other mistakes made by the preacher. For free.

Also, I will rent additional camcorder for my next wedding, because I think the client just looked at the price and went with the lower one, without fully understanding.

I disagree with some previous poster about 1 camera being technically great, because there's way too much panning involved in that (unless you just want shots of everybody's backs). I could not shoot all the way in the back, knowing the bride and party all would have back shots! And if you can get front shots there's too much panning= headache.
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Old August 16th, 2009, 09:02 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Plenty of videographers and photographers are too lazy/busy to go to wedding rehearsals
In Belgium they don't do rehearsals, it always happens in real-time :)
I always shoot alone, I also always ask if they want a second cam at the wedding (at an extra cost) but they always say no to save costs, even if I explain the benefits to them. Most videographers here work alone, the wedding industry is definitely not as advanced here as on your side.

Edit: just read Don's comment about his "one camera is suicide" and that's exactly the way I work, I do have a back-up camera in a backpack, ready to shoot but I don't use it unless I need to. Since I bought my xh-a1 end last year I also only film weddings in 25f, working alone and using the 25f format has changed my way of filming considerably. For weddings at the church f.i. I do a one hour continuous shot as if every second is important, if something important occurs on my left side I don't swing my camera to there but very slowly pan. I also use 2 irivers and a zoom h4 so I always get good sound. Some months ago I bought a hvr-dr60 drive so that I have a double back-up of my footage if something goes wrong.
Working alone is not easy but as I see it it makes you a better cameraman.
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Old August 16th, 2009, 09:16 AM   #34
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I'm not sure I agree with the panning comment. There's only too much panning if you don't edit it out. If you are a solo operator you can only handle 1 camera at a time. So if you're on the front camera (if you can place one-a lot of churchs won't let you and if you can they may not let you man it) you can't get anyone at the podium on the altar. If you're on the back camera, yes you get the backs of their heads but if that's how the ceremony is done... As for panning you have to pan to get the readers at the podium and then if the couple go to the Holy Family (Catholic Mass) and that's really about it. Go slow and ahead of the readers, cut the pan, and follow the B&G keeping them centered and it's done.
Multiple cameras can make it easier but as I said, the best shot is the one in your viewfinder. You just never know what could be going on with the unmanned cameras.
Anyway glad you got it worked out with your client.
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Old August 16th, 2009, 09:30 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
I'm not sure I agree with the panning comment.
Weddings here are a quite bit different then on your side, I'm beside the altar all the time so I can get a good view on the couple and the priest, if someone has to read I take my camera of the tripod and move up real close, that's also no problem and when they put on the rings I stand beside the priest (a bit behind him but still quite close) With the panning I meant that during this motion that nothing can be cut out, I prefer to slowly pan then doing a very fast pan, if there is somebody talking before I'm panning I would have to fill the fast pan up with another image as I can't cut the audio, therefore a slow pan is better in such a case.
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Old August 16th, 2009, 10:19 AM   #36
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Weddings here are a quite bit different then on your side, I'm beside the altar all the time so I can get a good view on the couple and the priest, if someone has to read I take my camera of the tripod and move up real close, that's also no problem and when they put on the rings I stand beside the priest (a bit behind him but still quite close) With the panning I meant that during this motion that nothing can be cut out, I prefer to slowly pan then doing a very fast pan, if there is somebody talking before I'm panning I would have to fill the fast pan up with another image as I can't cut the audio, therefore a slow pan is better in such a case.
My wife is from Italy so naturally thats where we were married. I envied the photographer and videographer for being allowed such freedom. The danger of shooting one cam was so much less. They had the ability to move around and get the shots they needed. They weren't overly obtrusive either.
No wedding rehearsal either.... It's silly how we do it here in the states if you ask me. Everyone knows how to walk. The church's here only care about perception so they can get more people to marry there and bring in more money. My opinion of course.
I find in funny that the 600 year old catholic church with a full mass was less strict on having the vendors capture the moments then the churches I work in today.
Wish I was working in your neck of the woods Noa!
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Old August 16th, 2009, 10:46 AM   #37
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yeah, it's been my experience that in most cases here in my area you can not be on the altar. At BEST an unmanned camera but generally even IT has to be off the altar.

From church to church it varies. Catholic churchs are actually less strict on placement an movement than some others. Of coruse it varies from one to another. I've been in some Catholic churches where the priest is open to pretty much anything and others where, if you move at all, a bolt of lightning will strike you dead.

At the churches where I shoot a lot they know me well and most give me a bit more latitude than someone they don't know but again, each church and officiant is different.
I try to stay within the rules and bounds because I KNOW I'll be back there and don't want anymore restiction than I already have.

Other countries ARE different.
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Old August 16th, 2009, 01:04 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Stephen J. Williams View Post
Wish I was working in your neck of the woods Noa!
Considering how much they are willing to pay for video here I don't think so ;)

Usually when the priest is talking they all expect that you don't move but standing on the side between the altar and couple is no problem and that's just 4-5 meter distance. i also get a real good view on all the guests from that location and use my zoom very often (when the camera is on a tripod) to get a close image from them.
Also with the rings if I would stretch my arm I could push away the priest :) It's that close I can get, that's why I can get all the important shots with one camera. Same with the readers, sometimes I'm standing about 1 to 2 meters from them.
The only stressing part in the church is getting all my audio in place before the ceremony starts, when everybody arrives at the church I mic the groom and then walk for the first time in the church and have 2 to 3 minutes to place my zoom h4 and if possible I attach a second iriver at the place were they read or were the priest is standing. After that it's quite easy as I can follow all action from very close.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 10:40 AM   #39
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The church's here only care about perception so they can get more people to marry there and bring in more money. My opinion of course.
I've been on the board of stewards for three different churches in my life and the subject of bringing in more money from weddings was never brought up. Churches don't get money from weddings anyway. Perhaps there's a stipend so the janitor gets paid for the extra work but that's it. Weddings are so convoluted over here because eveyone wants to "out do" the previous wedding. We're in the middle of planning my daughter's wedding and women LOVE to plan - the more details the better...!

Anyway I shot my first wedding with one camera. I made sure I bought another camera before the next one.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 11:04 AM   #40
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I find in funny that the 600 year old catholic church with a full mass was less strict on having the vendors capture the moments then the churches I work in today.
I think the problem is that some churches and clergy have reacted to some incredibly audacious photographers and videographers who they had problems with in the past. As a result, they set down some rules to minimize it in the future. There is a small minority that ruins it for everyone. This minority has no sensibility or sensitivity and would literally stand between the bride and groom if they thought they could get a better shot. An earlier poster in this or another thread mentioned that he stood so close to the couple that he could touch the officiant if he turned his camera. If I was that officiant, I would find that extremely irritating and would do whatever it takes to make sure that didn't happen to me again. You have to remember that it's a real wedding with people participating and watching, not a studio set.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 11:48 AM   #41
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I've been in churches where I shoot perhaps 6 times a year or more and they know me well. I've had officiants and "church ladies" smile when they see me because the last person that was there was a real PITA to them. They have rules for a reason. It is still a wedding and since it's in a church it IS a religious service and IMHO there are cetain things that one doesn't do, like disturb the service, no matter what.
Now having said that, many times these same churches DO give me a bit more latitude becaue they know I won't do anything to disturb the service.
Anyway IMHO there is little reason to be that close to the wedding party or the officiant or to make ones-self a part of the day like that BUT every area of the world has different rules and acceptablities. Generally here in my area it is a 110% absolute NO-NO to be on the altar but occassionaly some do allow it.
This is not to say one can't get good footage and produce a quality product by staying within the bounds of the venue but remember, there next guy/gal has to work there next week and they only remember the "bad guy". Human nature.
Shooting a wedding is like shoot a breaking news event. Things happen fast and sometimes not in the order you might be familiar with. Stay cool, on your toes and be ready for anything.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 01:44 PM   #42
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I think the problem is that some churches and clergy have reacted to some incredibly audacious photographers and videographers who they had problems with in the past. As a result, they set down some rules to minimize it in the future. There is a small minority that ruins it for everyone. This minority has no sensibility or sensitivity and would literally stand between the bride and groom if they thought they could get a better shot. An earlier poster in this or another thread mentioned that he stood so close to the couple that he could touch the officiant if he turned his camera. If I was that officiant, I would find that extremely irritating and would do whatever it takes to make sure that didn't happen to me again. You have to remember that it's a real wedding with people participating and watching, not a studio set.
That's exactly what happened to me. I did a video inside a beautiful marble church, and the vicar said, no moving around, stay out of site and no flash. He then went onto tell me that they had a photographer a few months back, who constantly moved around, flashing away with his camera and walking around the couple during the vows to get close up shots, clicking and flashing. The vicar stopped the ceremony and ordered the photographer outside.
He said; You will not do that will you?
I said no. First, I don't use flash and second I use a tripod, so I normally stay put. He then told me where to position myself and it was a great view of the couple.
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Old August 17th, 2009, 02:13 PM   #43
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yep, all it takes is one and the rest of us get thrown into the same barrel. It's a real shame.
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Old August 18th, 2009, 05:59 AM   #44
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Since this thread is already off-track, and i'm a newbie. What do you do about sound? I mean when you say "cut away all the panning" if you're on 1 camera you have to screw with the footage without ruining the natural sound.

I think any event videographer should strive for natural sound, overlaying a track is cheesy.
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Old August 18th, 2009, 08:56 AM   #45
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I always talk to B&G before wedding day about the church layout and possible camera placements. I also point out to ask the priest about any possible limitations for me. Unfortunately I wish I could do it myself at the rehearsal but my time schedule doesn't allow me for it (I have regular full-time job aside from my business). But having Bride talk to the priest about video work serves also other purpose - let her argue with the priest if she has some unrealistic ideas about video coverage of the ceremony. I had a Bride like that and the priest sat them on the altar and closed the access for any photo and video. That was the end for us.
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