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

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Old August 4th, 2004, 09:50 PM   #1
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Shooting with one camera

I have a wedding to shoot in September and I will be the only videographer with just a Canon GL2. That's all.

Is there any tips on how to make a good wedding video with only one camera? Thanks for sharing.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 10:22 PM   #2
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For many many years I shot 1 camera weddings. Sometimes we become too dependent on multiples. NO FLAMES PLEASE!:-)

When shooting 1 camera it's very important IMO to go to the rehearsal to "pick your spots". In this area most churches don't allow you or a camera on the altar which in a 1 cam shoot is probably not a good place to be anyway so the way to go at least in my opinion is; get the processional from in front of the altar, I prefer the brides side, and as the bride is handed off to the groom I start a slow turn to follow and start making my way to the rear of the church. Generally people are still standing and frankly they're looking at the B/G not you. Get to a position behind the congregation (per the church rules) center aisle and shoot away. Most couples will face each other for the vows so you get the shot there and you're in position for the recessional. I can also cover the giving of the flowers to the familys and going to the Virgin Mary (in a Catholic service). Each religion,vnue and officiant has/have their own rules and you need to talk to the officiant BEFORE the ceremony to find out what you can and can't do, but here's a thought. I have been shooting my ceremonies for 10 years with 2 cameras BUT, I work as if my 2nd camera ISN'T working, as though it doesn't exsist. That way I make sure I get the good solid shots with my primary camera and my 2nd camera is basically used as a wide dramatic shot maybe.
One of the weddings I'm doing this weekend is going to be 1 camera as the layout of the venue just doesn't me the option of setting up a 2nd camera. No Room. You can make it work and get great footage, just make sure your moves are as smooth as silk.
Good Luck,
Don B
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Old August 5th, 2004, 10:21 AM   #3
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What I do, when I need to change the angle, I do that FAST (half second, maybe less :) ) and remove the that part in post by slomo a few seconds of video before or after that part. The audio remains intact. I slow down the video where it is not obvious (I'm not doing slomo where someone is talking and you could see it out of sync). Other times, when I need to change position I do a more visible slomo - many people (like mu wife) likes the slomo effect very much! If this is not posible (out of sync that looks bad) I use a pic or some video of the church that I previously shoot.
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Old August 5th, 2004, 10:39 AM   #4
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Ahhh, cutaways. The savior of videographers! ;-)

I also use them where appropriate-great butt savers!

Don B
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Old August 6th, 2004, 05:51 AM   #5
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As an alternative to two camera works: last wedding I had the couple asking me if I could use some images from a video8 tape one of the guests had. I didn't like the idea at first. But then I accepted (asked to pe payed for capturing/editing the extra tape, of course) but let them know they'll see the diference in image quality. It was all shaky alright, and not that clear as my footage, but the couple called me as they were watching the DVD to tell me how impressed they were with the final product. The video8 material was more "intimate", so the "technical" quality was overlooked by the couple.
Cosmin Rotaru
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Old August 9th, 2004, 11:32 AM   #6
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Be creative, the most boring thing is to watch 15 min of ceremony from the same angle, and zooming in and out does'nt solve it. It will make it even worse. Wait for the priest, or whoever is speaking, to end the sentence. Move to another spot and shoot some more. When editing, do the cuts when there are pauses in the audio. During the singing parts go to diferent spots and mix them in post.
Get extra footage of details of the inside of the buiding, so you can use them in post.

The trick is to get the main events of the ceremony without turning it into an hour and a half of torture.

My experience tells me that there is one moment when you stay where you are and don't move until they are done --> the vows and rings exchange. With the rest you can cut here and there in order to get diferent angles.

Better to have footage from many angles, than having a very boring 15 min shoot from a tripod.

Look to your REC indicator on your viewfinder, and look again, and again. With one camera you have no safety net, and believe me, in time you will miss a shot.

Take a second camera with charged battery and tape inside, ready to shoot, it can be even an old HI8 camera, it's better than nothing. Remember, your GL2 it's a very nice camera but it can fail like all the rest.

Take with you (not in a bag to leave at the church door) at all times, an extra tape, extra camera battery, a cleaning tape, a spare bulb for your camera light and a lens cleaning tissue.

Sorry if some of my comments are obvious to you, but I don't know your degree of expertise.

Have fun,
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Old August 9th, 2004, 11:40 AM   #7
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Take advantage of dead time when nothing is happening and whip pan to the audience to get their shots for those cutaways.

Also during some long ceremony, I would do very slow pans and zooms (via Varizoom controllers) to get the audience.

Another tip: As I usually station myself to the left of the offciant, facing the Bride (it is her day after all), I would try to frame the Bride's parents (especially the mother) to get their reactions. So you have foreground and background action in one shot. Be prepare to get thse money shots the moment the Bride starts to tear or waver in her voice and do a very very slow zoom in. You can reue these money shots when editing your highlights.

I just did a wedding back in June where the Bride was very emotional. I caught both the Bride and mother crying in one frame during the exchange of the vows.

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Old September 13th, 2004, 01:17 PM   #8
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Seriously, as mentioned earlier, get alot of cutaways. Here's how I do it. I choose one fabulous location in the church that gives me the best possible angle of the ceremony and set up the cam on a good fluid head tripod. My rule of thumb is this:

I am there for the bride.

Therefore, this is a bride's point of view wedding. The guys don't care as much because, well, they're guys and they don't think about the "specialness" of wedding videos.

ANYWAY... since this is from the bride's point of view, get the best bride angle at the church. When you have the type of ceremony that has a full 40 or so minute mass, this is a blessing in disguise because while the priest gives his generic sermon, you can be getting fabulous choker close ups of family members and guests with that dreamy look in their eyes as they stare at the brides and groom. The best part is that you use these cutaways as "connectors" between the usable parts of the wedding, like the "I Dos" and the other little nifty altar stuff.

Get the receiving line at the end of the mass and DEFINATELY get the still session with the still photographer. You can get some great montage stuff for the movie. Alot of good "cutting up" with the wedding party happens here.

I used to interview guests for "well wishing" at the table but I've found that people don't want to be bothered. Instead, I secretly pull the wedding party into the garden courtyard for well wishes and run them with split screen against the bride/father and groom/mother dance.
Interesting, if true. And interesting anyway.
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