Just got back from first wedding....long & funny. at DVinfo.net

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

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Old January 30th, 2005, 02:16 AM   #1
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Location: Visalia, CA
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Just got back from first wedding....long & funny.

Here's the horror stories...

When we arrived, I sent me step father to the balcony to man the secondary camera. I set up in the choir seating area to catch things as the primary cam.

The steps to the choir seating area is made from plywood blocks...the largest one on the bottom, a medium sized for the middle step and a small one for the top step...none bolted together. About 5 minutes before the wedding, I'm finishing and triple checking my wiring. As I'm headed up the makeshift stairs the church has set up, the top plywood block slips out from under my foot and I end up hitting my back on a plastic tree I had asked the pastor to move not 12 hours prior....to the exact spot where I landed! By instinct, my arm flew out to grab something...in this instance, it was the acrylic shield in front of the drum set. It didn't budge, but bounced enough to hit the drum set and announce my demise. Needless to say, it knocked my breath out and left a 6 inch abrasion on my back.

Once things got finished and I caught my breath, I sit in the last row of the choir seating and wait for the ceremony to begin. Earlier that morning, I had run out of antipersperant and had borrowed my wife's deoderant. As I'm sitting there with the embarrasment of falling three feet to the floor, my first wedding, stress, etc....I'm sweating like a hog from my forehead and pits.....like a politician at an inquiry. note to self...always wear a good ANTI-PERSPERANT.

Wedding starts and as things progress, the bride and groom aren't where they're supposed to be and the lighting is WAY off...sigh...on the bright side, the bride's maid directly behind her is absolutely radiant in the lighting and appears angelic in comparison to the BAD lighting the 18 year old bride is receiving...casting shadows on her and generally making her look like she just turned 40.

Wrapped up filming the wedding...the reception I quickly discovered is ANOTHER 20 minutes down the road which is a bit of a pain considering I had already driven an hour to get to the church in the first place...by now it's nearly 6pm. Groom's dad gives directions and says..."you can't miss it. There's a big sign in front" Guess what.....yep.....we missed it. Sure it was a big sign, but was lit by something to the effect of a 60w light bulb. Luckily, we made it in front of the wedding party by 10 minutes.

Things were going pretty good, looked down and noticed that I have 5 minutes left on the tape...no problem, I'll change it right after this song. Someone should have told me that it was going to be the LONGEST Santana song they ever wrote so I have to proceed with a tape change during the song...no biggie...I've got another camera set up for just such an occasion. The night wraps up without incident (thankfully) and we pack up and leave after the major events.

Get home and start transferring the tapes....EVERYTHING my step dad shot appears to be totally worthless. I should have explained more when I said, "be careful with your use of zooming". The entire tape from the balcony looks like he's looking for a target to strafe.....zoom in, zoom out, pan, pan, repeat. Not only that, but the shots he did manage to sit still with were under severe digital zoom...totally worthless.

You know what the real kicker was....

I did this job for free to get a demo dvd...
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Old January 30th, 2005, 02:55 AM   #2
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Old January 30th, 2005, 07:14 AM   #3
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It's your first of many adventures Jeremy!

But don't worry they won't all be this way. However, I promise that there will always be something that you wish had gone better, even if all it is is a shot the cake.

take care of that back.

Cana Video Productions, LLC
Manchester, NH
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Old January 30th, 2005, 09:55 AM   #4
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Welcome to the wonderful world of wedding videos! I especially liked your comments about zooming and panning: one of my hardest lessons has been to resist the urge to constantly adjust the camera. Good luck with future projects...
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Old January 30th, 2005, 10:03 AM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Richmond, VA
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Money story....I laugh cus ive been there...
especially the free part, for your cousins sisters boyfriends bestfriends moms second marriage, "sure I'll knock it out for free, cus these videos are easy to produce and just whip right up." (that's sarcasm)
Good luck in the future.

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Old January 30th, 2005, 12:55 PM   #6
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Location: Visalia, CA
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I've got the wedding elementary video rendering in Vegas now. I stayed home from church today because I back is KILLING me....lol.

Someone should warn the newbies that this is a contact sport.

On the bright side, you should also advise them that this is a great way to become a permanent, lasting part of their intimate lives and despite the problems it's a memory they'll have forever. Regardless of the problems I had, I really enjoyed my time and can't wait to book my second wedding and start in earnest. 8-)
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Old January 30th, 2005, 01:25 PM   #7
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Location: Baxley, Georgia
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Well that makes me feel a little better about my last wedding...... At least I didn't fall. I had a rookie camera in the balcony..... sounds like they got painfully similar footage. I like your description of it, very funny. LOL :-) We ought to make a movie..... hehehe

Hope you get to feeling better. Take care of your back.
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Old January 30th, 2005, 08:44 PM   #8
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Man that it exactly what can happen!

The second camera bit is so very true!

Nice post, this made my day!

Ben Lynn
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Old January 30th, 2005, 11:20 PM   #9
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One fear some must have is a couple pays for a two camera wedding and you find out that one camera is pretty much unusable.

We've had some challenging two camera shoots.

The one wedding began when the groom booked me for the wedding with the date wrong by a month. Seems the brides dad wanted another date. Well, we finally got that straightend out.

The rabbi showed up 4 hours late! It took nearly 20 minute to find a room to shoot the ketubah signing after that.

There must of been 50 people under an enclosed huppa as the ceremony began. The groom positioned me in what I thought was a less then ideal spot and it was too packed to move in this tightly enclosed area.

My wife was on the other camera just in front and off to one side of the huppa to get the shots down the aisle (impossible for me to get given where I was). It was packed there too. She ended up lifting the entire camera and tripod up three feet over her head. She could barely see the LCD. The shots were on a dutch angle but it looked great and she held it steady for several minutes.

The groom was sweating and unhappy. He was mumbling complaints on the wireless lav. Bride would mumble back "It'll be over soon, smile." What an edit job that was!

There must have been like 300-400 guests in a huge room with dancefloor enough to hold everyone. Everyone was seated for the entrances to the reception. My wife had one position at the other end of the dance floor and I had a spot across from the entrance way. One guest gets up (the ONLY ONE to do that) and walks right in front of the camera. He was either the stupidest person in the world or deliberately wanted to ruin my shot. My gosh he had any of thousands of square feet to stand with unobstructed view. I asked him to move and he didn't respond. (Deliberately my gut says). I simply walked out in front the camera and shoved him out of the way.

During the hora both the bride and groom were lifted . . . but the men and women were divided on opposite ends of this HUGE dance floor. We had two cameras so there wasn't a big problem but bride and groom were no where near each other. Ended up doing a split screen on that.

Finaly at about 4am (the groom kept slipping me money for the over time) a clarinet started to play. I started to shoot it. Minutes later the bride's father started to talk intermittently into the MC's mic in Russian. I had no idea that he was giving a fairly fragmented speech (although most of the guests had left). Finally groom comes over and tapes me on the shoulder so I turned to shoot the father . . . he spoke for 7 minutes to an empty room in Russian. Fortunately I did get all the audio even as I shot the clarinet so the end result still looked nice.

We drove home in one of the worst torrential downpoors I'd ever seen. Roads had been flooded out. Finaly got home about 6:30am. We had a noon gig that day to shoot a band.
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