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


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Old March 24th, 2005, 09:39 AM   #16
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<<<I bought two wireless lav kits, but I'm not satisfied with the fullness of the sound. Today, I hooked the transmitter up to my ME66 boom mic and put it on a stand, set up as if it was hovering over the officiant/bride/groom, and got a pretty good sound out of it. Would there be any reason not to use such a setup for the ceremony?>>>

In my opinion, most lav microphones are built to reproduce the frequency of the human voice fairly accurately at the expense of a poor reproduction of the adjacent higher and lower frequencies. I have one mic made by Shure that produces a marvelous sound over a very wide frequency range. It was part of an $800 plus VHF system I bought about ten years ago. Most of my lav mics are directional and cost less than $50. They capture the audio I need provided the are placed less than 12 inches from the sound source. Indeed, any mic needs to be placed in close proximity to the sound source if it is going to perform as designed.

The main objection to any kind of overhead mic is aesthetic. A collection of mechanical and electronic hardware is visually at odds with the idea of a "picture perfect" wedding...and the photographer will howl! If a flower festooned arch is being used I will try to hide a mic within the structure. Unfortunately, most of the arches being used in my area are not quite big enough to accomodate the bride,broom, and officiate. They usually end up standing in front of the arch, making my concealed mic useless.
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Old March 25th, 2005, 06:53 PM   #17
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Much appreciated Mr. Winkler, for everything.

Check it out:

Yesterday, I did the Couple's Love Story for my upcoming first wedding (April 9th), and it went really well, considering the circumstances.

To begin with, it was re-scheduled three times, from saturday to tuesday to wednesday to thursday at 12 noon. Bride calls and has me change it to 1pm. 12:45, walking out the door, bride has friend call and change to 1:30pm. I get there at 1:30 and there are friends at her house, one of which is doing her hair and the other getting ready to take a photo for the local paper. This is also her birthday and she is having dinner at 7pm...we have a schedule to deal with.

I get set up in the living room to do the love story interview and I'm waiting on her friend to do her hair. Her fiance is on the interview couch telling me I'm going to have to make this quick. Well, we have this to do, and then four more locations to go to, and several staged scenes...it's going to take a little while, but I dont tell him this, as I really have to make this happen for my demo DVD that I'll be using in the local arts and crafts festival on April 23rd, and I am close with her family who is being quite generous in hiring a first timer.

So, when she's ready and comes in, I am standing by one of my lights, ready to fire it up and I ask her friends to leave while we do this. They say they will go, but keep fiddling with stuff while one of thems 3 year old is getting a bit too close to the camera. I ask them to get him, and to please allow us some privacy and quite. They get miffed but go outside. We get the interview (went really well, very pleased) and then we're ready to head to the next location.

I dont know, you guys dont care about the whole story, but there were further dealings with their friends (who I am friends with also) that just got me hot and I demanded that they respect the fact that I had an appointment here of a professional nature and they would just have to get the paper photo later. It really got me, I had to get things going...not only would it be pulling teeth to set up another session, but I had no desire to do more later....today or never, and I really needed the money and the demo footage.

We got it all done at 6:45pm (remember, birthday dinner is at 7) and though it had to be a bit rushed with more perfection sacrifice than I would like, it came out more than passable. As I work with it in Vegas and wish for somewhat better footage, I am still giving them an above average (for around my area, you guys will smoke me anyday!) video with some very creative material.

Now, back to sweating the ceremony!

Daniel
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Old March 26th, 2005, 07:23 PM   #18
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I think Murphy has a particular pet peeve to insure things shouldn't go as planned. You did what was needed to be done...take control to insure you can meet your obligations to your client without running into the overtime issue.

Insofar as any wedding videographers being able to"smoke you anyday" solely on the basis of our experience....No way! Your enthusiasm and attention to detail already shows strength of committment. You are in the process of creating a style that is uniquely yours. There is no smoke here. Only growth. An ongoing process for all.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 04:09 AM   #19
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I think this is the most appropriate thread i've found to post my question..here it goes...

using a GL2 in wedding:

1. What's the best position of camera? panning zooming styles?
2. Do I need a second camera or lighting? if lighting, what item should i get (not expensive lights) and where will i put them...hire a man to hold it or make a stand for the light? How high should i place the light.

really need your advise guys, for i am having my first wedding shoot on september with a single camera, and probably an assistant. thanks
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Old July 12th, 2005, 09:11 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonardo Silva Jr.
I think this is the most appropriate thread i've found to post my question..here it goes...

using a GL2 in wedding:

1. What's the best position of camera? panning zooming styles?
2. Do I need a second camera or lighting? if lighting, what item should i get (not expensive lights) and where will i put them...hire a man to hold it or make a stand for the light? How high should i place the light.

really need your advise guys, for i am having my first wedding shoot on september with a single camera, and probably an assistant. thanks
Hi Leonardo,

For the best results you need at least two cameras. If at all possible, rent a second GL2 for your upcoming wedding.

As far as the best position, if the church will allow it, place the camera you will operate at the front of the church, opposite side of the Bride. This will give you the best angle of the bride. If the second camera is unmanned, place it in the balcony. If there is not a balcony, place at the back of the church and as high as the tripod will go. An unmanned wide shot is not the most creative shot, but it will give you a shot to go to when you are re-adjusting your shot.

If your assistant will run the camera this is what to do. Tell your assistant not to move the camera while you are moving your camera. It is important to be able to see each other. If you can't see each other the alternative is to have wireless communication between the two of you.

I would not suggest adding lighting to the church. As far as the reception goes, an on camera light can be very helpful in a dark reception sight. At the cheaper end of things, Sony makes a little 10/20 light for around $100 and a battery to run it for $75-100. It will not throw light very far, which means you will need to be within 10 feet of the subject. A better light would come from NRG or Frezzi, but then they require more expensive batteries, but the results are much better.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 12:31 PM   #21
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As mentioned, a second camera is a great benefit. A single camera forces limitations upon you. How you handle audio could force additional limitations. Here is how I handled single camera ceremony shoots for a long time:

My limitations were:
1) Four wireless mic systems connected to audio mixer, then to camera.
This forced a tripod mounted camera at a single location throughout the entire ceremony.

I chose a position close to the aisle no more than 30' or 40' feet from the altar area. From this position I could have a front angle of at least part of everyone's entrance. By prior arrangement the bride and groom faced one another during the ceremony, allowing me a reasonable view of facial espressions.

2) Because the camera could not be paused during the ceremony any changes in focus during the ceremony (songs, unity candle, family/friend commentary, special rituals, etc) must be handled with a pan. For the camera movement make visual sense I had to know the sequence of imortant events within the ceremony and listen very carefully to the dialogue. There are moments in every ceremony where the dialogue clearly foreshadows the next event. Panning at that moment makes sense. I learned to plan my pans beforehand so I always knew where the pan would stop. To add visual interest I always used a "S" shaped pan movement, sometime combined with a slight zoom out/in.

Really big pans, like the 180 degree ones necessary during processional and recessionals were trimmed with a careful dissolve in post.

Unless the wedding site is really dark you should not need any additional lighting. Indeed, most houses of worship won't allow it. I've only used lighting twice in the last six years, and both were an absolute necessity. In both cases I used quartz video lights. The lights were carefully focused, diffused, and on dimmers to blend in with the existing architectural lighting.

Reception lighting is alltogether quite diffrent. Most of the time I try to avoid using the on camera light at all. When necessary, I use a 35 watt Cool Lux with a flip up diffusion filter. This allows me to fill in close up shots and also have some punch for subjects over 15 away. It is not totally satisfactory, however, as I have to be very careful with subjects in the 5' - 12' range. Very easy to overexpose.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 02:21 PM   #22
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When I shoot a 1 camera wedding, most of my pans are very fast, and never show in the final video. I agree with everyone else listen to what is being said, and you will get a feel of when to pan. In post I slow down the video to fill in the time where I took out the panning. This almost gives the feel of a 2 camera shoot. Also one tip I use when panning fast, I don't zoom out, and I don't look through the viewfinder. If you look at the lcd your pan will take forever. I move the camera to where I think the b&g (or whom ever I'm panning to) will be in the picture, next I quickly fine tune the tripod by looking at the lcd screen.

Also if I were to pan on the b&g and they were laughing (any any other emotion) don't slow this part down, instead just shoot a little more after they laugh, when they are sitting still, this will look much better slowed down.

If you pick up a NRG or frezzi light you can always use a small car battery from auto zone. They make a cigarette adapter that hooks into the battery, and this will power your light forever for about $25. But your not going to be very mobile.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 06:51 PM   #23
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Oh i see, thanks that's really helpful guys, then i should not bother for buying a halogen light right? since it is very bright. any particular model of NRG and frezzi your are using guys? maybe i will focus on getting a second camera.

will it be fine if a use a 1 CCD camera together with GL2?

OT: i was actually confused with the "S" movement of panning...how does it work? tilt up/down or soom in/out??? thanks again guys.
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Old July 12th, 2005, 07:53 PM   #24
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Regarding additional lighting: You need to insure you have the best natural looking exposure you can get for the subject, which is usually the foreground of the image. Most of the time you will be working in an environment which does not have controlled lighting conditions, so you do the best you can with exposure. If you have the opportunity to view clips members have posted for critique you will see that getting good subject exposure happens a lot. Additional lighting is for those situations which are beyond the natural limits of the camera. My advice would be to wait on the extra lighting issue until you have had a chance to thoroughly work with available light exposure issues. This will give you the experienced judgement factor you will need to choose the most useful additional lighting tool for your normal shooting situations.

There is nothing wrong with using a single chip camera. My workhorse of the '90's was the Panasonic AG-455 S-video camera, and it was very good. However, you must accept that the limitations of single chip vs three chip will be quite apparent. Choose camera angles carefully. Don't use wide angles. Stick to close-ups. The single chip cameras deal with narrow tone variations better than they do with wide tone variations.

The "S" pan movement. That was my post. Here is an example: The minister is in preach mode, saying some sort of mumbo jumbo, B&G are dutifully posed but hearing nothing. I start hearing all of the guests in the pews start shifting their seated positons. They're bored, and so am I. A good time to do a pan of the bridesmaids. I wait for an appropriate pause in the "blah-blah-blah". In one smooth movement I make a short pan right while zooming out just enough to pick up some of the guests in the first couple of rows then pan left to bring the maid of honor well into the frame. Continuing the pan left, I start a zoom in. The intention is to stop both the pan left and the zoom in in a close-up of the last bridesmaid in the row. Aways know where you will stop a pan or zoom. I use the minister's speech patterns as the cadence. A dynamic speaker demands I finish the entire movement within the pregnant pause. A more monotone minister gets a slower movement. That is why it is so important to listen to the dialogue of the ceremony, even if you don't understand the symbology. The entire movement must make visual sense. A common saying for stage actors is, "if you are going to blow a line, make it big. Then it looks like it was planned". If you were to have a birds-eye view of the pan it would loosely resemble an "S" shape.
Visually, because I have only one camera to use, I am taking a camera movement and briefly making it a focus of the viewer's attention. That should be forbidden. But I don't really have a choice. I've got to change camera angles, but I can't stop the camera, as it would compromise the audio. So I use the camera's movement to take the role of commentator to say, "let's look at something different".
Will the whole process be acceptable when I view it in post? Good question. I hope so, because I just made a decision to do something in a situation that won't be repeated.

So, that is one way to address this situation. I am sure there there are others. I've yet to have a client complain, but make no mistake, if I could have shot the event with two cameras, I'd have done it in a heartbeat. Still, it was quite fun to deal with the challenge.

I hope that this commentary has helped.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 07:12 PM   #25
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Mr. Winkler,

This really helps a lot, thanks again. just got confused...abotu what you said... "In one smooth movement I make a short pan right while zooming out just enough to pick up some of the guests in the first couple of rows then pan left to bring the maid of honor well into the frame. Continuing the pan left, I start a zoom in. The intention is to stop both the pan left and the zoom in in a close-up of the last bridesmaid in the row."

1. shortpan to right while zooming out?
2. pan left
3.pan left zooming in

was that right? i really got confused, what in my mind was:
1. short pan to right while zooming out
2. slightyly pan right
3. pan right while zooming in
4. slightyly pan right
5.pan right while zooming out. is that acceptable?
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Old July 13th, 2005, 08:03 PM   #26
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[1. shortpan to right while zooming out?]
2. pan left
3.pan left zooming in.

was that right? i really got confused, what in my mind was:
1. short pan to right while zooming out]

Yes. It takes practice, and a feather touch on the zoom control.

[2. slightly pan right]
No. If you are going to change camera angle and keep the viewer involved in the process you must first get to a wide enough angle to establish a frame of reference. Then you can lead wherever. The initial zoom out is to include the first couple rows of the pews to establish this reference frame. You actually change direction of the pan from right to left while the zoom-out is in process.
Then, with no more than a frame's worth of pause (if that), immediately start a zoom-in on the last bridesmaid in the row, stopping at a close-up. The entire process is one smooth motion at the same rate. The zoom-out/in rates are the same speed as the pan. It is all very fluid.

When I shoot with a single camera I use this technique of changing camera angles often. If, in the post process, I discover I can actually slow things down enough to allow a cut, I'll do it. If I can't make a cut look right, then I have this pan/zoom to fall back to without compromising the audio track.

Here is a description which might clarify. It came from a wedding I did last year:
The officiate is the bride's older sister. The ceremony script was written by the bride and her fiance', and conforms to no established ritual. It is a very laid-back affair...even reminds me of some 60's things of my youth.
Here, the officiate introduces one of the brides maids who is going to make a personal comment. The officiate makes the announcement, then turns to regognize the bridesmaid. That is my cue to make the zoom-out/pan. I follow the description I made above exactly. It takes me one second.

In post I discover it visually tends to work quite well with the mood of the ceremony as a whole. So, rather than make a cut transition, I keep it.

Basically, I have made the camera movement take a guiding role and made that movement look completely acceptable.

It took me years of practice to get the "feel of how things should happen".

Many feel it is poor camera work to include the camera's movement into the finished video. I have discovered that it can be made to fit in, but the dicision is best saved for the editing process. I have learned to plan my shoots to incorporate it as a way to solve a problem that might look clunky any other way.

I hope that helps.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 08:43 PM   #27
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Thanks Mr. Winkler,

Got to clarify some things. i want to establish where is your current position when shooting? i cannot visualize the "S" in the style you have mentioned, please enlighten me on your work. if it's possible can i have a sample of your work, just for the "S" panning part? thank would really appreciate that. here is my email leonardo.silva@ph.yokogawa.com and leonardosky77@yahoo.com or dings_2@hotmail.com
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Old July 15th, 2005, 01:27 AM   #28
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anyone can clarify how an "S" panning zomming is achieved? thanks in advance
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Old July 16th, 2005, 04:05 AM   #29
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Greets, Leonardo!

It's actually quite simple, and the basic concept leaves you a lot of room for innovation and improvisation.

Say youve got your camera on a specific point in the room framing the bride and groom and some of the maids and groomsmen, or whatever, and things have reached a point where you feel it's time to move a bit... You simply begin zooming out slowly while simultaneously panning the camera in the motion of the letter S, sweeping across the room in harmonious synch with the speed of the zooming.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 07:00 PM   #30
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Thanks Daniel, yeah i think it's easy if i can just visualize the "S"...here is what's on my mind to form the "S":
1. zooming out while panning left
2. continuously zooming out panning right
3. still zooming out and panning right

is it the way it goes...sorry a real newbie question...:)
anyway, i can fully visualize if anyone can send a video part where the "S" is resembled, my email is leonardosky77@yahoo.com or leonardodivideo@gmail.com or leonardo.silva@ph.yokogawa.com

Please i really need your help. hope get some of your sample "S" panning video
thanks in advance
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