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Old September 17th, 2009, 09:25 AM   #1
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Questions on proper etiquette for filming a live seminar.

Hi,

Because I couldn't be there the entire time, I hired a company to film a live seminar for a client of mine.

The shoot was in a church.

I attended the first 4 seminars to 'oversee' the group I hired to film.

The camera operators filming the presenter did a fine job.

The camera operator filming the audience did some things I deem questionable, but since I don't normally film live events, I thought I'd post here to get some more seasoned opinions.

First off, the camera operator filming the audience would get as close as 3 feet from an audience member and film them.
Second, on occasion, he would 'ask' an audience member to 'pose' or do some action while he filmed them, this was during the seminar.

Is this proper etiquette for filming a live seminar?

Thanks for your input.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 09:30 AM   #2
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I come from a news background so take my comments with a grain of salt:

If you are trying to portray this as a "reality" then no, the staged shots are inappropriate and there is very little reason to get as close as three feet from a participant IF they are there as a participant/observer and NOT as a video "subject". Besides, cameras have zoom lenses for exactly this purpose.

If however this is a promo video and the folks in the audience knew that they were there as visuals for such, then it's perfectly acceptable.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 09:32 AM   #3
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I think they might have been getting some cutaways for the editing process. (equivalent to "noddys")

I would have personally just used a second camera to get these audience shots. Preferably with a zoom lens.

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Old September 17th, 2009, 09:48 AM   #4
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Old September 17th, 2009, 11:23 AM   #5
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These are live seminars that people are attending, not promo seminars. People are there to listen to the speaker.

This was a three camera shoot. Two cameras on the talent (tight/wide), one camera to obtain audience shots.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #6
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IMHO, they should be using a more telephoto lens position and staying much further away from the attendees. As well, do you have consent to use the images of the people singled out? Unless there were signs posted stating something along the lines of "we are taping, you will be taped and we may use your image, if you don't like it, don't enter...", you MAY not be entitled to use the visuals of the participants ESPECIALLY if it was a seminar on something like "Coming to Terms with your Abusive Alcoholic Side"...
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Old September 17th, 2009, 11:35 AM   #7
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In all of the seminars I've done over the years, I've never asked someone to do something for the shot UNLESS it was a trade show type event at a product booth and I needed them to show me the product but for a listening seminar, never.
AS for getting in close generally not BUT I have at times gotten to within a few feet usually because I've run out of room to stand but I can honestly only think of 1 or 2 times over the years where thats happened.
Was it wrong from a cameramans perspective to get a shot? Maybe not.
Wrong from a standpoint of Etiquitte, yeah IMO it was.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 12:01 PM   #8
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Was it wrong from a cameramans perspective to get a shot? Maybe not.
Wrong from a standpoint of Etiquitte, yeah IMO it was.
And therein lies the rub - OFTEN it's easier to beg forgiveness afterward than ask permission before. PLUS, if I shoot viz of you BEFORE you realize I'm filming YOU, you are much more likely to "act" naturally. Of course, this assumes that passive permission has already been given (ie. signage stating I'm recording)
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Old September 17th, 2009, 12:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
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AS for getting in close generally not BUT I have at times gotten to within a few feet usually because I've run out of room to stand but I can honestly only think of 1 or 2 times over the years where thats happened.
Was it wrong from a cameramans perspective to get a shot? Maybe not.
Wrong from a standpoint of Etiquitte, yeah IMO it was.
I've used "over the shoulder shots" from quite close behind the back row of the audience but that's not quite the same thing, especially if tracking. I don't think anyone felt that was intrusive.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 01:30 PM   #10
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the question is : have you found the shots done that way ok ? have you used it in editing ?
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Old September 17th, 2009, 01:52 PM   #11
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I'm talking about a front row or the first row at a cross aisle (depending on the size of the room and the number of chairs). I've ha to get within a few feet but I try to stay at a bit of an angle and zoom in. I don't want to block anyones view but normally for audience reaction stuff, I'm in a front corner and just zoom in, get some close faces and zoom back out to get a wider shot of a bigger group of people.

Bottom line, you've got to get the shots the paying client wants.

Personally I prefer to be the back center cam with a DXC50 and a big ol' Canon lens just spot on the person speaking. Simple and never in anyones way. Of course you do have the rabbits, speakers that cross the stage from side to side. The best are the ones that start to cross then stop on a dime make like they're going back in the direction they started then BAM! They turn around and going in the other direction. Can you say "wide shot"! :-)

I guess thats where the work in sports comes in handy.
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Old September 17th, 2009, 02:12 PM   #12
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I guess thats where the work in sports comes in handy.
And a good fluid or cam head...
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Old September 17th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #13
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I think it was poor etiquette. Placing a camera 3 feet away from someone is just going to make them uncomfortable, and asking them to pose is not ideal either. However, depending on how the planning for the shoot was handled, it might not be entirely the cameraman's fault. I find you have to be very clear with filming instructions, especially for a live event.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 11:49 AM   #14
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However, depending on how the planning for the shoot was handled, it might not be entirely the cameraman's fault. I find you have to be very clear with filming instructions, especially for a live event.
Good point. If shooting instructions are too brief, they can be wrongly understood. For example, "Make sure you get lots of 'tight' reaction shots." An eager to please shooter can interpret that to mean, stick a camera in someone's face rather than a more discreet zoom shot. A good shooter is eager to please but it's important to clearly define what 'pleases' and what doesn't. There is no clearly defined 'right' or 'wrong' way to shoot in a number of situations. For example, I observed a good shooter at a wedding reception 'cheer leading' the attendees at the reception dinner in order to liven things up. In a sense, he was an ad hoc director of a production. This resulted in some good audience 'action' at an otherwise low key and 'dry' dinner. It's correct to say that this increased the production value. It's also correct to say that this was intrusive. The 'rightness' or 'wrongness' in a situation like this is best determined by what do the B&G want.

Last edited by Jim Snow; September 19th, 2009 at 01:07 PM.
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