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

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Old April 7th, 2005, 07:47 PM   #1
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Need advice asap on one camera shoot

Ok guys,
I just booked a job and the client wants me to shoot a church service.
I have one camera only.

I also have practically no experience so it's trial by fire. But of course he doesn't know that!

Suggestions? What do I need to know to get the right shots, get good-looking, reliable footage to edit?

How should I run the sound and what about the lighting in that kind of situation?

What is the best way to handle the camera? It will be a whole sermon. Do i lock it down and leave it or walk around? Actually I guess without a second camera, I really couldn't move at all. Where is the best place to position the camera without being in the way?

This will be a special memorial thing for this preacher, so i was thinking of getting people's wishes and comments for part of the video.

Also, it's an hour and a half drive one way. How do I handle asking for travel time? I gave him an hourly bid before I realized how far it was. I'm afraid if I ask for travel time, he'll book someone local instead.

I have a pd-170, and two wireless mics without a line input.
It's also crucial that I get it right, because it can't be redone.

I meet with the client (locally) tomorrow to discuss it. What should I ask or be aware of? What should I say?

i just realized, i don't even have a contract.

Looking forward to your advice!
Hey I guess this job will make it official, I'm doing a real job, as opposed to barter or friends. I got paid for one before and am still working on the editing, but this is different.

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Old April 8th, 2005, 07:53 AM   #2
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Well, lets see, I think the 1ST thing you need to do is BREATH!
Relax, it's not as hard as you think. :-)

First, forget lighting. You'll never light a church unless you have a lighting budget thats as big as the church AND they would let you do it which they probably won't, so use the available light. It's like shooting a wedding.

Second, BREATH! and then find out who's speaking and where they will be when they do. In other words, if the speaker is going to be at the lectern, take your wireless lav and clip it to the lecturn mic, run it to channel 2 on your camera, set the shotgun on the 170 to channel one and you're set to go. The shotgun will pickup the ambient sound AND the audio from the PA system in the church and the wireless on the lecturn will give you pure audio so in post you can adjust the 2 and have a very sweet sound. I do that all the time for wedding and corporate type stuff and it works out fine. Now if the speaker is going to be somewhere other than the lectern since you said you have 2 wireless systems perhaps you could wire the person speaking AND the podium just in case someone speaks from there.
I would imagine that the person/people speaking will be at the lecturn though.

You really won't need line level for this since you won't be plugged into the sound board BUT you do need a set of headphones so you can monitor the audio-also watch the level bars. The 150/170 can very easily clip audio. I run 2 wireless to one of my 150s all the time using a "Y" cable and in 99% of the cases, I end up putting the channel 2 (wireless) to MIC ATT). BTW, I run my audio manually-not AGC but thats up to you and how confident you feel with the camera and audio.

As for shooting it, I would put myself in the center aisle of the church, frame out from there and follow the "action"-I.E.; the people speaking at the lecturn and if the preacher is sitting in a spot where you can SLOWly pan to him for some nice reaction shots that would be good. KEY to panning; SLOW!

As for after to get the comments from the congregation, if you have a stick mic (wired or wireless) I would use that if not, switch the shotgun to channels 1 and 2 and just use that.

As for travel time, well, you kinda stuck yourself a little but since it is as far away as you said, I would just add in the time to the shoot. Say 3 hours and the time for the job whatever that is and then knock off say, 10 or 15% for travel IF you have to.

HTHs-good luck,

Don B
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Old April 8th, 2005, 10:11 AM   #3
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Breathe. Go to your happy place. lol

have to post quick, I'm heading out for appointments and also have to call the client to see if he can meet today.
Thanks for the advice, a lot...

So don't move, just stay put and try to pan/zoom from there where effective?

They may want me to tape music as well. Should I handle it the same way?
I'm going to bid them for editing time, not just charge them for the shoot.

Can anyone suggest what might be a ball park there? I can just build the travel time into that, good idea.

I'll be heading out in about 15 minutes and if he can meet today, I'll wing it re: the estimate.

Oh and I put together a nice little contract last night in Word, a mishmosh of wedding contracts I found on the web. It looks great. I feel offficial.
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Old April 8th, 2005, 10:58 AM   #4
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Shoot from the center aisle - you'll probably have to be behind the people but you can cheat up a bit. That way no matter where they are on the altar, at the podium or anywhere else you'll have a fairly clear shot. Run your tripod up a bit higher so you can shoot over the people if they stand up and still be able to get the podium and whatnot.
As for recording the music, I just use my shotgun and it generally comes out pretty well. Especially with another mic on the podium-you might have to boost it a bit in post but maybe not. A lot depends on the PA system they use.

As for charging for editing, well, that depends on a lot of things. Your location, marketplace and competition.
I generally charge $125 for the 1st hour and $85 P/H after that but I also tell them ABOUT how many hours its going to take. That comes from experience.
Use your best judgement.

Glad you got a contract together-even if its not perfect at least you have something to protect yourself.

Good Luck,
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Old April 8th, 2005, 11:13 AM   #5
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how many hours of editing?

how many hours of editing should I estimate, for a service plus interviews?

Hey, do you charge the same rate as that for shooting?
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Old April 8th, 2005, 11:32 AM   #6
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I don't know how fast you edit so its hard to say. How long do you think it'll take? How long is the service and how long will the interviews run. I would think less than 2 hours-so figure that amount of time to load the footage, an hour or so for the actual cut then however long to lay it off to your finish media.

If I'm charging by the hour, (which I hardly ever do) yes thats my starting point. One camera, One operator, no special gear.

Of course a lot depends on the marketplace and geographic area.

Good luck,
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Old April 8th, 2005, 02:58 PM   #7
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I'd agree with Don with a some additions:

Position the camera in the aisle as much as you dare. You need to be assured of a clear shot all of the time. Elevate the camera on the tripod as high as you can. Again, you need that clear shot.

Ask the B&G to face one another during the ceremony so you at least have a profile throughout the ceremony.

When you pan, make sure you know where you will end the pan before you start. This makes the pan smoother. Also try a combined pan/zoom in an "S" motion. Lastly, either learn the entire ceremony script of listen very closely. There a places in the ceremony where camera moves are appropriate and places where they are not appropriate. Your pans and zooms will look much better if they make sense. Put another way, a camera move has to have a purpose.

For travel I'll go 50 miles one way at no additional cost. After that, its .40 cents per mile.
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Old April 9th, 2005, 11:29 AM   #8
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I usually try to estmate travel time at 50% of my regular rate. I don't charge at all for capture or rendering time, since I do it during dinner or Project Greenlight. But I add a little bit to the job for that (if hourly maybe 10 minutes per tape for time spent actually doing something). If you are goig to fixed price an edit, just take your best guess, be conservative and fair to your client. I guess what it would take me if I knew what I was doing, and use that. Extra hours caused by my inexperience are my problem, boit the clients. After I have done a few jobs of that type (wedding, oart, festival, whatever) , I will reexamine my estimating ability. What you want most is a happy client who will refer more business since you are just starting out. Even if your net is $10 an hour at the end, a happy client and some experience that you got paid for is all you should expect.

FWIW, I just shot a 2-hour party, estimated 4 hours for edit & DVD's, charged $475. But I got there 90 minutes early, left 20shot some b-roll, talked to venue managers, got situated. I left 20 mintutes late. Also, I decided to add a highlights segment even though they didn't pay for it, which added 3 hours to project edit time (picking music, etc). So I ended up at 11 hours plus capture/render time, and still count myself happy. EXtra highlight clip makes up for some things I screwed up (since I am still learning at an exponential rate and still need a better camera). Hopefully they will be happy when they see it next week.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 12:01 AM   #9
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Update, or My Job-Bidding adventure

Hi everyone...
Well thanks for all your great advice here. I'll use it, for sure.
But that will have to be on the next job.

I went out to talk to the client about this job and found out that what the person had told me on the phone was not what they needed -- i.e. go to this place on Wednesday, and film this preacher speaking.

I got there at the funeral home and waited 45 minutes while the client finished a conference call, figuring it would take less time to wait then to rebook the appointment. meanwhile a funeral was going on, and grieving people were streaming out into the lobby, filling up the chairs next to me, sobbing, distraught. Nothing I could do but sit there for 45 minutes, feeling like an intruder.

When i finally got in, the client (owner) passed me off to his manager to talk about the job, with directions to book me.

What they really wanted was more an intensive, a biography/montage of this preacher. Whole different ball game. This lady and I kicked around ideas for awhile as I tried to make her possibilities known to her.

Twice she left me sitting there, saying she'd be right back but instead coming back in 20 minutes to a half hour. They seemed busy in the back so i thought maybe they were doing a lot of things at once.

By this time the funeral was over. i was alone in the room about six inches from a dead body underneath a sheet, raised up from a platform in the floor. I kept waiting for a hand to reach out and grab my wrist or something and pull me straight down into hell. Or for it to sit up and its head to spin around, all Linda Blair-like, spitting some pea soup.

I was hungry and thought i was booking a really big job, so I stayed. I had a critical bills situation which this job would have solved. Finally we went into her office to work out the final details. We even made a conference call to set up an appt for me to meet with the preacher down south although the time was up in the air.

It was almost 5 pm at this point and my appt was at one. I had to cancel the day's other appointments. At the last minute she changed her mind and said no, maybe they'd just do a photo montage, she'd get back with me. That would have been fine, but a photo montage was not really what she was looking for.

We were getting along great and she just backed out. I told her I could do a job on whatever level she needed, a biography or a smaller job such as a photo montage. As for rates, they knew that up front, so they should have known early on if they coudn't afford it.

She said she'd let me know on monday. I left her with materials, a rate sheet, etc, and left, driving home an hour in Friday rush hour traffic. When I called her to check back, she said they had gotten distracted by another large funeral out of area and all their efforts were going into that. She said she coudln't talk but would call me back the next evening. She never did.

Moral of the story? Never spend four hours. And if they don't respect your time, reschedule, don't wait.

Last edited by Kell Smith; May 5th, 2005 at 12:45 AM.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 12:56 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone for your help

Here's an update:

Sorry I was not able to get back and post sooner. I really appreciate everyone's advice and will definitely use it!
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