Any suggestions on how to shoot a Greek Orthodox Baptism/Christening? at

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Old May 10th, 2005, 10:26 AM   #1
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Any suggestions on how to shoot a Greek Orthodox Baptism/Christening?

Any suggestions on how to shoot a Greek Orthodox Baptism/Christening?

Last year I was hired to shoot a Greek Orthodox wedding. The family just hired me to shoot a baptism/christening. The wedding was quite different from others I've done. There were two officents. My female assitant was not allowed on the alter. I'm wondering if anybody has experience shooting a Greek Orthdox baptism/christening along with post christening celebration. Yes, I've asked the family for a schedule but haven't gotten anything back.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 01:12 AM   #2
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Besides the standart part (people coming and leaving - chating e.t.c) and as I remember ( i did a few 20 years ago as a photographer) the main part will take place infront of "kolibithra" (place thats it full of water).
The priest and the close relatives(on his left and right). He will put the baby inside the water three times. If you are facing the priset you will not lose a thing.

Important times : Before and After the ceremony - where the mother is changing clothes to the baby (usualy feels cold and cries!).
The godfather usualy gives the baby a gift (a chain with a cross) , and other relatives perhaps might give gifts - so you don't want to miss these moments.
As I remember is an easy and quick job (..20 min) Good luck!
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Old May 16th, 2005, 11:05 PM   #3
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important moments on a greek orthodox baptism

keep in mind that this is an important moment for the godfather too. somewhere at the beginning of the ceremony the godfather with the priest read a prayer called "pistevo" (=i believe) and this is a quite important moment.

also, watch out for the part when the priest marks a cross with some oil on the members and the head of the child (this takes place at the "kolimbithra" after the actual baptising).

good luck.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 08:38 AM   #4
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were u after info on the christening or the wedding???

christenings are a little different.. being that they begin at the entrance to the church..(not down near the alter.. yet... ) they do a sermon for about 20 minutes... where the mother or parents holds the child with the godparent nearby. Forget going tripod, coz ur gonna end up moving to the front later..

like any situation, its best to have 2 cameras, (one in the front gettin guests, while the other is focussing on teh reading, and whats going on up at teh entrance.

then the mother will hand the child to the godparent (depends on the priest.) and walk down the aisle with the child.. the mother or godparent will do this..

from here theres another sermon

then they move the child to the "grandmothers" table (as i like to call it) where the grandmothers will strip the child.. its best to have a camera in this area anyway...
once the child is stripped, they will take it to the dunking bucket (im greek but im saying this in lamens terms.. lol Hey, just wait till u have to video an ADULT gettin christened... its quite funny, they get to splash around in a child wading pool... )

anywyas back at the dunking bucket, dont be shocked when the priest grabs hold of the kid and dunks the baby full bodied...

from here the priest will cut some hair (this is imperitive that u get this shot) and then lays some oil on the childs forehead (another imperitive shot)

phew.. from here the child is wrapped up in a blanket and given to the godparent. They stand for about another 10 or so minutes with another sermon.. then they move to the "grandmothers table" to redress teh child.. over here, they will continue to sermise.. BUT its more important that u get the redressing, as jewellry gifts are put onto the child.. the important things are the cross from the godparent, and the "eye"

thats about it really.. the all then line up for congrats (much like a wedding)

if youve never done this before, its best to go to a greek orth church and ask the priest if u can view a christening. They usually hapen on sundays as saturdays theyre normally doing weddings.
Another option, if u only have 1 camera, is to FOLLWO THE CHILD...
stick with the child and youll be right..

there will be times where u can pan around and get family, but its nowhere near as emotional as a wedding, so its not going to be rivetting footage...

oh forgot to mention, at the after party, its jsut a party.. theres really nothing all that different about the party except that if the parents are smart, theyd hire a clown to occupy the kids... this helps you (and of course stops kids from gettin underfoot) and also adds a nice dynamic and entertaining piece to the presentation.

the ceremony IS boring (stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down....) but it is special..

a nice inclusion could be to add a baby photoslideshow as an intro..

good luck
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Old May 17th, 2005, 07:17 PM   #5
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Peter (and others) thanks for the info. Actually just did this a couple of days before your post Peter.

Reason why the parents didn't tell me what to expect is that they had NO IDEA. Seems this event was a wish of the grandparents. God parents had no idea what to expect either.

I get to the church and mic the God father's tie (I also got some info on another forum which said he'd be good to mic and tie rather than suit since the suit may come off). While I'm shooting scenics the priest explans the whole thing to the parents/godparents which I hear in my right ear courtesy of the lav, so I too learned exactly what was going to happen. Godfather remarked that he was totally confused. Priests responds, not to worry, he'll announce what they're supposed to do every step of the way. Priest gave a running commentary throughout in addition to the prayers.

It was low budget shoot so only one camera. Did most of it handheld (I'm good at that so no worry there) due to the movement and the church limits on where the tripod could go (which I did use for certain key parts).

Only disconcerting aspect was the baby's constant SCREAMING into the Godfather's lav.
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Old May 17th, 2005, 10:45 PM   #6
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trick to "numbing' that scream and making it subliminal is run a 4 band eq, and kill off 6db around the 1.2khz range, then widen the spread about 2 to 3 octaves.. youll still hear it, but it wont grate on ur nerves..
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