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Old June 20th, 2005, 02:53 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Cincinnati, OH
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Shooting from church rear *without* a balcony?

I ran into this problem just last Saturday, and I wonder if anyone here has some advice. This was my first shoot from the back of the church without a balcony.

I was assisting another videographer running camera 2 at the back of the center isle, and my job was to stay on the b&g unless directed otherwise. But, when the guests stood up (Catholic ceremony... lots of standing/sitting), I lost my shot completely. So, I just went wide hoping that camera 1 had something. Due to the restrictions of the priest, we really had no other choice here.

Anyhow, how do you all work around this situation? I thought of finding some way to raise myself and my tripod about 3-4 feet. Maybe by building a small platform to set my tripod on, and stand on a small step ladder. If I was just about 4 feet higher, I could have maintained my shot.

Any suggestions?

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Old June 20th, 2005, 05:37 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Chicago, IL
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First off, many of the newer churches today don't have balconies like the beautiful old churches of yesteryear. The last 5 of 6 weddings this year had no balconies so here's what I do. Other may have different ideas, use what works in that particular situation.

IF I can, I put an unmanned camera at the front of the church off the altar but still in front. Perhaps by the musicians and set the shot towards the B&G to get the face shots. If I can't do that, then I find the next best place for the camera whereever that might happen to be. Perhaps a side aisle or in one case a doorway that led to the officiants get ready room and with his permission, I hide the camera in the doorway and it worked out great.

As for shooting from the rear of the church, I prefer that AFTER the processional as in 99.9% of the cases the B&G are facing each other for the vows, so its really not an issue. I get a nice profile shot of them and if the officiant stands with his/her back to the congregation, the B&G are generally up on the altar so I shoot over the officiant.
It's worked fine like that for me for many years.
Now having said all of that, I use a Bogen 3246 tripod and if necessary I can get it about 8 feet in the air without using the center column but honestly have never had a problem shooting over anyone with the tripod set up to 6 feet with the dolly wheels, however I shoot from the center aisle so no one gets in the way. If I'm shooting small cameras they have an LCD so I use that to frame, If I'm shooting my full size camera it also has an LCD and a very large view finder so framing and focus is not an issue. Shooting from the center aisle shouldn't have been a problem with people standing unless you were shooting across to the lecturn, in which case all you can do is pretty much what you did. Widen out and shoot in that general direction. People will get the idea. Either that or you have to move in closer which the preist probably wouldn't like.

Remeber all you can do is the best you can under the circumstances.Sounds like you did.

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