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


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Old June 20th, 2005, 08:59 PM   #1
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High School Graduation.

I am asked to film High School graduation by several parents in the area. This is of course I said I would do it for free for one family I know very well. Now this my first time doing this sort of thing, and I just think graduation is beautiful thing for families with kids to experience, so I decided to do for free for the rest of the 3 families. Ne-ways, do anyone have any advice or any difficulties I may come across, and how to avoid them. Mostly my problem would be the lighting of the where it will be held, and how many camera should I have in place…am thing 2 at most. I just wanted to look really good for the cheapest price. I could rent out 16mm or 8mm, but I don’t think that is necessary, what you guys thing.

Help, its around the corner!!!

Sean
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Old June 20th, 2005, 09:25 PM   #2
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1- Lighting: Stage contrast is sometimes high contrast. If your camera has an autoexposure shift function, turn that down. You could also ride iris manualy.
Spotlight mode on consumer cameras is AE shift, except on a fixed setting.

2- Parents just want to see their kid. In the DVD, it would probably be a good idea to break things up and do like A-G, H-R, etc. for the graduates. And then break up all the speeches. I don't think anyone really cares for the speeches except for the valedictory. I would definitely leave them in. I just wouldn't spend that much effort on them.

When you're filming and they're announcing the graduates, I'd make sure the graduate is in the frame (don't care about the person announcing the graduate).

During the speeches, you can get cutaways of the audience clapping and stuff (i.e. listening, laughing). They may be useful to hide mistakes in other places.

3- Multicamera: If you want, you can shoot with 2 cameras. Shoot with a plan for editing in post. Probably have a camera on stage shot, and the other camera zooms in.
Theoretically you only need 1 person for both cameras, because the second can just shoot the stage all the time.
In editing, just play back the manned camera and cut in the parts you want. Everything you cut out will automatically switch to the stage shot cam, which you know will have a decent shot.

I don't think it matters that much how good it looks. However, if you want to get other jobs out of this then it'd be nice if it looks good. Some of the film look and color grading plug-ins can really help (i.e. DSE's film look tutorial for Vegas, Magic Bullet Editors, the DVX100 using certain settings).
Slick packaging and DVD authoring are nice touches and make the production appear professional. If you attach a tasteful 'ad' (or listing of another service you offer... i.e. weddings) at the end, you may be able to get other jobs out of this.


Sorry if I come off as not caring about graduation ceremonies... because as a student, the ceremonies don't really mean that much to me. It's more for the parents to be proud of their kids.

The valedictory will likely have sentimental value in the distant future, although I don't know how that helps you or what you can do it about it other than audio.
Getting audio for the valedictory may be hard if they do a skit (not sure if this happens at your school). If you can:
if they speak into the podium mic all the time, you're fine.
otherwise, wireless lav would be very nice although it does cost money to rent.
if not, you can try planting a microphone on stage, or above it and pick a cardioid (or hypercardioid).
You could also plant multiple mics in case they move around or the stage is big. That gets complicated though. Distance is the biggest thing you have to watch out for... closer means less background noise.
EDIT: Probably the easiest: Get the school to put wireless mics on the valedictorian(s). Wireless handhelds or lavs would work. If they don't have it, try to convince them to rent. Generally, the audience will likely have a hard time hearing the valedictorians too.

If you consider your audience (in the near future, adults), I don't think they'd care too much about the valedictory. Definitely get audio from the PA system nice... although this shouldn't be too hard. You could record a feed from them and mix it in with ambience + clapping (definitely mix in clapping and applause). Or just use ambient sound for everything, and microphones mounted on your camera. Sometimes on-board microphones can pick up really bad sound, so watch out. The on-board mics might be low quality. Because they are far away, you'll get lots of b/g noise and reverb. Also, you need to make sure you don't say anything (dumb) while filming.
Cheap shotguns will sound nasty in auditoriums from far away, so watch out there too.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 09:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Brook
I am asked to film High School graduation by several parents in the area. This is of course I said I would do it for free for one family I know very well. Now this my first time doing this sort of thing, and I just think graduation is beautiful thing for families with kids to experience, so I decided to do for free for the rest of the 3 families. Ne-ways, do anyone have any advice or any difficulties I may come across, and how to avoid them. Mostly my problem would be the lighting of the where it will be held, and how many camera should I have in place…am thing 2 at most. I just wanted to look really good for the cheapest price. I could rent out 16mm or 8mm, but I don’t think that is necessary, what you guys thing.

Help, its around the corner!!!

Sean
hello seqan,

i did one last year, could be 2 years....was done on their football field. stage set up right in the middle. the issues i had was power, since i taped directly onto a vcr. the school was able to run their mic wires, but......
most of the students could not remember, after they got their diploma, to turn torwards the camera, even we had a helper on the stage.
you need a mic too...

greetings
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Old June 20th, 2005, 10:05 PM   #4
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I would agree regarding the multicamera aspect. I did a graduation ceremony last year and had 6 cameras (4*GL2s + 1*ZR 80 + 1*XL1s) and turst me, they come in handy, especially if the ceremony is going to be a long one.

I would also stress the importance of good audio. Last year, I used a wireless setup (S G2) and it came out pretty good, but since it was outside there was a lot of wind noise. This year I am going to be using my iRiver for both the sides of the stage.
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Old June 23rd, 2005, 03:38 PM   #5
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Audio

I just shot a outside grad for a friend for free as I needed some practice w/ my cam and edditing. I used a DVX-100A and turned on the filters on all the way to get a good white balence. I was surprised as It was overcast and extremly bright outside. I was concerned that I would have a extreem blow out. Anyway the picture looked great and what I did in regards to the audio as I did not want all the parents camera clicking etc. was to plug my wireless transmitter into the AUX output of the schools cheesy PA system. My Cam received the dirrect signal that the officals mic picked up from the speaches and anouning of the grads names. I was impressed with how good the sound came out. They had a public access crew their who put microphones infront of the speakers but they told me that they were not pleased with their result, and it looked horible. Last suggestion if you are outside take water as It was 85 deg plus humitity when I was their.. -Best
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