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


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Old January 20th, 2010, 12:49 PM   #1
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Here comes the bride framing

Since capturing the bride coming down the isle, what's the best shooting technique to perfect this shot? For example, do you frame the bride and let her/him walk towards the camera or frame a close up and zoom out as the bride approaches?
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Old January 20th, 2010, 01:00 PM   #2
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Troy...

Depending on the length of the isle... I usually try to shoot a little of both. I love the shallow DOF look that my camera can give me when zoomed in tight on a subject. From there I grab a few frames of the shoes hitting the deck... Then I go wide for the last 10 to 15 ft. As a single camera shooter I normally have to make the transition of the father of the bride giving away his daughter at the alter. So it's good to already have a wide lens where all thats needed is a simple pan.

The thing that drives me crazy is when bridesmaids fly down the isle at mach 3... I've had this burn me in the past.
I'm still learning I guess :-)

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Old January 20th, 2010, 01:26 PM   #3
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Steve, thanks for the info. Shooting w/ one camera means you would have to be really on your game to get those shots. At least I think so. I've tried both, but what works best is framing the bride and escort with a mid shot and then going close up to the bride as she approaches. You're right about the fast moving bride:-)
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Old January 20th, 2010, 01:35 PM   #4
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IMO you should always shoot like theres only 1 camera no matter how many you have running. Stuff happens.

As for framing, I generally go for a medium close shoot of the bride and escort right at the far end of the aisle. Then as they walk down the aisle, I do a slow zoom out to widen the shot, slow being relative depending on how fast the bride is walking and how long the aisle is, but what I want is by about mid way down to be wide enough to show the bride and escort head to toe and then I keep widening out until they meet the groom and dad (usually) hands the bride off to the groom. Then as they make they're way to the altar, I do what I need to do as far as repositioning myself keeping a wide shot until I'm in my final shooting position.

Using some sort of zoom control makes this process a lot easier. No hands on the camera.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 01:39 PM   #5
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good post Don. My goal is to get a good vest stabilizer type setup.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 02:37 PM   #6
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Good idea but tough to use for a longer type ceremony like a Catholic mass but it would be another tool in the toolbox.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 03:03 PM   #7
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And may I ask where you guys are standing when you do this shot. You are allowed to stand in the middle at the front of the isle? Or do you actually move down the isle ahead of the Bride?
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Old January 20th, 2010, 03:16 PM   #8
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Whenever possible I'm up front on the brides side of the aisle but in the area where there is a cross aisle in front of the altar. Sometimes the officiant won't let that happen but in most cases they allow it. Maybe because alot of them know me by sight if not name and they know I won't get in the way. This allows me to get the handoff and as the B&Gmove up to the altar I can move either behind them down the center aisle OR if need be move down the side aisle to the back center.
Every once in a while I do have to go into the aisle and squezze into a pew towards to get the processional but then I use my DVMultirig to stay steady and solid.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 06:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Esslinger View Post
And may I ask where you guys are standing when you do this shot. You are allowed to stand in the middle at the front of the isle? Or do you actually move down the isle ahead of the Bride?
I use the multirig so I can zoom / adjust as needed with out remiving one hand from device and screwing up the shot.

I stand just at knee height (so groom watches over me) and I just peek around the aisle by the groom's parents.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 07:51 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
IMO you should always shoot like theres only 1 camera no matter how many you have running. Stuff happens.
No disrespect, Don, but I have to disagree. In my opinion, if you always shoot super-safe you'll never take the kind of chances that can really elevate your work. Some of my best shots were shots I never would have attempted if I was more concerned with playing it safe. Again, no disrespect, I just have a differing opinion. d;-)

As for how to shoot the bridal entrance .. we don't have a standard method for that. It really kind of comes down too how I'm inspired to film it. We always shoot with at least 3 cameras, so I have a super-safe wide shot and another shot that is also mostly safe. So my shot is generally designed to be creative in some way.

I've shot the entrance with the camera literally on the floor and set to wide. I've shot it standing with a tight shot that very slowly zooms out. I've shot it medium view and hip height and let the bride walk into and out of the shot. One of these days I'd like to shot the bridal entrance from over the groom's should (not standing right behind him of course), but the right situation hasn't come along yet.

So the answer to the original question, in my opinion, is that there is no 'right' way to shoot. However, the safest shot I think is to shoot mostly wide with infinity focus and just let the bride/father walk to you. I just don't like shooting safe shots, lol.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 08:53 PM   #11
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never said play it safe, just paly it smart, big difference and you're right most of the best shots I've ever gotten were not planned.
I stated the most basic way of shooting the processional but of course there are many differing ways to do it and I think I've done pretty much all of them so I do what I think works best at that particular venue but I try to keep a fallback postition just in case.
Good converation-this is what make us all better.
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Old January 21st, 2010, 03:49 AM   #12
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The OP writes about a "perfect way" - there is no such thing. Stop seeking one and learn your craft.

My view is that Don's approach risks producing formulaic, predictable programmes - fine for the client but boring to make.

In my view the question reinforces the desirability of working with two or three cameras. After the rehearsal, my wife and I discuss the way we're going to shoot the programme in some detail and try to vary our approach slightly for the sake of sanity in the edit if no other reason.

Nevertheless, there are some moments which demand a close up eg the vows, exchange of rings etc and we try to ensure that we have CUs of both the person speaking and the person listening. There's a moment just before the vows when we can crash zoom in close for focus check; that's when we go to our third camera from the rear of the church.
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Old January 21st, 2010, 11:00 AM   #13
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We always shoot conservative during the ceremony.

As far as getting the bride coming down the isle...

- When it's a one person gig, I start on the side filming the wedding party coming in. Then after the flower girl comes in and gets set, I walk to the very front pew (quickly) so I can capture the bride walking down the isle. Frame it mid shot of the bride and father, and then zoom out as they get closer eventually revealing the full dress a bit before they get ready to turn to face the groom. At that point I go back down the side and position in the back of the church for the rest of the ceremony.

- When it's a two+ person gig, the person shooting the side shot dismounts and goes to the front, and then shoots like above, and then goes back to his position on the side. Additionally, if there is a person on stage (in a 3 person shoot) he will also be shooting the bride coming down the isle, usually wide all the way. The person in the back is usually shooting the groom and wedding party cutaways..
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