Two Camera Ops or One??? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 1st, 2010, 05:57 AM   #1
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Two Camera Ops or One???

Hi all

Do you think that marketing is influenced by the fact that you are working alone but doing a two camera shoot or would people tend to gravitate towards a company that boasted two camera operators ?????

I currently handle both cameras on my own but admittedly only use two cams during the ceremony and the reception speeches. The rest of the wedding is a one camera shoot.

I realise that two operators give you the advantage of much more creativity (cos you can basically go it alone and not have to keep half an eye on the other camera) Does the client also see a two operator scenario as better value for money????

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 1st, 2010, 06:56 AM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,498
I would emphasis on better quality/creativity and charge for the 2nd operator that results in better work rather than a more value for $$ approach. Give the customers a choice if you intend to cater for a specific budget. Otherwise you can make it standard to charge higher for 2 men service. It really depends on your target segment.
Sean Seah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 1st, 2010, 09:45 AM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Renton, WA
Posts: 43
I refuse to shoot with only one operator. I've been burned a few times where some 6'4" dude stands up right in front of the unmanned camera, or it's been bumped, or something. Better to charge a little more and pay for the 2nd op.

The flip side is if you go that route, finding someone you actually trust and can do the job...
Mike Harvey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 1st, 2010, 09:47 AM   #4
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: West Orange, NJ, U.S.
Posts: 163
I always explain the pros and cons and let the clients decide. If you're honest about this choice, they'll respect you and trust your scruples more.

Pros to having two cameras: More creativity, better chance at getting key shots with two humans responding to ever-changing and un-scripted circumstances.

Cons to having two cameras: More people up moving around with cameras so it's not as unobtrusive as some people like, costs more money for two operators.

I shoot solo with multiple cameras so when I go over this and explain how I use the multiple cameras in post, people usually gravitate to my one-cameraman shoot.
Mike Hammond is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 1st, 2010, 01:06 PM   #5
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 2,933
We've always used an assistant .. shot our very first wedding with 2 people and 3 cameras. But we set out right from the start to try and provide a product that was more creative and interesting than anything else that was being offered in our market. So I think the answer to your question depends in part on how you're marketing your product and what your product is.

If you're aiming for the budget end then having a 2nd operator is going to cut into your profit and might not be worth the return. If you're aiming for the higher end, then not having a 2nd op might hurt your creativity and thus your product .. and thus your ability to sell it. If you're in the middle somewhere, it's hard to say what you should do.

I will say that we have always offered a higher end product and service, and I've had quite a few couples ask during consultations if it's just me shooting of if we use an assistant. It's been a bit surprising how often that question gets asked. What's funny is we get asked that question more than "do you shoot in HD", "do you offer BluRay" and "how long until we get the DVDs" combined. d;-)
__________________
Black Label Films
www.blacklabelweddingfilms.com
Travis Cossel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 1st, 2010, 05:53 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Red Bank, NJ
Posts: 553
About 10 years ago I joined a gym. It amazes me that brides never inquire what kind of shape the videographer/photographer is in. 12 hours on your feet, running up and down staircases, running on the beach..joining the gym was one of the best decisions I ever made!
Michael Simons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 1st, 2010, 05:53 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cape Town South Africa
Posts: 47
I would feel highly vulnerable using only one camera. I have a friend who shoots with only one camera. I am sure that, over the years, he has some explaining to do when things have gone wrong with his one camera.

.
__________________
Howard
http://www.mfneill.com/ - Cape Town - where two oceans meet
Howard Neill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 1st, 2010, 06:02 PM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Posts: 711
Marketing definitely plays a role. Were I in a metropolitan location I simply wouldn't work alone. I shudder when I can't cover the cost of an assistant, which is why I tactfully stress the advantages of additional staff at an event.

However, I've spent most of my wedding video career working alone, so I have developed a workflow that tends to function well most of the time.

For me the keys have been: 1) Planning the angles for each camera throughout the ceremony and 2) dedicating the day before the event to careful packing of my road cases.
__________________
Waldemar
Waldemar Winkler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 1st, 2010, 06:58 PM   #9
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Hi Howard

I always shoot with two cameras!!! One on the tripod and one on my shoulder or on the stedicam. The question was actually regarding giving up the 2nd cam to a second operator..do they have the same vision as you, are they dedicated as you are, and is the fee that you pay them justified in upping your prices sunstantially. I cannot really see the advantage in paying an inexperience operator a pittance to shoot cutaways that you can't use when you could have done better yourself!!!

I used to have a 'two cameramen' option in my packages but brides didn't seem to be too concerned about technical details. I must admit that it would be nice to be able to have a 'helper' sometimes at weddings where one person can shoot the guys getting ready while the other does the girls and it would make life easier and more creative being able to wander around the ceremony with nice angles without worrying if the main cam is still running!!!

As already mentioned by others, it does all come down to marketing!!

Thanks for all your responses!!

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 1st, 2010, 07:20 PM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 2,933
Not speaking from experience since we've always shot with at least 3 cameras and at least 2 operators, but I'm guessing it's a hard sell to get a bride to 'upgrade' to a 2nd shooter. It's just not an emotional sell at all, and the wedding industry is all about the emotional sell.

If you're only going to have 2 cameras available, I still think it's beneficial to have a competent assistant with the 2nd camera. That way you'll have someone safeguarding the equipment as well as ensuring that it doesn't get blocked. There's nothing worse than having your 'safe' shot blocked right when you need to cut to it.

But honestly, this all hinges on your profit model too. It could very well be that you aren't charging enough to incorporate a 2nd shooter and still make the profit you need too. If you're okay with charging that amount, then I would suggest just including a 2nd shooter all the time and talk up the advantage to brides. It sounds much better that way versus trying to get a bride to upgrade.
__________________
Black Label Films
www.blacklabelweddingfilms.com
Travis Cossel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 2nd, 2010, 12:59 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 522
Bam!~

Offer both options. Give specific details to why one is better over the other.

My response to the Bride is...

"Two manned cameras is theeeee best way to document the ceremony of your life. One camera will be on you while you are walking down the aisle while the second camera operator is focused on the Groom, Bridesmaids and Groomsmen watching you walk to the aisle and by this time one of your parents will most likely be crying. You cant get that with one camera and certainly not with two cameras with only one manned." Secondly, your not only paying for two camera ceremony, you are getting a second cameraman to shoot all details before the wedding and after."

Thirdly, god forbid one of the camera was to break down.

Then leave it there for them to decide.
Kelly Langerak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 2nd, 2010, 08:24 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
Posts: 711
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Howard

I always shoot with two cameras!!! One on the tripod and one on my shoulder or on the stedicam. The question was actually regarding giving up the 2nd cam to a second operator..do they have the same vision as you, are they dedicated as you are, and is the fee that you pay them justified in upping your prices sunstantially. I cannot really see the advantage in paying an inexperience operator a pittance to shoot cutaways that you can't use when you could have done better yourself!!!

I used to have a 'two cameramen' option in my packages but brides didn't seem to be too concerned about technical details. I must admit that it would be nice to be able to have a 'helper' sometimes at weddings where one person can shoot the guys getting ready while the other does the girls and it would make life easier and more creative being able to wander around the ceremony with nice angles without worrying if the main cam is still running!!!

As already mentioned by others, it does all come down to marketing!!

Thanks for all your responses!!

Chris
My biggest value regarding an assistant is based upon three elements. 1) The "previously unmanaged" camera remains positioned where it needs to be positioned and it is sharply focused. 2) We are in constant communication via radio which allows reasonably balanced camera angles. 3) My fee for an assistant allows fair compensation for the assistant's time and my post production time.

The fourth, and at this point unmentioned value, is the assistant has the ability to cover surprise events. My latest experience was the arrival of B&G 30 minutes ahead of schedule. I have no explanation as to why the schedule was off by an half an hour. I can only say I had the sense to assign my assistant to cover the exterior of the reception hall well ahead of the B&G's scheduled arrival. Extraordinarily good fortune for me!
__________________
Waldemar
Waldemar Winkler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 9th, 2010, 01:16 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 446
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Simons View Post
About 10 years ago I joined a gym. It amazes me that brides never inquire what kind of shape the videographer/photographer is in. 12 hours on your feet, running up and down staircases, running on the beach..joining the gym was one of the best decisions I ever made!
Very true...but every assistant or shooter we hire, never realizes how much energy you expend on a shoot. To the outside world, you are just holding a camera and that can't take that much energy can it? We really should condition our bodies to be as healthy as possible so that we can perform at our best.
__________________
John J. Moon
www.northernlightfilmworks.com - Event DV Top 25 Recipient
John Moon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 9th, 2010, 11:09 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 643
I have a variety of ways to address camera operators versus actual cameras. I let brides know that I do have several cameras running, but the quality and creativity of the moments captured will be different if the camera is manned vs. unmanned. I find that is enough information to have brides make an educated decision to as how many manned cameras (not overall cameras as I control that) are present.

I've done single cinematographer 3 cam ceremonies and it's turned out great. The only thing is I couldn't be as creative as I was worried more about documentation and coverage rather than being uber creative.

-Randy
Randy Panado is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:23 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network