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


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Old March 12th, 2010, 06:07 AM   #1
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I'm having trouble keeping up with the action. Any of you professionals ever miss an important sequence because of the hurried pace of the day, and all the gear that needs to be carried back and from the car? I'm fit but don't like to be seen running around - whilst promising to be discrete.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 06:41 AM   #2
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I've been doing weddings for 26 going on 27 years and I can honestly say I have never missed a major event at a wedding.

If you feel like the day is running past you then you need to rethink your onsite workflow.
Get someone else to move your gear to and from your car whike you can keep shooting. I don't know how much gear you're toting around but I carry 2 cameras (in portabrace bags) 2 tripods and a set of dolly wheels into most ceremonys in one trip. For receptions I carry 1 camera bag, a bag with my DVMultirig and a mic stand, again, 1 trip.

There are ALWAYS lulls in the event to move stuff around, pack stuff up, go to the bathroom, have a smoke break, or scream to the heavens "why did I ever get started in this business"

Slow down, take a breath and relax. You can't be everywhere at once one person, one place. Keep your eyes open be on your toes do the best you can. That's all you can do.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 09:06 AM   #3
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Anticipation, Anticipation, Anticipation.

In order to be a successful wedding/event videographer, that's all you need to know. You have to know or make an educated guess about what's going to happen in 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, or in 5 minutes. And then be in the right place for the best shot.

In the ceremony, you have no one to help you slow things down. You have to keep up and never REACT, but ANTICIPATE.

In the reception, the DJ runs the show, so if you need to change batteries or tapes, or do something and YOU KNOW that you need some extra time, you let the DJ know. "Hey, give me 30 seconds to change batteries before the maid of honor gives her speech." And make sure you take 30 seconds. A good DJ will keep the crowd busy for 30 seconds. A crappy DJ will say "We're waiting on the videographer" in which case, you move like the wind. But you have to be rolling when the most important events are happening. No excuse.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 09:42 AM   #4
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I agree, Anticipate. After you've done a few gigs you get to know, generally, what's going to happen next.
At the ceremony I get the printed program even though I've done enough wedding to practically perform the ceremony. The program and talking to the couple before the wedding and the officiant at the wedding gives me about all the information I need to shoot it and get all that's happening.
At the receotion, again, experience helps but I also talk to the DJ or band leader to get at least a general order of events. Intros, cake cutting, toasts, dinner prayer, are the B&G going to say anything, when does the first danc take place, are they doing other special dances, IE father-daughter, mother-sone, bridal party, anything else special like dollar dance, hora for a Jewish wedding, etc. What about gater and bouquet...again after you do some you'll have a good idea what's going to happen when so you can anticipate the next event.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 10:56 AM   #5
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Hi,

Like Don, I move all my gear in one trip. I have a Pelican Case on wheels that holds two cameras and accessories, and a big light kit bag on wheels for tripods, mike stands, light stands, cables, gaffer tape and assorted odds and ends. Also have a laptop backpack with laptop and a spare Canon HV-30 with batteries just in case something goes wrong with the two main cameras. Again, can wear the backpack and wheel the other gear all in one trip, without straining my back like before. Man, getting old is really getting old!
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Last edited by Roger Van Duyn; March 12th, 2010 at 10:57 AM. Reason: comment
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Old March 12th, 2010, 11:15 AM   #6
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Charlie input here from the less fit, three camera side of the business.

My wife and I split the loading/unloading, she recording, me loading, so I can honestly say I've not missed anything I knew about or should have expected.

So whilst endorsing every word of the anticipation/preparation wisdom already written, that isn't to say we've never missed things.

For instance, we missed the kissing of the bride by the chimney sweep but since the person who'd planned that as a surprise for the bride and told absolutely no-one else, it took us (and the still photographer) by surprise also. Happily the photographer got the sweep to repeat the kiss so we got the staged event.

Again, both of us missed the beginning of a conjuring trick by a minister who, during the homily, pushed three handkerchiefs into a glass tube one by one and blew them out knotted together but the third camera caught the start and saved us.

We always emphasise to everyone we get to talk to, the couple, their families etc right up to the rehearsal to let us in on every surprise because making us surprised also isn't clever and goes a long way to guaranteeing we'll miss recording it.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 01:54 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback. My worry was trying to live up to the promise of being 'discrete' and hurrying with all that gear. The ceremony exit to the photography location shoot is my least favourite part of the day because of the packing up and unloading. Also, making sure everything is collected and not left astray. The trunk of my car is jam packed full.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 03:56 PM   #8
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I shoot all my weddings by myself and I have no problem getting my gear in and out of locations and keeping up.

To further help you, please detail all your gear, how many bags/cases you carry, and how you move it (by hand, handtruck, or dolly). Maybe you're carrying more than you need.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 05:13 PM   #9
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Hi Charlie

I also work on my own with two cameras and for me it's a matter of getting everywhere early. If you are doing a prep shoot make sure the bride knows that you will be leaving no later than your stated time as others will suffer!! I have had to say to bride once "Sorry, it's 2:30pm and I am going" (after warning her a few times she still procrastinated and never go into her dress and even the poor Limo was waiting!!)

I know it sound silly but I like to have the A Cam setup in the Church 30 minutes before the ceremony start time and I'm outside with the B Cam waiting for the bride to arrive!!!

The MC/DJ is also a good person to get to "tap me on the shoulder 10 minutes before the speeches" ..I only had one MC who tried to start the speeches before I was ready...I got him to start again!!!!!

I assume you work with more than one camera so always have one at your side so you can snatch it and film if you are caught un-awares (and it does happen too!!!) I agree with the others and yes, anticipate but also be prepared for the unexpected.

BTW: I always go to the rehearsal..saves lots of problems and less anticipation is needed!!!

Chris
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