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


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Old May 17th, 2010, 02:48 PM   #1
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Wedding how to DVD

I am looking for a DVD on how to shoot weddings, equipment recommendations, the dos and dont's. Any recommendations?
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Old May 17th, 2010, 07:41 PM   #2
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I put together a post in my blog on people wanting to shoot weddings for their friends... they might not be all that helpful to you but it won't hurt to look =:)

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Old May 17th, 2010, 07:58 PM   #3
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Check out Glen's sticky at the top my friend...
The VonLanken's are very good, and will give you a solid base to work from...
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Old May 17th, 2010, 11:11 PM   #4
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Jeff, two of many reasons why initial response here hasn't been more profuse is that a) your question is very wide and unspecific and b) weddings themselves vary from culture to culture and the experience of UK people like me or that of the Australians who "live" here wouldn't be of great help in even beginning to answer your question.

More importantly though, your question suggests that you might be very new to the whole business of making programmes. If that is the case could I suggest that there are easier avenues in programme-making to get your feet wet in, to learn your craft in, and you might want to try those first.

When I meet younger competitors at wedding fairs etc I quite regularly hear them say that they're "going to start in weddings and then move on to bigger things". There are certainly bigger things than weddings but I don't think you'll find many that present the whole gamut of challenges. I've been making programmes for 30 years and came into weddings seriously four years ago. Maybe I'm not very bright but I can honestly tell you that no other genre that I've worked in has regularly drawn on so much of my experience as weddings.

Don't let me dissuade you from going into wedding video production but equally, be aware that you're not taking the easiest route into programme-making.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 06:11 AM   #5
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Hi Jeff

I have been shooting weddings for close to 20 years now and I still find it challenging!!! and I still make mistakes. Just remember that a wedding is a once-off event..there are no re-takes if you mess up/have a flat battery/forget to start the camera!!! You really and truely need to be on the ball and that rarely is a gift..hard work and experience is closer to the truth!!!

If you truely want to go into wedding videographer then there is no better way than hands-on experience. I would see if I could "hitch a ride" with a current professional..even if it's carrying his gear and learn on the job!!

The younger competitors that Philip talks about are more often than not fresh out of a 6 month college course and now consider themselves professionals. At the next wedding fair they won't be there and we know why too!!

By all means get gear ideas here but nothing is going to beat doing a few weddings as an assistant both shot wise and gear wise!!

Chris
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:35 PM   #6
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Guys thanks for the responses... Let me give you a little history; and Philip, sorry for being so vague... I am an Outdoor Videographer shooting footage for hunting shows, DVD's commercials and stock. I am also an aspiring Photographer and want to get into the business on a full time basis (instead of being a correctional officer) and am looking for ways to fill the empty gaps when the "wildlife" thing slows during the summer months, so I though Weddings would be a good place to start, seeing how my brother owns his own successful DJ business and is a good "in" into the industry. I have been reading, watching peoples work, even failed miserbly at shooting my friends wedding so i figured every little piece of media I could get my hands on to learn some tips and techniques would be handy and I didn't know if there were instructional DVD's on the how too's of Wedding Videography that people would recommend. I have been shooting stills since 1987 and video since 2005, so I am quite versed in the equipment, just not using it in a "wedding" type situation. There are not alot of wedding videographers in my area and they (like photographers) are not real keen on primping "the competition" so to speak so they make up excuses not to take you along... Up unitl now, everything i know has been self taught. Thanks again for the responses guys it is appreciated...
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Old May 19th, 2010, 09:10 PM   #7
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my advice...

just get into it and don't charge too much at the beginning.
i did a friends wedding for $400 with one camera bout 3 years ago and ironically its still my favorite image wise, i have come a long way audio wise but just get into it and don't charge too much is my advice. if you can get clean audio and ALOT of footage you can put together something worth your time and worth their money. anytime i completely screw up (and out of 3 years i can count that on one hand) i just refund money and still give em a good product. just dont charge too much unitl you are VERY confident and i think most people will be happy. feel out your client if they want and expect Spielberg to do their wedding just pass but there is pleanty of business for B+ work cuz most people dont know the difference....(NOT that my work is B+ but i have screwed up and could only provide a B+ DVD... :-(
i have done so many i have a formula and you will too very fast....
-JS

Last edited by Jason Steele; May 20th, 2010 at 01:43 PM.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 09:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
The younger competitors that Philip talks about are more often than not fresh out of a 6 month college course and now consider themselves professionals. At the next wedding fair they won't be there and we know why too!!
Chris, I respect your views and generally agree with you but have to say that this comment got under my skin a little.

While a 3 year university degree, let alone a 6 month college course does not qualify one as a 'professional,' there are plenty of 'younger competitors' who are extremely talented and have put in alot of hard work to get to the level they are at. Video is a relatively new and constantly evolving artform (photography, in comparison, is old and slow to evolve), and the next generation are always the ones in the best position to take advantage of new techniques, knowledge and equipment.

I started my own business shortly after graduating because I felt the local market was not at the standard it should be. I've seen awesome wedding videos produced by poeple on this forum from all over the world, yet everything I saw locally was total c**p. I didn't want to work for one of those companies. Why join them when you can beat them?

However, in the process, I've noticed former contacts are now unwilling to help me or offer advice. I've been careful not to cut their grass and have always been respectul to other businesses - even recommended them to others when I've felt they've deserved it. But it seems they want to burn the bridges between us. It's not surprising so many young solo videographers fail in the first year in such a hostile environment. Well I say stuff them, they burned the bridge, now I'll build a new highway and bypass their whole town. I'm better than them, and I'm here to stay.

I'm sure there's plenty more like me around the country so it's no wonder the established folk are so scared. They've been getting away with sub-par work for years (again, I'd like to say I've seen excellent work produced by the crew on this board - but not everyone is at that level), and when the younger generation comes through and is willing to charge less for a better product, they better be ready to step up their game or they'll find themselves looking for a change in career.

Jeff, in answer to your question, I've never watched any tutorial DVD's, but these days you'll find a wealth of information on the internet. Typing 'wedding video tutorial' into google just now brought up a few useful pages worth reading. This site is also a goldmine not only for the advice you'll get, but because you'll read plenty of horror stories and learn from other peoples mistakes. Take the time to go through the weddings section and you'll get plenty of info.

However there is no substitute for experience so make sure you shoot lots (not just weddings, but everthing) so using your camera becomes second nature. Try to do a few freebie weddings for friends or relatives and really concentrate on getting as much material as possible. As others have said, you'll always be learning and making mistakes, and the best/safest/fastest way is by shooting a few for free.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 11:59 AM   #9
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John, I'll let Chris defend himself but since the original quote was from me I have to suggest that you read the whole piece and not just the part you don't like.

I wasn't describing ALL young competitors, I was talking about those who claim that they're starting in weddings then going on to greater things. In that specific I'd say that Chris's "more often than not" is a reasonable qualification - and I don't blame the youngsters themselves as much as the people running the "meejah studies" degree courses which produce 30 people each year into a business which simply doesn't have room for them. I am also critical of the companies who expect such people to work for up to a year as a runner for absolutely no wage at all. They are symptomatic of the same malaise.

I applaud your determination and your attitude towards the competition but I would remind anyone who's motivated by your experience that making great programmes in any genre is one thing - making a business out of making great programmes is another. I wish you success but do see the big picture, not just the part that irks you.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 03:27 PM   #10
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Just to add a few thoughts -

Jeff - the WWW has a lot of info out there, perhaps the collective knowledge of mankind already, or not too far into the future... bone up on research and install a good BS filter, and go for it... I think you'll find a few good resources worth purchasing outright if you want to save time, but most of what you need to learn might already be here on DVi.

Philip - you're spot on when you talk about the "paper mill" operations. "Education" is often sold/marketed on the basis that if you simply sit at the feet of a "guru" for a while, doors and opportunity will be magically flung open for you and you will become rich famous and beautiful... OK, sure, and I have a nice bridge right over here...

And again you hit the mark when you say the camera needs to become a natural part of you, sort of a magical third eye through which you can show others your unique view of the world!

Apprenticeships have a long tradition, and are a mixed bag - if you're looking to add people to your "crew", you don't want to spend money finding out you have an enthusiastic but talentless candidate. OTOH, if you do find someone who has talent and motivation, you should be willing to step up and compensate fairly, or have a competitor snap them up (or they do it themselves).

The amazing thing about the i'net is that no longer does one have to seek out a "local" expert (if there even IS one), but rather you can seek knowledge where you find it, relatively efficiently.



Just a general take on the question at hand...

Skill can be learned - you can figure out what an "f-stop" is and that it's not a booty call... you can learn the basics of camera operation, framing, editing, and so on. These sorts of things CAN come from books, etc. and a good teacher will probably share many nuances and tricks of the trade.

Talent, that's another story... some people can pick up a camera and instinctively "nail the shot", others it won't matter how much "edu-ma-ca-tin" you apply, they simply won't have in in them, their talents lie elsewhere.

Temperment - this is a "personal" thing, and some people thrive on high pressure "one shot" live "performances", others simply aren't cut out for that sort of thing. It's probably important to figure this one out early on, as it's not wise to undertake "high pressure" situations if it's just not your bag.

"Business" knowledge is a whole other issue if you are planning on staying "in business" - it's more of a "dry" science, but without it, you won't be around long. Ultimately, you have to charge enough (and know how to figure that amount out) that you can pay yourself, any assistants, your expenses, and new equipment as well as grow your "operation". Sure, with low overhead you CAN work cheap - and eventually get a nice blue apron to wear while gretting shoppers... there are "laws" of economics you just can't get around, as the general world economy is aptly illustrating at the moment.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 06:43 PM   #11
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Phillip, I agree it that it is competitive and the indusrty cannot sustain x amount of new talent every year especially in localised markets. However, my point was that it should not always be the newest competitors who get squeezed out and not given enough opportunity - rather it should be the dead wood or least talented. And 'newest' does not necisarilly align with 'least talented' as many people seem to believe.

Chris, while I am happy to hear your response, I hope you do not feel the need to 'defend' yourself because I was in no way attacking you personally. As I said at the beginning of my post, I respect your views and, bieng from Australia where the market is very different to the USA, your posts are usually some of the most relevant and helpful to me.

Dave, I agree you cannot survive on talent alone. There's a combination of skills and knowledge required to master the trade, and a further set of skills required to run a business in that trade.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 07:12 PM   #12
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John, talent's like oil, it always rises to the surface and clearly being young or new isn't a mark against you - and some of the worst practicioners in our market are prehistorics who should have retired long since.

I should have written "defend" in parenthesis, I meant it to raise a smile - though it's always good to have two Aussies having a go at each other instead of beating the hell out of us poms!
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 07:28 PM   #13
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Hi John

Absolutely no problem!! It's an unfortunate fact of life here that you can become a "wedding photographer" simply by taking a 6 month "photography and video" course at the local TAFE and convincing Daddy to shell out for a Canon 5D for you. However these newcomers don't last long when they realise that you DO actually have to work with both photo and video jobs!!

I know a few priests who should have retired a long time ago!!! Forgetting the couple's names, completely omitting the ring ceremony ....when I feel I'm too senile for this work I shall gracefully retire..however I do it mainly cos I love it!!

Chris
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