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


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Old July 23rd, 2010, 01:09 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar View Post
Hi Chalie it dpends how pro you want to go.

I cover EVERY ceremony with a minimum of three cams, often 4. Me at the front, camera down the isle, camera at the pulpit/lecturn, camera at the guests, and even sometimes another camea with me to zoom in on the rings going on while the main camera is filming them from waist up. PLus the groom is micced and there's a Edirol r-09 on the lecturn!

I might trim down a verse or two of All Things Bright and Beautiful but they get the service, and if for some reason I have double dipped I am now well covered. Ad I am single videographer, no second cameraman.

This all needs to be set up so I get to the ceremony an hour before kickoff. I very rarely get the bride in her dress at home. I lave before she gets it on and the first time it is seen is getting out of the vinage car at the ceremony.
Hi Steve. How on earth do you manage to retrieve all of your kit and get it packed away in your car after the ceremony without missing out on what's going on outside the church when the couple go out? I also work alone and usually have a second small camera (HM-100) locked on a light tripod and a radio mic on the lectern (groom's mic'd anyway). I can cram the second cam and mic into a grab bag and leave it with the wedding car driver, I don't risk getting to my car and back as I'd miss so much of those first reactions the couple have when they are first congratulated by their friends. I could wait until the photog starts but often they are so quick and ready to go I couldn't take the chance.
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 01:26 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Steve Shovlar View Post
it dpends how pro you want to go.
You have to be honest Steve, recording a wedding with 4 manned camera's I could consider "pro" if every operator knows what he is doing and would handle his camera in full manual mode but not if you leave 3 camera's unmanned. Especially at THE most important moment leaving your main cam unattended just to get a close up of the rings seems risky business. What if the couple moves to much, or the photog blocks the shot of your main cam?
I'm happy if I find the time to just add one extra camera as safety but I do cover the entire event with my main cam as if that was the only camera available, the second is just for B-roll.
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 02:12 PM   #33
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While certainly having 4 manned cameras would be ideal, after a while you get to know where your cameras should be placed for maximum effect and coverage (and I even make sure to visit the cameras to reset zoom ranges for best framing), and so having 3-4 cameras rolling that have been placed in advance can provide angles in post that you simply can't get when you're a "one man show".

It's not as haphazard as you might expect, and while there's a risk of an angle being blocked, that applies even if you've got a manned camera, and although you don't know for certain what you've captured until you dump the footage, usually it will provide some great angles to cut to.

With "manned" cameras there are issues of zooming, panning, shaking, and other things - I'd rather set my settings so I know they are the same, press record before the start, pop by to zoom in once the wedding party is up front, and after they are out, pick up the cameras. It's not as crazy as it sounds, and IMO works very effectively to get the needed angles. It forces you to think through the venue layout and the progression of the service, so when it's actually happening, you've already done it in your head, which makes things much less stressful! Where it gets tricky is when it's a new venue that isn't easy to "set", and you've got to do it fast.
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 02:14 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by George Kilroy View Post
Hi Steve. How on earth do you manage to retrieve all of your kit and get it packed away in your car after the ceremony without missing out on what's going on outside the church when the couple go out? I
I'm not in the exact same situation. We'll have two or three people and either 4 or 5 cameras to get packed up, along with tripods, Steadicam, slider, three mic kits, and laptop. But still, it's a lot of gear to haul around.

My response is simple: nothing is going on outside the church right after the ceremony that needs covering. Unless there is something relevant like a dove release going on, I have no problem leaving the mingling and group photos to the photographer as we pack up our gear.

It's a matter of finding a plan and getting to know it inside and out. I am always up on right side of the church, facing the bride, and by the time the couple is a quarter of the way down the aisle I have picked up the Zoom recorder on the lectern, monopod, and tripod, and I'm speeding down the side of the aisle while everyone's eyes are on the bride and groom.

The other shooter covers them until they leave the church and then we're back inside, collecting mics, cameras, and making sure the cards we used for the ceremony are in a safe place. We can be gone before the bride and groom if that was what we wanted.

Of course, it's tougher with four cameras and one person, but I still personally believe that unless there is something important going on, put your energy into making sure you don't forget anything at the church. I have never had anyone say to me, "I loved the film, but can you add an over the shoulder shot of the photographer taking a photo of me and my cousins?"

I think the main thing I have taken from this thread, and for which I am a huge believer, is that if you need to be at the church a hour earlier, be there a hour earlier. Talk with the bride beforehand and explain, "I need to be at the church at this time, which means that you need to be in your dress at that time."

Ideally, the bride and groom should have hired you because they think you are fabulous. If they like you, they will work around your schedule.

And if they aren't into changing their schedule, kindly explain that means there will be no zipping up of the dress in their film. If they're cool with that, then at least you've done your due diligence.

Everyone knows what they need to do the job right.

If you're doing groom prep and need enough time to her, get him to fake putting the tux on and fixing his tie. Tell him he can take it off as soon as you get what you need. I don't know how many times this has happened to me.

If you're going to be late for the church, and the bride doesn't want to get the dress on early, then leave before the dress is on and cut the film in a way so that the big dress reveal comes at the church instead of her home.

If you're going to be late to the reception, then leave the photo shoot early. Get what you need as soon as you can and leave the photographer to shoot and be the one running in during the introductions.

If you missed capturing something you feel essential to their film, work on your editing until you come up with something that tells the story without that shot.

This all goes hand in hand with checking the traffic throughout the day, leaving early in the morning, and carrying tons of water in the car so you can quickly drink water that tastes like it's from a hot tub when you don't have time to stop at a store. We're the pros, we should know how to work around these obstacles.

My main point: take control. You are getting paid because you are the professional, and as a professional you should be able to speak up and take control of the day if that is what you have to do to produce a film the couple will rave about for decades to come. That's the name of the game, after all, creating something the bride and groom will love.

I apologize for taking this thread off track, as that's not the original post was about. But it seemed like this was where the thread was headed. If anyone in charge feels this is too off topic, please feel free to delete this post.
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 02:22 PM   #35
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and while there's a risk of an angle being blocked, that applies even if you've got a manned camera"
While I agree having the option of 4 cameraangles gives you a lot of possibilities during editing they won't save you on important shots, if my main cam gets blocked I just move to a position where I get a clear view but if your unmanned camera's get blocked in important shots that's gone.

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With "manned" cameras there are issues of zooming, panning, shaking, and other things
So you are saying a manned camera might give you more issues then an unmanned camera??
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 03:18 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Matthew Craggs View Post
My main point: take control. You are getting paid because you are the professional, and as a professional you should be able to speak up and take control of the day if that is what you have to do to produce a film the couple will rave about for decades to come.
Now picture this: (and I'm talking from a one person shooter point of view at a typical Belgian wedding - one cameraman because the couple doesn't want to pay for a second one and since this thread is about one person recordings)

You start at the town hall were the legal part with the mayor is performed, that's the easy part which takes about 15-20 minutes. You pack up your gear, go to your car and in the meantime the limo is standing in the front entrance picking up the couple while you still are putting all your gear in the car. With a little luck if you know some shortcuts you arrive at the church just before they do to find out there is no parking space left. You then park 300 m further, drag all your gear in while the limo is already standing outside. There is no master of ceremony and eventhough you asked the couple to wait untill you can mic th egroom everybody gets out anyway and while you struggle setting up your tripods, second camera and audio the priest allready leads the groom inside the church.
Only thing left to do is film that part, mic the groom when he's at the altar and immediately after that film when the bride comes in.

It doesn't allways get that hectic but it isn't the first time I had to deal with such a situation, getting full controll like this is wishfull thinking and has nothing to do with "professionalism", most couples couldn't care less about how you manage, it's their weddingday and they want to be disturbed as less as possible. They expect that you are professional enough to deal with these hectic situations. Even asking them to wait a bit longer at the town hall so you get your precious extra minutes is not done, I'm absolutely sure they will keep to THEIR timeschedule and expect you to keep up. That's what they think they paid you for.
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 03:22 PM   #37
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I'm with you Noa, the only reason I use a second camera is that at one time I had a problem with tape drop-outs and so started to always use a back-up where possible for the ceremony. It's nice to be able to vary the shot in the edit but I too always use my main camera as if it's the only one.
By the way as I now shoot to SD cards so I have lost my fear of drop-outs but having only changed this year I am just about getting comfortable with using cards. It's very worrisome doing live one-off events.

Just a little bit in addition, I wrote the above earlier but didn't post it until after Matthew posted his.

You obviously have a different work practice with a crew to assist. I don't think that many (if any) of the churches here would permit four cameras to be recording during the ceremony. It often takes some careful negotiation to get permission for a second camera to be located somewhere "discrete". Most British vicars recoil from the thought of the ceremony being turned into a "film set"
Also I've only once been asked to present the complete ceremony and only then because the bride's mother was in the choir. I edit down to the essentials entrance, vows/exchange of rings, readings (if by family or friend) signing the register and procession out. The informal greetings outside with genuine wishes and kisses are exactly the things that my couples like and book me for, and I never had anybody say that there was something in the church ceremony that they felt was missing. I don't do over the photographer's shoulder shots anyway.
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 03:41 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Matthew Craggs View Post
I'm not in the exact same situation. We'll have two or three people and either 4 or 5 cameras to get packed up, along with tripods, Steadicam, slider, three mic kits, and laptop. But still, it's a lot of gear to haul around.

My response is simple: nothing is going on outside the church right after the ceremony that needs covering.
.
Do you use all of that kit in the church?

I don't understand the second line, do you record nothing outside the church?
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 04:45 PM   #39
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Hi Steve. How on earth do you manage to retrieve all of your kit and get it packed away in your car after the ceremony without missing out on what's going on outside the church when the couple go out? I also work alone and usually have a second small camera (HM-100) locked on a light tripod and a radio mic on the lectern (groom's mic'd anyway). I can cram the second cam and mic into a grab bag and leave it with the wedding car driver, I don't risk getting to my car and back as I'd miss so much of those first reactions the couple have when they are first congratulated by their friends. I could wait until the photog starts but often they are so quick and ready to go I couldn't take the chance.
Everything stays put in the church. I come out in front of the B&G walking backwards and film everything up to them getting in the car and driving off to reception. Then I rush into the church, pack up as quickly but as calmly as possible, then carry the gear to the car and then head off to reception. I am normally last to leave the church. The three small cams have stopped, battery run out. But job done with them. I have to trust that no one in the party will nick my gear in the church ( and the church warden is about anyway)

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
You have to be honest Steve, recording a wedding with 4 manned camera's I could consider "pro" if every operator knows what he is doing and would handle his camera in full manual mode but not if you leave 3 camera's unmanned. Especially at THE most important moment leaving your main cam unattended just to get a close up of the rings seems risky business. What if the couple moves to much, or the photog blocks the shot of your main cam?
I'm happy if I find the time to just add one extra camera as safety but I do cover the entire event with my main cam as if that was the only camera available, the second is just for B-roll.
If I had 3 other operators I would be so much more expensive than I already am I would hardly get a look in. Arriving at the church an hour before gives me 30 minutes to get sorted, angles, framed and focussed. If guests block the shot for a short while ( it happens) its no big deal.

As for leaving my manned main camera unmanned, I am standing right next to it. When the rings go on the couples don't move. And the framing from the main camera is from waist up, so a bit of flexibility. I am the only one allowed to stand behind the vicar in 90% of weddings I shoot. The tog stands at the back or to the side. He won't get within ten feet of my camera.

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While certainly having 4 manned cameras would be ideal, after a while you get to know where your cameras should be placed for maximum effect and coverage (and I even make sure to visit the cameras to reset zoom ranges for best framing), and so having 3-4 cameras rolling that have been placed in advance can provide angles in post that you simply can't get when you're a "one man show".

It's not as haphazard as you might expect, and while there's a risk of an angle being blocked, that applies even if you've got a manned camera, and although you don't know for certain what you've captured until you dump the footage, usually it will provide some great angles to cut to.
Exactly Dave. And it is so easy to sunch up as the cameras are never turned off. Drop them on the timeline one above the other, sync them up and cut betewn them when needed. Makes my one man band show look like I have a full camera crew if used correctly. OK I can't zoom or anything but the effect is more than adequate.

One thing I can't do is beat the B&G to the reception if it's a church wedding. I am ten minutes after their arrival but no biggie. All I would have missed is the manager greeting them and giving them a glass of bubbly.
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Old July 23rd, 2010, 11:30 PM   #40
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I will join Dave and most likely Matthew in "the more views the better" camp.

Dave, a hat tip to you, for being able to pull off four cams solo.

I know me, and when I get rushed, I get frenzied and right after that, then I start screwing up. I learned this the hard way first screwing up a great gig to the point of disaster, and the next time out, losing a cam out of my hands ...... lens first onto the concrete floor. I swore off doing solo multi cam shoots that night.

But, that's me and don't claim what works for me is best, but there sure are pluses for having one extra body along for the gig. For me, I don't look at the second shooter as an expense. For me, it is a requirement, just like a mic or tripod, if I am going to have anything when the job is done.

I did have a checklist before, but with the DVXs now, I need to build a new one to incorporate the differences. We won't discuss the button I left clicked on for the last two shoots, that shouldn't have been. As far as my second shooter will ever know,,,,,, it never happened. :-)
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Old July 24th, 2010, 01:35 AM   #41
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While I agree having the option of 4 cameraangles gives you a lot of possibilities during editing they won't save you on important shots, if my main cam gets blocked I just move to a position where I get a clear view but if your unmanned camera's get blocked in important shots that's gone.



So you are saying a manned camera might give you more issues then an unmanned camera??
Any camera can be blocked, and as noted, the one you've got "manned" should always be on the "money shot", and shot as if no others were rolling... but more than once I've been saved by having a "second angle" in mixdown.

I trust my settings, framing and camera positioning - it may not be as dynamic as a good cameraman, but there's one less "thing" to go wrong... human error (the "theme" of the thread, and it's happened before...) is the "highest risk", IMO. Unless I completely forget to start all the cameras running (flash, no more tape for me!), I've got at the very minimum a wide shot from the rear to work with... but as I say, I've got the "template" in my head, all I need is to hit the venue and work out the placement.

I've got good steady tripods as well as discrete mounts - setting a small camera at an angle you know you want but probably wouldn't be able to get otherwise works for me. I've clamped cameras to railings on a riverboat... my "kit" isn't overly large or heavy, other than the tripods, but it's prepared for mounting cameras discretely and effectively as needed. Also I set everything up (camera and accessory wise) in a hard case, so everything comes out fast, and loads back up fast as well.
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Old July 24th, 2010, 02:39 AM   #42
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actually, I"m much alike many other single shooters here that use a lot of unmanned gear, whether they are camera's or audio devices. We all take controlled risks and only can hope for the best.
The only way however to be sure the errorrate is limited to a absolute minimum is to have every camera you use manned and to have a dedicated soundguy who does live monitoring and of-course have a communication system in place so you can talk to eachother for directions. But as said, this is a luxury most of us don't have because the client won't pay for it, fact that we still under these circumstances use risks just to make our recordings look almost as good as the real thing says a lot about how serious we take our job. But it cannot be denied that the risk of making mistakes, or by lack of time, or by lack of control will always be a factor to take into consideration.
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Old July 24th, 2010, 11:16 AM   #43
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18 years of wedding videos and I worry about that little red button every time.
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Old July 25th, 2010, 07:16 PM   #44
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Especially at THE most important moment leaving your main cam unattended just to get a close up of the rings seems risky business. What if the couple moves to much, or the photog blocks the shot of your main cam?
I always take the couple back into the church after the dust has 'settled' on the out-the-front-of-the-church stuff and get them to re-enact the putting on of the rings which I shoot as an extreme close-up. I then edit this into the main footage.
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Old July 31st, 2010, 04:55 AM   #45
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and get them to re-enact the putting on of the rings which I shoot as an extreme close-up
Although I must admit that from an editing point of view this is a very clever solution to bypass the limitations of a one-camera recording as it will give you the possibility to shoot from an angle that otherwise would hardly be possible. And if this stays as a "secret" between you and the couple nobody will ever now and always be asking how on earth you managed to pull off such that shot. :)

But...I think it's just me but I never would do such a thing, sometimes you see when they slide on the rings that it's difficult to get the ring on and bride/groom getting nervous or starting to laugh, when I capture the ring part I film them waist up so you can see that they are putting the rings on and even if I can't get a clear shot of that, that doesn't matter to me, it's their reaction, their face expression that counts. If I would redo such a shot afterwards focusing on the rings (and with intention to get an extra point of view) you will notice that it's not filmed at the same moment, it will show that something is not right.

In this case the "creative" shots comes second for me, then I just want to record the emotion as it happens. Only if I would notice that for whatever reason I did not get the ringshot at all, only then I would do what you do just to have something.
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