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


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Old August 23rd, 2010, 10:13 AM   #1
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My latest wedding adventure

So two things happened that were thought-provoking at my latest wedding this past Saturday.

One, About 20 min to the service, the pastor FREAKED out when he noticed that we moved the church's tripod and camera off the stand and to the side and replaced it with our own. Actually yelling at my assistant saying that we didn't know how much that stuff costs and that it is very expensive, and we shouldn't touch things that aren't ours. We apologized and had to find another place for our camera.

Now, I will be the first to say, yes, we were presumptuous and shouldn't have moved anything without asking. But it was just one of those... "it's not what you said, but how you said it" kinda deals. He did seem to simmer down as he was joking with us at the end of the service. So at least I made sure we left on good terms.


But the real reason/question i had was. Prior to the ceremony after the hair and make up. The Bride was trying to "fix" her hair and had a breakdown because it wasn't doing what she wanted it to do and she hated it. All the bridesmaids were attending to her and all that. I was right there in the bathroom watching.

Have anyone else been in this situation. What did you do? Did you keep rolling watching the chaos? Did you leave the area to maybe tape something else?

For those that did tape it, did you use the footage?

I know by the end of the day it will be one of those laughing moments, but I wonder if you being there is adding more stress to the situation than is needed.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 11:00 AM   #2
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I would just ask her.

I had the meanest photographer on Saturday and she was deliberately standing in front of my camera the WHOLE day. I have footage of her yelling at me, snapping at the guest and yelling constantly in the video. Now, I have to ask the bride if she wants those shots cut out during the important parts of the evening (ceremony, toast, thank you's by the couple)

I would wait a week or so when she has settled in then call her or email her.

It's the best way to go.

Also offer it on her personal DVD in the Extras Chapter or Deleted Scenes section.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 11:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Langerak View Post

I had the meanest photographer on Saturday and she was deliberately standing in front of my camera the WHOLE day. I have footage of her yelling at me, snapping at the guest and yelling constantly in the video.
On soapbox

Hmmm, that would have lasted about 15 seconds with me then we would have had a "conversation" and perhaps an attutide adjustment. You do not have to take that from anyone. I know it's hard to say that but trust me, been there done that, once. One thing I know is I have a reputation of being easy to work with but cross me and I will become your worst nightmare. Common sense, thinking before acting or speaking and a little professionalism go a very long way in my book and I've been around long enough to not only know the book I think I wrote a lot of it.

Don't mean to hijack and this is all I will say about this issue but we as videographers nor any other professional should never and I mean never have to put up with that type of behavior from anyone and having been a still photog way back in the day I know how hard their job can be also but use some common sense and a little bit of the brains you were given and above all, try a little courtesy among other pros cause you might be working with me next week and that behavior will not fly with ol' uncle Don. I am not the guy to go to war with over behavior like that.

Off soap box.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 02:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alden Miller View Post
So two things happened that were thought-provoking at my latest wedding this past Saturday.

One, About 20 min to the service, the pastor FREAKED out when he noticed that we moved the church's tripod and camera off the stand and to the side and replaced it with our own. Actually yelling at my assistant saying that we didn't know how much that stuff costs and that it is very expensive, and we shouldn't touch things that aren't ours. We apologized and had to find another place for our camera.

But the real reason/question i had was. Prior to the ceremony after the hair and make up. The Bride was trying to "fix" her hair and had a breakdown because it wasn't doing what she wanted it to do and she hated it. All the bridesmaids were attending to her and all that. I was right there in the bathroom watching.

Have anyone else been in this situation. What did you do? Did you keep rolling watching the chaos? Did you leave the area to maybe tape something else?

For those that did tape it, did you use the footage?

I know by the end of the day it will be one of those laughing moments, but I wonder if you being there is adding more stress to the situation than is needed.

1. Clearly the Pastor is by far acting unpastor-like here and forgetting the two people who really matter and that's the couple getting married. It sounds like he/she needs to go back and read Corinthians... especially the part about empty clanging vessels.

2. The bad hair moment: I take the viewpoint that a wedding production is to document one of the best events in a person/s life. It's my job to be sensitive and to take into account that people (even Pastors) are stressed. But the real problem is the obsessed bride - the ones that do not accept that things sometimes can go "not according to plan" in what is supposed to be the "perfect" day.

All you can do is reassure and capture the "best" moment to reflect on the day as being a "great" day. Let's face it, no one wants to see a disaster on their wedding day? But did you discuss with your client that the video is a documentary of the day? Personally I would dump the bride make up thing and find a production solution around the problem.

As to the photographer issue, we've all been there: the photographer who really wants to be somewhere else other than at a ANOTHER wedding and has been doing the same job for 30 years (so he says) and really wants to pap' one picture and earn 100,000. And thinks video has no part in his shot organisation (often he) and gets into YOUR shot at evey opportunity, then grandstands to "his" public that you are not worthy to follow in his wake because he is the man, and your just... well, some upstart with a point-and-shoot video camera in full auto and software that edits the whole thing then automatically places the completed programme onto a thing called a DVD. He goes on to remind anyone who is still listening that he has a 14-year-old nephew who can do the whole thing for less than 200!

Photographer: one frame (often with flash, pose and expose with the wander around attachment); Video: at least a sequence of 8 seconds, all frames shot to "near" perfection and in natural lighting. Then string a sufficient number of those together to create a production lasting about 60 minutes or more - priceless.

You learn to roll with it :)
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 06:46 PM   #5
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Every time there is a mad photog (I must admit - not too often lately) I just try to avoid him/her. If he/she appears in the critical shot then he/she'll be pictured in the final video as well - I'm not a magician and I cannot erase ppl - it's not Photoshop CS5 with it's famous creative fill tool (or whatever the name of it is). I also let the B&G know that there were issues with the photog that I couldn't fix in post. On the other hand I had at least two couples that were so tired of a photog, that they told him to stop and walk away, and that they don't want to be bothered by him anymore (both times during photo session in the park).

As far as Bride melt down - I'd cut it out - I know the video supposed to be a documentary but up to some point I think.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 08:23 PM   #6
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Nice soap box rant Don!!!

You don't have to take that kind of abuse at all. What I always do is greet the photog and be friendly and you will find that they will be quite nice. I always point out where my tripod with the main camera is and ask nicely if they can avoid it but if they have to cross in front of my field of view just do it quickly (I can cover the photog in the shot with a cutaway) If you are nice to them they usually are nice to you. However if you do get a real idiot, then you have no option but to take Don's attitude and be a little forceful.

I think the golden rule with other gear is to ask first!! I did a wedding a long time back where hotel staff grabbed my gear and moved it without asking and I was furious!!! Simply asking the priest nicely would probably result in them moving their camera for you.

I tend to leave out moments that are not relevant to the day...filming a bride stressing over her messed up hair will only make matters worse...it might look funny to you but she might not appreciate the scene, even later!!

Chris
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 09:23 PM   #7
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"One, About 20 min to the service, the pastor FREAKED out when he noticed that we moved the church's tripod and camera off the stand and to the side and replaced it with our own. Actually yelling at my assistant saying that we didn't know how much that stuff costs and that it is very expensive, and we shouldn't touch things that aren't ours. We apologized and had to find another place for our camera."


Was the pastor wrong in his rant during the ceremony? Heck yes...but dude, really? That is the type of thing that will make a church require a "videographer terms and conditions" form next time. And I hate dealing with those.

It should be a rule of thumb to talk with the pastor/whoever and find out the do's and don't's of the venue, it's a good ice breaker to ask permission to respectfully break those rules. ;-)
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Old August 24th, 2010, 03:41 AM   #8
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Sorry but I'm going to be a bit harsher on the subject of moving the camera. I too am easy going but I have one rule - touch my camera and you die -. No I don't believe that you should go about moving other's equipment to suit yourself, especially recording equipment. Part of the job as a professional is to do your prep and determine before you start just where you want to position and if necessary negotiate permission to move anything.This is exactly the sort of unprofessional - I want to get my shot at all costs - conduct that gets videographers banned for churches. One of the churches in my area which had always been welcoming to videographers recently instituted a ban on any cameras at the front of the church. This was as a result of a video gang (as I'd call a crew of 5 at a wedding) re-arranged the altar furniture and flower arrangements to accommodate their two front cameras and lighting stands. All done immediately before the wedding without asking anybody connected with the church. They were from over a 100 miles away so hadn't attended the rehearsal of even phoned the church before to ascertain what was and wasn't permitted. The vicar didn't want to cause an incident just before the wedding but from then on he will only permit one one camera, no lighting and the camera must remain at the back behind the pews. All as a result of one over zealous videography company wanting to get their epic regardless of the consequences.
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Old August 24th, 2010, 05:49 AM   #9
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George, I like your thinking because I am the same way. Touch my gear and there WILL be hell to pay.
I also agree with you and others that stated to me what was obvious. You don't go moving the churches stuff to place your own without discussing that in advance with the person in charge at the church. I'm don't want to say the OP was wrong in doing that but IMO they were wrong. Of course so was the pastor ranting about it during the ceremony. He should have waited until the ceremony was over and had "the talk" with the OP then.
Alden, here's my problem with what you did. You got this pastor riled up and thinking about what he can do to tighten up the rules of his house and trust me it is his house when the next videographer goes in there and that might be me, and now my client gets to suffer from your breaking the house rules. Sure you got your shot but the next person in doesn't get anything. Not sayung you didn't make up witht eh pastor later but I know for a fact the next people in will not even get a chance. It's happened to me a few over the last 27 years and I know it will happen again.
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Old August 24th, 2010, 06:16 AM   #10
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Hi Don and George

Never mind moving Church stuff (which I would never do without permission) I even ask the pastor for his boundaries for video as well as if it will be OK for my camera to be in a certain spot. It's his Church and if you respect his rules then you will always be welcome there. Our local Catholic Church (I don't attend it as one of the congregation) has got to the stage where the pastor simply waves me thru now and says "you know what to do" ...I have gained his trust but I still wouldn't touch any Church object even though I know he wouldn't mind me doing so!! I think it's all about having respect and the simple fact that you are there by invitation and should behave with utmost courtesy!!

I make an absolute point of attending the boring rehersal too!!! It pays HUGE dividends on the day!!

Chris
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Old August 24th, 2010, 02:44 PM   #11
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I would have asled someone at the church about moving the cam but the pastor really shouldn't be "freaking out" either. On the other hand, you have to realise how many photographers and videographers these people have to put up with in a year so trust is definitiely an issue.

My Mother is a Marriage Commissioner here in BC (Civil Weddings Officient) and now has a natural disdain for photographers as so many of them have irritated her over the years. (In her face with cameras/flashes, interrupting the ceremony to move the couple a few inches, delaying the ceremony for unscheduled shoots, etc, etc, etc).

As for the bride hair meltdown. It really depends on the brides personality. You have some women that would find that funny after the fact, others that would prefer to hire hitmen to hunt you down and ensure there is no evidence what so ever! :) And lets face it, the ones most likely to have a bridezilla meltdown, are going to be in that later category.
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Old August 24th, 2010, 04:21 PM   #12
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Hey Alden, I think there is a bit of confusion of the timing of when the rant occured.

I had to re-read the first sentence several times and concluded that you meant to say the 20 mintues prior to the ceremony is when the camera incident occured?

From some of the responses, it looks like a few of us are confused that the vicar actually stopped 20 minutes into the ceremony to rant about the camera (which I don't think is the case)

Can you clarify? I know the exact timing does not impact much the point of the conversation here, but just for my own understanding is appreciated.
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Old August 24th, 2010, 10:54 PM   #13
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I'm very much in agreement with George on this. Frankly it sounds as if the OP hadn't done a proper recce and met the pastor before the day - and before the rehearsal - in my view the rehearsal is for the couple not the pros.

We have encountered our first really difficult church - for a wedding this coming Friday. One camera at the front with an eyeline directly to the groom!. No extra remote controlled camera anywhere even located invisibly in a side chapel and working through a metal screen. The Vicar even went so far as to say "they have a rule for all video and photographers - whether they're amateur or professional!" And the client is paying over 1000 for their service. They'll be getting a reminder about our article in a forthcoming bridal magazine about churches that take the money but couldn't give a toss about the clients.

In the next breath he says he has no idea where the four piece gospel choir will go - "it's up to them".

Don't you just love consistency?

On the other hand, a couple of weeks ago we had the most professional of photographers. I explained beforehand where our cameras would be at the reception and explained that we could easily cope with him passing through our eyelines. Whhat I would really appreciate I explained was if he could avoid being stationary in our eyelines. Throughout the reception he walked around behind every camera.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 08:28 AM   #14
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Hi Philip

Last Sunday I did a wedding and the photog and I had a chat about crossing the camera and he took the time and trouble to walk around my main cam every single time he needed a shot from another angle. It was truely appreciated and it's one of the few footages of the ceremony where the photog just doesn't appear anywhere. 'Sigh' If only they were all like that, wouldn't life be easy!!!

Chris
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