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


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Old October 10th, 2010, 05:49 AM   #1
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Advice on first wedding shoot....

Hi to all,
Well the time has come to shoot my first wedding, just hoping some of you seasoned pros might offer some tips so I don't have to make every newbs first 1000 mistakes, lol.
Been watching all the highlight videos on here and trying to learn what to capture at the right time and place, I know this is probably obvious, but is it the norm to capture virtually everything and then rip it down to -
a 10 min highlights
and a DVD or BLURAY of about 90 to 120 mins?
Is it cool to put a H4N on the alter to capture the vows, or would the Priest laugh at me and banish me from the church?
How long do you normally hang out with the bride while getting ready, all day, or just for 30 mins? I know every job is different, just after averages.
How many cams do you think is ideal to capture the church and reception? I'm limited to me and a friend as cameramen but have access to more HD cams that could be locked down for wide shots. Overkill?
I'll prob think of more, any feedback would be so appreciated.
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Old October 10th, 2010, 10:13 AM   #2
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My cynical friends here will see my name and assume I'm suggesting three cameras, six channels of radio etc etc. I'm not. My opinion is that if this is your very first wedding you find out exactly what will happen, where and when. Then assume that 30-40% of that will go wrong and be ready for it.

Get the camera you're most familiar with, ideally like a second skin, regardless of spec and do your best to record everything that happened. Nothing tricksy, just steady, well exposed video, adhering to the rules of framing and composition etc.

If you get acceptable material then I think you can be very proud of yourself for your first try.

Don't expect to win awards, try different ways of editing the stuff and generally play with it.

Then decide what you'll do differently next time.

Best of luck.
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Old October 10th, 2010, 12:57 PM   #3
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I think that Phillips advise is on point. However, I would highky reccomend that you rent a second camera if you do not have one. I would place the second camera on a tripod for a static wide shot.This will be your saftey net if something goes wrong. Also, I would record at least two tracks of audio just in case there is a problem with one of the mics. ANd finally, I would suggest going to the rehearsal if you can. I would bring hte amera along and film it, so that you can get a good idea of what you will face for the actual event.
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Old October 10th, 2010, 06:48 PM   #4
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thanks guys,
Going to the rehearsal is a great idea, yes, the wide shot is a good safety. As rough as it sounds, I'm kinda treating this like a live band shoot (its all i know,lol ) with moving talent.
I've got a GY HM100 which i'm pretty comfortable with more so than the GH1. I' would love to use the GH1 and manual focus all the way through but i'm thinking, like Phillip said, with so much room for error the HM100 will be safer for the important shots, and maybe use the GH1 for crowd stuff at the reception.
Is it normally considered ok to leave a H4n somewhere to get the vows if you dont have a Lapel mic?
I notice alot of you guys use H2's, is it for the vows?
Will the quality of a HV20 as a wide shot be credible?
Not really keen to rent another cam for a love job.
With all the vids I've watched on the wedding demo thread, i've yet to see one that I wouldn't be proud to say I did. I feel as though my skills need to step up a bit. Gotta luv a challenge :)
thanks again for the input.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 02:07 AM   #5
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As you've already figured out the "talent" moves, and you need to map out in your head, once you've seen the venue (rehearsal), where you want to be to get the shots. Figure out where you need to be, and how you will get there at each phase of the ceremony. If you can't be where you want to be, figure out if you can set a static camera set to an approximate framing to get that shot.

Always shoot like you've got one camera, but if you have a few available and tripods for them, the more cameras rolling (properly placed of course), the more cutaway angles you will have in post. If you can position a camera that gets a good angle on the bride from the front/groom side that's always good. One shooting towards the groom is a bonus. As noted, a wide "safety" shot from the rear is advisable.

As long as your cameras do well under the lighting conditions and intermix well, you can probably get away with a couple different models in the mix, try to match them as best as you can before you start them rolling.

A small digital recorder with a lav on the groom is usually the best way to get the vows, the bigger Zooms are on the large side for this. It's going to be tough to get a recorder in the "hot zone" unless it's on the groom, officiant, or perhaps suspended overhead if there's an arbor. SOMETIMES you'll get lucky and get a good "house audio", but I've yet to have it happen twice in a row... I know wireless is popular, but several local venues have so much wireless equipment on site there's no "space" for another frequency, so my preference is towards an iRiver with a lav.
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Old October 11th, 2010, 10:47 AM   #6
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For a standard wedding video I will give the couple a 25-40 minute video and a 2-3 minute "reprise". I do the reprise after the main edit is finished, so there is only 2/3 hours of extra work.

But I don't shoot a lot of b-roll, unless the client asks for it.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 12:01 AM   #7
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Don't think anyone have answered your question on the prep time yet.. but I usually hang around about 2 hours during prep.. to give me plenty of time to shoot the wedding gown, shoes, and anything that happens in the morning.. so my footage is not just the bride making up or getting dressed

I've used HV20 in the past.. I dont think its a bad camera for a backup for a starter

I suggest you hide/plant the H4N near the speaker instead.. and place your camera near the speaker too.. this helped me in the past getting clear audio!

And remember to bring backup batteries and tapes, as much as possible. All the best! :)
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Old October 12th, 2010, 02:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ralph View Post
For a standard wedding video I will give the couple a 25-40 minute video and a 2-3 minute "reprise". I do the reprise after the main edit is finished, so there is only 2/3 hours of extra work.

But I don't shoot a lot of b-roll, unless the client asks for it.
Do you not include speeches?. In my experience the speeches alone can take that time and even a well cut-down ceremony will be 15 minutes.
I do similar to you Peter - main event plus a recap short-form montage but the main event is 60 to 90 minutes. It is chaptered into manageable chunks though.

Last edited by George Kilroy; October 12th, 2010 at 03:31 AM.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 10:44 AM   #9
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George - I include the speeches, even interviews if I can, but I edit them heavily. With 30 minutes of speeches, or a long religious ceremony, I might add a standalone chapter on the DVD. But when that has happened it has normally been because "Uncle Harry would be upset if he was cut out of the video".

The important thing is that the client agrees to the approach beforehand.
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Old October 12th, 2010, 07:06 PM   #10
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Hi Gerald

Since it's your first, shoot plenty of footage, even if you don't use it..it will be good practice anyway!!
I always go to the rehearsal to look over the venue and you can then also confirm with the priest where you can position yourself...most of our Churches have narrow aisles and if you are too far back you will have plenty of heads to contend with and also make sure you have an clear view when people do the readings!! I try to get in the aisle on the right about 2 rows back so the bride is favoured and I can also get a clear shot of the lectern where they will do readings.

Aussie receptions are nortorious for lighting and you will find that the venue during the evening looks like a dimly lit cave!!! Grab an on-cam LED light for your camera!! They are not that flattering but at least you can get decent footage when the venue dim the lights down to nothing....if you can, ask the co-ordinator if you can raise the lights during the speeches ..it will make a big difference!!!

Good luck with the shoot!!

Chris
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Old October 18th, 2010, 09:54 AM   #11
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Gerald - focus on the basics - still camera, well exposed, in focus. Keep the camera running as much as possible, take lots of B-footage in case you need cutaways. Stationary B-camera if at all possible for the vows. Make a checklist and go over it again and again - good luck!
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Old November 4th, 2010, 09:04 PM   #12
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Hi guys, I just wanted to say a massive Thank you, to everyone for the advice.
The week before, I was a wreck, running around organizing gear and trying to prepare, from the advice on here, I asked if I could attend the rehearsal, but they didnt really have one, so I was totally blind to the venue, the people, and the structure of the event.

And I must say, I renovate bathrooms for a living, its pretty physically demanding work, but after all day filming a wedding, I was smashed! The stress of trying to be everywhere at the right time, I was running with a camera in my hand all day. My hat is off to you all.

And then just to make things even more interesting, a thunderstorm hit right after the vows. arghhhhhh!
I learnt about a 1000 things in one day, from the importance of a steady hand, to, there is always time to white balance.

Anyway thanks again guys, now I'm looking forward to doing another one :)
Ill put a link in the sample section, if anyone wants to offer critique, It would be much appreciated.
PS Does Vimeo always crush the blacks so much?
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