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


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Old January 1st, 2011, 02:57 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
2 things to add to this imaginary (for the time being kit) ;-)

One being it must fit into 1 standard sized briefcase. No big Pelicans or suitcase size cases.

The second is someone else to set it up and strike it all within no more than 10 minutes.

No I haven't been drinking the bubbly yet, hell, it's only 5:30AM here

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That was funny. I keep telling you Don, you can be my camera toter anytime.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 03:00 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
There are actually quite a few small dedicated clamp/mini-tripod type camera mounts suitable for small-ish cameras... all quite a lot less clunky than that old school light clamp <wink>. AND much more reliable - I wouldn't trust a camera to a "spring" clamp, ever... screw clamps or velcro straps are on the two types I usually use.
Hey David..... CLAMP PODS..... I had no idea what they might be called, thanks, I searched for CLAMP PODS and found some !!!

Here's my thinking, and of course, this is all "in theory" but if one was to attempt to pull this off, to attach to church fixtures/furniture it would have to be absolutely non marring. IMO, one would have to go in with the idea the cheapie mini cam had to be the expendable portion, should something happen. That's why I was thinking spring loaded, so if it ever got bumped, the pew or pulpit etc came away damage free. I saw some that looked like C Clamps, those would hold down a horse !!! :-) Those you are talking about with Velcro though, they sound like they might conform to more applications?

Do you have some names I can search, to find something like the Velcro ones ??? I have had situations arise before where every now and again, as you said about the ship, a tripod just wasn't going to cut it.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 05:00 PM   #18
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You might look at the Pedco UltraPod series - the velcro has to be able to wrap around somthing though, but they are small, and will work as a mini-tripod OR can be lashed to a post or pole or reasonable size. I've got a few extras, if you decide that they might work for you - they aren't very expensive to start with though!

Gorillapods are also sort of cool- they come in various sizes and import knockoff versions.

One style of clamp pods I have are plastic import things, and won't mar or harm surfaces, they have rubber pads on them - look like a little "C" clamp with a mini-ball head and a couple flip out legs if you want to use as a mini tripod.

At one point I had some older, metal, super heavy duty versions of these - bit of overkill for the smaller cams though!
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Old January 1st, 2011, 06:35 PM   #19
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You might look at the Pedco UltraPod series - the velcro has to be able to wrap around somthing though, but they are small, and will work as a mini-tripod OR can be lashed to a post or pole or reasonable size.
I agree, these are very useful. They have a short piece of Velcro that is attached. If you cut some longer pieces of Velcro, you can easily extend the length and wrap around bigger posts, trees or whatever.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 07:18 PM   #20
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I converted a mic stand to a camera mount using a threaded adapter to hold an extra camera last summer, to supplement 2 other manned cameras. I have a heavy duty gorilla-pod but couldn't get it to wrap on anything. It was a relatively long (50 minutes) catholic wedding ceremony with shooting angle issues. In the end i used maybe 1 min of footage (shot 60mins). The footage did not look that great and the time to set-up, strike, capture footage, etc., was really not worth it. And that was only one additional camera. I can't imagine using multiple 'unmanned' cameras. I can see the value in one wide unmanned unit for cut-aways, and insurance, but that's about it for me.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 11:18 PM   #21
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It's all about positioning... I've had good luck with a 4 camera setup (seems to be the "sweet spot" to me, for most events), shooting solo. I seem to recall Joel Peregrine shoots more cams than that solo, so it's doable, but you need to think through placement and framing to get the most usable footage. You have to walk in with a plan in mind and be prepared to drop cameras and nail the framing without any "actors" in place, and get them all started befire the co-ordinator whispers "action"!
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Old January 2nd, 2011, 01:44 AM   #22
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Sorry if Santa didn’t bring exactly what everyone wanted - the thread wasn’t intended to raise temperatures, just interest - and certainly it wasn’t at all critical of people’s current methodology.

In the spirit of the original thread, may I deal with just one or two points?

Claire rightly recalls the days when we rolled up a day early (or two if there was lighting to go in as well) early and ran reels of cable to balancers and to the scanner. But we did it for a purpose - to give us the variety of angles directors needed. And she correctly recalls the move to single camera ops - but I think forgets that those trends were largely budget driven as the unions lost their grip on the way programmes were made and costed.

Michael’s humour (which touched a nerve for all of us I’d bet) will be even better if the gear I imagine can also produce frames that are the the equal of the photographer’s kit - so the bride has 10 times the number of frames from which to choose.

George and others rightly point out that some couples don’t want a production around them - but in truth in my imagined proposition the cameras are so unintrusive - and more importantly, unmanned (in mine and many cases by far the most intrusive element in the rig) so that the “production” effect is absent.

Of course, as John remarks, there are some couples who genuinely want the minimalist approach that maybe George markets (and since he’s done so since U-matic it’s obviously a real segment) so I would not deny it exists.

Others raise the question of sifting through the output of ten cameras. Back to Claire who I’m sure will agree that seated in front of the feed monitors (with a sharp assistant by your side watching for the unexpected) choosing the shot to send to transmit as the event proceeds isn’t very difficult at all - and in those days remember your mistakes went to transmit.

Today with up to 15 multicam images to watch (I’m still in Liquid but I understand that Vegas and others have up to 32) and above all the ability to go back and correct or refine a cut point, editing large numbers of different streams isn’t difficult at all. You do need large monitors (we use 2x24 inch side by side with a third 37" HD output monitor) and a beefy video card but those are not huge costs.

My belief is that many, even most, couples freed of budgetary constraints would choose a multi-angle programme - the sort they’ve dreamed of just as the bride has usually dreamed of her dress. My thread dealt with ways which, in future, that wish might be fulfilled in our markets.

And my bet is that the little wedding taking place in London this spring (which we’ve not been asked to quote for, sadly, but we were probably at another wedding fair when they chose) which will employ exponential quantities of gear and numbers of operators will reinforce the desire for multi-angle, multi-camera videos - for a while at least.

Mind you I wouldn’t be surprised if, secretly, at least one of that particular couple wouldn’t be happier with a smaller wedding, fewer guests and George to do the video.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 02:52 AM   #23
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Philip this is a great thread, a chance to brainstorm, "talk stupid", and just kick around "what ifs". I picked up some useful info from David about pods. Those I can see a use for, for me, right now.

I think the technology in the mini camcorders is still a but raw for "prime time". But if you look to step it up a couple of notches into the consumer line, this idea becomes a lot more plausible right this instant.

What I take away from your postings about this, would be you see the chance to create "an epic" in the bride and grooms eyes. This is distinctly possible, especially given a talented pro positioning the available gear for where he just knows the best shots will be.

I see another potential for this, more toward a "mass production" method of shooting wedding videos.

As I see your vision as being the art and professional portion being in the placement and the knowledge of where the cams should be aimed and why. In the more mass production version of this I see all the art and professionalism being accomplished in the editing chair.

Now, we could do a "hybrid" of this too. The true professional and his trusty assistant go to church A first and set up, then go on to church B and set up there as well. One goes back to church A to watch over the gear and start all the professionally placed cams, while the other does the same at church B. If you add in that professional cam for each, you now have two covered beautifully, where maybe before you just had one ???

Feel free to shoot holes in any of these, that's what this is, brainstorming, right ???
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 03:53 AM   #24
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Chip, first thanks for the comments; I’m pleased others find this blue-sky function of forums as useful as I do.

I made my original proposition fully aware that it had drawbacks that I hadn’t mentioned, for instance although I think I (and anyone with practice) could do the initial multi-cam edit very quickly (remembering that in the “old” days directors did it instantaneously) there would still be quite a bit of work to do in post. Not least of this would be the cropping of the image to trim the framing - regardless of one’s experience, guessing where everyone will stand exactly is well nigh impossible - I and my camera operating colleagues are three who can attest to that.

There’d be the inevitable risk that too much space would be left around the subjects to minimise the post work but my guess is that we’d position one camera to cover the couple standing and a second in roughly the same position to cover them kneeling. I didn’t pick on the number of cameras lightly, in my mind we’d need at least a dozen fixed cameras.

Of course, by definition, none of these cameras would be taking sound that was any use except for syncing and possibly the organ for their tiny size and thus “invisibleness” would be compromised by the addition of even the shortest gun mic. Fortunately I’d be happy with what we have now, three or four radio lavalier mics plus a couple of AT897s for ambient and security all running into a professional digital recorder ( a tip of the hat to Travis et al).

So far I’ve only written about the concept applied to the ceremony but how about sticking a couple of cams on the canapé dishes as they’re taken round the reception, behind the bar, on the piano player’s instrument and so on. For the first dance, ten guests around the floor could be asked to help for three or four minutes.

Whether or not this produced an epic is anyone’s guess, and I don’t pretend to offer complete, worked out solutions but thoughts for others, like you, to hack at, knock down, refine, amend and generally think about. Hopefully it might inspire some of the people new to our business to try ideas and gear for themselves rather than simply ask what microphone they should buy.

Having said that, even as it stands it would offer a respite from the objections of nit-picking celebrants and people (like me, if I’m really honest) who would rather not see the means of production; it would offer a greater number of angles (or cameras for the photographers to stand in front of as Michael envisages, and, as you suggest, it even offers the real entrepreneurs amongst us the chance to do multiple shoots on the same day, leaving the start and stop to others.

Perhaps more important it would emphasise the experience, skill and artistry of the director, it would reveal the equipment fetishists for what they are, indulgent poseurs, and it would set the art and business of wedding moving pictures well apart from the still photographer.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 06:12 AM   #25
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Wow!! this is getting interesting!! A waiter-cam ...maybe a magnet on the cam and it sticks firmly to the metal tray tray providing a POV that hasn't been done before???? I must admit that helmet cams during the dancing would be interesting too!! (well not reall a helmet but a head mount lipstick cam)

Seriously my late friend Bob from St Augustine had a friend who I also used to chat to and he would do a six cam wedding shoot in the Church for each and every wedding. AND he worked on his own too!!! They were all Canon GL2's so each had to be sensibily mounted!!!

I must admit that his weddings were a joy to watch!!!

Philip?? At our National Motor Races (V8 Supercars to be exact) it's amazing how many cams are used..they even mount cams in the wheel arches of the front wheels so you can see the brake disks getting red hot. In the pit area they have a cable strung out the entire length of the pits (about 30 garages!!) and a motorized cam zooms up and down the cable to give an elevated view of what's going on!!

I guess the possibilities are endless BUT do guys like me (a loner) have the time to set up and take down and still keep up with the bride????

Chris
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 06:35 AM   #26
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I've now embraced the free thinking spirit of this Philip and can see the infinite possibilities of having a multitude of cameras. I was thinking that you were thinking of the small Sony MC50 or similar at £1000+ a pop. I guess that you had in mind the sub £100 type that could be clamped and Velcroed in place, maybe something like the the disposable stills cameras that are put on tables at many receptions and someone is designated to collect them all at the end.

At the wedding I was at yesterday I couldn't stop thinking of where I could have placed such cameras around the room. You may have converted me to your way of thinking.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 07:15 AM   #27
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George that's a pity - now who shall I recommend if William and Kate decide to go for a quiet, country wedding :) ?

Chris, you're sounding as if you're ready to buy! But the point you raised is, as always, most apposite. I didn't see the concept (which makes a passing thought sound far too pretentious but you know what I mean) actually reducing our current manning levels ie three. There would still need to be a professional hand held for the main "motion" areas like the arrivals, post ceremony circulation, drinkie-poos etc and with a proper sound system to rig and de-rig running with just two might be as silly as trying to do three cameras with two people was.

Your comments about the racing cars is very apt because it highlights the balance between the number of cameras ie investment and the extent to which the shot could be used eg the red hot disks etc. It'd be the same for say the kneeling cam in my example. Once the prayers were said the camera would essentially run on passing feet - which only in the most extreme situation could you call it B roll.

On the topic of investment Niki and I have discussed the next level for us which as you know is to move from Z1/MRC1 to EX1/3 - I'm fed up with 1/3 chips and the single drawback of MRC1s - the small screen. I'll PM you. It's going to be a tough year.
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 08:18 AM   #28
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My wife & I watched the traditional New Year's Day concert performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the Großer Saal of the Musikverein in Vienna & were very impressed with the unobtrusiveness of the multi-camera filming. We didn't see a single camera operator so are assuming that all equipment was remote controlled but only caught sight of one or two cameras although there were many more in operation. The video mixing was of course all done live.

UK readers can still watch the concert on the BBC iPlayer BBC iPlayer - New Year's Day Concert: 2011 - Highlights

Read about the concert here Vienna New Year's Concert - Wikipedia
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 11:55 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post

At our National Motor Races (V8 Supercars to be exact) it's amazing how many cams are used..they even mount cams in the wheel arches of the front wheels so you can see the brake disks getting red hot. In the pit area they have a cable strung out the entire length of the pits (about 30 garages!!) and a motorized cam zooms up and down the cable to give an elevated view of what's going on!!

I guess the possibilities are endless BUT do guys like me (a loner) have the time to set up and take down and still keep up with the bride????

Chris
Hi Chris,

Although please bear in mind the Seven Network has hired in a multi-camera production truck and crew at vast expense, similar to the NASCAR races in the US (trucks called Supershooters provided by NEP out of Pittsburgh or NCP at Allentown).

NEP Broadcasting
NCP Video

Their possibilities are often endless... but you are talking about Sports. It's big business for the TV channels. Whereas we are still talking about a wedding here. Aren't we?
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Old January 3rd, 2011, 05:11 PM   #30
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Hi Claire

Yes, we are naturally talking about weddings here. I just mentioned the extra cams during V8 shooting for interest!! Their hire cost probably are more than we make doing weddings over 10 years!!!

I do really love technology and being different BUT I find that working on my own (I just cannot find a reliable 2nd shooter...it seems you need to marry one like Philip!!) I doubt that I would have time to flitter around the Church placing remote cams. It's usually rushing to keep ahead of the bride after a prep shoot, setting up a main camera in the Church, doing audio on the groom and then heading outside before the limo arrives!!!

It would be quite different for Philip who could send his lovely wife to do the bride getting ready while he sets up all the extra gear in the Church. Actually, our popular Churches here often do 4 weddings in an afternoon so cam setup might still be tricky!!! I am often packing up my main camera after doing the congratulations outside the Church and find the next wedding getting ready to roll.

Hence the other question about the time factor with us guys who work on their own!!

Chris
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