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


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Old January 11th, 2011, 11:58 AM   #16
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Hiring an experienced operator, set up, breakdown, expense of the crane alone... I would also like to know how you charge for this. I just cannot imagine that many brides adding this as an extra "add on" type option, considering what you need to charge to make the whole thing worth it to begin with. I know it looks great from our point of view but do you think a normal client sees this as a valuable enhancement worth spending x amount of dollars on? Maybe a certain tier of clients would just because they can afford it, but I would think most would not.
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Old January 11th, 2011, 02:46 PM   #17
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While I love the crane and the shots it can I quickly discovered that to really use it to anywhere near its potential I need a powered pan / tilt head
I totally agree with your statement. But this is where it will take time to set up and test, and where a newbie falters fighting the controls of trying to coordinate booming, tilting, and panning all at the same time. It really takes a lot of practice as there are tons of things to think about. Focus? Iris? Framing? Booming? Tilting too slow? Panning too fast? Am I going to hit someone on the head if I swing right? You need to always think ahead and be on top of the situation, never behind it. Above all, don't forget to press record. Everyone will be watching you because you'll be the center of attention...lol
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Old January 12th, 2011, 08:49 AM   #18
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It is pretty popular in the Indian/Southeast Asian market. I have seen crane set-ups & can't imagine myself going to the hassle. I do agree, you need an experienced crane operator, the last thing you need is a rookie hitting a chandelier or even worst toppling the Wedding cake.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 09:19 AM   #19
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The more I read here the more I realise that there must be a parallel universe where the sun always shines at weddings, all churches are the size of a hangar, the principals are all trained actors, the clients have TV size budgets and the main aim of the job is to win acclaim and plaudits.

Seriously though this business has as many different clients as there are operators, from the 'one man and his horse' to the fully fledged Hollywood style crews. I could only dream of using a crane at a wedding (and I'd wake up in a sweat).
Having used cranes on corporate work I know that the rigging and balancing and then the practice needed to use it, let alone in a live situation without a safety zone and intrigued members of the public below the jib, would probably make it the very last piece of equipment I'd take to a wedding.

I can only marvel at the knowledge that those who do use this sort of equipment create some truly breathtaking shots that lift their work high above the general standard.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone in UK that is regularly allowed to set up a crane in churches.

Last edited by George Kilroy; January 12th, 2011 at 11:51 AM.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 10:38 AM   #20
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For me the danger of using a crane/jib (other than the obvious safety issues) at a wedding is that you would be too tempted to use it for a lot of shots. A single crane shot in a wedding film can generate an amazing cinematic feeling, but if you incorporate several you can lose the impact very quickly. It's just like when people started using steadicam rigs at weddings .. or sliders. Suddenly you have these films that look like they are really promos for the steadicam or slider product. Besides, you can use a steadicam to fake a basic crane shot for nearly the same effect with much less time and effort in setup (and again, safer).

So the key, just as with the steadicam or the slider, is to use them sparingly but with great impact. And the problem for me with that is the time and effort it takes to set up a crane. Steadicam and slider tools are relatively quick and easy to set up, but a crane isn't. So if you invest that time and energy into setting up the crane you're going to be tempted to overuse it.

The other issue I see with cranes is that they are about as unobtrusive as you can get. Steadicams and sliders are pretty benign, but there's nothing benign about a crane. I was at a wedding as a guest once (which really helps change your perspective) where a crane was in action. Although it was very well-operated, it was a colossal eyesore and distraction too. As much as we all want to create the most amazing films for our couples, sometimes we have to remember that this is THEIR wedding day and not OUR feature film shoot.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 11:33 AM   #21
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I was looking at one of these. Seem to be pretty reasonable. Though I'm not sure about the added weight on the Kessler. The Spectrum 7000 Spectrum 7000 - Professional Pan And Tilt System w/ Joystick Controller weighs eight pounds.
Interesting but what concerns me with this unit is the following;

1. Does not say if the joystick is proportional control
2. Does not say anything about speed variability
3. Does not say if can pan and tilt simultaneously

The design is more like that for remote security cameras, etc than for live pan / tilt in video production. In the same price range I am looking at the Proaim Jr on ebay from one of those Indian companies that do knockoffs of name brand pan tilt heads. The Jr. handles cameras up to 15 lbs, has proportional control, simultaneous pan and tilt, and with freight is $545.00 I really wish I could get their "Gold" heavier duty model but it is around $940 or so with freight. These are probably not as durable as the name brand ones but I will only be using it a dozen times a year or so at most. I have had good luck with the Indian version of a steadicam arm and hoping for the same with this.
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Old January 14th, 2011, 11:18 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by George Kilroy View Post
...I'd be interested to hear from anyone in UK that is regularly allowed to set up a crane in churches.
And I'd be interested to hear how long it takes to do the Risk Assessment.

:)
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Old January 14th, 2011, 12:28 PM   #23
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I have had a crane operator come in with the Kessler model. He is not a pro and has only had practice with this one crane. He got shots of the bride coming down during the ceremony at a winery and a shot of the cake which looks SICK!!! A lot of the shots can go out of focus so he only uses a wide angle lens. One issue is the tilt is off. I don't know if its the operators fault or it is not a good crane. I paid him $450 for the day and he also shot some of the ceremony with the slider and the first dance on a monopod. For me, it is worth it. The highlight video is in process but I know it is going to drum up a lot of business even thou I won't bring it to every wedding. Some weddings it works well for and others it's not possible. I like they way Mayad uses theirs and that's how I use it too.

Worth every penny to hire someone to do it.

Here is another highlight video we did using the same crane and operator:
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Old January 15th, 2011, 10:50 PM   #24
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I forgot to mention that in addition to the one outdoor wedding I used the Kessler crane at to great success there was a strange venue where it saved my butt.

The venue was an old mill or some such building converted to some kind of upscale shopping area (think antique shops, etc). I don't think it is really up and going yet so farily deserted.

They have a large area in front of a pretty staircase going to the second level for seating. The staircase has an initial flight of stairs from both sides going to a platform the perfect size for a bride, groom, and officient. The groomsmen and bridesmaids are positioned on the stairs on each side going up to this platform (more stairs contnue up from this platform to the second story)

Here is the nightmare kicker for a wedding videographer. The way the stairs, platform, and open beamed ceiling above most of the first floor are positioned there is no place to place a center camera.

However the second floor, the reception area, had a solid floor around the open center area where there were large wooden beams across to the other side.

To make a long story short we were able to set up the Kessler crane on the second floor as far back as we could get before the large wooden beams obstructed the view. I then extended the crane as far out towards the middle as it would go with the camera turned left facing the front. I locked it down there and had the center wide shot that was not possible any other way.

It worked great so I see the crane as another tool in my arsenal. At this point I only use it in situations where it is clear it will work to my advantage. As mentioned they are one more thing to have to deal with and even as simple as the kessler is to assemble you still need to allow for at least 45 minutes to assemble the crane, balance it, hook up the camera, LANC control & cables, Monitor & cables, etc. When you are a small two man crew also trying to cover the bride and groom getting ready AND setting up / balancing a steadicam, it becomes a huge burden.

I am excited about the Indian knockoff motorized pan tilt head I am getting next month and look forward to practcing then using it in some weddings this season. Probably only the outdoor ones though.
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Old January 15th, 2011, 11:51 PM   #25
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After a few years of renting, I finally bit the bullet and got a 12' Kessler with all the goodies. While I don't do weddings, I do other types of live events. I've used it for two separate shoots in the last 3 weeks and it has really made some gorgeous video. The tendency to overuse the sweeping moves a crane is known for tends to overshadow the fact that with a remote head, it can be used to simply place the camera where you couldnt with a tripod. My next crane shoot is in two weeks at a live event. We are shooting two camera and the one on the crane will allow me to get much closer to the stage and at a proper height to catch the action. Rather than trying to set a tripod on a platform which always seems to take up a ton of room and is impossible to keep from wobbling.
As for setup/teardown, yeah it's a 30 min job by myself or 20 with help who knows how to do it, but it is one of my favorite tools to shoot with as there's so many things you can do with it.
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Old January 16th, 2011, 08:43 AM   #26
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Robert, are you using a remote pan tilt head with your 12' Kessler? If so which one and what was the learning curve for controlling the crane and pan /tilt controls simultaneously?

My idea is also to use the crane a lot of the time as a standard "locked down" shot but perhaps a bit higher than my tripod allows so to clear an audiences heads.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 03:00 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Noel Lising View Post
It is pretty popular in the Indian/Southeast Asian market. I have seen crane set-ups & can't imagine myself going to the hassle. I do agree, you need an experienced crane operator, the last thing you need is a rookie hitting a chandelier or even worst toppling the Wedding cake.
Yeah, we are use a jib quite a few times and I think they are AMAZING at weddings! We hire a Jib op and he provides we provide the cam. He brings an assistant. We just have the couple pay the Jib op directly, so it doesn't come through us. I love editing the Job footage and I don't charge any extra for the edit because the footage is so amazing it's a joy to edit.

Here is a wedding where we use a 27 foot Jib and a real helicopter for shots. It was epic and yes, it was an Indian Wedding..

Ricky + Sonal / Helicopter / Terranea Resort / Feature Film / Wedding Poster / Wedding Trailer / Palos Verdes Wedding Cinematography impressivecreations.com

Hope that helps!
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 08:30 PM   #28
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Well I ended up using that 8" crane with a 7' lilliput monitor and Canon 7d. The guests absolutely LOVED it! We only used it for the dance portion (Bride and groom first dance, Daddy Daughter dance, drunken bridesmaid dancing) I must say it is a real pain in the #%*! to setup and break down but it was worth it for the nice cinematic shots we got.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 11:25 AM   #29
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My first wedding with a crane. It's the Cobra Crane, straight out of the box. No pan/swivel head and no weights. Takes about 30 seconds to set up. Let me know what you think:

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Old January 24th, 2011, 01:49 PM   #30
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Michael,
That's pretty damn good for no weights and a rapid set-up. What length is the jib? I'm assuming that with no weights that it can't be more than 8'. Nice work.
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