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


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Old February 9th, 2011, 05:27 PM   #1
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Wedding Ceremony and Reception?

Just wondering how you guys shoot the Ceremony and Reception? In you Wedding DVD do you include the whole ceremony? Do you record the live sound at the Reception, or do you use music then just cut in and out to people talking? The weddings I have been doing are average low budget weddings. What are some tips that you guys have? I am currently using two Sony HD cameras and have two tripods and use Sony Vegas to edit. Any equipment suggestions or tips? I have been getting tips and things from Youtube and some here to! Trying to learn all I can. Its my dream to be able to produce some videos like I have seen on here! :) Thanks
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Old February 9th, 2011, 06:56 PM   #2
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99% of what I shoot is both events. Occassionaly I get the ceremony only job or the reception only but thats generally when it was a destination wedding and they throw a party here for the family and friends that weren't at the destination.

I've more or less stopped doing my short form or party edit and for the most part do doco style. For the reception I use native audio, I don't believe in dropping in a music track. If you search around here you'll find many different ways that people pickup their audio. Try them and see which works best for you.

I would advise that you get some sort of lighting to use at the reception either something off camera or oncamera. Most receptions are dark and while cameras today are pretty good in low light the lighting can make all the difference.

HTHs
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Old February 9th, 2011, 07:08 PM   #3
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I'll start with this tip...

Sooo many elements contribute to a professionally shot video but to me there is one glarringly obvious indication that a video is NOT pro. This is it: If I can watch more than 5 mins of it and never see a close up. I'll go one step further, unless there is some over-riding artistic intent, a wedding video with few closeups is not professional. IMHO

Hence, my advice ...practice manually focusing close ups and super close-ups. Look for opportunities to get these shots on the wedding day. If you want to be better than uncle Bob with handy cam, I think the first step is to nail the close ups.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 07:47 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input! Any other guys out there that wanna add theirs? :)
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Old February 9th, 2011, 09:29 PM   #5
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Since no one have given tip on the wedding DVD style yet.. let me just share what I did..

I always have two separate videos of Ceremony and Reception. In both I usually start with a song as an opening sequence (showing the decor, preparation, bride/groom getting ready & walking in etc). Then the documentary style video follows.. I dont usually put background music here and I shorten the part where I think the B&G wouldn't wanna watch (a long bible reading/singing for example).

At the end, I add a closing music again as an outro/finale.. showing highlights of the final moment (bridal waltz, mingling with guests, dancing, bouquet throw, etc).
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Old February 9th, 2011, 10:26 PM   #6
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"Usually" is that I shoot the entire ceremony running a 4 to 7 multi-cam shoot and the reception is "entire" sequences of specific event with up to three (and sometimes four) cameras running for particular parts or sequences. For things like formal speeches or toasts, bouquet tosses, etc., they get the whole thing. For things like reception lines, they get a=short excerpts. For first dances, I leave it up to the couple.

Exceptions for the ceremony: I do highlights when the couple asks for only specific highlights (say when there is a Roman Catholic high mass (which can run two hours in this area.)

As Don says, you sometimes get asked to video only a ceremony or parts of a reception. I work out of mountain resort town near Yellowstone. We have a wdding chapel in town. Those folks are mostly doing very small and intimate ceremonies and only want me to video the ceremony. I pretty much do what the customers want.
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Old February 10th, 2011, 03:00 AM   #7
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Tyson, we record the entire thing and, in our pre-wedding sapecification document get the clients to indicate which parts they want in and which out. Hymns (after the intro) and sometimes the homily are usually out, ceremony and speeches invariably in.

However, requirements, styles and fashions vary from market to market but here in the UK we've noticed recently an increasing disdain by potential clients to having the mingling/socialising sequences of the video covered entirely with music, albeit the client's choice of music.

We always mix the sync sounds underneath so that although the visual material we're using means that there's not a single coherent conversation to follow, the audience can still hear the voices and the laughter in the mix.

Sound, as always I regret, is still generally the poor relation in video, and the trend to DLSRs for their unquestioned improvements in the visual quality haven't helped it.

Ironically, a few years ago the photographer who now works with us producing our composite photo/video product considered adding a live sound recording of the ceremony and the speeches to his stills output. In the end it didn't take off because of the market's reluctance then to accept his stills in DVD format ie on a screen.

I wonder if the enthusiasm for tablets and e-Books will eventually lead to an electronic photo album with sound?
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Old February 10th, 2011, 07:01 AM   #8
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Hi Tyson

We also do both 99% of the time..I guess I have done just one or two "ceremony only" shoots this season. The only time I will add background music (still retaining the ambience) is preparation and the cars arriving. The only clip with music only is my video photoshoot on stedicam. The entire reception is live! A lot of brides have said they chose me because my videos "have the talking" ...we also make a point of doing live guest interviews during pre-dinner drinks and the brides love 'em!!!

Don't worry about getting too technical...too many of us shoot what we THINK the bride wants ...creative video backed to the latest music track...more often than not we should actually find out exactly want she wants and expects rather than our own interpretation of what her video should be like. Capture the emotion and the mood at a wedding and you will find that the results will be well accepted.

Chris
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Old February 10th, 2011, 07:35 AM   #9
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Philip,

Interesting that you believe that the increased quality of DSLR images comes at the cost of quality audio.
For this coming season our biggest outlay in new equipment will be mostly audio related.
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Old February 10th, 2011, 04:23 PM   #10
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"For this coming season our biggest outlay in new equipment will be mostly audio related."

Certainly will be in the UK when HMG sell off the UHF bands (again):

For me and others it will be new radio mics all round...

:)
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Old February 10th, 2011, 05:33 PM   #11
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5 minute trailer start, my music, morn prep with music of their choice mixed with a taster of speeches to come, plenty of close ups, let the ceremony run its course if the hymms are boring and to loud with the organ, bring in some classical, isle shots coming out essential, church pics invention, reception arrival slow mo car, mingle guests, fun nice upbeat song, grand entrance, get out the way of their meal have a rest, speeches, if 2 do them both if 4 split them up with black/white slow mo, guest mingle, time lapse into first dance.. switch to low light cam or dslr. steve
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Old February 11th, 2011, 09:58 AM   #12
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Lots of good advice. I will back Craig's comment about going for close ups at the ceremony. I'll have one or two unmanned cameras with medium and wide shots from the back normally, then I am up front (off to one side) and do all close ups - the couple, parents, bridal party, grandparents, readers, minister, as many people and emotions and reactions as I can get. These shots are usually pretty short, 10 seconds or less, variety is key. Be careful editing though - if you alternate wide/close/wide/close it becomes obvious what you are doing. Shoot close ups of 3 or 4 people one after the other, then string those together with cuts or dissolves in sequence, looks great.

I will shorten the ceremony as appropriate - a song may go on and on for several minutes, with repeating versus and refrains and all that. I'll cut a few verses out so there is a beginning and end, with some of the middle, so the viewer gets a good taste of the song without sitting through the whole thing because let's face it, there is usually NOTHING going on visually during these times. A few audio crossfades done correctly and hidden with some B-roll cutaways and no one is ever the wiser, except the ceremony moves along without getting boring. Even when the priest says "And now we will have our first reading" and it takes 30 seconds for the reader to actually walk up to the podium and start, clever editing makes that immediate, cut out the long pause.

Like others, will dub in some music for preps and scenery and cocktail hour shots, all the rest is natural sound.

Jeff Pulera
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Old February 13th, 2011, 03:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire Buckley View Post
"For this coming season our biggest outlay in new equipment will be mostly audio related."

Certainly will be in the UK when HMG sell off the UHF bands (again):

For me and others it will be new radio mics all round...

:)
It's more a shuffling around of UHF bands for radio mic usage & won't be an issue if you are currently using the frequencies that don't require a licence. If you are currently using those frequencies that require a licence then there is a scheme that will recompense you for the purchase of new equipment. You are however only eligible if you actually possess a licence.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 06:30 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Andrew Brown View Post
Philip,

Interesting that you believe that the increased quality of DSLR images comes at the cost of quality audio.
For this coming season our biggest outlay in new equipment will be mostly audio related.
Andrew, please read what I wrote not what you think I wrote. I described sound as "the poor relation", that means it has a lower priority than vision. Given the fact that (as far as I know) you have to add other devices, Beachtec/offline recorders to get quality sound with DSLRs, I believe my statement holds good. I'm sure someone will tell me if I'm wrong.
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Old February 13th, 2011, 08:09 AM   #15
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Hey Philip

I'm on your side too. Just looking at the audio hardware of my new HMC82's (arrived on Friday) just the controls switches and XLR plugs would take up more space than a DSLR body and judging by the number of DSLR guys who shoot with DVR's it would reinforce the point that manufacturers still want to keep the physical size to suit the photog fraternity so I very much doubt whether we will see any DSLR's for a while where you can plug in a bunch of large XLR mics or receivers. That would defeat the design that the DSLR is a really portable unit and is still a "stills" camera foremost with the ability to shoot video. We already have video cameras that take stills (I can just manage a 10 megapixel still using a 2:3 aspect..other than that it's a meagre 2 to 3 megapixel still at best) We are the opposite to DSLR's with quality video and quality audio at the cost of quality stills. However they are good enough for a DVD cover!!

Chris
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