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


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Old March 9th, 2011, 08:38 PM   #16
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Re: Your TOP advice for shooting weddings

I love this thread.. lots of useful info..

Although I'm not a pro.. but from my personal experience shooting handful of weddings, my biggest lesson learnt was:

1. As Kren said, know when to be fancy and when to be simple with your shots. Focus on perfecting the basic.. no use having a great highlight but a crappy full video version..

2. As everyone said, always have a backup... always

3. Make sure you bring everything before you leave home.. I have been in moments where I thought I've left my CF or my spare batteries at home.. luckily I was wrong.. but the feeling was just too revolting to the point that I had nigtmares about it twice!! Since then, I always check before I even close my house doors.

4. Never go to 'format' page on your CF if you don't intend to format it.. don't forgot to hit record on your camera and audio recorder.. never delete a file before you are sure you've backed it up.. etc etc.. I've learnt this the hard way..


My 2 cents
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Old March 9th, 2011, 09:38 PM   #17
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Re: Your TOP advice for shooting weddings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Diewert View Post
It's funny because people talk about 'getting into video' by shooting weddings, when really shooting talking head interviews, short films, documentaries, even sporting events, are far easier to learn the trade in.
Oddly enough I've found the opposite to be true. Unless of course the weddings you're shooting require hours of story boarding, shot listing, blocking, scheduling, lighting setups, crew wrangling & prop procurement.
It just seems like such an odd statement to make from the same guy who gave this great little nugget of wisdom:

Quote:
you need all kinds of redundancy
When shooting a live event, this is key to peace of mind & will eventually save your bacon one day.

The best practical advice I can give (for the ceremony at least) is to put mics everywhere. You'll be shocked how good clean audio can improve the perceived quality of your work. Place a mic on the groom, officiant, any & all podiums where speakers will be, near those playing music & for good measure hang one over a speaker from the venue's sound system. If the church has a sound system don't be lulled into relying solely on it for your audio. I've been burned by church sound guys not turning on mics or forgetting to hit record on the CD they promised give me.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 10:36 PM   #18
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Re: Your TOP advice for shooting weddings

I'm not even going to read what anybody else has said here because if they already said what I'm going to say, it needs to be said again...

BACK UP EVERYTHING...

and by that I mean... Have a back up camera, if you are shooting 2 cameras and you promised 2 cameras, have a third camera incase something happens to either camera. have back up batteries, things can happen to batteries, or they might just die earlier than expected. back up memory cards even a cheapy back up tripod. If you have a piece of gear, you should have a back up to it.

when you get back to your studio, back up every piece of footage and audio wave form you have... make sure you make back ups in multiple locations and all from the card (if something gets corrupted transferring to your first drive, all your drives will have the same error)

and yes, even have a back up to you. You should know who you are going to call in the event you get stuck, hurt, sick, etc. If you absolutely can not make the wedding you need to know who is going to cover you who is not going to ruin your reputation, and give you something you are going to be able to edit well.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 11:02 PM   #19
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Re: Your TOP advice for shooting weddings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post
Oddly enough I've found the opposite to be true. Unless of course the weddings you're shooting require hours of story boarding, shot listing, blocking, scheduling, lighting setups, crew wrangling & prop procurement.


It just seems like such an odd statement to make from the same guy who gave this great little nugget of wisdom:



When shooting a live event, this is key to peace of mind & will eventually save your bacon one day.

The best practical advice I can give (for the ceremony at least) is to put mics everywhere. You'll be shocked how good clean audio can improve the perceived quality of your work. Place a mic on the groom, officiant, any & all podiums where speakers will be, near those playing music & for good measure hang one over a speaker from the venue's sound system. If the church has a sound system don't be lulled into relying solely on it for your audio. I've been burned by church sound guys not turning on mics or forgetting to hit record on the CD they promised give me.
Ethan,

I absolutely agree about the audio. My earlier reference really relates to camera operation. But maybe it's just me. I've shot a lot of different things in 20 years, and nothing stresses me out like weddings can.
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Old March 9th, 2011, 11:09 PM   #20
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Re: Your TOP advice for shooting weddings

I put together a blog about this. It was kinda outdated but I'm sure it won't hurt to take a look.

Gear Up for Weddings | L.A. Color Blog
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Old March 10th, 2011, 03:15 PM   #21
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Re: Your TOP advice for shooting weddings

here's a few

1.) Make a checklist the night before of everything you need to do and bring. Double and triple check it
2.) Try to think ahead to the next shot and never just wait for something to happen. Challenge yourself to find something interesting to shoot- especially during some of the slow points of the day
3.) After every wedding, I record in a notebook "lessons learned" What mistakes did I make as well as what worked well. I do this in the car right after the wedding while it's fresh in my mind. Before the next wedding I review all my lessons learned notes from previous weddings

Art
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Old March 10th, 2011, 03:21 PM   #22
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Re: Your TOP advice for shooting weddings

The absolutely, positively number one piece of advice I would give anyone is to know your couples inside and out. When I shoot a wedding I am lucky enough to know everything about the couple. It makes for such a better shoot when you know things like...

What's the story of their engagement?
How did they meet?
If there any gifts being exchanged in the morning, what is their significance?
What is the itinerary and what is the significance to each event?
What are their favourite past times (Both together and separate)?
What is the relationship with their families like?

I could go on, but you get the point. More important than any piece of equipment or any shooting technique is knowing the couple inside on out, because that knowledge lets you pick up on things that other "show up and shoot" companies will miss.

Yes, the technical know-how is extremely important, but I would much rather know that the couple loves what we do because they recognize that their feature is something that is personalized for them. Otherwise, what's the difference between you and everybody else?

The second piece of advice I would give is to shoot all day. Get there nice and early. I find the best stuff happens before everyone gets dressed. If you show up and the groom is in his tux there's not much you can do but get him to fake putting the jacket on.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 03:26 PM   #23
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Re: Your TOP advice for shooting weddings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Varga View Post
3.) After every wedding, I record in a notebook "lessons learned" What mistakes did I make as well as what worked well. I do this in the car right after the wedding while it's fresh in my mind. Before the next wedding I review all my lessons learned notes from previous weddings
I second this! No matter how good you get, there is always something that you can improve upon, and being self aware enough to realize that will help you in the long run.

On the same token, before every wedding I think to myself, "What is something new I could try?"
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Old March 10th, 2011, 03:56 PM   #24
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Re: Your TOP advice for shooting weddings

Back up is KEY. Make sure you have all the clips uploaded before you delete them. Back up onto to separate hard drives.

3 Key things that will make you successful

1. Steady Shots (good tripod goes ALONG WAYS)
2. Quality audio (mic up the groom, priest, and always record through the DJ for speeches)
3. Good Lighting (avoid using your light on camera whenever possible)

If you can tackle that then you will have done 75% of the work. Your brides will be happy.

So invest in decent gear (tripod, quality wireless mics, and reception lighting.)

For the business side of it:

1. Customer Satisfaction: Do what ever you can to make them happy w/o kissing their feet and always apologize up front for your mistakes to them instead of trying to hide it. It goes a long way.
2. Get a good contract. Matt Davis sells a good one.
3. Spell out everything to them in contract and email form in what they will be getting. Even after I talk with the client on the phone I send them a instant email on what was discussed. This will prevent them from making up stuff that you supposedly said.
4. Be aware of working with the Mother / Father of the Bride. They can be the worst.
5. If someone doesn't want to pay your price or you give them a discount and they want even more off. Cut them off.
6. If you meet with clients is best they know how much they could be spending before they meet with you to save your time.


Other tidbits:

Clients will most likely want pictures from the photographer in their wedding video or on the cover of the DVD. I give them 15 days to get them to me after the video is completed. If they don't, I take still from the video.

Adding photo montages from the photographers pics into the video was nothing but a huge problem for me. You could be waiting months for the pictures while the footage sits on your hard drive. I don't offer that service anymore.

Some clients want to pay the remaining balance after the video is received. I've been burned this way and will not do it again.

Double check your work. Make sure all the buttons in the menu work. Make sure all the audio is equalized.

I could go on, but I got to edit another wedding.

Good luck mate and welcome!
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Old March 11th, 2011, 07:00 PM   #25
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Re: Your TOP advice for shooting weddings

Shoot in contstant record. Like it was a reality show. That way you will see someones face chance, rather than shooting once the reaction has started. It is such a good shot when someone is listening, with an intence look then their face changes to a smile or laughter. Get a few shots like that and the film will start to feel "personal". Less remote or stagey. (I find this a big draw back with DSLR) Then of course get as many cut-aways as is humanly possible. Eitherwise the edit can be snorzeville.
Hope that helps
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Old March 12th, 2011, 10:09 PM   #26
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Re: Your TOP advice for shooting weddings

My advice is threefold.... preparation...preparation...preparation
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Old March 13th, 2011, 04:02 PM   #27
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Re: Your TOP advice for shooting weddings

Use this forum to get good, honest feedback on your work. It's so easy to go along thinking your the best thing ever. This was us, we just found our first demo disk and watched it. Wow, we were so bad. Like 80's super cheese bad. We used to think we were it. Quite humbling really.
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