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Old March 13th, 2011, 06:35 AM   #1
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How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

Hi there,

I have a client who is requesting a long form edit (1-2 hours or so) that includes the FULL processional (everyone walking by) as well as full ceremony and probably full toasts/speeches.

We will have three cameras (Canon 5d Mark II, Panasonic AG-100, and either a Sony NEX-VG10/Sony HVR-Z7U/Sony HVR-Z5U/Sony HVR-A1U) and two shooters.

And the standard equipment too - Blackbird stabilizer, 3 feet slider, tripod with fluid head, Spider brace (shoulder mount rig), and a bunch of Manfrotto quick release systems. We're also looking to purchase a hi-hat, ball mount, and an additional tripod fluid head so that we can convert the slider/tripod into a vertical slider and mini-jib if necessary.

How would you propose to capture shots and do the edits to make these LONG scenes are un-boring as possible?

Looking forward to picking all your creative minds. Thanks!
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Old March 13th, 2011, 06:55 AM   #2
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

The way they do it with televising Royal Weddings is many camera angles & a commentary.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 07:22 AM   #3
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

Well we have three cameras, so we can get a few angles (though not like 20 angles). What kind of angles would you suggest might be good?

What about doing slow slider shots on the floor as they walk past (obviously won't do sliders the entire time for everyone walking past).

Don't think the client would appreciate commentary over her wedding lol.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 10:46 AM   #4
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

Zhong.. I feel you on this. I hate having to include some of the less exciting moments of the wedding day. This being one of them. The only way for it to be spiced up is to have them plan a choreographed dance as they're walking in; I heard that Chirs Brown has a good song that could work :-)

Adding in the guests reaction could help give you a few cutaways. Best of luck.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 11:18 AM   #5
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

I think that as an independent video maker you either offer your services as a creative artist, in which case don't compromise your work by agreeing to include anything that you can't make work in the end production, or go out as skill/equipment for hire, and shoot just what they want.

Sometimes there is an incompatibility between what the client expects and what the supplier will produce. Best to recognise that at the outset. As soon as the client dictates how they want the day recorded the door is opened to problems. You miss just one person off and they'll claim you didn't fulfil your contact.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 11:31 AM   #6
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Kilroy View Post
I think that as independent video makers you either offer your services as a creative artist, in which case don't compromise your work by agreeing to include anything that you can't make work in the end production, or go out as skill/equipment for hire, and shoot just what they want.

Sometimes there is an incompatibility between what the client expects and what the supplier will produce. Best to recognise that at the outset. As soon as the client dictates how they want the day recorded the door is opened to problems. You miss just one person off and they'll claim you didn't fulfil your contact.
Well put... Personally I'm 100% tired of being had by people like this. I've started turning people away who have tried to dictate my style. Unfortunately for me now I'm still stuck with several clients who are in the process of micro managing my product, CANT STAND IT ANY LONGER!

"You dont tell Peyton Manning to RUN the ball. If you want to run the ball go get Michael Vick"! Thats the analogy that I came up with and started living by. As a fan of American football it fits nicely.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 01:00 PM   #7
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

With 3 cameras to work with I would consider using them in the roles of wide (safe), tight (personal) and creative (money). For a long form you definitely need the safe shot and the personal shot.
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Old March 13th, 2011, 01:29 PM   #8
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

The idea of a locked off camera - which I guess you have to do if you only have two operators - dilutes the options = a locked off camera is fine for covering a few edits, but as a proper source it's very limited.

If clients want everything - and I don't do weddings, I do theatre stuff - what you need is movement and interest. So you go in closer, and pan, pan & zoom, tilts, in a UK church you'd have nice images of the organ pipes, stained glass windows - so there is always something to look at. If the audio track is continuous, then you can use your three cameras, and maybe nice cutaways shot before/after the event - even shots of the church from outside work, as long as the words inside can be heard - all these can pad out the dull content. If people are singing, shots from the rear, of the backs of people will cut in.

Here in the UK, we have a Sunday BBC programme called songs of praise, and they're really good at conjuring up interesting shots to cover the rubbish. Flowers come in handy - so nice throw focus shots going from the flowers to the officiant look nice.

I reckon you must get all cameras up and running - and what we do in our theatre work is make sure everyone can talk to each other - so shots are not wasted. Editing possibilities are spoiled when everyone frames similar shots, so if one says "I'm on the crying baby", somebody else can say "I'm on the woman with the daft hat" - the third man can then make their shot different. This way you get plenty of interesting content, more material that can be edited in and more possibilities.
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Old March 14th, 2011, 12:29 PM   #9
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

Thanks for all the suggestions so far guys! Yeah, one of our cams will be blocked off and stationary (unmanned) - probably the deep DOF cam, like a Sony Z7/Z5/A1. We considered the Sony NEX-VG10 for our "safe" cam, but the shallow DOF doesn't make it too safe when unmanned.

I'm thinking of doing what Travis suggested. A safe, wide shot using the Sony on a tripod, locked off. Then some personal closeup shots with the Panasonic AG-AF100. And our creative money shots with the Canon 5d Mark II (because it's much lighter and easier to execute money shots with the smaller cam - we have an 8" Lilliput monitor too).

Travis, your videos are awesome. Would definitely be interested to hear your thoughts on some money shots. What sorts of creative shots would you try?

However, that leaves our blackbird unused...I don't feel comfortable using the blackbird with a shallow DOF camera. I wanted continuous autofocus for blackbird, but then it does that whole hunting for focus thing. How do you keep your shallow DOF cams in focus while on a blackbird/steadicam/glidecam?

I don't know...how would you guys suggest using the blackbird during the processional and/or ceremony, if at all? I'm thinking slider shots might be easier and actually stay in focus.

The one blackbird shot I'd like though is following the processional from the back...but the isle might be too narrow. And following only the very last person after everyone passed would seem pointless.

Btw, good thing in my contract, I specifically say I will not be obligated to any specific requests and the filming and editing style is entirely and solely at my discretion.
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Old March 14th, 2011, 12:46 PM   #10
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

Zhong, I assume you have spoken to the priest already? In many Catholic churches in Toronto, the videographer is confined to one place, we would be thrown out of church if we even think of doing a Stabilizer shot during the march (maybe after).

For me, the ultimate money shot is seeing the mother or father of the Bride's reaction during the vows. A shed tear would be priceless. But then again I am not Travis =)
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Old March 14th, 2011, 10:32 PM   #11
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

Haven't spoken to priest. They haven't booked a ceremony location yet. I'm just trying to gather general ideas for filming such situations with a full processional and ceremony/speeches.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 03:40 AM   #12
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

Cut aways, cut aways, and more cut aways! Get there early and shoot some nice exterior scenes, and plenty of shots of the audience from the front before the bride arrives - these shots are particularly hard to get during the ceremony if you have an uptight priest who doesn't let you anywhere near the front.

Honestly though, if the client wants the whole thing, that's what I give them - no fancy stuff, no cut aways, just the entire long form ceremony from start to finish with 2 cameras.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhong Cheung View Post
How do you keep your shallow DOF cams in focus while on a blackbird/steadicam/glidecam?
Use a wide lens and you'll have no problems here.
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Old March 15th, 2011, 07:20 PM   #13
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

Thanks John! Yeah, I guess we can cheat the audience reaction shots (from taking them from a different time rather than actually when the processional/ceremony are occurring).

Client wanted whole thing but said "I don't know how you're going to make that not so boring though." So I assumed she doesn't want it to be boring.
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Old March 21st, 2011, 02:06 AM   #14
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

Wow, am I doing it wrong? I always provide the complete, long form wedding ceremony as part of my delivered product. I'll use different angles and cut-aways, but nothing special. This is the complete ceremony as it happened. Of course, I also provide the "Highlight Reel" that is heavily edited, including some fx, to increase excitement, flow & fun.

I guess my question is do most videographers NOT provide the FULL CEREMONY as part of the deliverable?
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Old March 21st, 2011, 02:43 AM   #15
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Re: How to Make Processional or Full Ceremony Less Boring?

I also do the full length ceremony and highlights is an optional extra. I'd really rather just do highlights as then you can take the time to find nice angles, move around a bit, get plenty of cut aways etc without freaking out missing one tiny little thing. I'd have less footage to pick my 'highlights' from, but a higher percentage of keepers which would make the cut for the highlights. Not to mention my turn around times would be much faster.

I honestly wonder how many of the brides sit and watch the full ceremony more than once in their lifetime. The highlights however, would no doubt get replayed for every friend, family member and work colleague in the six months following the wedding, and then every now and then over the following years.
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