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Old June 9th, 2011, 08:20 AM   #1
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Couple of Questions

Being fairly new at wedding videography, I thought I would ask a couple questions.

Q-1: Do a lot of you wedding videographers stage your shots? Obviously not the ceremony/reception etc, but other shots throughout the day. I find myself basically shooting them while the photographer is taking his/her photos and I don't really direct them in any way. This brings me to my next question.

Q-2: Do you work "sort of" under the photographer? I ask this too because like I said above, I find myself basically just shooting video of my couples while their being photographed. Most of the weddings I've done so far, I've had the photographers doing all the directing and I'm basically feeling like a tag-along. It always appears to me that the photos are whats "most important" over video...

Opinions and feedback would be great as I'm trying to change the way I shoot my weddings. All in all I still get excellent shots for the most part, but I need to figure out what to do to become more like a director during weddings.

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Old June 9th, 2011, 08:32 AM   #2
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Re: Couple of Questions

Hi Matt!

1. I really never stage anything. The only exceptions would be some pre-ceremony preparations -- sometimes I tell the bride to look in the mirror and primp her hair, or spin around to show off her dress, etc. But I'm there to capture the events as they unfold naturally, so I strive to be a (mostly) invisible observer.

2. I'll often work at the photographer's lead, but only at times. I never end up using most of the footage of their "staged" shots. For most of the wedding/reception, I work independently of the photographer and try to keep on top of things myself, or in collaboration with the officiant/DJ/band.

This doesn't mean I ignore the photographer all together -- I always try to make friends and form a good relationship! It can be highly beneficial in a lot of regards.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask more!
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Old June 9th, 2011, 09:05 AM   #3
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Re: Couple of Questions

I have 2 shots that I stage (other than some prep shots if I'm doing prep). Other than that, for the majority of the weddings I do, I'm there to document their day. I work with the photog for the post ceremony stuff but other than that I work independently of the photog. However since most of the photog I work with I have worked with for a pretty good amount of time (a couple of them around 10 years) they know what I do and I know what they do so it makes it pretty easy.
Every once in a while, I get a couple that feel video is very important to them and some even have some good ideas so we colaborate and come up with some fun stuff but the majority is, like I said, documentary style.
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
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Old June 9th, 2011, 09:41 AM   #4
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Re: Couple of Questions

Like Don, I shoot documentary style. When I follow the photographer, it is only because the taking of the formal photographs is part of the couple's experience of the day. A very little bit of the photo sessions goes a very long way. I've only done posed shots when the couple specifically wanted something like that.
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Old June 9th, 2011, 10:55 AM   #5
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Re: Couple of Questions

I don't necessarily stage many shots. I do shoot 1 or 2 pick-up shots. 1. Close up of the rings being placed on the fingers. 2. Close up of the lighting of a unity candle (if applicable). These are done right after the ceremony before formal photos are taken inside.

That's it, the rest of the time I'm a video ninja documenting their day.
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Old June 9th, 2011, 11:11 AM   #6
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Re: Couple of Questions

1) I used to not stage, but nowadays I will try to influence what's going on. I don't ask them to act, but I will suggest things when I feel there's an opportunity to do so.

2) if the photographer is a professional and knows what to do, we will only pipe in when we need something specifically. If the photographer isn't managing people and overall not doing a good job, we'll step in and direct people and basically push them out of the so many of them do to other videographers.

We are not the "fly on the wall" type and OUR clients appreciate our input and creativity. This is what works for us.
__________________ - Modern Wedding Films based in Michigan - Michigan's dedicated wedding blog
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Old June 9th, 2011, 02:50 PM   #7
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Re: Couple of Questions

Dude, don't let the photographer run the show unless you want your work to show that. Talk to the photographer before hand and tell them that they need to set aside enough time to be able for them to take pictures and for you to setup shots. Usually this is only done when they are taking posed photos and not candid shots. Photographers are not use to this so you have to make them aware that you are there to do your job too and that involves working with the clients/couple just as they will on the wedding day.
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Old June 9th, 2011, 02:58 PM   #8
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Re: Couple of Questions

You'll just have to figure out what type of shooter you are that fits to your style. When I first started I used to think that staging shots was a must for a videog. IMO I couldn't have been further from the truth. I'm not filming actors so therefor the shots that I was getting didn't have that "real feel" to them, though I'm not saying that you won't be able to achieve this.

If your shooting the photo shoot then make it look like exactly what it is... a photo shoot! Get some shots of the photographer working with the couple and directing his shots.

I now only include the photo shoot segments for the rolling credits at the end of the wedding film. I just make it a small box on the left hand side.

For my style the photo session really doesn't build into the story. I rather have more prep footage of the reception as a way to segue from the ceremony to the party.

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Old June 9th, 2011, 06:48 PM   #9
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Re: Couple of Questions

One staged shot I've been doing lately is a CU of the groom imagining the bride walking down the aisle towards him. This makes the perfect cut-way for that moment where you have to jump out of the brides way as she comes down the aisle. Normally I'll do it at the same time as I'm miking up the groom.

Other than that I don't stage anything. I do give some gentle direction however, just things like "Look into each others eyes for a moment... ok now back to the camera..." More important than giving direction is to maintain a light hearted conversation, that way the wedding couple remain casual and relaxed, which makes it easy for you to capture great natural moments.

As for the photographers, I normally let them take lead. But between photos is when I swoop in and get my best stuff - walking from one location to another is a great opportunity for steadycam shots, and while the photographer goes off chasing the missing flower girl you'll get great shots of the wedding party waiting arranged in their pose but acting casually, chatting and laughing.
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Old June 10th, 2011, 10:10 AM   #10
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Re: Couple of Questions

I agree with John. The best candid video of the wedding party is usually when the bridal party is waiting to have their photo taken. This is when they are laughing, joking, hugging etc. I will be shooting in the vicinity but I don't necessarily need to get every heirloom shot the photographer takes.
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