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


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Old June 21st, 2011, 10:33 PM   #1
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Help with my first Wedding shoot

I'm trying to learn and get into the video business and my wife figures that with all the money i've spent on equipment I may as well film her sisters wedding. They weren't going to have a video made so the bride is real excited about this and it's turned into our cheep gift to them.

My plan is to have my big camera set up on the tripod in the back of the Church focused on the stage and the ceremony. I have another camera I'm renting for the day that I'm going to have up front first getting the people coming down the isle and then recording b-roll of the audience and some different angles of the bride and groom.

The sound booth for the Church is in the back and my goal is, since the event will be Mic'd with Wireless LAv mics that I would just tap into the sound board with a cable to my camera in the back and record all the audio directly from the house system. Does this work as well as I have it pictured in my mind? is there anything I should worry about with regards to audio?

Am I on the right track with planning this all out? I'm really not trying to get all artsy with this. I'd like to get the ceremony, toasts, cake cutting, and maybe a few other things. Honestly I am not interested in being a Wedding videographer I enjoy filming corporate events, Sailing, and training videos.
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Old June 21st, 2011, 10:48 PM   #2
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

Hi Paul

I set up completely opposite to you!! My main camera is up front so I can concentrate on the couple and officiant and then my 2nd cam is roving to get the procession and cutaways. I guess each to their own???

I got tired of people getting in the way of the main camera when it was further back!!

I use my own mics always as board feeds are tricky...it's great if the feed works well and you have a pro on the desk but if it's a mess then remember you get no audio!! I would still stick a DVR and lav mic on the groom for backup!!

Chris
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Old June 21st, 2011, 11:13 PM   #3
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

Bummer.... I had thought to set up in the back because I have plenty of Zoom and I wanted to be by the sound board. I hope the sound guy is going to be at the rehearsal. I think a test run is in order. I had really hoped to use house sound because I don't have any audio equipment yet. What DVR do you use and suggest?
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Old June 21st, 2011, 11:53 PM   #4
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

Whatever you decide about your camera placement, keep in mind that people will be there and in the way at times. Another key thing to plan for is that people stand up during the bridal procession. This will block many camera angles. It's also common to have a photographer 'moon walking' in front of the couple as they walk down the isle during the recessional. (moon walking is when the photographer stands directly in front of the couple and walks backwards as they walk down the aisle. What the photographer is really doing is putting on a show that is supposed to impress; everyone with his prowess). None of these shot killers are obvious when you stand in an empty church planning everything. You should plan with those things in mind though.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 12:08 AM   #5
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

Hi Paul

Back cams are fine if they are on a bacony and you can get a clear shot of the proceedings, as Jim says, with people standing too... Sometimes, of course, the front row is just too close to the couple in some Churches too!! If you do have a cam up front also realise that they will do readings from another position so if you use your front cam for that make sure that it also has a clear shot of the lectern!!! Of couse if you take a sound feed (I personally wouldn't as more than often the sound guy is just someone who put up their hand to do the job and not an expert!)

Best zooms seem to be the Zooms but they are pricey too!! Maybe hire a radio mic for the day and plug that into your main camera as a feed backup..otherwise you usually need to mic at least the groom, officiant and the readings lectern!!!

Doing a wedding as a one off job and never again is a tough call unless you want to spend un-necessary money!!

Chris
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 02:48 AM   #6
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

Paul, I wouldn't tap audio from sound booth straight to the camera.. If I were you, I'll plug it into a dedicated audio recorder and let the camera record audio via onboard mic. This way you have more audio sources to work with.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 07:16 PM   #7
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

Paul,
I must agree... taking a line out from the church's amp is great if it all works... and sometimes for whatever reason it just doesn't and you wont have the time to sort it out....At venues I must admit that I go down that path but I know the venue and I know the mixer and I have a Plan B as I monitor the audio.

I would stick with the advice already given... stick with a lave mike and/or a DVR on the groom... and if you can... always always always have a PLAN B

My shooting style is almost identical to that already mentioned by others and that is the reversal of what you were going to do... I also cant stress enough that people stand up and crowd the bride and groom and you have to be there to film thru it so you must be able to move around people as they won't move around you.

Good luck
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 08:06 PM   #8
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

Ok, try 2 for my plan.

Audio: A MP3 recorder taping the house audio into a WAV file format. A wireless Lav mic tapped into my camera. my b-roll camera recording audio from the onboard mic. And a small (college type) DVR on the reading/music lectern just in case.

Is that a better idea?
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 08:33 PM   #9
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

Paul, I think you have much to learn and many mistakes to make and in my view it's a pity you're going to make some on your sister-in-law's wedding isn't a great start. I'd be prepared to buy her a small wedding gift of the ordinary kind.

Assuming that you have limited time to practice, my honest opinion would be to scan through the work of some of the people here, decide what you think works and what doesn't and just try and record a simple, clean image with reasonable audio, nothing tricksy or as you say artsy.

Sadly your wife's coming at this from the wrong starting point, owning a lot of gear isn't the place to start into any video business and certainly not weddings. It probably sounds perverse but in my view the best place would be a single camera with a single microphone, then you could concentrate on what really matters, the programme. Just my 2c.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 09:20 PM   #10
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

I'll make a TON of mistakes. that's no big deal. I prefaced this by saying I'm learning. Honestly, I'd much rather screw up my sister-in-law's wedding video then someone who's paying me. Like I said, she wasn't going to have a videographer so anything I can do is a benefit. If I screw it up all together, I'll buy them something and no one is out anything. I'll only have $50 wrapped up in this if i end up renting the 2nd camera. I think the experience I'll gain is worth $50. The lav is my churches extra/back-up so it's costing me nothing to borrow. The wav recorder is my buddies from his band so it's costing me nothing. I have a camera and tripod. I am interested in getting a DVR. I'm doing some corporate video's and it would be nice to have as a back-up audio source for events and would be great to have as a way to capture voice-over.

I appreciate all the advice. Thanks!
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 09:30 PM   #11
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

Paul, I understand everything you're saying.

My two points are first simply not to learn on anyone's wedding but learn your craft on things which really don't matter and keep the gear simple. Second it still sounds to me as though you're going to be worrying more about using borrowed gear and "tapping" into mixing desks than making the programme. I'm refraining from mentioning things like impedance matching, AGC, mains hum ....

Good luck.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 09:40 PM   #12
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

Keeping things as simple as possible is most definately the way to go...I shoot weddings with two cameras and trust me, you need to be very switched on and well practiced too!!!

A single cam is probably a very sensible idea!!! My very first digital wedding was a relative and I used a little Panasonic GS500 and a radio mic on the groom...nothing else!! As Philip says, concentrate on the couple and get some good direct audio and you will end up with something your sister will love!!!

Complicated setups need plenty of attention...the KISS principle will definately be the way to go..rent a radio mic rather than a second camera!!

Chris
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 09:53 PM   #13
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

I'm glad you're not mentioning those things cause... I think you know, I'd have no idea what you are talking about. I've been filming everything I can trying to gain the experience. Lacrosse games, on the water sailing footage, lectures, and outdoor trainings. I'll be doing a music concert this next Wednesday. My goal in this wedding, is to stay out of the photographers way, get some good clean footage, and try to somehow record quality audio. Audio has always been the question mark with my videos.

I can appreciate your wanting me to keep it simple. Maybe it would be best to just stick with my camera and mic. I'll still record the house audio but that doesn't take any effort to have the sound guy patch in the wav recorder. The guy who owns it is coming to the wedding anyway. That way, if it works, i have it. If not, i still have the audio off my camera.

My wife is in the wedding so I'll be at the rehearsal and all... I'll spend the time playing with camera placements and all and see what the church is like and where to set up.
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Old June 22nd, 2011, 10:07 PM   #14
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Snow View Post
Whatever you decide about your camera placement, keep in mind that people will be there and in the way at times. Another key thing to plan for is that people stand up during the bridal procession. This will block many camera angles. It's also common to have a photographer 'moon walking' in front of the couple as they walk down the isle during the recessional. (moon walking is when the photographer stands directly in front of the couple and walks backwards as they walk down the aisle. What the photographer is really doing is putting on a show that is supposed to impress; everyone with his prowess). None of these shot killers are obvious when you stand in an empty church planning everything. You should plan with those things in mind though.
The Moon Walk:
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Old June 23rd, 2011, 02:31 AM   #15
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Re: Help with my first Wedding shoot

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Originally Posted by Paul Owens View Post
(snipped) ....get some good clean footage, and try to somehow record quality audio. Audio has always been the question mark with my videos.
Paul, audio has always been the poor relation in television and you get full marks in my book for recognising its importance. I can remember being told that by an ex-radio man at the BBC in 1953 and it's been the same ever since.

Of course, there's a good reason for it; when TV first came along radio mics and equipment were designed for ease and quality of production. Suddenly they have to consider what it looks like and the first studio solution was the boom mic.

Things have improved considerably and we now have miniature, radio mics etc etc, but there's always been a lingering idea that the picture is more important than the sound.

Happily today we're moving away from these antiquated ideas but the debate as to whether the means of production should be seen or unseen will last for much longer.
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