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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old August 22nd, 2005, 01:02 PM   #1
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Pre-Pro on First Wedding

So, I have my first wedding gig coming up in October - it's one I'm doing for free just so that I can get my feet wet. The Bride and Groom know that I am not guaranteeing anything but I am still going to try and pull off something that looks like a professional quality job.

I am planning on doing this pretty much by myself, although I may have my girlfriend assist me as a runner and an extra hand if needed. I am using the following setup:

- Canon XL2 with standatd 20X lens
- 1 Panasonic 7" LCD monitor
- Anton Bauer Gold Plate with 2 HyTron-50 Batteries
- 1 Anton Bauer UL2-20 Ultralight-2 On-Camera Light
- 1 Anton Bauer UL-DF #1 Light Diffuser
- 2 Sennheiser G-2 Wireless Lavs/handheld mics
- 2 Shure SM-81s (ambient mics)
- 2 Shure Beta-58s (for handheld mics for speeches).
- 1 Bogen Tripod (503 head).
- Tiffen Enhancing Filter kit

Plus the additional XLR cables, etc.

Now, I do have access to a friends 3CCD Panasonic camera (not sure the model number off hand) that I could set up as a stationary camera - but I am not sure if it would be worth the fuss since no-one will really be behind it to adjust it if needed (it would probably be in the set up as a wide shot in the back of the hall). What do you think? Is an extra camera worth the effort - or is it just one more thing to worry about?

Also - how much pre-production do you guys do for the typical wedding? I am planning on going down to check out the hall well before the wedding to do a floor plan, and also plan on doing the rehearsal dinner as a warm-up before the big day. . . but is there anything else that I should do prior to the shoot for pre-production?


Basically - I am hoping to get my feet wet with this one, and then hopefully get more gigs that I would charge for.

Anyone have any other advice? Any other equipment that I should be getting?

Please don't turn this into a Camera war! I like my XL-2 regardless of how bad it works in low light (which isn't that bad - IMHO). I used to shoot on SVHS back as an undergrad, so nothing can be as bad as those heavy clunkers :)

Thanks
Ryan
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 01:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan DesRoches
Now, I do have access to a friends 3CCD Panasonic camera (not sure the model number off hand) that I could set up as a stationary camera - but I am not sure if it would be worth the fuss since no-one will really be behind it to adjust it if needed (it would probably be in the set up as a wide shot in the back of the hall). What do you think? Is an extra camera worth the effort - or is it just one more thing to worry about?
Hi - you're missing the whole point of the second camera. It's not just to give you more footage to play with. Consider this - your main camera is at the front on a wide or medium shot - and they exchange rings or vows or whatever - and you decide to zoom in for a close up. Right: dilemma! Leaving the zoom in the final cut will look like an amateur. So what are you going to do? The preacher was talking all the way through it - you can't cut any of it out.

Answer - before your main camera starts to zoom (you will, of course keep rolling continually with both cameras ALL THE TIME) you cut to the second camera. After a few seconds, once the main camera has stopped zooming, reframing, refocussing whatever, you cut back to the main camera. Bang - professional looking result. NO ZOOMS (and very few pans) left in.

It's called a cutaway.

That's why it's worth the bother of the second camera.
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 03:08 PM   #3
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I just did my first wedding in July

And, yes, you definitely need a second stationary camera. I did, however, I used my older GL2 with my new Sony 170. There is some color difference, but since one camera is close up and the other wide, the difference is tolerable.

Make sure the stationary camera (if hooked up to the wireless) is not turned on too soon or you'll loss wireless audio at a most critical time. I know that sound simple, but you'd be surprised how those kind of things get past ya.

I would also used a IRiver or some other back up sound device.

Open the packaging on several MiniDV tapes, ready to go.

Also, do a search in this thread using "newbie" "first" and you'll find a lot of info.

Good luck....I can tell you that after the first one, you'll know sooo much more about what to do on the second one....
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 03:30 PM   #4
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Shoes

And don't wear new shoes, geez, you'll have blisters the size of basketballs. I'm not admitting to anything.
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Old August 22nd, 2005, 07:28 PM   #5
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Extra batteries.
Twice as much tape as you think you need.
Lens cleaner kit IN YOUR POCKET.
Cleaning tape in your pocket.

Maybe a monopod with matching QR (to 503). Some mobility w/o going handheld will be nice.

Attend rehearsal (not just dinner) so you know what is going on and what rules you will be under at ceremony.

Not sure what you are gonna do with those "speeches" mics, people will likely be holding the PA mic the DJ gives them, so you need to plan on getting sound from his system (maybe using a senn wireless in front of speakers).

Cattle prod for running children and large women who block your shots.
Tylenol.
Tiny Flashlight for rumaging in your camera case.
Power snack.

Have a shot list ahead of time, just so you are as organized as possible. Definitely have second cam, for reasons Martin said. Be sure to white balance them. Arrive everywhere earlier than you think you need to.

Good Luck.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 09:33 AM   #6
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For sure like the previous experts have said.. Get the 2nd camera.. Just try to color balance them together or at the same card. You can always color match in POST. You really want to avoid that but, it can be done.

I myself started with one PD-150 and used just 1 camera. Now it can be done as long as your going to compress time during the ceremony of the B&G know that.. So if they tell you ahead of time they don't want certain parts then use those parts for your zoom, but be quick..:)

Anyways, after doing some free gigs for experience I bought another PD-150 and PD-170. So I have one PD-150 as just a backup unit. Never can be too safe. I have 18 6-hour batteries which gives each camera 6 each.

So get that 2nd camera and just do a stationary shot of the B&G from the back, that way your camera dies you have that footage at least.. You will jut lack the cinematic closeups. Oh yeah and make sure it's got a source to your lav mic also.. I usually mic the groom with my wireless sen lav and feed it to both cameras and then 1 camera which is up front has a shotgun and the other camera has an omni for ambient.

Just my experience.. Wedding Videography is alot like being a cop, everyday is something new and you never never never stop training and learning.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 12:19 PM   #7
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you can never have enough

I shot a concert and set up what I thought was my old 1 chipper just for added footage while I used my 3 chipper for the money shots. WEEELLLLLL, the 3 chip didn't have the zoom and problems with the audio SSSOOOO with 2 cameras and 3 audio sources we still hade some bare spots.

Always go for overkill....
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Old August 24th, 2005, 03:27 AM   #8
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great stuff mentioned on this thread. equipment aside:

on the morning of, i make sure that in the car i have a small iced cooler with:

- 3 extra large monster energy drinks
- 3 power bars or snickers bars
- 3 large gatorades

... 1 for each shooter.

i have found that i drink the monster on the way to the prep, have the power bar before the ceremony, and drink the gatorade after the ceremony.

other things i always make sure to have:

- directions to all places
- all necessary phone numbers
- event plan with time breakdowns
- business cards
- gum
- at least $50 in cash
- cellphone, charged but on silent mode
- a full tank of gas
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Old August 24th, 2005, 07:45 AM   #9
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Thanks!

Great stuff in here guys!

I will use a second camera for a stationary shot - Although I would really like to have a second XL-2 with me, I currently don't have the money for another rig at the moment - so I'll just go with my friends Panasonic as the stationary camera.

Good idea about the food and snacks - just never thought of hunger as an issue (I figured I would be running around too much to get hungry).

I am hopefully going to see the space that the wedding is taking place this weekend and get more details on the ceremony.

I think I can rig up a monopod as well - as I can definitely see where it would come in handy.

One other thing . . . Since I have two lav mics, should I use on the JP and one on the bride? OR should I use one of the Lav mics on the JP and then perhaps a SM-81 near the bride and groom to pick them up. . .

I don't have a field mixer - so I am probably just using the 2 XLR inputs on the cameras unless I can dig up mixer for cheap - as I am just starting out with this as a small buisness and am running out of money! (Spent about 10K on equipment already!)

Thanks
Ryan
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Old August 24th, 2005, 08:05 AM   #10
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mic on groom, maybe backup on officiant. Brides don't usually get miked.

Send one mic to each camera if you can. Rendundancy....
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Old August 24th, 2005, 10:34 AM   #11
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don't foreget the DEW

In the cooler don't forget the 24oz. Mountain Dew, the original, not the red stuff.....
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