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

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Old August 22nd, 2005, 10:28 PM   #1
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Positioning cameras?

I'm gonna be shooting my first wedding, it's for my cousin, in about 3 weeks, and I'm curious about where you guys position your cameras for a shoot.

At the moment I have 2 cameras, A Panasonic DVC30 and a Sony PC9.

For a while I was planning on having the Sony angled behind the groom on a locked off shot of the bride . But now I'm thinking about having it as a locked off semi-wide shot from the back of the ceremony.

I'll be on the Panasonic on the side of the seating area opposite the bride so I can shoot at her.

As for audio I will have an Iriver with a GS lav on the groom, and a Shotgun mic on the Panasonic, I'll leave the Sony alone as I think it actually has a better onboard mic than the Panasonic, plus it'll be so far away that the only usable audio will be ambient.

It's an outdoor ceremony so light isn't an issue. The reception is also outdoors.

And I've been watching a lot of the sample that everyone has shown, so I have a pretty good idea about how I'm going to cut everything.

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Old August 23rd, 2005, 08:13 AM   #2
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IMHO you should try to get a mic closer to the bride as well as the lav on the groom if her fashions permit it, though the grooms lav might suffice for both. A shotgun mic on the Panasonic is still going to be too far away to record good audio unless you're right up close to the action. Unlike zoom lenses and contrary to myth, shotguns don't work like some sort of sound telescope that reaches out to grab distant sounds. They suppress sounds coming from the sides and back but they don't magnify sounds coming from the front. For good quality audio even with a directional mic you still need to get the mic within a few feet of the sound source.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 08:33 AM   #3
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Depends on what they want

I've done a few weddings where the bride and groom just wanted the video, but they didn't care "how it looked." I just set up in the balcony and shot the whole thing zoomed in. It actually looks pretty nice, and it's very unintrusive. If your cousin and his bride don't mind you being up in their business, you could definately go with what you've described.
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Old August 23rd, 2005, 04:37 PM   #4
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Camera position has no set rules as it will depend on too many things.
FIRST if its in a church most will not allow a camera on the altar but some do its up to the officiant.
SECOND, it depends on the layout of the altar and the size of the bridal party and where they will be standing.
THIRD it really depends on what will give the best shot

FOR EXAMPLE-I did one last weekend-outdoors-big bridal party small, no make it very small area to work and the B&G faced each other during the entire ceremony. No place really to put a 2nd camera and get a quality shot. SOLUTION; I shot 1 camera just like the old days, made my move to the center aisle as smooth as glass made any zooms to the readers and B&G slow and steady and just like the old days it came out fine. I previewed the tapes the next day and I may just go back to 1 camera shoots again. (not really) but heres a good tip for new wedding videographers. We all try to set a 2nd and some even a 3rd camera, GREAT, but work your primary camera like the others either aren't there or not working. First of all, you never know if a stationary camera has a problem while your shooting and you'll find the primary footage to be a lot better by practicing the good shooting techniques we should all know.

Bottom line, go to the rehearsal OR get there early enough to scope the place out and talk to the person in charge (usually the officiant) and find out what you can and can't do. Abide by those rules so the next time you're there or the next person in doesn't have to hear about the guy who didn't listen.
Good luck and have fun,

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Old August 24th, 2005, 12:33 AM   #5
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I am definitely a fan of the stationary shot from the rear. Be sure to get the camera above the crowds heads should they stand, and also clear of the aisle. I try to have the rear camera set up as tight as possible to capture the Bride Groom and Officiant, leaving a little room for movement. If you are moving around with the pany, be sure to use a light weight tripod or a monopod as cutting handheld footage with a stationary camera only exaggerates the movements of the handheld, regardless of how minor they may be.

The shotgun will be almost useless if you cannot get the camera within 10ft or so of the couple, even 10ft is often a stretch, and if you are going to be moving around much with the camera, the dynamics of the sound will be drastically influenced, and make it almost un-useable.

I often use the groom lav as the main sound source, and the stationary as ambient during the ceremony.

I only mic the groom, and use a shotgun if I can get one close enough, and although not the greatest setup, it seems to work out fine for me. In the perfect world, you should have a mic on the bride, groom, officiant, and readers (or a fixed podium), the more the merrier I guess. Then again, I know a guy who only records through the onboard mic, and a single lav on anyone at the front will always get better results than that...

If you are outside, be sure to put windscreens on the mic's.

Best of luck.
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