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


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Old July 24th, 2011, 12:26 AM   #31
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

Hi Alec

That's a neat summary for new shooters!!

When I'm doing shoots alone there are many times where I use just one camera!! Sometimes that's all you need. I always use two at the ceremony....shoot tons of cutaways to cover guests, the bridal party and mostly the photog walking in front of the camera. Also during speeches I use a 2nd cam to shoot lot's of cutaways...relieves the boredom of the FOB's 15 minute speech and also it's a nice touch when the FOB thanks Aunt Mary for the beautiful cake you can cut to a shot of her.

I insist (nicely) on a running sheet from the bride and then also liase constantly with both the MC and the DJ regarding timing!! You do have to be on the ball!! I went to the toilet once and missed the bouquet toss!!!

Chris
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Old July 24th, 2011, 08:23 AM   #32
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

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Hi Alec

You do have to be on the ball!! I went to the toilet once and missed the bouquet toss!!!

Chris
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Old July 24th, 2011, 09:10 AM   #33
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

Hey Don

If the MC had been on the ball it wouldn't have happened!! There was no running sheet and a "I've never done this before" MC (a relative too!!) As always I did ask about the bouquet toss as it was 10pm already and I was busting to go!! She spoke to the bride who announced that AFTER the farewell circle at midnight she would toss the bouquet and then leave. During my "trousers around my ankles" phase in the "gents" I heard the "single girls" song and by the time I rushed back into the ballroom the bouquet was already on some lucky girl's table!! The drunken bride apparently changed her mind and wanted it NOW!!

In 20 years it's the only time I have ever missed the event and she was way too drunk to even do a dummy one for me!! They did apologise and tell me not to worry about it!!

The same wedding, funnily enough was also the first wedding where the groom was really late!!! In fact the whole wedding was organised chaos!!

We really need to be on our toes sometimes don't we??? Even austronaut pants wouldn't have helped this one but the point is you DO need a running sheet and constant liason with the MC and DJ as they often switch roles!!

Chris
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Old July 25th, 2011, 12:36 PM   #34
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

Joe, I'd really love to hear your experiences with your first wedding shoot. Let us know how everything went when you can.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 01:06 PM   #35
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

Two accessories I wish I had back in 1992 would be a GPS and a cell phone. Brides used to hand write the directions to her house and it would be like "Go 14 traffic lights and make a left". I'd lose count after the 4th or 5th traffic light. They never knew the name of the streets around their house. I'd have to find a pay phone to call them and find out where I was.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 01:25 PM   #36
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

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Two accessories I wish I had back in 1992 would be a GPS and a cell phone. Brides used to hand write the directions to her house and it would be like "Go 14 traffic lights and make a left". I'd lose count after the 4th or 5th traffic light. They never knew the name of the streets around their house. I'd have to find a pay phone to call them and find out where I was.
I've actually had clients who didn't know the name of the street they lived on. Probably the worst case involved a client who had lived in their house for a number of years, and had no clue what her address was. The conversation went something like this:

Her: "You turn left at (such and such as store name) and just go for a little while, but watch out for this thing in the road - people drive crazy there and get confused. But then I'm on the right."

Me: "What is the name of the street?"

Her: "Why? That's the one you turn left at the store."

Me: "OK. And then your house is on the right hand side of that street."

Her: "No, I don't live on that street. You turn right onto my street."

Me: "OK, I turn right at which street?"

Her: "I don't know the name of it."

Me: "But it's the street you live on?"

Her: "Yes, You go down it a few houses...like 2 or 3, and that's me."

Me: "What's the street address?"

Her: silence

Me: "What the house number?"

Her: "I don't know."

Me: "OK, can you do me a favor and step outside perhaps to your front porch or the front of the garage and look for the numbers that are posted up there."

Her: "awwww, do I have to go outside? I don't really wanna...."

Me: (realizing that this was only going to give me a house number but no street name, I changed course), "Hold on, forget that, sorry. Do you have mail sent to you, that you have in the house?"

Her: "Yes. I've got some right here."

Me: "Can you read to me that address written under your name on the outside of the envelope?"

She then read the address, and after she noted the street name, her voice tone changed to that "coulda had a V8" tones as she said.."Oh, duh....yeah, THAT'S my address. Hmmm, I'm just so used to driving to my house, I never have to look for my house number, so I just couldn't remember. Sorry."

True story. Sometimes I just completely wonder how some people get through the day without starving to death because they can't figure out how to open the cereal box.

-Jon
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Old July 25th, 2011, 03:40 PM   #37
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

OK that is officially the funniest thing I've read all day!
It's a good thing some people don't have to think about breathing!

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Old July 25th, 2011, 10:27 PM   #38
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

Jonathan, my wife and I had a good laugh reading your post. THAT is some funny stuff....
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Old July 25th, 2011, 10:57 PM   #39
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

Hi Jonathon

That is truely the best yet!!!

In fact even with a GPS and a cell you STILL wouldn't know where to go except maybe knock on doors and asking.. "Anyone getting married in this house"

I did struggle with one house last year....yep, I had the address but the GPS couldn't find the house number and driving slowly down the road I passed 1, 3 5 and then it jumped to 13 !!! I figured the only option was to knock on the door and ask for the bride and hope it was the right house!! A New Zealand guy answered the door and said "Nope, not our house" and I continued looking.... as I was walking (I had abandoned the car already and was doing the street on foot) A lady came out of the very same house with the New Zealand guy in it and shouted "Hey, Chris looking for me????" Yep, it was the bride and the guy that answered the door was her fiancee!!!! I asked him later if it didn't ring any bells that I was wearing a Company shirt with the name on it, that I just MIGHT be the videographer they were expecting??? "I guess", he said!!

That was also the last time I forgot to ask new brides for a cell number!!! At least with a cell you can walk down the road, talking to the bride and say...come out onto the porch and wave!!!!

Yours was still the best by a long way!!

Chris
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Old July 26th, 2011, 02:34 AM   #40
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

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Originally Posted by Jonathan Jones View Post
True story. Sometimes I just completely wonder how some people get through the day without starving to death because they can't figure out how to open the cereal box.

-Jon
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Old September 6th, 2011, 04:56 AM   #41
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

Hi Edward,

You did ask for a report following this first shoot, so here goes.

I think everyone will come out of their first shoot, saying to themselves that they need to;

(1) Work on their positioning plan for camera A or B or both
(2) Become more compact, organised & lightweight with the gear, especially at the ceremony, and especially if you're a "1 man shoot".
(3) achieve professional standards with audio
(4) hunt down the PHOTOGRAPHER, and tie him up, and bury his lenses
(5) define checklist of standard or required shots & subjects that need to be captured per event.

Working from bottom up (#5), I made the mistake of not getting adequate coverage of all required subjects, with the finished piece somewhat one sided or unbalanced. This mental checklist will come with experience i guess, but i realised after the event that i had very little coverage of the bride's parents, who were both extremely quiet, with the FOB not even making a speech. Also, as there was a wedding the night before, in same hotel, & I found that many of the guests from this wedding stayed on for an extra night, & it was hard to distinguish between the two parties, who were both formally kitted out. Very rare occurance i'd say.

Like everyone else, I had to edit out the photographer more often that not, and would be interested to hear how people work best with photographers, and what requirements you ask for, and how you try to accomodate them getting their shots too. For instance, for the recessional, I had to endure the photographer doing a backwards moon walk, and only got 3 seconds at the end, once he realised i was there. For my next wedding, i will try get photographers phone number in advance to discuss both requirements, but would be interested to hear what standard practice is, and how the two professions can best work together.

When jotting down lessons learnt, following the event, i found that most improvements would require further investment, and i bought all i could afford prior to event. My audio was a bit of a disaster to be honest, and think i do need a H2 for the lecturn, and another mic that i could put up against a speaker, such as a drum mic. Would be interested to hear if H2 is best form of DVR to get for readings only on lecturn, and if putting DVR on, or up close to speaker in church is recommended? Is the RODE Video Mic Pro, better or worst than shotgun mics during ceremony.

Starting out as a one man shoot is not easy, and you really need to be compact, organised, and lightweight for run 'n' gun style shooting, & to remain discrete. I definetly didn't feel compact, organised & lightweight. Next time, i think i'll leave slider & monopod in car during ceremony, and just concentrate on two tripods + 2 camera bodies. I think a Pelican brief could be the way to go, and a shoot sac comes highly recommended, to keep all your lenses on you when floating, spare memory cards, batteries etc. Easily solved, but further investment.

Lastly, and more importantly, my positioning plan did not match up with the lenses in my kit, and I quickly realised that having all primes in my kit, did not exactly match my style of shooting, and do think adding zoom will allow me to remain even further back, and more discrete. There is a serious lack of detail in my end product, and i think the long term fix is a 70 - 200 f/2.8 II. I was conscious of this beforehand, and rented a 7D because of it's crop factor, but really would like ability to get in close from both Camera A & B.

All in all, relatively happy. Some nice timelapses, a story was told, but a busy Autumn ahead, before the next wedding, which is in a Castle. Might share the clip, when complete, for further constructive feedback.

Thanks
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Old September 6th, 2011, 05:07 AM   #42
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

By the way, Karma is a biiitch, and I really shouldn't have laughed at Corey and his failure to press the 'big red record' button, because i ended up doing same on H4N, and thought that it was recording, when in fact it wasn't. Tut Tut Tut. It happens to the bets of us :-)
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Old September 6th, 2011, 08:13 PM   #43
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

Since the BRB (big red button) is such a problem, don't do what I did. I researched and bought a new shotgun mic. Tested it ahead for time to ensure all worked ok.
Funny thing about mics... If you don't TURN THEM ON, they don't record so well.
I did that at my son's wedding where a friend was running the cam for me. She didn't want to wear headphones. I said, no problem. My fault.

One more thing...
My nephew had agreed to run my B cam for the ceremony. I gave him a mid morning reminder and he agreed to arrive an hour ahead of time. Ceremony came and went and the nephew was a no show. Lesson learned?
Volunteer help can be hit or miss.

Picked up the vows etc from my digital recorder on the groom. Interviewed the B&G next day in the studio and got their thoughts, etc. on audio for a VO for a video of guests arriving, chatting,etc. prior to the ceremony. Worked out well.

Last edited by Jay Knobbe; September 6th, 2011 at 08:17 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old September 7th, 2011, 12:45 AM   #44
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

I make an absolute habit of turning both Rode Mics on before I even leave home and they stay on all day and all night!!

A little 9v battery is cheaper to replace than telling the bride.."Oops you have no audio!!!" It's also worth having monitoring turned on on your camera so you can see that audio is coming in!!! It doesn't hurt to wear a headset too...just to make sure you are getting audio!!

My radio mics also have a "standby" switch ..a priest once was fiddling with his audio and presumed my transmitter on the lectern was part of his setup and turn it to standby!! I now have a piece of gaffer tape over the switch!!

Chris
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Old September 7th, 2011, 10:31 AM   #45
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Re: Lessons Learnt - From that first wedding

I'm in much the same situation as Jordan Nash (i.e., an amateur with high standards). I've recorded two weddings now as a guest, the second of which I'm currently editing in order to give the couple a dvd as a wedding gift. I knew going in that the editing process would be time consuming but I had NO idea just how much! But I am a bit of a perfectionist and I'm learning to use the software at the same time. The editing process is where I am fully realizing the rookie mistakes I made on the shoot because now I have to find creative ways of hiding them. Here are some of the many things I have learned the hard way already:

- keep "rolling", even when you don't have a good shot. Otherwise you won't be able to react fast enough when the shot does present itself. Also, in my case since I had only the audio from the camcorder itself (no external recorder) turning it off meant I created gaps in the audio. Doh! Turning off the camcorder is a habit from vacation shooting, to extend battery life. Must unlearn! Fortunately I kept recording through the entire ceremony and vows, but that's all from one vantage point in the second row, shot in between the heads of people in the first row (who I kept out of the frame, for the most part).

- if all you have is the camcorder's mic, don't talk, even to answer questions and don't laugh at jokes during the speeches! You have to stay emotionally unattached. That's pretty hard to do as a guest, but I would guess not a problem for a pro covering the event.

- shoot lots of reaction shots. Not only do they make the final video more engaging (a wedding is all about emotions, after all) but you can use them to cover up other mistakes in the shoot. And they can be used to fill in gaps in the time line and/or to simulate using more than one camera. For instance, the wedding was outdoors and I recorded the bride and her father coming toward the gazebo. But I had to reposition midway through, which resulted in a few seconds of missing time. I used a shot of people looking in their direction before they started the walk to fill in the gap. With the audio running continuously from the walk there in no way to tell that the reaction shot is out of order. Unfortunately, there are other moments I could not correct in that way because I failed to get the reaction shots.

Maybe it's presumptuous of me to list my rookie mistakes and some of them just don't apply for pros, but if I can't discuss it here then where else?

Last edited by Alen Koebel; September 7th, 2011 at 12:33 PM. Reason: sp
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