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Old July 24th, 2011, 10:25 PM   #1
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What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

Hi All

I'm currently looking to get someone to work with me at weddings as I'm getting tired of working on my own especially when groom and bride are getting dressed at around the same time and also trying to be in two places at once during the ceremony....it's tough filming the limo arriving and the bride getting ready to make her walk down the aisle knowing that your second camera is sitting up front, not running yet and you gotta get there and hit record before the bride comes in!!!

Now, what attributes would you look for in a second shooter...I don't want someone who is likely to is going to take over my operation..more of an assistant that can assist with one camera so I have the freedom to shoot a second angle knowing that the main camera is in good hands.

I was initially looking for a lady (so the bride getting dressed is more comfortable) and mature as well so I don't have someone who declares "guess what, I'm having a baby" 6 months after starting with me!!!

Any advice would be appreciated!!

Chris
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Old July 24th, 2011, 11:33 PM   #2
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

I have nothing to add to this other then saying be careful posting a job saying, "Wanted Woman wedding videographer beyond child baring years..." :-) Not sure how the laws are in Australia, but I'm sure someone would try to get after you for age discrimination, gender discrimination, or something STUPID like that. If those are the "Ideal" candidate that's fine, just keep it to your self. Don't advertise it.

Good luck with the search!
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Old July 25th, 2011, 12:29 AM   #3
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

Definitely look for someone who is passionate about weddings in particular. I think that alot of the basics for second shooting can be more or less learned while the love of shooting and being at a wedding and experiencing love is not. I have two second shooters I use and one of them is probably a better shooter, but isn't as into weddings as the other one is. I use the second one much more because he's eagre and excited during the day and he's not really badly wanting to just go home as the wedding draws to a close. Thats definitely my biggest requirement.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 01:13 AM   #4
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

Chris, you and I have discussed this topic privately on many occasions so I won't repeat myself here, though I would add that in my view and experience, as soon as a solo+fixed second camera unit acquires a second shooter you also lose your safety shot and the pressure is on to become a 2+fixed team.

The reason is that your second shooter brings so much more to the table than merely someone to cover simultaneous preps or to turn on the fixed camera. As a result you lose the security of the fixed camera.

Of course you gain immensely. Two weeks ago in a very small, 370 year old chapel, the minister turned the couple very firmly towards each other for the vows and the ring exchange. Consequently whilst the front two cameras had excellent quarter shots of the couple's faces, the hands were blocked. Our third camera was able to get the close-up of the ring exchange,

AS regular readers will know we used to have the third camera on a wireless controlled hot head but the control was never fine enough to allow me to do a tight BCU at full zoom. But, having added a third crew member we've had to trade our safety for a much more usable third angle.

We're working on a radio indicator light system which would allow the two front or main cameras to know when our safety shot camera was not safe ie re-framing so that we could ensure we had a usable stable shot from one or both of the other cameras. It will fit on the tripod handles near the supply arms.

Finally, of course Paul's caution re the wording for an ad is right - though it reminds me that when it first became illegal to discriminate in employment advertising in the UK an enterprising building contractor proposed to (or perhaps even did) advertise for bricklayers who "must be prepared to work topless".
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Old July 25th, 2011, 02:18 AM   #5
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

Hi Guys

Much appreciated...I must admit the passion for shooting weddings is on top of my list rather than camera skills.

The problem now is (thanks to Philip) I just get cannot erase an image out of my mind of a very impressive looking model with all the right attributes laying bricks and dressed only in a pair of hot pants and high heels!!! One issue that I do have is losing a lot of time being locked out of areas of the bridal house until the bride figures she is ready for male scrutiny. With a lady the issue is resolved and she can join the (usually) female photogs in the forbidden zones!! Discrimination laws have become ridiculous now....maybe I should say "duties will include capturing footage while the bride is dressing" but some clever males are bound to say "Oh yes, I'll definately do that" Here is Australia, whatever you advertise for all "parameters" are just ignored...I wanted a mature woman and the next two candidates are 24 and 26 years old .... If they fit the bill then age is not relevant ..I already lost a good photog who was really great to work with when they decided to start a family.

Keeping on looking and hopefully will get the pick of the bunch with fair camera skills and a passion for weddings.

Chris
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Old July 25th, 2011, 06:08 AM   #6
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Guys

Much appreciated...I must admit the passion for shooting weddings is on top of my list rather than camera skills.

The problem now is (thanks to Philip) I just get cannot erase an image out of my mind of a very impressive looking model with all the right attributes laying bricks and dressed only in a pair of hot pants and high heels!!! One issue that I do have is losing a lot of time being locked out of areas of the bridal house until the bride figures she is ready for male scrutiny. With a lady the issue is resolved and she can join the (usually) female photogs in the forbidden zones!! Discrimination laws have become ridiculous now....maybe I should say "duties will include capturing footage while the bride is dressing" but some clever males are bound to say "Oh yes, I'll definately do that" Here is Australia, whatever you advertise for all "parameters" are just ignored...I wanted a mature woman and the next two candidates are 24 and 26 years old .... If they fit the bill then age is not relevant ..I already lost a good photog who was really great to work with when they decided to start a family.

Keeping on looking and hopefully will get the pick of the bunch with fair camera skills and a passion for weddings.

Chris
Chris, if as a male, you can't be in the brides room while she's getting dressed, then the footage you are missing can't really go into the edited video anyway. Those female photogs that are in the room aren't putting those photos in the edited album.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 09:54 AM   #7
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

I have been very fortunate that my wife is my second shooter. She helps with both video and photo (when we do it) and is able to comfortably interact with the bride/bridesmaids and get shots from certain angles while other girls are dressing that I would NOT be allowed in to get.

As a matter of fact, she recently accidentally got a shot during makeup where a bridesmaid was in the background without a major portion of clothing. The thing is, this was a great shot of the bride so I edited the image to make it usable.

I know for a fact that my wife has much easier access to bridal prep than I do.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 10:07 AM   #8
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

Based on my experience the most important thing is to find a person who loves to film and who's not gona be doing his job JUST for the money, who is comfortable with directing people, at least able to stop action (when possible) to get better position/angle, a lot of them can't , the benefit of having female videographer in your team is when you have a Muslim wedding - but i don't do that, so I prefer to work with guys,
I always take care of 'safe' (wide) shot myself, so my B and C cam guys do close-ups/cutaways;
it is not easy to find the right person, but even when you'll find one, my advice start to look for the next second camera, cuz most of them will leave as soon as they get enough experience and skills to open their own business,
but that's life :)
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Old July 25th, 2011, 10:13 AM   #9
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

Chris, I have a friend with a staff of approzimately 30 shooters, most kept busy on weekends and a couple are also editors.

The majority of his people are mature women. They are absolutely a wise choice when looking for a shooter.

Mothers can be among the most responsible and conceintious of employees, and my friend has built a business using them. When I posted an ad for a shooter, I specified the same thing you did, and got some amazing applicants. It is perfectly legal if you specify that you need someone to access the dressing area of the bride where a man cannot go.

He has also lost very few who wanted to start their own business. My suggestion is you specifically seek someone with NO experience and no schooling in photography, and train them your way from the ground up. Film students, photography students can be among the worst of employees, and certainly will leave you soon after they learn enough.

A single or married mother usually has no desire to start their own business, they just need a second income, and will just love working with you, because it gets them out of the house and allows them to go out and look nice, and have fun doing it.
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Last edited by Jeff Harper; July 25th, 2011 at 10:07 PM.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 08:58 PM   #10
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

Hi Guys and Thanks for all the comments.

Jeff, that is exactly what I have done so if it does work out I'll have to come and hunt you down!! (only kidding I made up my mind before you had posted!!) The lady actually has come over here from California and hubby is working on our oil rigs so she is really looking for something to keep her busy (and make a little income too) We are starting from scratch so at least she will learn my style too!! She does love weddings too!

Funny I had interest from 2 current film students but as already said it's purely an opportunity to grab some experience and then move on!

Chris
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Old July 26th, 2011, 12:51 AM   #11
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

The best part about adding my wife as a 2nd shooter is that once she got involved with bridal preps, she saw the difference in image quality and suggested some hefty gear upgrades (new cameras and tripods, etc)! It's also good bonding time when she can go through a days worth of clips and edit through the usable random shots while I'm editing the camera angles. Cuts down editing time tremendously! She has no experience and is more than excited to work on the bridal preps.

Before her, I had a hard time with extra shooters with little experience because I'd always be running around to the other cameras to triple check their shot setups and settings. Sure is nice to have someone you can train to do things your way!
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Old July 26th, 2011, 09:55 AM   #12
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
they just need a second income, and will just love working with you, because it gets them out of the house and allows them to go out and look nice, and have fun doing it.
i don't know, probably I am missing something, but I would never hire a person who just needs a second income and wants to go out, I pay $20Hr for a certain set of skills, and not for looking nice :)
but that's me.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 10:30 AM   #13
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

What some people are looking for is establishing a working relationship with someone that will last for years, not just an hourly employee, but that's an individual thing. There are first and second shooters that have been with friends of mine for years, and they as much like family as they are employees, and they are paid well also, I think between $150 and $250 if they don't have equipment, and much more if they do.

It's more of a business model thing, and the largest (in sheer volume) event video company in this area has built his business around this concept. I've talked to him on many occasions and he will have 30 shooters out on a weekend. He has cultivated his people one by one, and over a period of many years he has built a sort of video family. They are extremely loyal to him, and vice versa.

IMO, it just depends on our personality and how one runs a business that determines which approach to take, I suspect, and there are so many approaches.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 03:46 PM   #14
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
I would add that in my view and experience, as soon as a solo+fixed second camera unit acquires a second shooter you also lose your safety shot.
Hi Philip,

I think I'm missing something. Why does having a second shooter cause one to lose the safety static shot?

Thanks.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 04:27 PM   #15
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Re: What should I look for in a 2nd Shooter?

If I may, I think Phillip is saying that a fixed camera is a static shot you can bank on. Once you put a person in charge of a camera, human error, etc. comes into play.

I completely agree if that is what he is saying, as that has been my experience. With a second shooter you need a third static camera as much as ever, unless your second is very conservative, or very good.

When I set up a static camera, it may not be perfect, but at least I have something usable.
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