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Old July 26th, 2011, 01:55 PM   #1
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Pre-Ceremony Coverage

I don't have a second shooter, so I'm constantly looking at the most effective uses of my time. My question to those filming by themselves - during the pre-ceremony coverage, if the couple is doing for instance 1.5 hours of photography beforehand, do you only follow them around and get candids and formals, OR do you use this time to walk around and get detail shots, etc.? Since I don't keep my glidetrack attached to my tripod, I'm never getting to use it as much as I'd like, nor my glidecam, or other "extra" equipment. Seems like if I shot significantly less of the photo session, I'd have much more time for these type of shots I have to set up for.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 02:11 PM   #2
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

Michael, it seems to me that you have a singular and fixed idea of what the prep part of your video programmes should be.

If you're producing video versions of the photo shoot then you're probably on the right line and will always have problems.

My recommendation would be to leave the still photography to the still photographer and make video programmes. At our last wedding we took 15-20 minutes for the bridal prep; the photographer (a photographer from hell incidentally) took 3 hours.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 02:47 PM   #3
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

Great advice. Thanks! Do you normally take the B&G out separately (without the photographer) to get your shots? I typically follow the photographer, who sets up special shots (B&G walking outside, bridal party running/jumping, etc.) and I usually get most of what I'm looking for. Most of the formal shots aren't usually very interesting though (groom's entire 30 member extended family for instance), and I could probably do without getting so much of that type footage.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 03:29 PM   #4
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

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Originally Posted by Michael Clark View Post
do you only follow them around and get candids and formals, OR do you use this time to walk around and get detail shots, etc.?
I almost never do video coverage of staged photo shoots -- to me, it's boring and redundant (since they're getting all those stills anyway). I'm only interested in candids -- the applying of makeup, dressing, sharing gifts, etc. I arrive plenty early -- several hours before the start of the ceremony in most cases -- to make sure I get the necessary establishing/detail shots of the church, decorations, etc., then set up my cameras for the ceremony, then get the B&G prep. I'll return to the sanctuary 30 minutes or so before the start of the ceremony to get guests arriving and being seated, and to start all the cameras.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 09:05 PM   #5
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

I think I'm ready to start doing that differently. It definitely makes more sense. Thanks to you both.
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Old July 27th, 2011, 01:02 AM   #6
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

Hey Michael

One of my biggest rules is that I DON'T shoot footage of the photographer shooting stills of the bridal party!! To me it's totally pointless unless you happen to be shooting a documentary for the photog.

Before the photog gets the couple I take them away and do my own video shoot on stedicam without the photog ... usually, like Philip, it only takes 15 minutes and you get a way better product. I always smile now when I see a posed bridal party with the photog in the middle with his camera on tripod and then either side of him is two videographers also on tripod, filming what he is doing.

Chris
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Old July 27th, 2011, 01:56 AM   #7
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

Much like Chris I don't shoot the couple being photographed by the photographer (maybe here and there as a just in case BTS shot to throw in if I feel like it) but unlike chris I find that I'm able to get my shots on steadicam and whatnot by just hopping in once the photographer is done with each setup and yelling "okay everyone stay there, we'll just get you guys to chill out, or laugh, or kiss or snuggle or whatever" that type of thing, then I quickly get my shot then tell the photographer I'm done and they move on to the next setup. I always start a dialogue with the photographer beforehand to indicate my way of doing things and usually they're very supportive and even say "okay no david do you need them to stay there for you?"

For me it all works out quite naturally and then I take off early to the reception or ceremony.
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Old July 27th, 2011, 02:57 AM   #8
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

Hi David

If I get a decent photog, yes, I will also hang around a bit on stedicam and get some extra footage between his takes. I always discuss it with the photog first and usually suggest that while I have the couple on their private video shoot he/she can work their magic with the rest of the bridal party.

Usually works out nicely for both of us....I too can go for an early exit to the reception as I normally do guest interviews during pre-dinner drinks

Chris
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Old July 27th, 2011, 04:53 AM   #9
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

Another thing you may want to consider in the future is to offer pre-ceremony coverage as an ala carte option. Not all brides want or need coverage of the preps. That being the case, you could theoretically begin your day later with just the ceremony/reception. We've been doing it this way for more than 10 years now, to break up the entire day into ala carte options:

Wedding day preparations
Formal photo session with your still photographer
Ceremony
Reception
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Old July 27th, 2011, 05:43 AM   #10
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hey Michael

One of my biggest rules is that I DON'T shoot footage of the photographer shooting stills of the bridal party!! To me it's totally pointless unless you happen to be shooting a documentary for the photog.

Before the photog gets the couple I take them away and do my own video shoot on stedicam without the photog ... usually, like Philip, it only takes 15 minutes and you get a way better product. I always smile now when I see a posed bridal party with the photog in the middle with his camera on tripod and then either side of him is two videographers also on tripod, filming what he is doing.

Chris

I can understand where you're coming from with that rule Chris (especially when it's family shots and all you're shooting is a group of 30 people staring at one spot) but I always go along and film the official photography as it's one of the few time I get to be really creative.

It probably different due to the attitude of Irish people, most of us hate seeing ourselves on camera, or even seeing that there's a camera pointing towards us. This make video messages really difficult to get, so I always go to the people with English or American accents first :-)

Anyway; due to that mentality, most couples would be very uncomfortable if I asked them to go into various poses for the camera. This is why we sell a documentary style of filming; we always stay back and never ask the couple to do anything. This styleis working for us and everyone loves us because of it.

However, this style has it's drawbacks as it can make for very bland footage. We has some absolutely stunning scenery here in Ireland, so I always go along with the photographer to the beach/lake/mountain/woods and get some great shots that are perfect for the highlights segment. Couples are always delighted with that footage as they hardly notice me there when their attention is on the phtographer. I get some great footage while still keeping to a hands-off documentary style.

Not trying to change your way of thinking Chris, just trying to show that there is a case for shooting the photography sessions :-)
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Old July 27th, 2011, 09:07 AM   #11
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

Hi Ronan

My entire wedding is shot documentary style and the photoshoot is the only creative bit...I shoot the whole video part with the bride and groom only simply because I shoot it on stedicam and when you are running around the couple in a big circle while they kiss (yeah I know it's cheesy but my brides love it!!) I don't really want the bridal party and especially the photog in the shot.

I just don't film the photog...during photo breaks I might also do the bridal party ..sorta go past them and round the back while the photog is out of the way changing lenses. I have actually had quite a few brides say to me..."I don't want any footage of the photographer!!.. just us!!"

We, of course have to be flexible too!!! If that's what the bride wants..."film us having our stills taken please" I will, of course do it!!

Chris
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Old July 27th, 2011, 12:42 PM   #12
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

I personally like shooting the photo sessions. I get some of my best "fun" footage here. I know the couple will get lots of stills of similar shots but I think the behind the scenes angle and the sights and sounds of the video give it a different perspective. It depends on the group but if they are a lively bunch and you have a good photog who gets them animated, I'll get some great footage.

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Old July 28th, 2011, 07:48 PM   #13
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

I agree with Art...we get some of our best footage from the photographer's photo shoot. It's the moments between pictures that often yield the most "oh I don't even remember that" comments...like when the bride and groom are whispering to one another between takes and all the chaos of the wedding party is around them...or to get the laughing before and after the groom pics the bride up...yes the photographer gets pictures of that, but people love seeing it on the video too.

You can also get some great "fun" footage of the wedding party too, especially if there are two shooters, when the bride and groom are getting couple shots. Things they never even knew happened but are funny, nonetheless.

Also, we always make it a point to get to know the photographers as well. We VERY rarely stage any of our shots, but if we ever do, it makes it easier to ask the couple to do things if the photographer is on your side too. Video is very second priority to photos here, as I am sure is common, so I can't imagine even having time on our own with the bride and groom. People just don't factor us in....of course it varies depending on style too, we are very "fly on the wall and stay out of the way"
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Old July 28th, 2011, 09:08 PM   #14
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

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Originally Posted by Ronan O'Conghaile View Post
snipped
It probably different due to the attitude of Irish people, most of us hate seeing ourselves on camera, or even seeing that there's a camera pointing towards us. This make video messages really difficult to get, so I always go to the people with English or American accents first :-)

Anyway; due to that mentality, most couples would be very uncomfortable if I asked them to go into various poses for the camera. This is why we sell a documentary style of filming; we always stay back and never ask the couple to do anything. This styleis working for us and everyone loves us because of it.

snipped
It's interesting that you describe this as an Irish trait Ronan. In my experience most people are reluctant to pose, especially some of the frankly daft poses some of the photographers devise. We had one recently who even gave his group shots names (and went through them A to Z) like his "Jazz it up" shot in which the entire wedding party, had to crouch over, look up and wave their outstretched hands in a bad Al Jolson parody. The only factor that made this even slightly less excruciating to watch was that the photographer had to get his angle standing on a chair - which promptly sank into the rain-sodden lawn!

WE leave the photo sessions to the photographer - in my view there's little of interest in watching a photographer work. Instead we do proper one-to-one interviews with the immediate families as they;re released by the demands of the formals and groups. These aren't silly video-booth type free-form messages which bring out the worst in people but structured "conversations" with me. By giving them some structure I'm able to edit them so that the questions aren't heard but the audience can understand what the question was from the context. These "signature" interviews are a specially treasured part of our programmes because they capture what the most important guests were hoping and wishing for the future for the bridal couple.

I've only ever had someone refuse but then the wedding involved a very divided family, of which some members had been told they simply weren't wanted on the group photos. It's all a matter of trust and to that extent I will admit that having grey hair may make that just a little easier to achieve. Mind you, you have to have mastered the technique of interviewing too.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 05:38 AM   #15
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Re: Pre-Ceremony Coverage

I describe it as an Irish trait simply because that's the experience I've had so far. To tell you the truth, I'm very new to wedding videography. I did two weddings last year, and I have 26 for this year (12 already done) so it's very limited experience to draw from (that siad, I've edited about 85 so I see a lot there too)

I just find it quite difficult to get video messages from Irish people. English and Americans always seem to be up for it, whilst the Irish need a lot of coaxing. That said, I've been finding it easier recently, so maybe my manner of asking has changed for the better :)

I'd love to have time to have a proper interview with family and friends, but seeing as I need to film the photoshoot, the only chance I get is the hour or so when the band are setting up for the first dance. Everyone is wandering around the place, chatting and laughings so it's more practical getting off the cuff video messages rather than bringing people out to a quieter spot for an interview.

I'm glad you do get the chance to do that though, it sounds like a lovely addition to the wedding DVD!
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