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Old July 26th, 2011, 05:49 PM   #1
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Shooting Backwards?

I'm just wondering if there is anybody here who occasionally shoots the whole ceremony backwards? What I mean by backwards is with all the cameras set up at the front of the venue, so that the audience is the background.

I've had a couple of weddings this year where there were terrible setups (we've had a very wet year and almost every outdoor wedding I shot was moved to their plan-b venue, usually a dark, shady verandah with terrible backlighting. They would usually be cramped and poorly arranged as well. It would have made things a whole lot easier If I could shoot from behind the B & G, looking back towards the audience. Not only would I have a lot more room to move, but everything would've been frontlit with the nice, soft light you get when it is overcast.

There are a few things that have stopped me from trying this so far:

1. Most wedding videos are shot from the audience perspective, so that is what clients expect to see.
2. It makes it easier to 'cross the line' and have confusing, poorly linked sequences.
3. I'd feel self-concious and maybe even embarrased that I might distract the audience from the B & G.

I am being paranoid or is it completely feasible to shoot wedding's with the reverse perspective? What other issues might I face and what different techniques could be employed.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 06:30 PM   #2
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Re: Shooting Backwards?

I prefer shooting one of the 3 or 4 cameras from "behind" the B&G and officiant, especially in those ceremonies where the couple have their backs to the audience for most of the ceremony. If you position it right, you can get the family members in the background looking at the couple. I've found it very effective.

I wouldn't want all my cameras facing that way, though.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 08:32 PM   #3
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Re: Shooting Backwards?

I think it would confuse the viewer...use 180 degree rule...but if for some reason you were out of options then you must get the shot.
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Old July 26th, 2011, 10:09 PM   #4
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Re: Shooting Backwards?

I've had 2 cams behind but one on the groom and another on the bride with 1 or 2 from the audience perspective. First in most cases they face towards the "altar" for a good part of the time and again in most cases they face each othr for the vows and rings. Sometimes the officiant has them face the audience and the officiant stands hopefully off to one side so the B&G aren't blocked and in that case any cams up front are useless. 2 and 2 seems to make sense, at least to my old muddled mind. Maybe I'm missing something but I can't see doing it any other way.
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Old July 27th, 2011, 01:09 AM   #5
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Re: Shooting Backwards?

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Originally Posted by Joshua Heater View Post
I think it would confuse the viewer...use 180 degree rule...but if for some reason you were out of options then you must get the shot.
That's one of the reason's I haven't tried it yet - although it really only becomes a problem if you are shooting some facing backwards and some facing forwards. If all the cameras are facing the same direction (or staying in the same 180 degree field) then there should be no confusion. Or not?
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Old July 27th, 2011, 02:00 AM   #6
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Re: Shooting Backwards?

In my view if your objective is to shoot what the audience sees then it's a small step to "why bother having a video". My clients want videos in which they can see the faces especially when people are speaking That means three cameras minimum, one on the groom, one on the bride and one on the celebrant (remember he/she is the one who says most at a wedding).

I'm not a huge Royalist myself, but if you want a copybook example of how to shoot documentary style weddings get a DVD of the recent Royal Wedding. (The version in which you see just their backs is the one that's marked down!)

Finally, rules are helpful, not mandatory. As long as the audience understands the "geography" of the shot you can throw away the 180degree rule. I broke my first rule in an amateur film making competition more than 50 years ago when I had people speaking in a silent/non-lip sync film - because the audience understood from the context and the mannerisms in close up, it worked - and I was awarded a Gold Star and a special mention for breaking the rule. (Happy days - don't get gold stars any more!)
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Old July 27th, 2011, 08:03 AM   #7
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Re: Shooting Backwards?

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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
As long as the audience understands the "geography" of the shot you can throw away the 180degree rule.
Thank you for saying this Philip. People seem to be hanging on to this 180-degree rule like it's set in stone and absolute. Rules are made to be broken in the hands of the right artists, and this is definitely one of them.

I break the rule on a regular basis, and have never heard any comments that the ceremony was confusing to watch. On the contrary, I've heard nothing but wonderful things from my clients.

It's a wedding -- not complex at all, and fairly static pretty much the entire time. It's such a familiar setting that I've found the 180-degree rule to be all but obsolete.
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Old July 28th, 2011, 04:14 AM   #8
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Re: Shooting Backwards?

When I first read this thread, I was baffled because almost every ceremony I've ever shot is from the "front" of the church, reason being that we want to sees the couples faces as opposed to their backs!

In regards to the 180 degree rule during the ceremony, there are multiple lines that are formed that should not be crossed, not just 1. The first line happens during the processional and recessional. This line runs parallel to the aisle. This is because if you shot the groom looking left to right towards his bride as she comes down the aisle, the bride must face right to left in order for her to see him when you intercut. Once the couple is up at the altar and face each other, however, a new line now forms between the bride and groom, perpendicular to the aisle. To intercut faces and hands as they're saying their vows and exchanging rings, you'll need to stay on the same side of this line. If you don't, the couple will have closeups of faces facing the same direction. When the minister or reader speaks to the congregation, another new line forms between the speaker and the congregation. So you see, multiple lines are established, depending on what is happening at the moment.
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