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


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Old August 20th, 2011, 12:13 PM   #1
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Looking for tips from videographers with similar workflow.

Hello everyone, I'm new to this board and hopefully not infringing some rule out of ignorance by posting this. I've been reading the board for a few days and have gathered a lot of interesting information and am learning from all of you, so thank you for providing this space and for sharing your experiences.

I'm a videographer from Mexico and I work in the Mayan Riviera for a chain of resorts. I can relate to a lot of the stuff most of you post about your events, equipment, techniques and what not, however I am also seeing that what I do is not as common in the general videographer world.

I work by myself in the video department and the workflow I have is very fast paced. I am looking for others who may do things in a similar manner and see what pointers specific to this type of system you can share that may help me yield better results.

I do 99% of weddings on the beach, with the reception following afterwards in the resort. I never meet any of the people I will be filming beforhand. I meet them the day of their wedding 2 minutes before I start shooting as they are approaching the gazebo and waiting for the bride to start the ceremony. Sometimes the shoot will begin one hour before the ceremony in the B&G's respective rooms as they get ready, but most of the time I arrive 10 minutes before the ceremony begins.

It is only me, one videographer, with one camera on a monopod. I am now using a Canon XHA1 (though a new Canon XA10 is on the way). No rigs, no stabilizers, no lighting, nothing. It's all handheld or on the monopod.

Most of my shoots last for only one hour, which consist of the ceremony and the photoshoot afterwards. Though sometimes they'll get additional time for before and after the ceremony (cocktails, reception, speeches, etc).

Sometimes it's only the couple (no guests) and sometimes there are 20-30 guests, on rare occasion we get groups over 50 guests. Most of the time I work with photographers from this same company which I know well and coordinate with, but sometimes there is no photographer at all and I just have to come up with shots to film after the ceremony if it's only the couple and there is no photoshoot because they didn't hire a photographer.

I have to deliver the finished edited video in 48 hours usually (sometimes less, most of the time a little longer). I edit in Premiere and then do the DVD authoring in Encore. What we offer them is 20-30 minutes of edited video for every 1 hour of shooting (not 1 hour of material).

Sometimes I'll have 2 or 3 weddings per day, if it's a busy day, some days none, most of the time it's just one per day (though right now it's the low season so only doing about 2 or 3 videos per week).

Finished product, for a one hour shoot of ceremony + photoshoot is an intro of the guests arriving at the gazebo to music, then a lightly edited ceremony, and finally a music video type of edit for the photoshoot with family and friends and just the couple by themselves.

Anyways, yeah, I'm looking for others who may do something similar to this who can offer advice. What I fight with the most are the stabilty of shots because of having to go handheld and also because the wind on the beach is sometimes so strong it moves me and my camera, also with audio because of the wind as well. I also debate a lot with myself as to which shots to take out and which to leave in beacause of an old discussion I've read of "what I like vs. what they appreciate", also because I have to deliver a stated amount of time as promised.

Also, if I can offer any advice or if I can share anything that any of you may find useful, please ask away and I'll share my experiences as much as I can. I've done over 50 weddings now and am getting better and improving a lot of things. I've also asked for some equipment and they are open to buying it but if you have any suggestions of what I can get that could drastically improve my shooting then I'd be glad to hear that as well.

Thank you for reading my long post, hope I didn't bore you all.
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Old August 20th, 2011, 05:28 PM   #2
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Re: Looking for tips from videographers with similar workflow.

Dang, when do they let you sleep...

Seriously fast production schedule, and you've apparently got it down.

I might suggest a "OK" tripod - doesn't have to have a great fluid head, just be heavy and stable (avoid that wind) so you can get a locked down safety shot when your primary is wobbly. I've got a couple Sunpak 7500's - tall, heavy, lousy head (you can replace it with a better one), but pretty stable for "locked down", and dirt cheap as tripods go. Looks like you'll have two cams shortly, so put them both to use.

With that second angle, you will now have to deal with multicam edit, which may really "break" your workflow, I'm not familiar with your editing program enough to know...

Not sure which monopod you're using, you'll of course find the "weapon of choice" in that department is the Bogen 560/561 with the fluid base and little feet - significantly better than most monopods for stability, expensive, but in the estimation of most who've tried it, worth the cost. I'm cheap, wouldn't part with mine, even though they are relatively expensive!

The other rig worth considering is a MultiRig - shoulder mount, with a sprung support pod that goes to a belt. Poke around, you'll find they have many satisfied users, I just picked up a used one myself, and expect to be very happy with it, retiring my homebrew shoulder/monopod rigs.

Don't know if there's a "house" audio feed/mic system you could piggyback a recording of into your final mix? if not, probably some sort of digital recorder/lav mic you can get into the "hot zone" to get better audio would be worth considering. If there's already "house" sound of adequate quality, why rebuild the wheel... arrange to get a recording from the board, since this is apparently a sort of permanent installed situation.

Sounds like you've got a pretty good gig... if a bit stressful!
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 10:03 AM   #3
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Re: Looking for tips from videographers with similar workflow.

Thank you Dave! I appreciate the recommendations and I'll be taking a look at that equipment this week, if I have any questions about it I'll come back and ask. The Bogen looks like something I might benefit from.

Multicam edit might no be that big of a deal in terms of time, I've done more complicated editing before for television but we may still hold off on that unless they pay for an upgrade.

The job is great! I really enjoy it, I meet lots of people (mostly Americans that come to get married here) and it's always fun. Plus I get to work at the beach sometimes and in an office other times and I like that, don't get tired of just doing the same thing in the same place.

Thanks again Dave!
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 12:19 PM   #4
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Re: Looking for tips from videographers with similar workflow.

Just to state the obvious, make sure the monopod and tripod have the same quick release system. I use the Bogen/Manfrotto Quick release plate on the bottom of my XH-A1.
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 02:33 PM   #5
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Re: Looking for tips from videographers with similar workflow.

Good point, if you're going to be moving cameras from one to the other - generally I don't, but I ended up standardizing my QR mounts (bogen) just in case, even replaced the stock heads on the 560 and 561 to ones that have matching RC (rapid connect, Bogen for "quick release") plates.
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Old August 23rd, 2011, 10:58 AM   #6
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Re: Looking for tips from videographers with similar workflow.

Got it! Right now I'm using a Manfrotto monopod but it doesn't have a quick release plate (which is fine because that's all I'm using) but once I get new equipment and intend to switch then I'll keep this in mind.

Also, I have this thing where I'm hesitant to use a tripod because then the footage comes out too stable... am I crazy or is that a valid concern? I feel it's not as interesting or doesn't feel so natural when its perfectly frozen in place and also, that it contrasts heavily with any other kinds of shots (handheld, monopod, etc). Is there something you do to avoid this, or is this the way it's supposed to be and that's good?

Just looking for your opinions. Thanks again for taking the time to answer.
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