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Old September 14th, 2011, 09:45 AM   #1
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How Much Video Is "Staged"

Hi - more questions here. Looked at quite a few samples of videos here - highlights, etc. REALLY impressive stuff!

question - I know much of a wedding is on-the-fly capture of whatever is happening, but how much ability do you have to "stage" and direct shots prior to or after actual wedding ceremony? I mean for example ... can you tell the bride and her maids "OK - now Let's have you all come down the steps - you first, then you, and you look off that way ... OK good - let's do it one more time ... OK now I'll move to top of stairs and you do it again" etc. and a hundred other things like this, or is it purely catching it as it happens in reality?

Do you usually have specific "video time" with the B&G where they are under your direction to get shots you want?

Last edited by Ken Matson; September 14th, 2011 at 10:34 AM.
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Old September 14th, 2011, 10:32 AM   #2
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

For me, it depends on what the client is willing to do and wants. Some are cool with staging and re-doing certain things, others, not so much.
I do have a few "standards" that I've been doing for many years are are kind of a signature for me so they know it and expect it but if I get the right couple and they are willing and want to we'll do some stuff strictly for video.
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Old September 14th, 2011, 01:44 PM   #3
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

Would staging be the videographer coming up with an idea and then telling them to do it or would it be they are going to do something anyway and the videographer says.."wait, let me get into position" or "can you do that again"?
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Old September 14th, 2011, 01:55 PM   #4
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

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Would staging be the videographer coming up with an idea and then telling them to do it or would it be they are going to do something anyway and the videographer says.."wait, let me get into position" or "can you do that again"?
I guess I was thinking more the former ... but perhaps it may be some of the latter with things like "can you do that again" ... or "when you do that, could you do it this way" type things also ...
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Old September 14th, 2011, 02:33 PM   #5
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

I never stage anything. My philosophy is that I'm there to capture what happens during the day, without becoming part of the event myself. My clients love that I'm basically invisible all day.

However, I did break that rule this past weekend. One of the groomsmen was getting ready, tying his shoe. By the time I got into position, he was done. So I asked him to untie it and do it again. I told him he was just too good at tying his shoes. We got a laugh out of it, and I got the shot.
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Old September 14th, 2011, 02:53 PM   #6
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

For us it is VERY important that when the couple watches their video later it feels authentic to them. We will give people direction .. as in, hey the light is really good over here let's have you get ready here, but otherwise we really just want the day to flow and for the couple to enjoy it. In my opinion it's our job as professionals to capture an event artistically without having to turn the bride and groom into actors.
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Old September 14th, 2011, 02:57 PM   #7
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

I stage stuff at the photo session for glidecam shots. I get them to kiss or stare into eachothers eyes. usually I'll just tell them something like "okay just you walk towards her and when you get there, love her." or "just freestyle it" thats the only time I stage anything. and I use the footage overtop of some vows or some other stuff in the highlight.
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Old September 14th, 2011, 04:55 PM   #8
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

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For us it is VERY important that when the couple watches their video later it feels authentic to them. We will give people direction .. as in, hey the light is really good over here let's have you get ready here, but otherwise we really just want the day to flow and for the couple to enjoy it. In my opinion it's our job as professionals to capture an event artistically without having to turn the bride and groom into actors.
Travis, what do you do when you arrive at the brides prep and the makeup girl has the bride under really bad lighting? I'm running into this just about every wedding. It seems every wedding the bride has natural light on one side of her face and artificial light on the other side.
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Old September 14th, 2011, 05:34 PM   #9
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

If it's really bad I will ask them to move to a better location. Also, I will try and turn off any lights I can to avoid having multiple white balances in play, and just try and use daylight instead.
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Old September 14th, 2011, 07:38 PM   #10
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

I actually stage quite a bit of my shots. I think its all about shooting style and preference. I prefer to shoot cinematic love story type of highlight videos. In order to do that, I need certain shots outside of the ceremony and reception for that. But I get both type of brides too. I get some that say they want videos exactly like others that I have done. But I sometimes get brides that say they like my quality but don't want all the bells and whistles or they don't have the time for me to do the extra shots. What I see is the age difference mostly. The younger 20 something brides want cinematic, creative more cutting edge. The older brides just want a more traditional documentary style. I can provide both, but prefer the cinematic cutting edge style. One reason being I like that style more, second being I notice I get a greater response from my videos and thus more bookings from the cutting edge style.

Staging shots is not quick, and it can be downright frustrating when working with large wedding parties, but the finished product is well worth it. However, I've seen some videographers that use like 90% staged and 10% natural shots. That's too much staged shots to me but to each his own. The one I am talking about is a very popular videographer that has won awards and he is not cheap, so evidently doing staged shots is working just fine for him!
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Old September 14th, 2011, 08:47 PM   #11
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
For us it is VERY important that when the couple watches their video later it feels authentic to them. We will give people direction .. as in, hey the light is really good over here let's have you get ready here, but otherwise we really just want the day to flow and for the couple to enjoy it. In my opinion it's our job as professionals to capture an event artistically without having to turn the bride and groom into actors.
This is exactly how I do it but I'll add that sometimes I may ask them if they'd mind not doing something until I get ready. I won't do that often but if there is a moment I really want but I'm not quite ready for it I may ask them to hold off for just a second.. Usually I'm almost always ready but there are times cards need to be changed!
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Old September 14th, 2011, 10:02 PM   #12
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

My only "staged" shots are when I take the couple away from the photog during the photoshoot and do some 360's around them with the stedicam...they usually do the gazing into each other's eyes and then a kiss...that usually needs to be prompted and they do need a little direction. Apart from that nothing is staged at all...I film it while it's happening!!!

Now and again a staged event is necessary ..we had a bride who tossed the bouquet and it hit the ceiling and landed at her feet and was grabbed by a single girl...my camera had already moved towards the group who were eagerly waiting for the bouquet to reach them ...which it never did. We did a second throw which was way better!!!! I guess that wasn't really staged at all but just "re-done" for video!!

I always get personal congrats from couples during pre-dinner drinks where they also offer advice to the couple ... I guess you can call that staged as the guests need to be persuaded to say something on camera!!

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Old September 14th, 2011, 11:08 PM   #13
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

I sway to the side of staying out of things and letting them happen, *especially* when the photographer is a good one and is already staging some things. I had a wedding recently, though, where the couple had hired a "friend" as photographer who didn't know the first thing about even staging the formal and family shots. So, naturally I stepped in a bit on that -- not to mention stepping in to get the couple to do some things (because they would have been completely lost otherwise). But that is rare for me. I figure: they get enough staged with the photographer. I should be able to feed off of that and build plenty of nice edits off of a mixture of candid shots and photographer-staged shots (not to mention that the CEREMONY IS ALREADY A STAGED EVENT, right?). I always give the photographer full credit, too, in client web previews, etc., for their part in staging some of the compositions.

If I say only 4 or 5 things to the couple directly all day, I know things are going well. If I'm constantly talking to/at them, then I know there must be something out of whack.

Regarding the lighting question: that's where I've found the addition of DSLR during prep to be a great boon. Throw on a 1.4 lens, shoot carefully, and you can get away with some pretty unforgiving light scenarios.
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Old September 15th, 2011, 05:39 AM   #14
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

Ken,

I think there is a market out there, for more weddings like this :-)

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Old September 15th, 2011, 08:20 AM   #15
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Re: How Much Video Is "Staged"

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Ken,

I think there is a market out there, for more weddings like this :-)

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Hah! maybe I can get a side job as a choreographer!
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