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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old October 13th, 2011, 06:36 PM   #1
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Hand signals for Videographers

Hi,

Just wondering if anyone has developed a set of hand signals (specifically for weddings) that allow camera operators to communicate to each other during a shot? The obvious operations are taking close up, medium, and wide shots. But there are a lot more we can do, here are a few operations that I think could be useful on weddings...

- Take a wide shot of the audience
- Camera A follows the groom
- Camera B follows the bride
- Take a shot to the Groom's parent
- Changing battery, memory card, etc
- Go check the audio
etc, etc, you get the idea...

Sure you can use radio, but with direct hand signals, it is much faster and one less thing to carry.

Thanks,
Eric
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Old October 13th, 2011, 06:41 PM   #2
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Re: Hand signals for Videographers

I don't use an assistant much, but when I did we had predetermined hand signals, it's only logical. I have used radios, they work well also.
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Old October 13th, 2011, 06:45 PM   #3
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Re: Hand signals for Videographers

Sure, everyone can come up with their own signals. But won't it be cool if we have a set of signals developed specifically for weddings and everyone uses and understands it?
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Old October 13th, 2011, 07:57 PM   #4
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Re: Hand signals for Videographers

Hmmm might be worth learning sign language then you have something you can also use elsewhere!!

I must admit my radio comms are very useful!! Sadly they are only one way (An old Azden VHF radio mic with ear buds) but have proven very useful when I need my assistant to get a shot or cover for me!!

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Old October 13th, 2011, 08:44 PM   #5
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Re: Hand signals for Videographers

Good idea. Have to be hand signals you could use with your left hand while you carry the camera. eg: giving someone the finger after he yells at you again to get off the new lawn :)

Cheers.
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Old October 13th, 2011, 08:48 PM   #6
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Re: Hand signals for Videographers

I have a nice set of Radio Shack walkie talkies, two way, like they use at some restaurants. Earpiece with a mic you plug into. Under $100, worth every penny, but I haven't used them in over two years. I keep them charged up on the charger, as if I'm going to use them, never do anymore.
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Old October 13th, 2011, 09:33 PM   #7
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Re: Hand signals for Videographers

I went this route i got my self a set of Talkabout® MR350R - Motorola Two-Way Radios - Motorola Solutions USA

and just to be discrete custom earpiece ( the first one on the page is the correct one)
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Old October 14th, 2011, 01:13 PM   #8
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Re: Hand signals for Videographers

I know radios could provide direct and more complex communication. But it has its downfall like noisy environment, battery problems, reception problems, etc.

Hand signal is a sufficient and elegant solution for simple instructions in this case. Anyone know any standards that designed specifically for the video industry?
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Old October 14th, 2011, 06:57 PM   #9
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Re: Hand signals for Videographers

I've been using the same hand signals ever since I started in the video business and as long as the other cam operators know them and of course are watching for them they work great. Since we already have hands attached it's no additional gear to carry.;-)

A tightly closed fist = tight shot
2 hands in the form of a circle = medium shot
2 hands at about shoulder width = wide shot

Finger point to subject you want covered = point the camera that way you idiot!
A hand in the form of a shaking fist = wait til this is over I'm gonna kill you!
A hand wrapped loosely around an extra battery and then thrown at the head of the camera operator means WAKE THE *&$% UP!!!

I have used them all but the last one - I did not actually throw the battery!
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Old October 14th, 2011, 07:16 PM   #10
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Re: Hand signals for Videographers

Don, since you are, and always have been, a solo shooter, I have to ask - who in the world were you signaling? They must have thought you were nuts. LOL

(Just joking around with ya. I can imagine the hand signal you'd like to give me!)
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Old October 14th, 2011, 10:18 PM   #11
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Re: Hand signals for Videographers

I have occassionaly had a 2nd and even 3rd operator as long as the client is willing to pay for them. The last 2 or 3 years about 1/3rd of my weddings have had a 2nd operator for the ceremony. I still consider myself a solo operator as I generally supply all the gear, give the 2nd a verbal shot list which in most cases is this: whatever you do stay on the B&G. PERIOD! Oh yeah, watch for my hand signals!

Also for a lot of the corporate stuff I've done over the years (think seminars) there might be more than 1 camera and in most cases weren't running live to switch so both cameras ran to seperate tapes and we shot what we thought was right. It always worked out but sometimes you needed to signal things to one another (heaven forbid we would use radios) so there are really a lot of good reasons to use hand signals.
Plus at a wedding if I'm shooting by myself and I signal wildly as if there is another camera op then people have a tendency to leave me alone for the rest of the day. ;-)
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Old October 15th, 2011, 10:22 AM   #12
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Re: Hand signals for Videographers

Tight fist = close up
hand in the shape of the letter "o" = medium shot
hand in the shape of the letter "c" = wide shot
point at videographer, make a talking puppet with your hand = film the person speaking
slit of the throat = cut

We use these hand signals first then everything else is done by our walkie-talkies.

If you work with another videographer or assistant the walkies will save you sooo much frustration, energy and have saved my butt so many times. We have these with the $125 ear pieces. They easily go through walls, we can hear in loud situations and the signal is crystal clear. Probably one of my best investments for my business.

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Old October 15th, 2011, 01:45 PM   #13
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Re: Hand signals for Videographers

When my wife and I are cross-shooting a couple during the vows, it's important to have the same images for it to intercut cleanly. So....

I slow karate chop motion wherever the bottom of MY frame is, so she can adjust her framing to shoot the same size image. I cut my waist, chest, and neck....you get it. This is easier than words because she can see exactly where the bottom of my frame is.
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Old October 16th, 2011, 04:13 PM   #14
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Re: Hand signals for Videographers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
Finger point to subject you want covered = point the camera that way you idiot!
A hand in the form of a shaking fist = wait til this is over I'm gonna kill you!
A hand wrapped loosely around an extra battery and then thrown at the head of the camera operator means WAKE THE *&$% UP!!!

I have used them all but the last one - I did not actually throw the battery!
Thanks for those - they made my (very long) day!
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