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Old March 4th, 2012, 06:02 PM   #1
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Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

We just received an e-mail from a bride, saying that her marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped.

Has anyone ever encountered this before? The bride was planning to book us (we were set to receive the contract and deposit on Wednesday of this week), but now I'm not sure if we'll be able to make this work. My immediate response is to suggest the bride book a different commissioner, but the bride says this is the only marriage commissioner available for the date.

I guess with considerable planning and cooperation from the photographer and commissioner we could capture the vows, ring exchange, and first kiss without the commissioner in the shot, but you can't count on others to cooperate, so I'm inclined to say we cannot capture the ceremony.

Any thoughts or advice? It's a strange situation! :)
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Old March 4th, 2012, 06:26 PM   #2
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

Hey Kevin

I have certainly never had that..have you spoken to the commissioner??? Surely he must realise that this is a wedding and photos need to be taken and video shot???

I would go direct to the commissioner or the dept/body that registers them as marriage officiants and find out why this person refuses to be filmed.

If it's a genuine reason then he could always conduct the ceremony out of shot or even stand slightly higher than the couple so his face is out of shot.

Chris
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Old March 4th, 2012, 11:01 PM   #3
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

With the traditional set up of bride on the left, groom on the right and officiant in the center, I have no clue how you would shoot the ceremony without it looking exceptionally odd and poorly done. One solution would be to have the officiant off to the side and behind them a ways, to allow just the bride and groom to be in the frame. But most likely for the guests, if there's a PA, he's going to be the only one with a mic.

I'd investigate all the possibilities, but keep that "walk away" option open if it's going to suck.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 01:16 AM   #4
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

I just e-mailed the bride explaining the logistical problems presented by this. As you guys said, it *may* be possible to get the key shots if the commissioner stood off to the side. I emphasized that this is extremely unorthodox, and I explained that without the commissioner's full cooperation and without letting us set up closer than usual (e.g. in front of the first row of seats), it would be completely impossible to capture.

Through the power of facebook, we found another commissioner who is available for the date. I strongly encouraged the bride to consider this option!

Will let you know what develops. LOL
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Old March 5th, 2012, 08:36 AM   #5
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

What an odd situation, for someone who is in the public eye to refuse to be filmed. It is extremely self centered of the officiant, and as a bride I would find it very off-putting.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 11:40 AM   #6
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

If he does not want to be videotaped, he can conduct the ceremony at the side, he has to compromise somehow. Unless he's in the Most wanted List of the FBI, I don't see any reason why he does not want to.

The only time I encountered this situiation was a server at the reception asking me not videotape her.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 10:31 AM   #7
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

Interesting, I have a June wedding and the make-up artist has said no video or photos during the prep. YES you heard right THE MAKE-UP ARTIST!!

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Old March 6th, 2012, 10:45 AM   #8
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

I've added a clause to my contract that basically says the B&G are responsible to make sure that all parties who have any "say so" in things will allow us to do our job completely. We encourage them to do this before they sign the contract and warn that if they don't, and book us, and later found out that we can't video for one reason or another, there is no refund.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 02:12 PM   #9
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

what if guests sitting down taking video with their phone and digital camera? How could the commissioner avoid that? worst case, sit yourself down with the guest and take video from there :)
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Old March 6th, 2012, 05:03 PM   #10
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Slattery View Post
Interesting, I have a June wedding and the make-up artist has said no video or photos during the prep. YES you heard right THE MAKE-UP ARTIST!!

Steve
Yeah, I've had a photographer's wife tell me I could not film during the photo session because I might capture shots of her rear end as she's fluffing the dress and whatnot. I assured her that any such shots would NEVER make it into the final product. Seriously, we do have some standards.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 11:03 PM   #11
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

Why not get right next to the commissioner, like right beside him either to his left or right and looking towards the audience and bride and groom. This way you will never get him at all but have a huge advantage of having a close-up shots of the couple and the parents reactions as well as all the guests. This is what I normally do anyway. I don't even have to mike up the groom this way.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 06:07 AM   #12
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

Really? No one minds you with your video camera right up there in the spotlight section with the minister, bride, and groom?

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Old March 7th, 2012, 06:53 AM   #13
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

An aspect that nobody seems to want to consider is the right of someone not to be videoed.

The commissioner will be performing in what will be a private area and unless they are required to be videoed as part of their employment contract they will be perfectly within their rights to refuse to be so. I would hope that their refusal would be made clear before the ceremony and preferably at or before the time of booking.

I've never had a public official make any such conditions but I have had quite a few clergy do so over the years. Whilst it can often be overcome by some gentle persuasive discussion in the end they cannot be forced to, and it is up to the couple booking their services to accept or not.

I know when we are so determined to give our clients the very best it can be a hard call but we can sometimes loose sight of the fact that not everyone values what we do to the same extent and in fact the proliferation of clips on the internet of mishaps and gaffs may very well have set some against what we do.

I have a clause in my terms to say that it is the responsibility of the client to obtain permission from anyone likely to object or place restrictions on being recorded. They are further asked to make sure that their guests, venue organiser, DJ and band (if they have one) are told before hand that they will be having the day videoed. They tick to acknowledge that they have done.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 08:21 AM   #14
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

Hey George

Absolutely correct...they CAN refuse to be filmed...we have one Anglican minister here who prohibits all photography and video by guests...it's her right!! Luckily she allows a photog (no flash) and video by the "official" photog and videographer!!

I remember you having an even stickier situation where both photography and video was banned inside the Church!!! "You can film them going in and coming out only!!"

BTW: Philip is back!!

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Old March 7th, 2012, 08:45 AM   #15
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Re: Marriage commissioner refuses to be videotaped

Yes Chris, the last time I had a 'problem' priest was last year, I related the tale in a post on DVinfo, but guess what, after I told all the couples who contact me the situation, and loosing some bookings for that church, he has left and a new one has taken over who, from what I hear, doesn't have an objection to video, 'est la vie.

I've had a few civil officiants make some sort of restrictions, usually where I can and can't stand, mostly asking that I stand behind them, and many won't allow the couple to be filmed as they sign the register, but I've never had a refusal, but churches ... that's a very different matter, or at least use to be as mostly now that take a payment from the couple to permit video so they are a lot more compliant on the whole.
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