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Old May 30th, 2012, 12:34 PM   #16
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

It is unfortunate that we take pieces of posts and cirticize, judge people over things of no importance in the context of the original post.

From a video perspective, there is no point to the vows if they cannot be recorded, Colin, because the customer is paying and expecting them to be recorded. You know this as well as anyone.

Katie has already been criticized, directly, or indirectly already on "ethical" grounds, which was so unnecessary. And maybe it was "unintentional' but once we type something we cannot take it back.

Now we enter a new phase in this discussion where we must watch our wording lest we offend the institution of marriage. It should have been plain what Chris meant, it was to me.

I suggest we stop nitpicking here. If this were an in person conversation it would have had a completely different, more helpful tone. It is so easy to type whatever we think without considering the feelings of the person on the other end, and I hate to see it.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 01:55 PM   #17
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

The reason why some churches totally ban microphones is because many years ago, I heard of this story; a videographer tested his wireless microphone, and everything was fine. When it was time for the ceremony to start, the organist started playing the procession music, the bride was walked down the aisle, the minister turned on his microphone to welcome everyone, and immediately got deafening white noise and pops. Thinking the battery was dead, he went back to his office to change it. He came out again, turned on his mic, and had the same problem. He became frustrated and began to set up a wired microphone. There was no audio technician around to help him. As he was scrambling about, the videographer went up to the priest and told him something. The priest tried his wireless mic again, and it worked! Turns out that the videographer's mic was on the same frequency as the church's. But back then, there was no such thing as being able to switch frequencies. In this scenario, using a wireless microphone ruined the wedding. Of course, all videographers check and know how to change frequencies, right? Maybe not. This is one example of how one rotten apple can ruin the entire barrel for everyone else.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 02:45 PM   #18
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

I always place a zoom h4 on the altar, a zoom h1 with such a clipon mic on a lectern, a iriver on the groom and another zoom h1 on a tripod at a sound speaker and that usually covers all. In Belgian churches you never can provide a mic on the priest but they are not strict about the microphones I provide at all.

In Churches in the Netherlands it's a different story and it occurs that it's not allowed to film in church at all meaning one hour lunch break for me :)

I have had one Dutch priest asking me to take away my zoom h4 from the altar and the zoom h1 from the lectern and he specifically instructed me not to move beyond the altar which was very stupid as it was a first communion of a 6 year old and the kid was sitting, back to the altar, facing the guests where I was not allowed. This meant I couldn't film the kid during the communion as from my point of view I could see him.

When the communion started I slowly moved to the side anyway, very slowly, just far enough to see the kid and was able to get my footage, if the priest would have reacted and send me back, I would have moved back and stayed there. The kids mum and dad at least knew I tried as they hired me to film the communion only. I mean, what the use I they can't see their kid? I know it's all about the communion and not the videorecording, but the parents found it vital to have a video memory of that event.

Afterwards they said they where happy I moved to get a better view from their kid because they were afraid to mention anything to the priest, my soundquality from the guests and priest was absolutely crap as I had to use the onboard micro from the camera but they understood as it was at the priest request but they where very disappointed that he was so strict. Actually they should have discussed this with the priest before, they did warn me before the communion that the priest was not an easy guy but that was an understatement :)

It's often difficult as there can be a conflict in what your client expects and what the priest will allow, I think you should respect the set limits but cross those limits a little bit, just enough so you can get the best of it without disturbing the ceremony. If the priest would say no audio at the wedding I would mic the groom anyway, the groom is not his property and a microphone is the same like a flower attached to his vest, but I think when you use a wireless transmitter you need to be absolutely sure it is on a different frequency then the church audio, but if you use something like a iriver, that's no problem as I see it and not up to the the priest to decide about.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 03:13 PM   #19
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

It wasn't my intention to offend Katie, and if I did, I'm very sorry for her feeling slighted.

The tale above does make me - as the wedding outsider, feel that what seems to matter is the video, and everything else is subsidiary. I'm happy to accept that perhaps I just don't understand the wedding side of the video business, but it's clear most people here have the alternate viewpoint to me. Maybe I'd be happier working for these kinds of priests, rather than against them?

Surely - if the priest won't be miked then some kind of plan B will work. Hiding a recorder is one but maybe you could try something a bit more radical with the cooperation of the bridegroom. Presumably they have a run through so the positioning of the priest, in relation to the bride/bridegroom could be predicted?

If you know you have a rigid priest in advance, could you hide a small diameter directional mic in the flower 'thing' the bride carries, or devise some way of hiding a cardioid on the groom? I'm thinking of something small perhaps the lav type cardioid that could be concealed 'bug' fashion. Distance to the priest is the key, but if the couple are in front of him, something concealed could work. How about one of the small, see though parabolic dishes? There has to be a plan B.

There now is a de-reverb plug-in for most daws now AND it's not hugely expensive.
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Pretty useful tool, and the audio recording people rave about it.

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Old May 30th, 2012, 03:51 PM   #20
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

Why should you hide a mike on the groom? Just attach it to his vest before he enters the church, problem solved and forget about providing the bride a mike, that's not done.
Like I said you only need to be absolutely sure it won't interfear with the church audio system, that's all, the priest doesn't own the groom and what he is wearing, he can always tell the priest it's a good luck pin if the priest would ask :)
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Old May 30th, 2012, 04:44 PM   #21
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

To sum it up... there are a lot of amateurs out there who foul it up for the professional shooter, resulting in rules that are overbroad, arbitrary and constricting to the point that video may not even be an option.

This is why a pro will be prepared to inform the bride and groom to find out the "house rules" (it's not GOD's house, it's the priests'... just in case there's confusion, and so it's "his rules", not HIS rules). IF there is a conflict, a pro can at least try to approach the "ruler" and see if there is a compromise or acceptable solution that can be worked out in advance. I'm sure that more than a few priests/pastors have seen amateurs come in and show ZERO respect for the sanctity of "the house" - imagine if someone came into "your place" and acted badly or with lack of respect... you'd have rules too!



The practical...

A small recorder/lav mic on the groom will usually suffice to get the most critical audio, along with a couple other strategically placed digital recorders, thus avoiding the wireless interference (my vote for why there is a "rule" against mics), and frankly it's why I don't use wireless (other than a couple bluetooth ones that shouldn't interfere with anything). Risk of interference is just too high with wireless, but that's my opinion...

Small cameras that can be placed discretely and let free run so there's no "operator" moving around to be distracting should be in the kit - at least you'll have SOMETHING, and you can show your desire to be "invisible" and discrete, while still getting the footage. I've stuck handycams in/behind flower arrangements... no one would even know they are there!

Dress professionally, preferably in a way you won't be "seen", act professionally and with deference to the keepers of "the house". Be prepared to explain your technique and respectfully point out (and explain in a NON-techie way) how it WON'T create a problem, where others HAVE. Always have a "plan B" in case arbitrary rules turn out to be absolute, rather than preventative against unprofessional conduct!

Rules tend to come about because of a BAD experience ("there oughta be a law!"), and may or may not be sensible, reasonable, or even thoughtful (happens even at the highest level of government, people LIKE to make rules without thinking about the consequences!). A professional should be prepared to deal with such things, and the responses here show what a PRO "video-o-grapher" needs to have in their "toolkit". IF you haven't shot a wedding, you wouldn't know enough to offer an opinion, and if you've shot a few, you already probably know the drill...
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Old May 30th, 2012, 07:41 PM   #22
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

Thanks for the backup Jeff

Yes, no point in bickering in a thread at all!! It was pretty obvious I'm sure that I did mean that there is no point filming the vows without any audio.

Now I can understand fully a priest becoming upset about mics clashing!! Surely we test our mics before the ceremony starts..I always ask the priest to turn his on and then run both my packs to make sure that they are all on different channels...that should be on a checklist. I think I have only ever had two where I had issues..the first frequency clash made the Church PA sound like an alien ray gun and the second did the exact opposite where the Church PA was perfect but the groom's mic sounded like a machine gun.

I think nine times out of ten, decent and polite communication with the priest can often solve issues or even result in a compromise...I always attend the rehearsal (also do a clash check there so if the PA and my mics interfere I have lots of time to change frequencies) At a rehearsal there is also no real stress and no rush so you can get to know the priest and have him/her on your side.

Chris
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Old May 31st, 2012, 01:48 AM   #23
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

Quote:
I always attend the rehearsal
We don't have that here, would make preparation a lot easier.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 03:06 AM   #24
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

Hi Noa

That's strange..Churches here, especially Catholic, will insist on a rehearsal usually the Thursday before the Saturday wedding. It gives you a chance to meet (and make friends with the priest) especially if he/she is new and find out any no-go zones plus you have a chance to chat to and meet both families so when the wedding day arrives at least you know the parents and the bridal party instead of just meeting the bride!! Mainly, it's a chance to show the priest that you are a professional and respect his space!!

I wouldn't ever miss one but some outdoor civil ceremonies do give them a miss!!

Chris
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Old May 31st, 2012, 05:16 AM   #25
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

I know that there always is a meeting with the priest but that's only for the couple, nobody else will attend, it was like that when I first got married, already 25 years ago, and nothing seem to have changed since then. They will talk about the purpose of mariage, faith, text that will be read (the couple can supply their own text)but nothing about who can stand where, they don't even go into the church to look as the meeting is usually at the priests house or at church but in an office. I only get a copy on paper of what is being said during the ceremony by who because that's always written out in detail but I never read it, my only concern is when I get in the church is where to place my audio and my 2 camera's and once the ceremony starts it's just a matter of covering it. I can already film a Catholic ceremony with my eyes closed by now :)
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Old May 31st, 2012, 04:39 PM   #26
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Yes, no point in bickering in a thread at all!!
I can agree with that, and apologise for coming across too strongly. A discussion, rather than a bickering session, can be illuminating and informative. As one who has worked in churches for a very long time in many capacities, including musical and technical, and has had to deal with some very odd rulings concerning matters directly affecting the quality of my work, I can sympathise with the frustration of this rule which must appear completely insane when one is totally immersed in the production of a professional product. I once spent two days lighting a church for a concert video I had been asked to make, only to be told to switch off the lights just before it started.

Quote:
It was pretty obvious I'm sure that I did mean that there is no point filming the vows without any audio.
Well at the time it wasn't to me, but now that you have clarified it I understand what you meant. I am happy to apologise for an apparent over-reaction to a misunderstanding. I have no wish to start thundering on about marriage in general as it is not relevant here and a quick route to excommunication - from dvinfo at least!


However, :-)
I really can't agree that there is no point in filming vows because your can't hear them.

A point to ponder is that it is quite common for many couples to speak their vows so quietly that hardly anyone in the congregation actually hears them. This does not make the ceremony pointless, because everyone knows what is being said and a video with indistinct audio would only reflect the experience of many who were actually there on the day. Not of course what one would set out to do.

In this situation, it would clearly not be your fault, but as a customer I would expect you to find a way of dealing with it. If there were no pictures of the vows/exchange of rings (ie you switched off the cameras) just because the priest prevented the audio being recorded, I would suggest that that would be unacceptable. It would be far from ideal, granted, but I can think of at least 3 ways to deal with it where you could be seen to be coping professionally with an apparently impossible situation. I've had a similar situation caused by an incredibly loud toddler screaming throughout a Baptism ceremony.

Quote:
Now I can understand fully a priest becoming upset about mics clashing!! Surely we test our mics before the ceremony starts..I always ask the priest to turn his on and then run both my packs to make sure that they are all on different channels...that should be on a checklist. I think I have only ever had two where I had issues..the first frequency clash made the Church PA sound like an alien ray gun and the second did the exact opposite where the Church PA was perfect but the groom's mic sounded like a machine gun.

I think nine times out of ten, decent and polite communication with the priest can often solve issues or even result in a compromise...I always attend the rehearsal (also do a clash check there so if the PA and my mics interfere I have lots of time to change frequencies) At a rehearsal there is also no real stress and no rush so you can get to know the priest and have him/her on your side.

Chris
Fully agreed.

I suspect that some here will still not agree with me, but there we are.
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Old May 31st, 2012, 08:53 PM   #27
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

here in ireland in my experience we mostly have no problems, although i do remember years ago, I was a guest and not working, a very stern priest that the couple had invited to do their marriage, insisted on no flash photography. This unfortunate woman who either ignored or hadn't heard the rule stepped out into the aisle and took a shot obviously on full auto. The result was like Fire & Brimstone!!! we all thought he was going to abandon the ceremony - it was the most uncomfortable and depressing thing i was ever at in a church.
I'd be the same as Chris, the last wedding i covered I had attended the rehearsal and met with the priest there and indeed the morning of the wedding at the bride's house, we did sound checks etc during the rehearsal. That would be pretty standard here to meet up with the priest or the registrar and the wedding coordinator.
I've covered Communions for the schools and again i would attend their rehearsals and get to chat with the priest and find out the boundaries and rules if any.
i did have a problem once with a registry wedding where the registrar didn't want me recording the actual registrar due to Data Protection issues, so we just posed the signing after the official one was done.

So in this case the priest didn't want to wear a mic, I suppose you cant make him and that has to be accepted by the couple that his audio will be somewhat muted, i suppose one solution would be to strip out the priests muted audio during the vows and get a voice actor to interject during appropriate cutaways!

I guess bottom line is that you need to let the clients know if certain things are imposed that are outside your control, I do think it is essential to attend at any prior briefing/rehearsal or whatever to catch these situations.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 01:54 AM   #28
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

Hi Rob

We do have our lady priest at the Anglican Cathedral who tells the guests that NO photography or video is permitted by the guests at all..only the official video and photos. We are also not allowed in the aisle at all during the procession in and out (so you don't get the photog kneeling in front of the bridal party the whole time). The official photog is told in no uncertain terms if they use flash they are out on their ear!! She has actually stopped a wedding, I believe (not one of mine thankfully) to eject a photographer!!! She is as sweet as honey IF you obey her rules to the letter ..step out of line just one mm and she erupts...I have learnt to work with her and it pays dividends!!!

Chris
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Old June 1st, 2012, 03:07 AM   #29
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Cantwell View Post
i did have a problem once with a registry wedding where the registrar didn't want me recording the actual registrar due to Data Protection issues, so we just posed the signing after the official one was done.
Most registrars here in the UK have an obsession about no filming/photographing the actual signing of the register. Sometimes the reason given is that the register is Crown Copyright, sometimes filming/photographing allegedly contravenes the Data Protection Act & sometimes the reason given is that the bride & groom might make a mess of the register by waving the fountain pen about while looking at the camera. We just nod & do as we are told:-)
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Old June 1st, 2012, 04:25 AM   #30
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Re: Priests That Won't Wear Mics - How do you Cope?

Nigel, that's pretty well par for the course here in my region; registrars' rule is that the register is not filmed for the same mixture of reasons you have given.

I do as I do with any known restrictions - tell the couple at the very early stages. If I haven't worked a venue previously and don't know the rulings I tell them it is in their interest to speak with the vicar/registrar at the point they decide on having the day filmed to find out if there will be any limitations. The contract is between the couple and the officiant so I would expect them to make the first approach. I tell them that I'd be happy to discuss with the officiant to try to allay any concerns they may have. If problems are known about early in the planing there is a possibility of doing something about it.

For similar reasons as Chris I attend the rehearsal but if that's not possible I'd always call the vicar or registrar sometime before the day, as I do with photographers I've not worked with before.

My aim is to make the wedding day as stress free for me as can be. I don't like too many surprises or unexpected situations. I'd never turn up at a venue without having a good idea of what I'll be able to do and would have let my clients know in advance if I'll be working under prescribed restricted conditions.
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