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Old August 12th, 2012, 10:39 AM   #1
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Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

Hi All,

I'm wondering what those of you who have filmed Greek weddings do as far as ceremony audio. As the bride and groom remain basically silent for the ceremony, do you go through lengths to mic the priest? and/or just concentrate on the church's audio system?

I've researched the various components of the ceremony itself, but am wondering if there are any suggestions for approaches for filming a Greek ceremony. The Priest seems very personable (this through the bride) and has not mentioned any strict restrictions beyond your typical "don't be obtrusive" common sense.
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Old August 12th, 2012, 01:25 PM   #2
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Re: Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

Tim I have filmed a lot of Greek weddings and there is no need to mic the priests or anybody else for that matter. Nobody else does. The church audio system is more than enough. Just enjoy filming it and especially at the party.

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Old August 12th, 2012, 07:32 PM   #3
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Re: Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

That's interesting to know..I wonder how many other cultures have ceremonies where the couple do not say anything???

I did a Coptic ceremony back in 2009 and the priest and the 16 strong choir were talking (and mainly chanting) throughout the one hour ceremony but the couple never said a word so my mic was wasted!!. It was a fascinating ceremony actually but I tended to concentrate more on the priest and his sidekicks rather than the couple.

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Old August 13th, 2012, 07:39 AM   #4
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Re: Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

Yes Chris in the Greek wedding you never say anything, you just get married, wife, house, kids, the full catastrophy....


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Old August 13th, 2012, 11:12 AM   #5
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Re: Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

Thanks much!
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Old October 7th, 2012, 03:15 AM   #6
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Re: Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
That's interesting to know..I wonder how many other cultures have ceremonies where the couple do not say anything???
I think anything with "Orthodox" in the name probably tends to have non-speaking grooms -- Serbian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox... I haven't shot many Indian weddings, but, from memory, I don't think the couple says anything there either...

Re sound, for me, on-camera is fine, but lav is cleaner. I do try to mic up priests for these sorts of weddings and also record separately the chanters who repeat what the priest says. If I can, I plug into the church's sound system; but, in practice, very few priests of any sort of religion have let me go near their system...

The priest is normally OK with being mic'd up, although the last one told me he usually gives the videographer the frequency of the microphone he's already wearing.

If you do mic the priest yourself, just remember to pull it off him before he drives off with it! (whereas if you forget with a groom, at least you've still got the rest of the day to remember).
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Old October 7th, 2012, 02:09 PM   #7
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Re: Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

Thanks much for all the help.

It went really well. As expected, no spoken vows -- but beautiful chanting by the Priest and it happened to be in the same key (nearly almost on pitch) as their preview song:

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Last edited by Tim Bakland; October 7th, 2012 at 02:09 PM. Reason: typo "now" for "no"
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Old October 7th, 2012, 03:21 PM   #8
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Re: Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

Hey, thanks for sharing that vid. Sound sounds good.

I think some of the stuff I was struck by -- loved the detail shots during the ceremony; nice timelapse outside; felt like ceremony was very well covered and well exposed (Greek churches can be a bit dark); the door opening with the dress on it was creative; and was that a magnet with the rings close-up? Great shot.

Reception also looks very well exposed. I got the sense you might have had to drop the shutter speed to get exposure during the dancing? -- perhaps some motion blur there?
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Old October 7th, 2012, 03:32 PM   #9
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Re: Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

Thanks for the nice words, Adrian!

Dark reception was with a 1.4 lens. LED light for fill (dimmed though) and shutter dropped no lower than 1/30 -- so yes, perhaps some motion blur -- which I can accept for a brighter image.

I posted mainly for the ceremony portion of the preview. It's was a first for me -- and it really is a beautiful ceremony.
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Old October 9th, 2012, 11:45 AM   #10
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Re: Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

Tim, personally I don't like to use a church's system, as I normally don't trust them. So either the groom or priest will always be miced. The house system is sued as backup only for me.

But the priest is definitely the main audio source and has to be captured, as he is not near the couple for much of the service.

Here's a Greek wedding which we did.
While the ceremony highlight can be tricky, as we like to normally use the couples vows, we did mic the priest and used some nice words that he spoke for the ceremony highlight.


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Old October 9th, 2012, 12:53 PM   #11
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Re: Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

In Belgian chruches I can never mic the priest, there is, or no time, or they don't want to be mic'd so I see that the groom always has a lav and I put a recorder on the altar, the lectern and a back up at the loudspeaker.

If I need to do a cermony that is at the venue I always can mic the priest as they are always much more easy going, did a Indian Wedding last week and mic'd the priest but then I saw the couple was doing a lot of repeating after the priest which they didn't tell me before but the priests mike captured it good enough.

I also prefer to have the mike as close to the source as well, makes all the difference, church soundsystem are not reliable and often don't sound good.
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Old October 9th, 2012, 06:24 PM   #12
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Re: Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

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Originally Posted by Michael Liebergot View Post
Here's a Greek wedding which we did.
What strikes me on looking at this:

-- Candle shot at the start -- appreciate that you went to the trouble of getting down to the height of the candles. Definitely more impressive image.
-- Shoes shot -- very nice. Suspect this was a wide angle used up close rather than a zoom in? Feels like I'm part of the action.
-- Nice choice of background on which to place the rings.
-- Makeup on bride -- nice lighting. If the makeup artist positioned her there, I'm glad of it.
-- Getting into the dress -- awesome shot, and I'm surprised they let you in the room!
-- Almost looks like the church had a second level that ran all the way around. If so, then that's a pretty hefty zoom on the couple-facing camera. I think this sort of range of zoom is difficult to get on a DSLR
-- I don't know if anyone else has found this, but I've often found there's something funny about the lines in Greek churches. Even if your tripod bubble says it's perfectly level, the horizontals don't look quite right. Not sure what it is.
-- Fascinating reception location. Looks like some sort of library?
-- Low-angle reaction shot on bride during father's speech -- nice composition.
-- Nice dancing moments. Low angle used to good effect.
-- One out-of-curiosity note: when the beachball comes in, it looks like the operator is fighting the tripod a little. I've got a feeling it was a still tripod, and didn't have a fluid head?
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Old October 9th, 2012, 06:28 PM   #13
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Re: Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

I think the unreliabity of sound systems (church or reception) is worth pointing out, as Noa and Michael have. So definitely one should have backup sources. At the same time, if it works I think you're going to get pretty clean, non-echoey, non-peaky sound.

The main thing I tend to worry about is that it's tricky to run back and forth checking levels and checking that the recorder is rolling. At least two wedding companies sround Sydney do employ a separate sound guy for ceremonies for this sort of reason.

Problems with plugging into a sound system might include:

-- there's more than one system; eg at a reception, maybe not all the sound goes through a DJ's mixer; maybe the venue has its own setup
-- what if a DJ or guest messes with or bumps into your recorder -- or even unplugs it (!!). Happened to me before. DJ claimed that plugging the recorder in was interfering with sound (it wasn't).
-- the DJ does something dodgy with outputs. Usually the DJ will have two RCA master output connections, left and right. What I usually do is plug into one of them and divide that into two channels, set to different levels. But what if the DJ happens to cut that channel off, for whatever reason?
-- when a signal is travelling through all that cabling and multiple sound devices, there's got to be a good chance of noise. In practice, I've found that the fact that the microphone feeding you the sound is the best-positioned microphone in the house offsets any sort of noise picked up en route to one's recorder.
-- maybe you want more ambient, dirtier sound. If you're covering a Greek dance, say, you'd probably want people laughing and clapping, even at the risk of peaking when they applaud; just using the music from the DJ would be a bit sterile.
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Old October 14th, 2012, 10:06 AM   #14
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Re: Greek Wedding Ceremony, sights and sounds etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
What strikes me on looking at this:

-- Candle shot at the start -- appreciate that you went to the trouble of getting down to the height of the candles. Definitely more impressive image.
-- Shoes shot -- very nice. Suspect this was a wide angle used up close rather than a zoom in? Feels like I'm part of the action.
-- Nice choice of background on which to place the rings.
-- Makeup on bride -- nice lighting. If the makeup artist positioned her there, I'm glad of it.
-- Getting into the dress -- awesome shot, and I'm surprised they let you in the room!
-- Almost looks like the church had a second level that ran all the way around. If so, then that's a pretty hefty zoom on the couple-facing camera. I think this sort of range of zoom is difficult to get on a DSLR
-- I don't know if anyone else has found this, but I've often found there's something funny about the lines in Greek churches. Even if your tripod bubble says it's perfectly level, the horizontals don't look quite right. Not sure what it is.
-- Fascinating reception location. Looks like some sort of library?
-- Low-angle reaction shot on bride during father's speech -- nice composition.
-- Nice dancing moments. Low angle used to good effect.
-- One out-of-curiosity note: when the beachball comes in, it looks like the operator is fighting the tripod a little. I've got a feeling it was a still tripod, and didn't have a fluid head?
Adrian thanks for the compliments.
Most of your observations were dead on.

1. I always try get tot he level of my focal point. Candles, table decor etc., especially kids.
2.. Makeup being done by a window. This is both good and bad. Good because of the nice natural light, but bad because of back lighting. This clip actually need quite a bot of post work.
3. Rings were actually shot on white tablecloth.
4. Getting into the dress shot is not usually a problem for me as I leave the room until they get the dress either overhead or a bride has stepped into the dress and pulled it up. This was filmed with a monopod up high.
5. The reception was at the Peabody Library in Baltimore, MD. It was beautiful, but unfortunately we were not able to shoot at all from up high, which would have been great for some shots.
6. Low angle shot of bride for fathers speech was my camera down low while sitting on the floor (not blocking guests) by the couples table.
7. The beach ball shots was shot by my second shooter handheld. For the reception we don;t use tripods, but monopods or shoulder support. The only exception might be speeches which are tripod based for one of the cameras and the second camera is mobile.
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