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Old December 10th, 2012, 12:18 AM   #1
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Cutaways during speeches

Quick question... Not sure if I've asked before... If you're filming reception speeches with two cameras, and using one camera to get reaction shots from whoever's being talked about instead of just sitting on the couple, how do you know who's who? "Thank you, bride's grandmother, for coming all the way from Ireland" -- but which of the elderly ladies is the bride's grandmother?

Do you have a quick chat to the MC/maid of honour in advance and ask them to point you in the right direction?

Hate to say it, but I almost always forget who the parents are by speeches time. Terrible memory for faces...

Last edited by Adrian Tan; December 10th, 2012 at 02:12 AM.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 01:17 AM   #2
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Re: Cutaways during speeches

I used to just use a single camera and crash-zoom wide when audience applause, but mainly just zoomed onto speaker. Now I have a 2nd camera pointed at couple for reactions, and occasionly seek out other groups/people in the audience if they are obvious to me that they are being referred to. Would never go any further than that.... I know people watch speeches maybe once again - if that. Keep it simple.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 01:22 AM   #3
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Re: Cutaways during speeches

Hi Adrian

Sometimes it's tough when you have to get a cutaway of Aunt Mary who made the cake..I make a note of where the parents are and mainly use them and the bridal party for cutaways. The groom is the usual person to do special thanks so I usually chat to him and if there are likely to be quite a few special thanks, I ask him to say "Stand up so everyone can see you" ..That way they are easy to spot!!

Chris
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Old December 10th, 2012, 03:04 AM   #4
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Re: Cutaways during speeches

Most couples have a table plan and you can get them to email you a copy of the document before the day. Thats something I do for any receptions where the speeches are to be anything other than the conventional FOB + groom + bestman all sitting on a rectangular top table.

You can also assume that anyone sitting in the front rows during the ceremony is a VIP so pay special attention to them during the speeches.

But you really need 3 cams not two: 1 on the speaker, 1 alternating between the couple and other occupants of the top table and 1 for random cutaways into the audience - which is not always possible and is highly dependent of the features of the room and how crowded it is.

Counter-intuitive but its much less stressful to shoot with 3 cams than with 2 cams :- )

Pete
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Old December 10th, 2012, 05:12 AM   #5
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Re: Cutaways during speeches

Peter, how do you do this without having two extra camera operators?
I'm a one man band. I settle for one camera static and wide of the entire top table, and the other panning from speaker to others for reaction shots.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 05:31 AM   #6
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Re: Cutaways during speeches

I also use 2 camera's during speeches, one to whoever is speeching (duh) and the second one to the person they are talking to if it is obvious who this is, if I see that person is sitting at a certain table but I don't know who exactly I just frame the entire table and if I don't know who they are talking to at all I just collect random reactions. I don't make a big deal out of it, I just make sure I have the speech filmed well with good sound, all the extra is icing on the cake.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 05:54 AM   #7
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Re: Cutaways during speeches

When shooting speeches singlehanded I use three cameras. A locked off wide on the audience (XF105) a locked off wide on the top table (5D3) while I operate a 5D3 with a 70-200mm F/2.8 lens. The 5D3 wide on the top table is beside me on a tripod so if the speeches go on for more than 30 minutes (rare) then I can just reach across & restart recording. The camera with a big zoom is either on tripod or monopod depending on how much room there is for me. I'll try & spin round & zoom in on whoever is the subject of thanks. If there is applause then you can generally assume that the subject is the one who isn't applauding although some people do seem to like to join in with the crowd & applaud themselves.
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Old December 10th, 2012, 05:32 PM   #8
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Re: Cutaways during speeches

I've lately been trying to do it with four cameras, but I do tie myself in knots a bit. Almost always have a second shooter to help though.

Cam 1: on speaker. Normally a chest to head midshot, showing the top of the lectern if they're standing at one.
Cam 2: stuck on couple
Cam 3: cutaways
Cam 4: either an applause cam (high and wide, sitting in a corner, pointed at the audience), or a wide shot of the bridal table, preferably including speaker

If you have two cameras on the speaker, one wide including the bridal table, or with a head-to-toe shot, then the idea is that this allows: (1) you can punch in from wide to close during the climactic parts of the speech; (2) you've got a backup if your DSLRs stuff you around for whatever reason -- recording time out and you don't notice, card runs out and needs changing, etc.
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Old December 11th, 2012, 03:26 AM   #9
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Re: Cutaways during speeches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
Peter, how do you do this without having two extra camera operators?
I'm a one man band. I settle for one camera static and wide of the entire top table, and the other panning from speaker to others for reaction shots.
I do it by ensuring that I can access all three cameras during the speeches for recomposing and for moving them around. This is of course not always practical and is highly dependent on the room layout plus whether the guests spread themselves out blocking access, but often it is achievable. I check with each speaker before kickoff to ascertain roughly how long their speech will last and so that gives me some help in where I need to be and when. I also shoot stills - in fact that is the main business - and so I move around for that; whichever video cam I am near is the one I will use to recompose whilst the other two are locked off on whatever. All three video cams are small and are on heavy duty Cheetah lightstands rather than tripods so are themselves discreet - I hate the look of other operators or equipment in shot and work alone virtually all the time.

For ceremonies I also use a Gopro but that doesn't seem it add anything in the speeches phase of the day. Also during ceremonies I may use a variety of brackets rather than lightstands again to keep the look as much "wedding" and as little "photoshoot" as possible, but in the speeches lightstands and tripods blend in much easier.

The net result is I now have a large portfolio of ceremonies and speeches all video'd in their entirety and from different angles with cuts every few seconds; very popular with clients.

It is surprising what you can achieve whilst maintaining an unobtrusive presence. This has just been illustrated to me by a recent booking. The best man from a wedding I shot 18 months ago called to book photography for his own wedding. Whilst discussing terms it transpired that he didn't even know that I had video'd the first wedding in addition to shooting the stills; when you think what a prominent position the best man has during the day thats quite something!

Pete
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Old December 11th, 2012, 05:52 AM   #10
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Re: Cutaways during speeches

i try and get to know as many as the immediate family and friends as possible prior to and during the event, that way you'r way ahead when it comes to picking out people.

I am also a stills and video operator but i dont like leaving tripods and lightstands unattended especially in the close confines of the types of ballrooms in use here, people tend not to see the lower area between tables/chairs etc. and can easily kick a tripod or worse still, trip over one, i usually get another operator to look after the video cams.
hats off to you Peter, looking after 3 video cams and a stills cam!!!
:-)
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Old December 11th, 2012, 08:01 AM   #11
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Re: Cutaways during speeches

Hi Rob

Yeah Peter is doing well controlling 3 + 1 cameras!! I have one cam framing the lectern and then just the second on my shoulder for cutaways. Like you I make sure I know most of the important people and where they are sitting

Chris
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Old December 13th, 2012, 02:29 PM   #12
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Re: Cutaways during speeches

i've problems at times keeping the one in my hands under control :-)
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