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Old December 23rd, 2012, 07:40 PM   #1
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Ceremony plans

Here's some setups I've used lately. Interested in any feedback/comparisons. Warning: I think this post will be very dry even for people interested in subject matter!

1. Civil service in restaurant overlooking Darling Harbour. Two shooters, four cameras, no steadicam. No ability to move behind bridal party.

On entry: one unmanned camera on 70-200 getting first look from groom, but positioned to favour the bride, one unmanned camera getting wideshot of entire bridal party's final positions, my friend posted behind bride and bridesmaids as they walked in (she walked in from a side door, and then turned right -- he wasn't in shot), me crouched at front of aisle with monopod getting bride's reactions.

During ceremony: monopod used for cutaways; second shooter's tripod repositioned to centre of aisle for a two-shot.

Advantages of having a guy back with the bride -- interesting angle; possibility of capturing nice moments between father and bride just before she enters; ability to easily relocate camera in crowded environment.

Disadvantages of this setup: (1) unmanned camera on groom -- he might walk out of shot, and the angle won't get a good facial reaction anyway; (2) the part after she walks back up the aisle is messy -- I'm scampering out of the way, and my partner is relocating tripod into a centre-aisle position -- up to unmanned cameras, or to me speedily relocating, to catch the groom shaking hands with father of bride, etc; no close-up shot favouring the groom (no real ability to reposition cameras in this crowded space other than the guy in the centre of the aisle, and I think he was better off there than on a 45 angle getting close-up of groom).

2. Outdoors. Good freedom of movement. Two shooters, four cameras.

On entry: steadicam following bride in; me on a monopod; one wide shot from back of crowd framing for the bridal party; one close-up of groom from angle favouring the groom.

During ceremony: steadicam repurposed to two-shot on tripod; monopod repurposed to bride-favouring close-up on tripod. So we basically had a wide, a two shot, and two close-up cameras that could also be turned around to get cutaways from audience or turned to focus on people doing readings.

Advantages: lots of good coverage; steadicam gets great shots on the walk in; after bride walks up to the groom, steadicam guy can stand there and hold coverage (better than unmanned wide camera) of what happens next as I scamper out of the way.

Disadvantages: tricky to keep steadicam guy out of shot with monopod, no matter how he crouches; because we manned the close-up cameras rather than the two-shot during the vows, no ability to get really close close-ups of rings (masked from the 45 degree angles we were shooting from); having both wide and two-shot somewhat redundant (more a case of safety shots).

3. Small country church. Very cramped. Second storey available. Two shooters, four cameras + GoPro, no steadicam. No ability to move behind bridal party (basically a table bearing candles, then a wall).

On entry: one camera on second storey at back of church framed for entire bridal party; one unmanned camera on groom from angle favouring bride; me on a monopod. Second shooter at back of church on ground level getting clear shot of bride as the doors open, and then panning with her as she goes past. Go Pro sitting on window ledge behind the couple.

During ceremony: back of church ground-level taken to second level and repurposed to a mid-shot.

Advantages: interesting angles; it's basically covered; photographer can wander up and down narrow aisle without blocking anyone's shots.

Disadvantages: unmanned groom camera is always asking for trouble; relying on shots from back of church to get clear groom reactions; lots of details hard to get -- lighting candles on a table behind the couple (couple and celebrant masking this activity; no room to move to get to it; but GoPro got some of it); one big disadvantage -- GoPro was in frame from time to time, with a flashing red light (d'oh!).

Notes: When I can, I'll have one centre aisle cam, one close-up of bride, and one close-up of groom. But -- I find it can be tricky to move around during a ceremony from 45-degree cam to centre aisle, without missing something or being what I consider too distracting (if you walk in front of the front pew to take a shortcut, instead of to the back of the church, and down a side, and back again). So I often just have bride-favouring cameras and centre-aisle cameras.

4. Greek wedding. Ability to stand behind the celebrant to one side.

On entry: instead of crouching with monopod at front of aisle, I had a camera on a tripod I didn't need to move that was behind the priest and to one side. Could get great reaction shots of bride.

During ceremony: One close-up and one wide shot from behind the celebrant; one close-up and one wide shot from centre aisle (since important stuff happens from both directions).

Note: One disadvantage of DSLRs, as someone pointed out recently, is their limited zoom range. So, I don't have the lenses to use the same camera for both wideshot and close-up -- I often need to use two cameras.
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Old December 23rd, 2012, 10:54 PM   #2
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Re: Ceremony plans

Hmmmm, need more detail... can you elaborate a little...
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Old December 24th, 2012, 12:25 AM   #3
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Re: Ceremony plans

Merry Christmas John

Your latest quip for the festive season?

Seriously every wedding is different and that's why you go to the rehearsal to figure where to place cameras AND check with the priest if it's OK with him too. For me it's most definately a decide when you get there scenario.

Chris
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Old December 24th, 2012, 02:00 AM   #4
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Re: Ceremony plans

You at least have rehearsals, we don't, I always try to arrive early at the church so I can set up my audio and 2 camera's but several times that's not the case and I have to go in Rambo style and act on instinct. In the worst case I can be happy if I can catch the bride walking down the isle.
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Old December 24th, 2012, 08:04 AM   #5
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Re: Ceremony plans

As far as I recall I have never used a 70-200mm on an unmanned camera. Any locked off camera is usually pretty wide just to avoid anyone walking out of shot.

The ceremony on the wedding of Andrew & Loretta that we just posted on the website most recently Alice Barker Images - Loretta and Andrew - Norfolk Wedding Video Spixworth - 27th October 2012 had an XF105 wide on the bride's side. My wife with a 5D2 24-105mm on a tripod or monopod at the back looking straight down the aisle (prior to that she was looking out the door to capture the bridal party coming into the church). I was down the front on the groom's side with a 5D3 on tripod with 70-200mm for shots of couple bride's face & ring shot then a 5D3 with a 24-105mm on a monopod (should really have used a tripod) plus a 5D2 with 16-35mm on a Glidecam that I could pick up & use as necessary for the recessional etc
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Old December 25th, 2012, 04:27 PM   #6
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Re: Ceremony plans

Hey Noa, where do you normally position your two cameras? And Chris, do you shoot with five, or is that my imagination? Is there any pattern to where you stick them?

Nigel, the unmanned 70-200 I use is only unmanned at the start, and at that time it's usually a midshot. Also have an unmanned wide rolling at the same time.

Thanks for sharing your setup! I do lose sleep before every wedding thinking about how best To play this part of the day, and there's lots of great things about your setup that I've never really used. For instance: person at the back gets a great shot of bride first entering, which is something I normally miss; unmanned camera has great recording time; you're in a position where you don't need to relocate after bride arrives at the front; sounds like you can capture great ring shots without being masked by groom.

Where does your wife's camera shift to after the entrance? Or does it stay there to get a wide shot of everything as well as cover the exit? I imagine she runs around to operate the groom-facing camera as well during critical bits and to get cutaways. Re monopod, if you're using that thing for cutaways, I don't know it's such a bad choice. Lets you be more mobile.
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Old December 25th, 2012, 05:11 PM   #7
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Re: Ceremony plans

Quote:
where do you normally position your two cameras?
Always one camera facing the couple and which also can zoom in on the guests in the church and the unmanned one I point towards the altar for the priest and reframe to the lectern if someone reads there. In some large churches I can have both camera by my side but in most situations there is about 5 to 10 meters between each camera. I only go to the unmanned camera to reframe is necessary. If I have to start filming at the church I place a third camera on the balcony, the third camera only comes into play if I have at least 45 minutes time before the ceremony starts, anything less and it's not being used.

You have to consider that the rules of where I am allowed to stand are much different from where you do weddings, I can f.i. stand right behind the priest facing the guests in church when the couple share rings and vows and that's a standard position for all ceremonies for me and the photog. Rest of the time I"m standing on the left or right side of the altar.
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Old December 25th, 2012, 05:34 PM   #8
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Re: Ceremony plans

Hi Adrian

Five cameras shooting solo is definately not me... If I could actually get away with a single camera I would be delighted as that's less work both shooting and editing. My "usual" is three ..on fixed (but manned) camera tucked in up front about two seats/pews back on the right (so I favour the bride's face) ..this cam basically looks after the bride, groom and celebrant/priest so I always have the vows as a nice tight shot. The second camera in on shoulder and shoots all the cutaways and wide shoots so that's pretty mobile so if I need a reverse angle shot I can move position and get it. (On Saturday the priest had the couple with their backs to the guests so for vow responses I needed to shoot from behind on 2nd cam)
My third is a GoPro on a light stand either on the balcony on on a stand high up and that's my "get out of trouble camera" as no-one can walk in front of it and brides seem to love the footage...(Makes me wonder why we buy expensive pro cameras...when they could be perfectly happy with a few GoPros around the Church)

As you already know well..setups change at every wedding but that's my initial setup...I used to have my main aisle camera further back in the old days but got tired of it being blocked...if the Church has a big space in front of the first pew I actually go there to avoid guest (but not photog) blocking

Chris
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