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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old January 18th, 2013, 04:52 AM   #16
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Re: Multiple camera operators at ceremony

Hey Peter

My tripods actually do have adjustable spreaders and with narrow aisles I pull them in tight and they do fit..when I do speeches they are back out again. However I must look into those stands..I have my Hero on an el-cheapo lightstand and at outdoor weddings it sometimes does sway a bit in the wind especially because it's extended all the way up

We are videographers so we have to be innovative!! To make my Sony EA-50 better balanced with the video light on (needed for really dark receptions even with a fast lens) I split the clip on battery from the light and used a stripped out charger as a battery charger as a battery holder and the F790 battery now sits with the receiver behind the shoulder pad and it balances very nices instead of being front heavy.

What one does need for a stand is something with a small footprint that's stable even when high..most stands are useless but what would the cheetah be like at 2 metres high? Still stable??

Chris
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Old January 18th, 2013, 09:01 AM   #17
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Re: Multiple camera operators at ceremony

The main tripod I call on for the rough and tumble of weddings is a Gitzo Mountaineer:

Gitzo GT2531 Mountaineer Tripod - Carbon Fibre

It has legs which can be individually adjusted for length and spread so it sounds like the one you use Chris. But is still makes for a triangle shape rather than a single column so it is rather more demanding of upper body space. And it is much longer to level than is a plain lightstand with a Manfrotto 701 pan and tilt head sitting on top.

The Cheetah C12 can easily cope with 2 metres and much higher. The smaller C8 works OK but you may have to dampen it by hand when first placing it. I use it routinely with a GoPro. The C12 would be overkill for a GoPro. However if you need to place the GoPro on a form of boom arm which is then attached to the top of the lightstand e.g. to shoot round corners or over the top of high ledges then something more substantail than the C8 is called for. A still shot from a minstrels gallery at a recent reception in a (very dark) tudor hall:

Ref 297-7959-03_snbj Ashton Lamont Photography, Copyright

I needed an arm to get over the ledge at the front of the gallery.

Lightstands are a pain on uneven ground though as levelling takes valuable time. A ball and socket head rather than a pan and tilt head can work better as you then have adjustment available in all 3 planes.

One trick I sometimes copy from DJs with heavy speaker stands in precarious positions is to loop bungee cords around the columns then around a nearby fixture or furniture. just to take up the movement in case of a guest bumping into it. The bungee does not need to be tight.

Lightstands cannot be as stable as tripods but more often than not that is not relevant. They soon settle down plus you are less likely to jog one accidentally. Also if your cams or lenses have Image Stabilisation that helps further.

You can get a really smooth pan with a lightstand simply by loosening one of the top column locking wingnuts so as to turn the entire upper stand rather than just the head. You also avoid that kickback at the end of a pan which can be a feature of all but the most expensive heads. Tilts are identical whether on a lightstand or tripod.

Pete
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Old January 18th, 2013, 09:43 AM   #18
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Re: Multiple camera operators at ceremony

Standbags - these are great for when guests bump into your tripods

Lastolite Sandbag (1592) - Wex Photographic

Pete
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Old January 18th, 2013, 09:10 PM   #19
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Re: Multiple camera operators at ceremony

Hi Pete

I have a ballhead on the top of my stand (I modded the stand so the thread coming out of the top is now a 3/8" rather than a 1/4" and it works very well...even if the stand is uneven I just adjust my GoPro on the ball head ..it's only a cheapish eBay one but it's already an overkill for a GoPro.

I have never had one topple over but the only issue is the swaying in a breeze...I really need a standard stand but with something like 30 or 40mm tubing construction rather than the thin 15mm or less light stands have...in fact I always have the stand at full extension (about 7' I guess) so maybe a simple solution is replace the pipes?

Chris
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Old January 19th, 2013, 09:34 AM   #20
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Re: Multiple camera operators at ceremony

Chris, not sure how tall you want it to get, but if you're already modding the stand, have you looked at a microphone stand? They have weighted plates at the bottom and thicker stems. Some have boom arms and (outside the U.S.) may even have 1/4" threads.
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Old January 19th, 2013, 03:16 PM   #21
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Re: Multiple camera operators at ceremony

Chris you could also have put one of these 3/8" to 1/4" adapters into the base of your ballhead and attached it direct to the 1/4" lightstand top:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/TRIPOD-BUSH-THREAD-ADAPTOR-TO/dp/B00131LE1O
There are loads of such adapters e.g. to go in the opposite direction:

Special Adapter 3/8'' To 1/4'' Thread 088 - Adapters | Manfrotto

Quite a few lightstands don't have a screw at the top at all, just a stud. In that case one of these adapters can be used:

Manfrotto 014-38 Rapid Adapter - 5/8" Stud to 014-38 B&H

I do like the idea of microphone stands for GoPros. A heavy dinner plate sized base and a boom arm could work well.

Pete
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Old January 19th, 2013, 05:36 PM   #22
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Re: Multiple camera operators at ceremony

Adrian, I think having a third camera and operator is a great idea. I use to bring 1 shooter and 1 assistant to every wedding but for a few hundred more I can get a third shooter. My third shooter comes in handy and is usually done when the Toast are finished. It might be hard to find someone who wants to work for an hour or two just shoot a ceremony, so bring them in and utilize them as a shooter and as an assistant until you don't need them anymore. How does a third shooter benefit me?...

Prep:
Cam 1 gets exterior shots and interior shots of hotel / time lapse / streets / signs / culture etc.
Cam 2-3 get details and the hair and makeup in the bridal suite.
When cam 1 is done he heads to the grooms suite. He walkies us when he is ready for a two cam shoot of the groom getting ready.
Cam one or two comes back to the brides suite in time for the bride to get her dress on and cam 1 or two packs up gear and moves it to the car / ceremony.

Picture taking:
Cam 1 and 2 follow couple. One is on light tripod. Cam 2 is slider and glidecam
Cam 3 goes to church and gets exterior / interior and time lapse shots

Ceremony
Cams 1 and 2 are on couple / priest
Cam 3 gets slider / glidecam shots just before the vows
All 3 cams capture vows. Cams 1 or 2 can capture parents / bridal party crying and cam 3 will cover for any camera that moves during the vows.
Ring exchange is captured by cam 3 (closeup shot!!!)
Cam 3 is ready in the back for the kiss and recessional. (I love that!!)

More Picture taking: (if bride/groom photos are done)
Cam 1 covers formals. Everyone else packs up.
If couple is taking more pics then Cams 1 and 2 follow couple and Cam 3 goes to Reception to get details. (HELPS SO MUCH!!!)

Reception:
Bridal Party Introduction. ONLY 1 maybe 2 cams for this except for B&G then we use 3 cameras
First Dance has CU, Slider and Glidecam for a sweet First Dance
Toast: Cam 1 on B&G, Cam 2 on Speaker and Cam 3 on Speaker and Crowd

So you can see a third shooter can come in extra handy for key moments improving your final product immensely. I didn't start out this way I gradually got to this point cause it takes a lot more gear and trained videographers to shoot the way you do, but now we are one of the top studios in San Francisco.

Now I don't offer this to EVERY client. I have to love the client and the venue to do this.

Here is a sample of a client and venue I loved and went all out. The client did pay for the crane operator but I only charged $500 to cover the cost of hiring the guy cause now I can sell my crane operator package for $1,000 cause I have something to show...

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Old February 2nd, 2013, 03:03 PM   #23
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Re: Multiple camera operators at ceremony

Well what can I say? Reading this thread has been an absolutely fascinating insight into a world of wedding videography that is totally different to the one that I operate in. Kelly's video is absolutely beautiful, but would probably soak up the entire budget for some of the weddings that I film. The weddings that I film in the East of England often require discussion with the vicar to allow video at all, let alone be able to use 3 cameras. Someone mentioned a steady cam operator moving round between the couple during the ceremony, I have seen a photographer removed from the church for walking into the aisle during the ceremony.

I have also frequently filmed civil ceremonies where there was barely enough room to get one camera into a useable position during the ceremony. I have on occasion used a second locked off camera during the ceremony and also occasionalyll a second camera operator, I would consider that several cameras at a wedding would be an intrusion into the day, and working with one camera as I usually do, means that it is essential to work quickly and efficiently and with imagination.

It does sometimes seem to me that a number of wedding shoots that have more than one camera are a belt and braces arrangement, so that if one operator misses the shot, there is always something to fall back on. I also sometimes see companies making a movie rather than capturing the day as it unfolds in a natural way. To me, a wedding video should not influence or change the day or the guests behaviour, and I prefer not to be noticed at all.

After over 1500 weddings, my way works well for me though and I suppose that other's totally different approaches works well for them. Vive la differance!

Roger

Last edited by Roger Gunkel; February 2nd, 2013 at 05:44 PM.
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 04:02 PM   #24
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Re: Multiple camera operators at ceremony

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
The weddings that I film in the East of England often require discussion with the vicar to allow video at all
+1

Not to mention them wanting extra church fees because there is a video present. They quote copyright reasons, until I produce the MCPS license. They quote the organist needing paying more for being recorded, but 90% of the organists I hear in churches should be giving the money back in shame given the number of bum notes they play!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
I have also frequently filmed civil ceremonies where there was barely enough room to get one camera into a useable position during the ceremony.
+1 again

Too many people pick venues without any consideration for the actual logistics of the day, then invite more guests than the place is officially licensed to hold, assuming that the venue isn't actually counting and they can just slip a few more in to stand at the back. Disaster for that rear camera that now has no room to swing around as the bride enters and people are hanging out in to the isle blocking the rear shot.

Then at the front, I've had to share unbelievably tiny spaces with the photographer and even the best man in some locations, and this at some of the most expensive venues, not just the el-cheapo ones!

And, while you can just about see the B+G. the readings are some where that neither of us can see, nor can the photographer move to get a shot either.

< sigh >

I guess I'm just as jealous of the perfect weather outside weddings that appear to be fairly common in much of the USA, rather than the dreary blown out white and/or grey skies we get so much here. But then I guess we don't have to battle with wind noise etc during the ceremony, just the air conditioners or heating pumps, or the hum from the organ air pump!
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 07:26 PM   #25
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Re: Multiple camera operators at ceremony

I do think that there is probably a considerable difference in the approach to weddings generally in the US than the UK.

The US wedding seems frequently to be much more of an orchestrated and stylised production compared to a UK wedding, with more choices in the hands of the couple. Here it seems to me that weddings are much more formal, with greater control wielded by the Church/Registrars and the venues. Video and photography tends to be tolerated rather than welcomed, whatever the wishes of the B&G.

This is apparent in restrictions that are frequently put on photography and video by the church during the ceremony, although some clerics can be very helpful. As Dave said, churches seem to have little idea regarding copyright and licensing, frequently asking for ridiculous extra fees from the couple and even demanding that video and photos to be taken from totally unsuitable positions in spite of the fees that the couple are already paying. I often film at venues where the management seem to feel that although they have been paid large sums of money for the hire of their venue, that the videographer and photographer are there just to slow things down and get in their way, rather than fellow professionals hired to do a job.

I sound like a grumpy old man!

Roger
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Old February 2nd, 2013, 08:28 PM   #26
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Re: Multiple camera operators at ceremony

Hi Roger

I used to be grumpy too as some of our old Catholic Churches (and a few Anglican ones too) are still very strict and you get stuff like you have to film from the side vestries and you are not allowed in the aisle. We still have a lady vicar here that forbids guests to shoot either video or photos!! We still have the no lights or flash in Churches too!!

My biggest issues are our older Churches with narrow aisles that can barely fit the bride in her wide dress so Dad has to walk behind her!! I normally tuck my main camera right into a pew on the right and give the photog the aisle to work in...Now imagine 3 videographers and two photographers in that scenario!! However the more modern Churches here now are built more like an ampitheatre than a narrow Church so aisles are wide and seats pan the entire width of the building as it now very wide and short rather than the traditional long and skinny!!
I still prefer to work solo however as having 3 operators in a restricted space to me is crazy..My wedding 4 weeks ago had the photog and I nicely positioned in the aisle with actually some elbow room when a self -appointed videographer friend of the couple muscled in and caused chaos!! He received some harsh words from both of us but it didn't really help that much ... Nope I will stick to solo shoots and maybe a 2nd shooter for a big ceremony now and again but that's my limit for both comfort and sanity!

Chris
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Old February 7th, 2013, 08:28 PM   #27
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Re: Multiple camera operators at ceremony

When I first started out fliming weddings in 1999-ish, there were 3 of us shooting with 4 cameras during pretty much all wedding ceremonies. Obviously 3 were manned and 1 was unmanned. The way we worked it normally was, one wide shot constant, then another from the rear getting close ups, and then one camera on the left and right sides of the church. We did it that way for about 2 years before we got comfortable downsizing the number of cameras.

At the time, we were super concerned about making sure we had usable footage to put together the ceremony video.

Fast forward to today, I'm a one man show. When I have larger weddings, I'll call in a friend and we'll do a 3 camera shoot, with me running 2 in the back.

One time last year, I even added a GoPro Hero2 on stage sitting on the organ and it did a fantastic job. I was impressed with the quality of it, and it matched my Sony NX5U, and the Canon XHA1 and XA10 we were using.
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