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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old January 26th, 2013, 06:33 AM   #1
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Newbie looking for wedding filming help

So I'm fairly new to video in general and I've somehow been volunteered to film a family member's wedding on account of my "expensive looking camera" :)

Event filming is not something I have any experience in nor is it something I actually plan on doing for anyone else. I'm kind of stumped on some of the basics like where I should actually be positioned during the main ceremony, for example when the bride/groom are entering/exiting and during the vows. I'll be using an XL2 both with tripod and on my shoulder, and during the vows I'll obviously have either the groom or officiant wireless mic'd. It is a smaller venue and I'd likely be using the Canon 3X wide angle lens.

They're not really expecting much and I'm doing this for free, but any tips for a newbie would be appreciated as I'd like to deliver a decent product for my own filming practice.
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Old January 26th, 2013, 06:57 AM   #2
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Re: Newbie looking for wedding filming help

if they're not expecting much I think you're well placed to give them exactly that, and the process will be a great learning experience for next time someone asks you to film a wedding for free.

I suggest you watch other wedding video 's and work out where to be and what to film from that. Have fun!
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Old January 26th, 2013, 09:43 AM   #3
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Re: Newbie looking for wedding filming help

Paul, where you situate yourself depends on the nature of the place where the ceremony is taking place. The two choices you should look at are at the back of the church behind the last pew, to the right side, or down front by the altar, also to the right side.

The second choice (above) is best for getting the processional (bridal party, etc) as they come in, but it is a very risky place to be if it's going to be crowded. Down front is very intrusive and is filled with hazards if you do not know what you are doing.

For your first wedding, the wise choice would be from the rear, and tape people as they are walking down the aisle. You would not want to turn the camera to the door and tape them coming in, because you will have to pan and the pans will be a mess. Just a static shot as they walk down the aisle. You will essentially get them from behind as the walk by. The good thing about this shot is after the processional you can then gently zoom in for the vows and ring exchange and you'll get a great shot of them kissing and exiting.

The way most people work a wedding, if they are filming at a location for the first time, is they go early, an hour to an 1 1/2 hour early and sort the place out. Since you do not yet know what to look for, stick with staying in the rear, and you'll not have to move your camera much at all.

Keep zooms to a minimum, and move your camera on the tripod as little as possible and you'll be fine. After the processional, where the bridal party comes in, move your tripod out from the side towards the center of the aisle so you can get a clear shot.

Try and ask the people to not sit in the pews in front of you, put something there to reserve them so when they stand for the brides entrance you will not be blocked.

Good luck

Important Note: I just realized that the safest place where you can tape from is a balcony, that way you do not have to worry about being blocked. The balcony shot would be the simplest and safest for a first wedding, if a balcony is available.

I wouldn't try and use a shoulder mount for your first wedding, I would stick with a tripod.
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Old January 27th, 2013, 12:12 AM   #4
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Re: Newbie looking for wedding filming help

Thanks for the tips. The venue is more of a country house setting and I believe the main reception area is made to fit up to 40 people. Of course it just dawned on me that the actual ceremony could likely be taking place outdoors. I will have to ask them about that. Looking at the website for the venue I don't see any real "out of the way" place for me to set up.
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Old January 27th, 2013, 12:31 AM   #5
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Re: Newbie looking for wedding filming help

Ask them what they think is OK, especially if you are around at the rehearsal, but, an aisle seat, about 1/3 from the front would give you decent face shots coming down the aisle, then turn after the bride passes and you're reasonably close to the vows. Try to get the groom's face after the turn.

Try not to zoom much, but during the vows, a tight shot wouldn't be out of line (shoulders to the top of the head) because it gives a better sense of intimacy.

A $60-$100 Tascam pocket recorder with lapel mic put on the groom will pick up the vows and give you decent audio reasonably free of crying babies or coughing relatives.
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Old January 27th, 2013, 11:11 AM   #6
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Re: Newbie looking for wedding filming help

Robert, I would never sit in the guests seating area with a shoulder mounted camera. Besides being intrusive the footage would be so unsteady. This could be considered if you have a second steady shot from the rear, but with a single camera you don't have this option.

For a single camera shoot, I would find a safe spot where I could tape everything without having to move, from a tripod. Just my 2 cents.

It might be you have your technique where it works for you, but I guess it comes down to shooting styles. For me, one safe, steady shot is the rule when shooting with a single camera.
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Old January 27th, 2013, 12:27 PM   #7
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Re: Newbie looking for wedding filming help

Jeff, I figured a tripod with collapsed legs to use as a monopod, then once the ceremony has begun and the aisle is clear, open the legs and keep it steady next to your seat. He's family and I figured he could ask about this, especially if they want the bride's face coming down the aisle.

We would never shoot that way, but a relative doing a favor is a whole other thing.
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Old January 27th, 2013, 02:33 PM   #8
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Re: Newbie looking for wedding filming help

Robert, I see what your're saying about him being family, so he could get a way with sitting there. On the other hand he's also inexperienced, so I would be concerned about the footage being shaky as a result; done right your advice would be fine.
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