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

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Old March 10th, 2013, 11:52 AM   #16
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 185
Re: My first funeral shoot...

A lot of the funeral homes here in Michigan already film the ceremony with one static camera on the casket and one on the speaker. Now, I think that's a little creepy. None of the funeral homes I know have staff go to the burial sight where a lot of the important shots like the flag presentation, dove releases, memorabilia etc. is presented. Most of the clients think that's important. Some cultures are very flamboyant with their funerals like a celebration. I dress like everyone else is dressing so I mostly wear black. I know of one where the celibrate was big into halloween and in his request he wanted everyone to dress up in costumes. Didn't get a chance to film that one but I wanted too. My cost was too much. What would I have worn to that one???
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Old March 19th, 2013, 10:21 PM   #17
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Kansas City, MO
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Re: My first funeral shoot...

Originally Posted by Dave Partington View Post
The one obvious difference is that a wedding is a happy event and everyone is smiling. At a funeral it's (generally) a sad event and no one is smiling,

There was absolutely zero interaction with any attendees, whereas at a wedding there is usually at least 'some'.
The interaction with the attendees is the main reason I avoid doing weddings. I'd do them if all they wanted was the ceremony, I could do a wonderful job. But the preparations, reception, all that other stuff, I find unpleasant. I'm pretty much an introvert, and trying to fake being a "people person" is exhausting.

I have done several memorial services, and while I can't say I "enjoy" them, I am providing a worthwhile service.

Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
I was asked once if I could do a funeral and politely told them I was booked. It just seems a bit too morbid to do yet my associates and friends do them and make nice money too...It's reasonable hours compared to a wedding and all you are really doing is creating a record of the service and what people say..a bit like wedding speeches I guess.
One thing I've done on a couple of the memorial services I've shot has been a live feed on UStream. The first time I did this was for my brother-in-law, who had died after a long struggle with ALS. One of his nieces was in the military in Germany, and the Army didn't consider an uncle a close enough relative to fly her here. So I set it up to allow her to see it live, and share in the community of people who loved him. Ustream archives the stream, and this service has been viewed 161 times, last I checked.

I did the same thing for another friend who died of a stroke. Most of his family was back on the East coast, and this allowed several relatives, including his brother who was too ill to travel, to see the ceremony and the speeches, prayers and music. That one has been viewed 133 times.

I don't know if it is one person watching each one multiple times, or if parts of each get shared widely, but if you've lost someone, this is a great opportunity to see how much everyone you know loved this person.

The most recent memorial service I did, I shot with multiple cameras - my XH-A1 for closeups, a HF-S100 for medium, and (believe it or not) another HF-S100 for crowd reaction shots. The guy who died (a friend of a friend) had a great sense of humor, and the people coming up to talk about him were about equally split between talking about how much the loved and will miss him, and telling hilarious stories about him. Sometimes the same speaker did both. I didn't stream that one, but I did load the edited version, as well as the photo montage I made to play on several screens at the memorial, to YouTube in HD. Both have been viewed more than 100 times.

In all cases, I recorded the whole thing on my regular media at the same time, so I could make a good looking DVD. If I was going to do this full time, I'd probably invest in WireCast, which on my laptop would allow me to hook up two cameras with FireWire and do dissolves between them.

It's a lot less work than a wedding, and the editing is pretty simple.

What do you folks think a fair price would be to shoot a funeral/memorial service?
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