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Old March 23rd, 2013, 03:18 AM   #16
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
Perhaps you could offer a new business similar to the idea of party still cameras on all the guest tables. As Chip said, buy a box full of cheap videocams, but have them handed out to the guests at the start of the day, and let the guests film the whole day any way they want. All you have to do is edit it all together as a guest's eye view of the day.

The couple will have to pay a returnable deposit to cover breakages or losses, but otherwise you don't need to be there at all. The number of weddings you take on for any one day, is only limited by the number of cheap cameras you supply. Perhaps you could price it on a sliding scale according to the number of cameras they have.

There you are, a whole new business model :-) (royalties welcomed)
Sorry but you are a couple of years too late with this bright idea. These ladies just send out one or two camcorders not a box full. I am surprised that you haven't heard of them they are very good at promoting themselves & even made it to "Dragons Den" with their business model

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Old March 23rd, 2013, 07:19 AM   #17
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

During first dance, I normally shoot with at least three cameras, but only two operators -- one wide, one close, one steadicam, and sometimes one slider

I'm still reeling from this. Every photographers worst nightmare :- (

Its a hard thing to shoot anyway and can only be what it is. All those guests crowding and jostling for position, some facing the wrong way and deep in conversation therefore appearing like they are bored with it, some backlighting your composition with continuous lighting from their own cams and phones, venues switching the lights right down one second before it starts (against what was agreed for the 1st dance), oh and some clown with a rig and lights looking like a Transformer just inches away from the couple. And his mate bleating about blocked camera views.

I guess you might just get away with asking the DJ to do something on the basis that "one of my operators let me down / had to go early, is there any chance you could ....." But no way a guest unless they had already expressed a keen interest and you were - as it were - letting them have a play. You've still got possible public liability issues though as they are assisting you in providing a paid for product.

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Old March 23rd, 2013, 08:34 AM   #18
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

Hi Pete

Yep that is a little crazy but our East Coast people do things differently to us on the West Coast ....If I took my stedicam and vest onto the dance floor I would probably kill 3 guests and maim 5 others at least.

Wow..I do the first dance with just one shoulder mount camera and the bride's always love it ..In fact at the reception the only time I will use a second cam is during speeches ..the A-Cam on tripod fixed on the lectern and the B-Cam on my shoulder shooting cutaways. The rest is all single camera

I don't think that would generate the sort of comments that I usually get like "We hardly knew you were there"

Each to our own???

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Old March 23rd, 2013, 08:41 AM   #19
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

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Sorry but you are a couple of years too late with this bright idea. These ladies just send out one or two camcorders not a box full. I am surprised that you haven't heard of them they are very good at promoting themselves & even made it to "Dragons Den" with their business model

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Thanks for that link Nigel, I've never heard of it, but at least it has convinced me that I can come up with some great ideas even if someone else thought of it as well :-)

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Old March 23rd, 2013, 11:08 AM   #20
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

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I'm still reeling from this. Every photographers worst nightmare :- (
To be honest, I don't think it is. Why should it be? After all, these cameras have to stay out of each other's line of fire, so it's not as if they're encircling the couple. Photographer has a billion angles they can shoot from that can frame out any gear.

The close-up and wide shot are next to each other, so it's not really different from guys who shoot the first dance with one camera on a tripod. Slider when used usually gets parked near the tripods. Steadicam roams a bit (Merlin, not Pilot, incidentally -- no guests harmed while producing this film), but doesn't do constant roundie roundies, and does watch out for the photographer.

Had two complaints from photographers so far. One had a 70-200 and, since she was trying to use this to get a wide shot as well, I was blocking her. The other seemed to have an expectation that we should keep moving our tripods to afford her a chance to shoot from exactly the same position (because for some reason she couldn't kneel, or shoot from next to the camera).
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 11:26 AM   #21
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

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I do the first dance with just one shoulder mount camera and the bride's always love it
1 camera?!? So you have long continuous footage from 1 angle? Do you have any sample clips online so I can take a look at what it looks like? The reason I ask, is because in the past, when I watched wedding movies with 1 camera, we ended up fast forwarding because the eye gets tired of looking at the same thing for even just minutes in a row. Or do you pan between crowd reactions and the couple dancing??
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Old March 23rd, 2013, 02:12 PM   #22
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

Adrian, if only it were that easy to shoot the stills.

Often there is only 90 seconds or so to get the shots of the couple before others join them on the floor and unblocked shots become impossible. During that time you need full length including any special dance moves plus closups of each of their faces - assuming they don't have their faces out of view buried in each other the whole time. Manual exposure is a given and drastic reviews and resetting may be involved to nail the shots.

So what? Well what is going on in the background is far more important and noticeable in stills than in video. You need flattering backgrounds such as the DJs lights rather than dark backgrounds with half the guests looking the wrong way or with grumpy expressions (which they don't mean to do but thats how it so often appears in stills). You need to compose out exit signs and fire extinguishers etc. You need to be able to move quickly without worrying about cutting across multiple video cams, let alone antagonising the guests who themselves may have jostled for what they regard as "their" position. And you certainly do NOT want two big sweaty videographers with tripods headphones and lights in all the compositions :- )

Glad you don't encircle the couple with a steadycam on the dancefloor. If so I would need to put a price on your head :- )

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Old March 23rd, 2013, 08:53 PM   #23
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

Hi Adrian

You must have nice big dance floors too! I can barely manage to find enough space for the first dance with a handheld shoulder mount camera but shicks, a tripod too ?? Although we don't often have photogs staying that late, when they do I will normally tell them what I'm doing to do and they tend to stick with me so I'm not in the photogs shot and he/she is not in mine either ...I normally do a slow circle around the couple and the photog will follow me shoot off half a dozen stills then go and relax.

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Old March 27th, 2013, 12:04 PM   #24
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

I had the situation once at a concert where the keyboards were being obscured because the venue had to change the left speaker after I had set my cameras up and the audience had already arrived. I shoot with five cameras, manually syncing all the audio tracks

To deal with this limited view problem, I approached one of the parents, and set a camera on a table tripod and aimed it keyboard players. I had the camera on a wall power supply, so there were no battery issues, and I had a 32 gig card in the camera, so I had plenty of space.

Surely you can guess what happened. The person "helpfully" paused the camera between songs. So rather than my usual "sync one drum strike at the beginning and tweak it with a camera flash" sync, I had to do it for all twenty-two songs.
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Old March 27th, 2013, 10:37 PM   #25
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

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1 camera?!? So you have long continuous footage from 1 angle? Do you have any sample clips online so I can take a look at what it looks like? The reason I ask, is because in the past, when I watched wedding movies with 1 camera, we ended up fast forwarding because the eye gets tired of looking at the same thing for even just minutes in a row. Or do you pan between crowd reactions and the couple dancing??
Kelly -

Just to play devil's advocate:

There are plenty of people who shoot solo and who have thriving businesses. There are ways to shoot solo and still put together an edit that is exciting, enticing and all the rest. I often have an unmanned (safety/wide-shot) cam for first dance while I do something more artistic myself and the first-dance footage is something that be quite beautiful and pleasing. A nice prime lens for the artistic shots (for the highlights edit) plus the safety angle (to capture the full dance, blow by blow) can result in everything the bride wants.

Sorry -- I realize this is way off topic at this point.
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Old March 28th, 2013, 02:37 AM   #26
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

Yeah it is getting somewhat off topic but just to clarify, I certainly don't put a tripod on the dance floor and press record ... my first dances and all on shoulder mount and I will not only change position around the dance floor (usually ending up where I began and doing a complete circle) but also change framing with a very slow zoom while I'm walking ....It would be much the same shot as I would get on stedicam but I really don't want to maim the guests. Remember the first dance (normally 30 secs of the bride, then the bridal party come on and then the guests) so it's hardly boring and more importantly it's more for the bride herself rather than family viewing.

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Old March 28th, 2013, 06:09 AM   #27
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

When I started in this business we used 1 camera because 1) that was accepted practice back then an 2) very few people could afford more than 1.

Shooting 1 camera doesn't have to be boring at all. With a little bit of knowledge of proper angles and how to use dynamic movement 1 camera can be made to look like 2 or 3 or more cameras.
If you were bored by the single angle of the 1 camera work you've seen then you haven't seen 1 camera work that was properly done.
Like I've said for year, I could teach my 9 year old grand-daughter how to shoot a wedding...would it be good? Maybe. Would it be boring to watch? Probably but she could do it but with the right amount of practice and learning she'd get un-boring! (I hope)
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Old March 28th, 2013, 09:32 AM   #28
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

I agree with Don and Chris, filming with one camera is an art in itself and requires the ability to to use movement, focus and slow zoom, with imagination and using opportunities instantly. It's not something that you can do well without practice and experience, but is very rewarding when you can.

It's very easy to take 3 camera angles and cobble together a multi camera edit, but that doesn't mean it's going to be interesting, it can still be boring but in 3 different views. A single camera shot moving with the couple and picking up every little loving look while the audience swirls around them, would spoil the shots from other fixed cameras. I've seen very poor single camera wedding shoots, but I have also seen very poor multi camera shoots where multi angles are a substitute for good imaginative and knowledgeable camera work.

But as said before, to each their own!

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Old March 28th, 2013, 07:46 PM   #29
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

Hi Roger

Something I have noticed it that very few of the "new age" videographers use any camera movements by hand like we do...it all seems to be multi-camera (and lots of them) and then camera movements all seem to be mechanical nowdays ...either a tripod pan or a slider shot .... I still love to use natural motions with my camera (in fact the only time I use a tripod at all, is for the ceremony main camera and speeches main camera) I just find that "technically perfect" shots lose that special appeal and I think nothing about walking into a shot in a truck in motion and doing a arc walk at the same time.

Guess us old timers are different in the way we work?

Chris
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Old March 28th, 2013, 09:59 PM   #30
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

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. I still love to use natural motions with my camera
Here, here.

I can't say I'm an old-timer (10 years in biz), and I do use an occasional slider shot, but I'm all for the natural motions (in more abundance than seems the trend nowadays). I feel that when highlights/trailers begin with a sequence of 10 slider shots in a row (I don't think this is always an exaggeration), that is just too much. Same with over-reliance on multi-angles just for multi-angle sake.

The art of the cameraman's natural movement -- often a spontaneous, artistic reaction to the movement being captured -- can be a beautiful "dance" that makes a nice complement to, say, the first dance.
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