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Old March 21st, 2013, 06:43 PM   #1
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Recruiting random guests as camera operators

Ok, this might be a terrible idea, but curious to hear if anyone's had any experience doing something similar.

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. But unmanned cameras are always asking for trouble, and in this case it's usually the wide that's unmanned, or only lightly supervised. Couple dances out of frame, or guests bump the camera. Composition goes to crap.

(In fact, I personally think that giving even a skilled operator just two cameras to manage can be walking a tightrope, though I know there are guys on this forum who happily shoot solo with 3-5 cameras. But anyway...)

So, possible solution -- get random guest to pan the wide shot while the close up guy and the steadicam happily run around to be as creative as they can, like photographers.

What do you think? Awful, awful idea? All the temporary operator has to do is keep couple centre frame... Focus is normally set as deep as I can get it, so that's not so much a problem.

Last edited by Adrian Tan; March 21st, 2013 at 08:02 PM.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 07:48 PM   #2
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

I give it a one in four chance of working....and that might be generous.

IMO, you would be better off buying $1000 worth of cheap handicams and letting a group gather around the dance floor and shoot away to their hearts content.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 07:55 PM   #3
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

I'm inclined to agree w/Chip. When REALLY pressed for a body, I've had photogs fill-in behind a video cam and their framing is always less than I'd hope for, with panning either too fast/slow..and they hadn't been whooping it up and drinking for hours. I'm afraid what footage you get COULD be useless.

Remember, you're gambling your rep on someone who's there to celebrate. They're present to enjoy the party; you're there to work.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 09:25 PM   #4
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

I have asked a guest to pass the salad dressing. Other than that, nope, nothing. Like Denis said, they're there to party, you're there to work.
I've set a stationary camera by the dance floor but up high. One of my tripods will get up to 8 feet and I've used it as a wide shot to give me something else to look at in the edit. It's only there for the 1st dance maybe F-D and M-S dances then it gets moved to a safe location and taken down at a later time. If I get some footage I can use, great, if not I don't worry about it because I shoot it with my hands on camera like there is no other camera running anyway. That's how I learned to shoot!
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Old March 21st, 2013, 11:57 PM   #5
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

Seems to me it could open a door to a complaint from the client or bad press "I paid a videographer alot of money to shoot my wedding and they made my guests do their work". No way.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 12:36 AM   #6
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

What happens if the guest drops your camera and breaks it, or knocks over a tripod that hits a kid on the head? Who is responsible?
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 02:21 AM   #7
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

For all the negative reasons listed above, it equals to being very unprofessional. I applaud your thinking outside the box though.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 02:31 AM   #8
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

Adrian, agree with the others ^

But in certain circumstances when you do need someone, it might not be a bad idea to scan the guest list then discretely ask if there's a video guy attending.
You never know.

Cheers.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 03:54 AM   #9
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

Wow! I would never do that at all! It's pretty hard for me to even trust 2nd shooters to get the footage I need ...but a guest?? It would also be very unethical to ask a videographer in the guest list to help you out.

The way I look at it, I have been paid a lot of money to do my job. If I need extra people to do it then I must supply them and ensure they are suitably qualified. Imagine a plumber working at your house and asking you "Hey mate, I'm a bit pushed for time today, just run down to Number 42 and lay some new copper pipe to the bathroom taps"

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Old March 22nd, 2013, 08:25 AM   #10
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

I'm totally in agreement with all the others that are against it. Primarily because it will come across to the client that you are not able to fulfil the contract using your own resources. You could well leave yourself open to claims for a partial refund.

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)

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Old March 22nd, 2013, 08:38 AM   #11
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
So, possible solution -- get random guest to pan the wide shot while the close up guy and the steadicam happily run around to be as creative as they can, like photographers.
Wow, I think that is completely rude!! Surprised anybody even tossed the idea around. No way should a paid person be asking a guest for assistance.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 09:39 AM   #12
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

The only time I ask a guest for assistance is when my pants was falling down, and I have no way in pulling it up. Really that's no joke, and I swear not to use that multi rig pro never again.

I got a heavy rig that day and it was a single camera shoot by the crowded yatch, the bride and groom were already saying their vows when I felt that my pants was about to fall down for the heavy camera with the suspension attach to my belt was pushing my pants down.
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 10:19 AM   #13
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

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Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
Ok, this might be a terrible idea,
Always go with your first instinct. I get weirded out when guests are around my manned cameras. You just don't know how much someone has had to drink. And ofcourse I become the quintessential pinball with my steadicam sometimes, It would be hard to explain a practice of handing my equipment to random people to my insurance agent. :}
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 04:00 PM   #14
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

Big no no ...unprofessional in my opinion...just plan ahead. If you know that there is a chance of an incomplete or unusable footage from the unmanned cam, just make sure you shoot accordingly with the 2 manned cams.

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Old March 22nd, 2013, 04:54 PM   #15
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Re: Recruiting random guests as camera operators

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Wow! I would never do that at all! It's pretty hard for me to even trust 2nd shooters to get the footage I need ...but a guest?? It would also be very unethical to ask a videographer in the guest list to help you out.

The way I look at it, I have been paid a lot of money to do my job. If I need extra people to do it then I must supply them and ensure they are suitably qualified. Imagine a plumber working at your house and asking you "Hey mate, I'm a bit pushed for time today, just run down to Number 42 and lay some new copper pipe to the bathroom taps"

Chris

Now if Chris wants to randomly let me hold some of his equipment today, I'll gladly pay him on Tuesday. :} (reference anyone?)
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