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


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Old April 26th, 2013, 07:04 AM   #1
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Solo shooters and parking arrangments

OK this this is an issue a couple of times every season that i'd like to address - just not sure how - here's an example:

I'm filming a wedding at a city centre cathedral in September and the nearest parking is 5 minutes walk away - I'm resigned to the fact that I've got to lug all my gear (I can do it in 1 trip - but it gets heavy after 5 minutes!) across town to the car park but then the hotel on the other side of the city has only limited parking (they recommend another car park which again is a 5 minute walk away)

So I emailed the bride's mother, who's organising everything to ask if she would get them to reserve me a space to be told - sorry but all the spare spaces are reserved for the wedding guests!!!

Between lugging my gear from the cathedral to then lugging it again half way across town I'm missing some valuable shooting time - I'm thinking of putting in my contract/T&C that they must provide a parking space.

Thoughts? (Please don't suggest an assistant because then I'd have to pay them and put my prices up etc etc which I don't want to do)

Pete
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Old April 26th, 2013, 07:59 AM   #2
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

Find out by calling or visiting the reception site. See if there is a safe place (office, etc.) for your equipment, talk with a manager if needed.

The day of the wedding, pull up to the front door, load in your equipment, tuck it away safely, then go park and walk to the reception.

Or, I've also had a friend drop me and pick me up at the end of the night.

It's irritating, I know. I've had to do it many times. I used to have a pet peeve of hating to pay for parking. Downtown receptions meant I would have to pay for parking, and it used to make my blood boil.

Over the years, I now see things from the customer's point of view and don't care any more. I silently do what I need to do and I never ask the customer for assistance. Now, the wedding day is only about doing what I have to do to make things easier for the customer, never vice versa. Just my two cents.
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Old April 26th, 2013, 08:18 AM   #3
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

You're right Jeff but commonly there is only a small window between the ceremony finishing and the wedding party sitting down for the wedding breakfast to take good footage - normally only a couple of hours - combine that with having to set up for the speeches if they are going to happen before the meal, and ten or twenty minutes hauling equipment across town is a big chunk out of it.

It's only an occasional problem but it niggles nonetheless!

P
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Old April 26th, 2013, 08:23 AM   #4
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

If I have to go to downtown Chicago and park, I try to make arrangements ahead of time for the client to pay. I add the average cost of parking into my fee. That is clearly printed on my service agreement and it is discussed in our meeting or emails or phone calls. they know in advance that by going downtown for a ceremony or reception it's going to cost them a bit more for any vendor as well as for the space. Parking in many area of downtown Chicago can be upwards of $50.00 but in a lot cases the venue (IE a hotel) might include parking for guests in their package for the B&G.
It's still a PITA because even when the parking lot is right on premises of the hotel, it can be a long way to the lobby/elevators and depending on the gear you're hauling they might not let you in the front door and have to take the "back alley".
For corporate stuff, parking is included in the fee although there is one AV company around that I have done a lot of work with over the years and they stopped covering parking about 5 years ago. I simply upped my hourly a couple of bucks and when they asked me why, I told them I didn't like working for an hour to pay for something that should be taken care of by their client or them in the first place. Heh, I guess I wasn't the only one since they changed their policy back to taking care of parking as long as it's within reason.
Now having said ALL of that, I don't do too much work in DT Chicago anymore but when I do I know where there are lots around certain hotels and other venues where seminars etc are held and I work a lot and the parking is very cheap as long as you're in the lot before a certain early hour of the morning. Since I live a distance from DT, I want to miss the traffic so I tend to be an early arrival anyway so it's not a big deal.
Point is, the client pays for it but it's up to me to find it. (Thank goodness, 95% of my work these days in in the suburbs, both wedding and corporate, and parking isn't much of a hassle!
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Old April 26th, 2013, 09:02 AM   #5
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

Is getting a taxi feasible? I do that for central London venues sometimes, especially if I have to cover the getting ready.

In your case park up near the reception venue then get a taxi to drop you off right outside the cathedral (or park at the hotel if they do in fact have a space that you can hog earlier in the day). Then a taxi from outside the cathedral to right outside the hotel. Costly but much less stressful than hauling gear all over the place. And maybe the client will cover it.

Another option is that some venues have valet parking. You may be able to pull up at the hotel after the cathedral, jump out with your gear, and have a staff member park up for you. The wedding co-ordinator would be the one to talk to about that.

You may be able to car share with the photographer so that only one of you has to be offsite at any one time.

Pete
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Old April 26th, 2013, 09:12 AM   #6
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

Including the costs like parking (valet?) should be included in your costs, same as mileage, ferry, or other unique but frequent items.

In my established (non-video) business, we account for things and leave a bit extra for the unknown. Then if something changes (price of gas) it's still covered.
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Old April 26th, 2013, 09:50 AM   #7
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

Yes, Peter, I really do see your problem. I still think I would, if no other solution presents itself, drop off my equipment, park, and run if necessary to the venue. You are short on time for sure.

The only thing I can think of to help is you could, if absolutely necessary, inform the customer that due to the parking situation you cannot avoid running later than you would like, and you will be along directly as soon as possible. This lets them know this and you're covered, though it won't make up for lost opportunities.

Good luck, it's a hassle for sure.
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Old April 28th, 2013, 08:08 AM   #8
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
So I emailed the bride's mother, who's organising everything to ask if she would get them to reserve me a space to be told - sorry but all the spare spaces are reserved for the wedding guests!!!

Between lugging my gear from the cathedral to then lugging it again half way across town I'm missing some valuable shooting time - I'm thinking of putting in my contract/T&C that they must provide a parking space.
We haven't ever written it into the contract but we always raise the issue of parking at a very early stage of discussions. Personally I would speak to the bride & tell her that you need reserved parking at the cathedral to 1) Be sure of getting set up in time for the ceremony 2) To get away promptly to get set up at the reception venue. If you explain this to her & then get her to intercede on your behalf with her mother you should find that a space will be found for you.
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Old April 28th, 2013, 08:51 AM   #9
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

Here it's usually always a problem and they secure parking spaces for every guest but mostly not for the video and photog. If I have to work outside big cities it's not such an issue and I always use google streetview to look around for parking spaces in advance but if I have to work in bigger cities such as Antwerp or Brussels it's no fun at all, I always ask the bride to secure some parking space but when it comes to it there is nothing arranged or they have arranged something and some other "a"hole that has nothing to do with the wedding took my parking space, I also tell them that if I have to park too far away that I cannot guarantee that I will be there in time or that I will be able to set up my sound in time and that this will have a negative impact on the endresult.

For me it's simple, if they don't make any efforts to secure any place for me I take it as it comes, if I"m too late because of that and miss the entrance in church, so be it, if I don't manage to set up sufficient audiorecorders because the priest has already started and I just walk in, that's too bad and eventhough I will do what I can to still get the best out of it I won't be expecting any complaints afterwards because they had been warned.

I saw a photog last year damaging his car because he was so stressed about getting in time at the church and he couldn't find a place to park, I"m trying not to be like him...Now in case of doubt I try to leave as early as I can to the town hal or church, sometimes after the legal part at the town hall they do a small reception just to kill time before they go to church, I always skip that reception to get ahead of time at the church so I can set up all my gear. I also have 2 trolleys with wheels that hold my camera's and tripods so I don't need to carry anything.
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Old April 28th, 2013, 08:54 AM   #10
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

Hi Pete

I feel for you too!! Luckily we have a lot of wedding reception centres that have a little gazebo for the ceremony so quite often after bridal prep, all that is required is to park the car at the venue and that's it!!

However I do have to do the occasional shoot at inner city venues where parking is a nightmare so I have to often leave the bridal prep early to find paid parking (the city Churches have none! not for anyone!!) and then drag my loaded trolley up to the Church. All our suburban Churches have ample parking on site ..it only is the City ones with an issue. At receptions that are in City Hotels I just bite the bullet and pay for valet parking and make sure the bride pays for it!

Apart from having a dedicated roadie with his/her own van who can pull up outside the Church there is little else you can really do. There have been the rare occasions where I have had my wife meet me after the prep shoot and then drop me at the ceremony venue when parking is an issue...I think we have just one Church here that actually puts traffic cones in the road for the limo and leaves a space for the photog and video guy.

Chris
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Old April 28th, 2013, 08:56 AM   #11
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

Here in New York is the same problem, that's why when I am shooting there, all I carry with me to the venue from the car is just my shoulder rig with dslr camera, led light, extra batteries in my pockets. The entire rig weighs less than 10 lbs.
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Old April 29th, 2013, 06:44 AM   #12
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

That's why I have a custom built trolley!!

For a ceremony I need my two Sony's that are in their own aluminium "trays" with foam inserts (they are used in the trunk of the car for transport then clip on top of the trolley when I package them) I still need one tripod, my GoPro on a light stand, battery case, wireless mics case and headphones. (They all go under the cameras on the trolley. It works pretty darn well even if I have to end up in a parking garage so at least I only need one trip!! It does make everything nice and compact!

Gosh I wish I could get away with a single cam shoot at the ceremony and do it hand held...My Sony's are already shoulder mount so all I would need is one cam (receiver is already mounted on each cam) and a spare battery and a couple of transmitters in each pocket and maybe headphones around my neck ?

How do you manage long ceremonies on a single camera hand held Arthur??

Chris
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Old April 29th, 2013, 06:55 AM   #13
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

My solution won't suit everyone, especially those in the north, but here in madrid I use a vespa (gts 250) to go everywhere. My backpack and tripod are strapped onto the luggage rack in 1-2mins and I can park almost anywhere. It is a very quick wsy to get around cities. There are now excellent 3 wheelers like the piaggio mp3 which is very stable and has a lot of storage space. Not everyone' s cup of tea but it works well for me.
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Old April 29th, 2013, 09:26 AM   #14
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

“How do you manage long ceremonies on a single camera hand held Arthur??“
Very easy. I always get the entire ceremony in one take. I never push the pause button.
In the boring part when there is a long speech or the readings, I just sit myself down comfortably on the pew or the chair that is closest to the ceremony stage/altar, being careful not to get in the way of the guests. If I sit down on the pew, I try to select one that has an empty space in front of me with a clear view so that I can rest my shoulder rig on the pew. Works every time and I do not walk around during the blah blah's.This part usually is about 30 minutes long including speeches and host/chalice part. The rest of the capturing, I stand up and try to stay at the same spot and only pivoting to get the guests/parents reaction as well as occasional scans of the bridal party. When the vows are said, I just nudge in as close that I am allowed without getting in the way of guests, but not too close as to annoy the photographer. If I need a close up shot, the zoom takes care of that. Trying to get dramatic shots and moving around in the church as well as walking up and down the isle too often distracting to the priest/officiant and got me warned several times during my early years by the priest. I really am on my feet for about 25 minutes. The rig is light and I never got any complaints by the officiant or the bride/groom. I just make sure I talk to the officiant briefly about the rules and that's it. The couple all seem to want the edited video with about 10 minutes of the entire ceremony so it makes my editing job a lot easier as it just requires 6 or 7 segments from that. Using a second camera/cameraman is out of the question unless they want to pay the difference, which nowadays, they usually don't and it is not profitable for me and includes only more editing headaches. So I am just shooting as a casual reporter, editing the shoot in a day and not running around like a chicken without a head.
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Old April 29th, 2013, 11:04 AM   #15
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Re: Solo shooters and parking arrangments

- Up your rate at venues that require more work (parking or otherwise) to cover the cost of time, parking, and/or an assistant.
- Coordinate parking with the venue instead of the client.
- Have the client help you load-in and load-out.
- Have an assistant help you load-in and then go park the car for you.
- Load-in by yourself and then go park the car.
- Valet parking.
- Get there before anyone else and claim a spot.

Parking far away is a pain, especially for larger gigs, but there are ways to make it more bearable. It just depends on the nature of the gig, location, and venue. For today's event, I purchased a parking pass that allows me to park in a reserved service spot.

Good luck.
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