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Old May 13th, 2013, 03:12 AM   #1
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Processional and Recessional tips

Hi All - I'm about to start using Canon lenses with my Sony EA50 - mainly for the ceremony and speeches where the kit lens suffers in poor light. I'm planning to use my 24-105mm F4 L which, with my Metabones Speedboster adapter will give me a constant aperture of F2.8 - nice :)

However, even though I use manual focus most of the time I do let the camera's autofocus loose for the processional and recessional as I like to follow the couple and zoom out as they get closer - I've always done it this way and occasionally cut to one of my other cameras if my view is blocked.

Using a manual lens though is going to make this pretty much impossible to do - for the bride's entrance in a hotel I'm usually stood next to the registrar with my camera up at arm's length to get a shot over the head of the waiting groom and best man.

I suppose my question is to DSLR users on how you handle these 2 key moments and keep them in focus?
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Old May 13th, 2013, 03:21 AM   #2
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

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HI suppose my question is to DSLR users on how you handle these 2 key moments and keep them in focus?
Practice Practice Practice.

Don't use a wider aperture than necessary so you have reasonable DoF. Just because your lens is F/2.8 doesn't mean that you need to use it wide open. It's one of the big advantages of the 5D3 over the 5D2 that you can crank up the ISO so there is another stop or two so can use f/5.6 or F/8 instead of F/2.8 or F/4.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 03:36 AM   #3
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

Thanks Nigel - I suppose I'm also trying to think of alternate ways of covering the processional especially - With me stood up at the front next to the officiant, I'm always in shot for my other cameras which is not great - You can't beat that shot of the brides face as she walks down the isle though!
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Old May 13th, 2013, 04:14 AM   #4
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

You could try the simple expedient of putting a rubber band on the lens barrel and using a Sharpie to mark on the band the farthest and nearest focus so you know to rack between these two points.

I went as far as painting white markers onto my 70-200 F2.8 IS :- ) Bu n reality the processional is probably not a good time to be manually racking focus if auto is available.

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Old May 13th, 2013, 04:20 AM   #5
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

The simple solution is to have my EA50 with Canon lens set up on my tripod and use my VG20 (which matches nicely and has quick autofocus) to shoot the processional - I'm still not happy being in shot for my other cameras though but I guess there's no way around that - It's nice to cut for a few seconds to a balcony shot....but there I am - front and central!!!

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Old May 13th, 2013, 06:33 AM   #6
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

agree with practicing rack focus (I shoot my kids)
other cameras to cut to (a wider balcony/rear shot, and something high up from the side aisle/wall)
from the front, we usually do a crouch shot from by the 1st pew, and pull back as she approaches OR
follow from a decent distance and have a side shot stationed where the B&G will meet.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 12:36 PM   #7
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

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- You can't beat that shot of the brides face as she walks down the isle though!
I actually prefer the grooms look, the emotion seems to hit them harder. I have 1 camera on him and I kneel in front of the 1st pew to get the bride (and curse quietly as the iphones drift out into the isle).
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Old May 13th, 2013, 01:29 PM   #8
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

I was watching the wedding videography course on Creative Live by Rob Adams and he uses three cameras. One that will capture the face of the bride, one that captures the grooms face and one that is off to the side capture the entire processional.

He doesn't change focus at all, but has them focused on a certain point and lets the bride walk through that focus point. Then he changes position. The camera on the side should have the entire aisle in focus.

I don't know what style you're shooting either as that may not work for you, but Rob is shooting for the short form edit, which he doesn't necessarily need the entire processional in his video.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 04:42 PM   #9
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

Spot focus (I was taught it as Zone focus but it's the same thing) works well but it's not something you practice once and you're done. Keep in mind that there are variable as to the DoF you will have by using either method. I learned about 40 some years ago when I was shooting stills with 6X7 format cameras but the things I learned then still today serve me.
To accomplish this, focus on a SPOT, I find about halfway down the aisle if you're standing up at or by the altar. Depending on the lens if you are focused properly and you can get an F/stop that is even 1 stop closed from wide open AND the aisle isn't 300 feet long, your DoF should cover you nicely thruout the length of the aisle, keeping in mind of course that the far end of the aisle the shot will be wider than you might want while as the subject passes the FOCUS POINT the subject will become tighter in the shot so now you need to widen the lens out OR move to keep the same plane. It sounds harder than it is but with PRACTICE, it works well. Remember the shorter the focal length the easier it is to keep in focus. A lot of variable but once you know how to do it, it is a tremendous help and a great tool in the toolbox. PRACTICE on the kids, the dog, go out to the corner and follow some cars as they whip down the street.
BTW, I covered auto racing using this technique and the cars were going a bit faster than someone walking down the aisle at church...about 190mph faster, but the cars were always in focus thru the entire straightaway and yes, they were coming at me. Practice, practice practice!
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Old May 14th, 2013, 01:56 AM   #10
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

I tend to crouch at the front with monopod, usually on the groom's side. I picked up the crouch from Still Motion originally, who also used to like a steadicam following bride all the way down the aisle, then covering the hand off while monopod guy is scampering out of the way. But it's very difficult for both operators to stay out of each others' shots with this method, and also photographers will swear at you. Anyway, I tend to have some variation of it, where steadicam guy follows bride just at the start, then races down the side of the church to pick up the hand off.

Two other cams going: close up or midshot on groom, unmanned or with third operator; and wide shot safety shot.

The reason I'm on groom's side is so I can quickly run into position to favour bride. But, for crossing the line reasons, this means groom's first look cam is on the suboptimal side...

Monopod -- it's sometimes track focus from door to altar. Sometimes it's walk into and out of focus. And sometimes it's walk into focus, and then track from there to altar. The first technique doesn't work with the bridesmaids, because then you end up favouring some to the exclusion of others. It also leaves no mystery about the bride's appearance if she's in focus from go to whoa. There's something holy about an out of focus backlit figure!

For recessional, I usually rely on steadicam, usually on auto gain for the emergence into sunlight, which basically blocks the other camera's view but for close up glimpses. Photographers usually keep pace with steadicam guy. If I'm by myself I'll get a little bit of walking up the aisle, then run outside and change exposure to get emerging from church, a few hugs, and my lapel microphones back.
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Old May 14th, 2013, 04:30 AM   #11
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

Some good tips here guys thanks - I shoot Docu style and long form - the works! In a church I usually have 2 locked down cameras running plus a GoPro - It's a challenge as I'm outside filming the bride's arrival and then have to scoot down a side isle to the front, by which time i have but a few seconds before she's coming down the isle!

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Old May 22nd, 2013, 12:32 AM   #12
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

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I covered auto racing using this technique and the cars were going a bit faster than someone walking down the aisle at church...about 190mph faster, but the cars were always in focus thru the entire straightaway and yes, they were coming at me. Practice, practice practice!
I'm not sure Don, I think I've had a bride's maid top 200mph or so once or twice.
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 06:21 AM   #13
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

Heh, that reminds me of when I got married back in the olden days. I was standing up waiting for my bride to come down the aisle on the arms of her mother and uncle (her dad was out of the picture). they were waiting for her at the end of the aisle to escort her to me. she came thru the door and started to walk, faster and faster and faster, blew right by her mother and uncle and made a beeline straight towards me, moving at a very fast pace. I'd guess about 190mph! lol!
she said she didn't see anyone but ME standing at the altar and couldn't wait to get there and marry me. While sweet words, I had my doubts for years, I think she just had to go to the ladies room and wanted to get it over with ASAP. Well not really we've been married 44 years and she STILL tells that story!

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Old May 22nd, 2013, 06:42 AM   #14
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

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Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
Heh, that reminds me of when I got married back in the olden days. I was standing up waiting for my bride to come down the aisle on the arms of her mother and uncle (her dad was out of the picture). they were waiting for her at the end of the aisle to escort her to me. she came thru the door and started to walk, faster and faster and faster, blew right by her mother and uncle and made a beeline straight towards me, moving at a very fast pace. I'd guess about 190mph! lol!
she said she didn't see anyone but ME standing at the altar and couldn't wait to get there and marry me. While sweet words, I had my doubts for years, I think she just had to go to the ladies room and wanted to get it over with ASAP. Well not really we've been married 44 years and she STILL tells that story!

O|O
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 07:27 AM   #15
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Re: Processional and Recessional tips

Don's story is illustrative of why video is a great purchase. Bride's sometimes have tunnel vision on their wedding day and miss a lot. Video fills in the blanks.
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