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


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Old May 21st, 2013, 05:41 AM   #1
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Receiving Lines

Anybody film these? I quite often do (when they have them - they seem to be becoming rarer - especially at small weddings) as they are a 'key' moment of the day after all - but then am at a loss as to how to edit them interestingly - I've gone down the 'speed-up then slo-mo' path which is sort of OK but still - there must be a way to make them more interesting. I also feel that by including the receiving line then I should show it in it's entirety - in case I miss someone important out :/

Pete
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Old May 21st, 2013, 06:26 AM   #2
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Re: Receiving Lines

It is boring part of wedding. When I shoot the receiving line I record short clips and change angles very often to make it more interesting. If the whole thing took 10 min in real time, after editing is less than 1 min.
For me the beginning is the most important (close family), after that pick and choose.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 06:51 AM   #3
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Re: Receiving Lines

It is boring! I shoot it with a locked off camera on high with a wide lens - looks ok when speeded up and then get at the end of the line between the wedding party and guests - and then get close ups of handshakes/hugs/kisses - slo-mo and edit it in - I guess I've been doing it this way for so long I'm bored of it - my couples like it though!
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Old May 21st, 2013, 07:05 AM   #4
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Re: Receiving Lines

Down here, if I am getting the facts right, we call it the congratulations (We are talking about after the ceremony are we not when all the handshakes and kisses are dispensed?) Yep it is boring and if you have 200 guests all wanting to have a little chit chat to the couple it's even more boring so those need to be edited out ... Some here go fast enough to be tolerable with a quick kiss and outa there but most linger. I did have one couple who decided to have "high fives" only for 70 guests and it when by in a flash but those are rare! Most brides like the whole sequence on record sadly but a little bit of pre-organisation also helps ...I get the couple to stay in one place and organise the guests in a line and hurry them thru and it usually works a treat!!

Chris
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Old May 21st, 2013, 07:26 AM   #5
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Re: Receiving Lines

I never shoot the whole of the receiving line, but it is an important part of the day for the couple, so I take lots of shots from different angles to capture a mix of close up and general shots of the receiving line greeting their guests. The idea is to capture the atmosphere of lots of hand shaking, kissing, laughing etc. I also have lots of 'Meanwhile' shots, showing the guests going to their tables, looking at the table plan, sitting at the tables, then more 'meanwhile, back at the receiving line'. This way you get most of the guests, but the cutaways enable you to shorten the line time down by perhaps 80% as most of the guests spend a few minutes each in the line anyway.

I never find the line up boring, as it is a challenge to keep it shorter but visually interesting. It may be very boring for people who are not family and friends, but some of these people may have come a long way to the wedding and it might be the first and last chance the couple have to see them for years. I include all guests somewhere in the video, and try to treat them all as making a small cameo appearance.

The wedding is not about the videographer and what we find interesting, it's about the family and the people that are important to them. We rarely know during filming what people's relationships are, and it can be a real risk to dismiss something as uninteresting, because it means nothing to us, especially if you are doing a documentary style wedding as a record of their day, rather than a romantic cinematic overview.

Just my opinion of course :-)

Roger
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Old May 21st, 2013, 07:38 AM   #6
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Re: Receiving Lines

Hi Roger

Great minds think alike! To us it may be boring especially as you say in a romantic cinematic film but being somewhat isolated in the world and strong family connections to the UK, I have a lot of overseas visitors at weddings so they become an international affair so I'm careful to include everyone too!! If Aunt Mary decides to hold up the line and have a 2 minuter natter to the bride then I might stop the camera while they talk and then start again as the next set of guests move in. I also try to find out who the overseas or long distance guests are so they are always included.

I guess with "wedding films" it's not so much as a big deal as with documentary style?

Chris
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Old May 21st, 2013, 07:50 AM   #7
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Re: Receiving Lines

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Roger

I guess with "wedding films" it's not so much as a big deal as with documentary style?

Chris
I think that is absolutely right Chris! A short form cinematic wedding film is very much about being creative and imaginative in an overview with a big impact, whereas the long form documentary is likely to be viewed for many years and is a piece of family history. They both have their place.

Roger
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Old May 21st, 2013, 07:54 AM   #8
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Re: Receiving Lines

I'm with you there Roger, I've always thought it important to remember that I'm there to capture the day on behalf of my clients and not to avoid happenings that I consider uninteresting. There will be an obvious divide of opinion between the docu'ists and those providing an 'artistic interpretation' but even those who've shot docu' for a few years get slightly jaded and feel that parts of the day they originally thought to be important become 'boring'. Whilst we may have seen it over and over again it's important to remember that this is the couple's day and the only time (perhaps) that they'll do it and that everyone who's been invited has some part in their life, the receiving line is the part of the day when there is an opportunity to capture everyone.

I place a locked-off camera if possible just above head hight and behind or to the side the couple so that it gives something of their pov, you can see the guests' faces - a small handycam or a GoPro set at narrow angle. If that position is not possible then at the fall-off point of the line, looking up to the couple with a profile shot of the couple one side of the frame and the guest the other. I mic the couple, or place a mic very close. I then include that full section as an un-edited chapter on the DVD. They then have an individual congratulations message from everyone.
During that time I dip in and out between the line and guests taking their places to give a couple of minutes 'flavour' of the welcoming in the body of the main DVD.
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Old May 21st, 2013, 08:12 AM   #9
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Re: Receiving Lines

I agree guys - it can be a tedious affair and i was really commenting on my own treatment of it - I guess after 5 years of weddings i may be in a rut and was fishing for some inspiration - i also get the 'meanwhile' shots and have a locked off camera (I work alone) capturing the wedding breakfast room as guests enter from the receiving line - it makes a nice little sequence but i want to freshen it up a little
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Old May 21st, 2013, 09:31 AM   #10
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Re: Receiving Lines

You guys in the UK work a little different to us as we don't have a receiving line at the reception venue..the bridal party simple enter amongst cheers and clapping a pair at a time and take their seats at the bridal table and the reception begins.

Here the couple exit the Church or at outdoor civil venues move to a chosen spot on the lawn and then are congratulated by the guests. In rare cases the bridesmaids and groomsmen also join them but most cases it's only the B&G ... During the reception a couple might go from table to table or may stay at the bridal table only.

End of event does have a sorta receiving line with a farewell circle on the dance floor and the couple reverse roles and move from guest to guest thanking them for coming and that can also terminate in the traditional archway for the couple to run thru and leave the venue. The farewell circle can also be boring if the couple take their time but also a relief for us video people cos we know the end is near to trudge wearily homeward!

Funny how things are totally different in other countries!!
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Old May 21st, 2013, 09:51 AM   #11
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Re: Receiving Lines

I did a big Irish wedding last year with over 200 guests - the receiving line was in a long thin corridoor with nowhere to put a tripod/light stand and it was pretty much a scrum so i had no choice but to film hand-held. Bride/Groom/Parents/Bridesmaids/Best Man/Ushers - I kid you not! - talk about backache afterwords!
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Old May 21st, 2013, 10:10 AM   #12
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Re: Receiving Lines

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I guess after 5 years of weddings i may be in a rut and was fishing for some inspiration
5 years Peter? After getting on for 30 years, I think I fell in the rut, wallowed around in the mud for a while and finally pulled myself out. I may be sad, but I really enjoy weddings now, seeing every one as a chance to give the couple something they will cherish for years.

Roger
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Old May 21st, 2013, 10:20 AM   #13
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Re: Receiving Lines

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post

Funny how things are totally different in other countries!!
Chris I think that even in the staid old UK, the lines are beginning to blur, with many influences creeping in from other cultures. Even simple things have changed over recent years, where for example speeches would always traditionally be after the meal, whereas it is now quite common to have them before. cake cutting was always after the speeches, but now frequently right before the first dance after the evening guests have arrived.

More American ideas have crept in with bouquet throwing, chief bridemaid's speech, unusual wedding venues etc all becoming more common. I even filmed a non Asian wedding recently where the girls had a henna party beforehand, which is very much an Indian custom.

Roger
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Old May 21st, 2013, 10:35 AM   #14
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Re: Receiving Lines

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
5 years Peter? After getting on for 30 years, I think I fell in the rut, wallowed around in the mud for a while and finally pulled myself out. I may be sad, but I really enjoy weddings now, seeing every one as a chance to give the couple something they will cherish for years.

Roger
Plus 25 years in commercial/education video production Roger - I do love weddings but am always striving to give my couples better (or is it just for me as my testimonials are glowing) which is a challenge as a solo shooter - beats working though :)
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Old May 21st, 2013, 11:27 AM   #15
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Re: Receiving Lines

Peter, I film the whole of the welcome line with the hfg10 slightly wide enough to capture the lot and a decent angle, then i use the dslr for that kiss close up bokeh and swim around getting various messages from the line and it works a treat, so i get fun, tears, joy and personel message montage also. Then when i edit i fast time lapse some of the boring but steady flow and mix with the other dslr stuff i get. Then if the client wants the full welcome line (rarely) then i give them a seperate disc with the full ceremony speeches and welcome line, but stick to my 45 min film...Steve
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