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


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Old May 28th, 2013, 01:50 AM   #16
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Re: Heckled during speeches

In cases where I think I may be blocking someone's view, I flip the viewfinder of my EX-1 so it faces down, then I kneel down "under the radar." I can still shoot fine by grabbing the pan handle and making adjustments as necessary. The audience can still see everything by moving their head several inches left or right of the camera. It's easy to see around a camera/tripod, but it's impossible to see past the camera AND operator.

Another possibility is if you're using a monitor, make it visible to the people behind you, so they can watch it if you're blocking them.
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Old May 28th, 2013, 03:54 AM   #17
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Re: Heckled during speeches

I don't do weddings, but get the same thing in theatres. Oddly, we have a policy in the industry that when the audience pay we don't block sightlines, but if they are given free tickets - either in a certain part of the auditorium, or everywhere, then they are firmly guests - and blocked sightlines are OK. We get occasional flack in things like dance shows, where we are often in the way, right at the front, and we just direct them to an usher for the front of house manager to deal with. I never get involved myself, usually siding with the person complaining but not revealing the cause really is me! Once they know you are on their side, their complaint is pointed elsewhere.
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Old May 28th, 2013, 03:57 AM   #18
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Re: Heckled during speeches

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I have this situation more then once, often they get a venue and pack more people in there so there is hardly any space to move between the tables, I now put my sony cx730 as close as I can to the person giving the speech, I lock the focus so it doesn't hunt and leave the camera running unmanned during the speech, I then use a second camera for guest reactions but I never will block the guests view myself. With only a tripod and unmanned camera people can still look past it.
Over here the speakers are normally spread across the top table or worse - across the room so a locked off camera is not going to cover it. If all the speeches are going to be coming from the top table I could make life easier for myself by having a locked off camera that covers the entire top table, as well as my usual cameras on the B&G and the guests as a whole - set them running and go to the bar!
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Old June 1st, 2013, 11:49 AM   #19
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Re: Heckled during speeches

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Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
Finally I compromised by getting in a space not quite central and as the father of the bride started his speech I got a tap on the shoulder 'can you film from the back of the room please - you're blocking my wife's view' - I said - 'sorry I can't move now the speeches are underway'.
Why didn't you use a zoom lens?
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Old June 1st, 2013, 12:19 PM   #20
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Re: Heckled during speeches

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Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
Over here the speakers are normally spread across the top table or worse - across the room so a locked off camera is not going to cover it
That shouldn't be an issue either, I just move my tripod to the next speaker if they are at a different location. :)
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Old June 1st, 2013, 12:41 PM   #21
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Re: Heckled during speeches

You know heckling really sucks and is immature as well. But I'm amazed at how many of you guys feel like you're the star of the show just because you are hired to do a job. You should take a look at yourself and your methods.

If i hired a landscaper to cut my yard it doesn't mean you don't have to respect my neighbors. Meaning you should find a way to do the best job you can without disrupting the environment around you. That's what a professional does. That's what a professional gets paid to do.

Hell when I shoot in offices and hospitals I always have to adhere to the existing environment.

Besides that never have professionals had more tools at their disposal.
You have a multitude of cameras, long lenses, wireless mics, portable recording devices.

You should be ashamed of yourself for even bringing this up.
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Old June 1st, 2013, 09:27 PM   #22
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Re: Heckled during speeches

Just dropped in to read this post and up until now it was very interesting. As I read the replies I didn't get any feeling that the videographer felt they were anything like the star of the show. If anything, what I got was the desire to be as inconspicuous as possible but at the same time try to do their job.

One thing for sure is that no two wedding situations are going to be the same. Another truism is that no two wedding attendee groups are going to be the same. Some groups will be well mannered and others will be obstinent. Hecklers are everywhere - just ask Obama.

As for gear - some countries have very high duties on imported items. The last time I was in New Zealand the cost for imported cars (a US made mustang in this case) and photography gear (Nikon 35mm back then) was basically 3x that of what it cost in the USA. Don't know if their duty is still so high but in any event that can be an impediment to having a large kit available.

For those Yanks who replied, there can be a difference in what one uses for a wedding gig kit. Having a couple big Pelican cases full of gear is more than what it seems most professional wedding photographers have at their elbow but many have gear in their vehicle on site even if they aren't using it in their one-man/woman-show. Once things get started there is no time to switch gears and run back out to the vehicle.

From what I've read it seems everybody is doing the best they can with the conditions they're working under. In this forum what I've been reading is that wedding videographers are often overworked and under paid as the competition is stiff. Much of the competition is coming from friends and relatives who will do the video for free and that's a reality.

My thoughts:

1. The wedding videographer could be present at the dress rehearsal if the bride and groom wanted to pay for that but that would, of course, be an extra expense.

2. One thing that could be done is to come up with a check list that could be used for discussion. The videographer should get a sketch of the layout and tell the bride & groom what his/her plans are for the shoot. The view-blocking issue could be brought up at this time and a solution approved. Maybe in writing? Have a copy to show the offended guest.

While I've never done a wedding, and never will, I can sympathize with both sides. While I have been in a similar situation, such as meetings, I've never been heckled. Having said that, just because one isn't heckled or complained to that doesn't mean a guest isn't irritated. It may be that they just bite their tongue and put up with it.

Wear black, crouch down when possible, and move reasonably slow so as not to attract attention or distract. People will see you're doing your best to not be the start of the show.
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Old June 1st, 2013, 11:58 PM   #23
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Re: Heckled during speeches

John,
If you actually read the Op's comments he made it clear "he would not give the guest Priority'. There was no such attempt to be inconspicuous.

I hired a professional photographer, videographer, DJ, florist, etc... for my wedding as well. And believe me when I say none of them had or expected to have priority over any of the 180 friends and family members that were our guest.

I shot well over1500 weddings myself, I know better.

Your comment about equipment doesn't apply either, if you look again at the Op's comments in another post, he wasn't short of equipment.

It appears he had the impression that he was just so dam important and beholding to the expectations of the bride that nothing else mattered.

He could have found another way to do the job. That's what professionals do. Maybe not the way he wanted to. Maybe not as convenient, but certainly more professional and respectful of the invited guest. The most important people in the room.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 11:16 AM   #24
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Re: Heckled during speeches

Al - Because I read through all he posts by the time I got to the end I frankly didn't remember exactly what the original post said but instead had a concept in my mind. After re-reading the first post I see he is actually from the UK so my comment about the cost of equipment was based on thinking he was from Australia because of the statement "You can't put that there, mate!."

Every situation is different but I'd think that most weddings have a congenial atmosphere due to the nature of the occasion and comments like those the videographer received seemed to me to be uncalled for, especially if the wedding party was paying for the service. Judging by the "cramped" situation it appears the room was too small for the number of invitees who attended; Note: - trying to save on costs.

A couple years ago we attended a state function in Vienna, Austria, and they had a Government photographer taking the pictures who I took a candid shot of. She worked the floor taking shots and stayed as much out of the limelight as she could given the venue but I couldn't resist getting my candid shot from an aisle seat.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 01:13 PM   #25
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Re: Heckled during speeches

John,
I haven't done a wedding in a number of years. I guess what I was trying to point out is that no matter where we work, what kind of work, we have to perform under conditions that may not always seem ideal.

I work in hospitals, doctors offices, college campuses, etc. Everything else that is going on in these surroundings is more important then what I am doing. I serve at their pleasure, even though I'm getting paid.

I have had other people in a hospital get upset with my carts rolling through their work areas. I've had people get upset about my "Quiet" signs posted next to their offices when they have business to conduct.

But rather then get upset, I bow to that. I find another way. That's what professionals do.

Unlike the OP I always viewed the guest as being above me in the pecking order. That's the way i viewed my wedding. Nobody was more important then those close friends and family that I had assembled on that day..

To put it bluntly, most people at my wedding didn't even know the videographer or my photographer. but my guest were a fairly close knit bunch. If the videographer dropped dead, the show would go on. Even though you have been paid to be here, you're not that important.
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Old June 2nd, 2013, 01:24 PM   #26
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Re: Heckled during speeches

When space is limited & I'm forced to stand in front of guests, I'd get my shot & go down on my knees or sit so the guests can see over me all the while monitoring the shot with the monitor flipped down. If the shot changes I'll get up adjust my shot and go into a low profile position again. Put yourself in the shoes of the guests, I for one don't want to look into the backside/butt of a videographer standing in front of me.
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 05:44 AM   #27
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Re: Heckled during speeches

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Originally Posted by Al Gardner View Post
John,

To put it bluntly, most people at my wedding didn't even know the videographer or my photographer. but my guest were a fairly close knit bunch. If the videographer dropped dead, the show would go on. Even though you have been paid to be here, you're not that important.
No we're not, but at the same time we are there to do a job for the Bride and Groom who are after-all the stars of the day. In some cases we do have priority over guests as does the Photographer - the service for instance. Do I stand aside and let some guest take priority with an iphone to grab the important shot of the Bride and Groom walking up the aisle. All he's after is some cool shot to show off once or post on facebook, whilst I'm, there to produce a full Video record of their day.

With Speeches I do look to stand at the back, as much because I don't wish to thrust a camera into people's faces when they're giving speeches who are already pretty nervous to begin with. It's backfired on many occasions when the photographers then get up close and personal, and I rely on a spare camera to the side but it doesn't always deliver, so I have had periods of the speeches where only a wide shot can be used.
UK venues can range from roomy to so cramped you can't even squeeze between most tables. Sometimes speeches are before the meal so I get very little set up time, perhaps a couple of minutes. Cramped rooms, tall table ornaments and flowers, the Bride and Groom sitting on a round table, in a corner of the room blocked by everything and everyone, Bride's Father deciding to deliver his speech from another location contrary to initial consultation; you get it all and yet I'm still expected to deliver pleasing results. In some occasions I've been guilty of standing closer to the Bride and Groom than I'd like and no doubt blocked someone's view. However only in those situations where it's absolutely essential.
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 06:49 AM   #28
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Re: Heckled during speeches

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Originally Posted by Christian Brown View Post
Why didn't you use a zoom lens?
Well I could pop my Canon 70-200mm lens and film from way down the room but the resultant footage might look a tad voyeuristic! - not a look I'm after plus I have a few shots i like to get such as if the speaker has notes I like to tilt up from the notes to his face - I also like to zoom out a little from the speaker to include the B&G - shots that would be difficult from the back of the room.

Noa - moving the tripod is quite often not possible due to the closeness of the tables or massive table arrangements blocking views etc.

Al - I do not consider myself more important than the guests and in this instance tried to accommodate their wishes as much as possible - my background is documentary film making and believe me - I like to be as inconspicuous as possible but at the end of the day I'm the one who has to present a well made and polished wedding video to an expectant bride and groom!

I should qualify what I've just said by adding that at a Catholic wedding I shot at the weekend, the priest asked me if my position would enable me to get a shot of the ring exchange - I told him it's not always possible due to priest/best man blocking the shot, but it's covered in one of my cameras filming from the back of the church when he said it would be ok for me to scoot around to the head of the isle and get get a close up when the time arose - needless to say I declined - just a little intrusive but what a great shot it would have been!

Last edited by Peter Rush; June 3rd, 2013 at 07:35 AM.
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 10:53 AM   #29
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Re: Heckled during speeches

Peter,
I applaud your desire to do the best job you can for the Bride and Groom.

But it's still clear that you feel your style of shot is more important then the content of that shot. While your shot of Dad's notes might be the highest priority to you, it's the content, not the shot that will be the lasting memory for the bride and groom.

When Dad is dead and gone it won't be Peter's angle that will be remembered, but the meaning of the words that her Father said that day. Content will trump anything you could ever dream of artistically.

While you are important, you're not that dam important.

One of the reasons that the non cinematic vidographer still exist is because people see things differently. Someone posted a wedding shot with iphones yesterday. If the right "content" is captured with those iphones, many people will enjoy that as much as they do your videos, because "content" is still king.

But bigger than all of this should be your ability as a professional to adapt to the situation at hand. As much as you might think you are, you are not shooting a documentary film. you are shooting in a controlled environment amongst people who are present and chosen by the host because they are very special to them.

But let's not be so hung up on weddings and receptions It's about you operating as a professional in a multitude of venues and situations.
If you work in a hotel or conference center and you go in thinking the attendees in the room are in your way you will probably have a bad day. These places their own set of rules too. . I do this all the time, and you can't have your way all the time. But to whine and suggest that I can't do my job as many suggest is just rubbish. It's an excuse. I show up on sets all the time that are nothing like what was originally described.

Wherever I shoot they have rules and guidelines that must be adhered to. And situations change all the time. Is it disappointing? Yes. But i don't have the luxury of inconveniencing anyone else to make it better for me. I have to get the job done.

I travel long distances to all my gigs by air so I have to pack perfectly for the situation we will be shooting in. Or better yet the situation I'm told i will be shooting in. Well in the shot below I was told we would be shooting in a Multi million dollar studio. Well it turns out I was shooting in what appeared to be a closet, just across the hall from this beautiful multi-million dollar studio. Not only did I have to shoot it, but livestream it as well. And I'm 1200 miles from home. So you just deal with it.

After all content is king. The room is only 10 inches wider then what you see in this picture. The good thing is the content was powerful and compelling.

I realize I'm not telling you anything you don't know but we all face those same challenges no matter where we shoot. It's our job to get it done without disruption.
The difference is i think you feel your shot warrants that disruption.
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Old June 3rd, 2013, 02:15 PM   #30
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Re: Heckled during speeches

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The difference is i think you feel your shot warrants that disruption.
What if you are told to stand in a position where you can't get the shot you where paid to get, in my case it was a priest that found me "disruptive" before the ceremony started and told me to stand in a position where I could not see the child that was doing it's communion, the parents where too afraid to go against the priest and I was left with no choice. Now I went against his instructions anyway when the ceremony started and got the shot, does this make me a "pro" or am I also thinking that my shot warrants that disruption? :)
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