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


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Old July 6th, 2013, 04:51 AM   #1
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horrible wedding day planning

A typical Belgian catholic wedding at it worst looks a bit like this for me: (as a solo shooter)

Leave very early because the wedding is on a Friday morning and need to shoot in the centre of Antwerp so traffic jams guaranteed, can't find any parking space nearby the grooms place so need to park underground, afraid to leave anything behind in the car because it might get stolen so drag all my gear hundreds of meter, shoot a short while at the groom, drag my gear back to the car, pay for the parking place, drive to the bride, get stuck in traffic again, again have parking problems, go to the parking meter to pay, drag gear to her to film preparation, the groom arrives at her place, they first meet, then drive to the town hall for the legal part, again can't find any parking space nearby, go to the parking meter to pay, have to drag all my gear inside again, then drive to the church, same parking story as above, then drive to a bistro because they are eating out with family only, again parking issues, then drive to the photoshoot, they want to go to the trainstation in Antwerp for their photoshoot, so park again underground, drag gear again, then drive to the venue for the rest of the day. When I arrive at the venue I feel like I have done a triathlon.

Yesterday though I had a wedding, on a Friday, but it started in the afternoon, I still left early but there were hardly any traffic jams as most people where at work, I had to start at the venue which was a castle located outside of Brussels, they already had their legal wedding (which only takes 15 minutes) just one day before their wedding day, no parking issues at the castle, lots of space, a big security camera pointed on the parking so I leave my gear in the car and only take with me what I need, the bride rented a room in the castle where I start shooting the prep, the groom was 2 rooms down the hall so I moved between the rooms to shoot, the groom then waits on the bottom of the stairway in the castle, the bride walks down and they first meet. I ask for 15 minutes to set up my gear for the ceremony that's set up outside, walk to my car, take out all gear and walk to the tent that was set up to protect the guests from the sun (50 meter walk), set all up, the couple with family arrives, ceremony starts and ends, receptions starts right after that about 50 meter from the tent at the castle, I have loads of time to put all my gear inside the venue, shoot at the reception, they go inside and dinner and party starts.

Soooo easy, I have another wedding today where I only have to cover the reception in the afternoon and eveningpart in the venue, I"m really relaxed now, why can't all wedding be like this?
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Old July 7th, 2013, 01:02 AM   #2
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

It's definitely a luxury to have the ceremony in the same location as the prep. I've only shot a handful like this. Normally Arabic weddings, for some reason, where the couple have had a small civil ceremony in their back garden, and then a huge reception. Given the choice, of course I'd prefer this sort of setup to the normal setup.

But regardless of how much time I have to shoot something, I find my stress and worry level tends to stay about the same. So I tend to think, "There's no such thing as an easy wedding."

Before a university exam, a friend told me once that "Study always expands to fill the time you allow for it." Whether you allow one night to study for an exam or one month, you'll be constantly busy the entire time. His solution: don't allow so much time; go and party instead.

I think weddings are sort of the same.

I recently was shooting a wedding for one of my cousins. I had access to bride and groom clothes and accessories the day before the shoot; and I spent four freaking hours shooting the hell out of them. But the time passed in the blink of an eye for me; I don't know where it disappeared to. I was constantly busy throughout it.

If I've only got 15 minutes to shoot groom prep, which has happened more than once, I'll say to myself, "Oh well. The couple know the constraints under which you're working. You did the best job you could in 15 minutes." But if I have a lot of time, I start to put higher demands on quality of work, try more ambitious, creative, time-consuming shots, etc.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 01:28 AM   #3
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

We are quite lucky here and have quite a few "Reception Centres" ..They have a gazebo for the ceremony and nice gardens for the photo shoot and then the function centre right on site.

At worst you go to the bride's house, do the prep then go to the venue, park your car and that's it for the whole evening.

Love those kind of weddings..they are so easy to do and no hassles either. I have one on the 27th where the Church is inner city which means I have to hassle to find parking! Then off to shoot venues and again back to the city and more parking and gear loading hassles.

Some are easy weddings and some are nightmares ... Sometimes if venues are city hotels I just bite the bullet and pay for valet parking ...that way I off-load the car at the entrance, toss my keys to the attendant and do the same procedure at the end of the evening ...it's worth the extra cost!

Chris
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Old July 7th, 2013, 03:40 AM   #4
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

Noa, I so enjoyed reading your 'typical Belgian catholic wedding at it worst'. Ha ha, so funny. The only thing I know about weddings is that I've been married twice, both disasters that make your Belgian Catholic wedding nightmare a walk in the park. These days I stick pretty much to shooting distant mountains, wildlife as close as I can get, and pretty happenings that pass as I go on my way.

Thanks for posting.

Cheers...
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Old July 7th, 2013, 03:44 AM   #5
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adrian Tan View Post
But regardless of how much time I have to shoot something, I find my stress and worry level tends to stay about the same. So I tend to think, "There's no such thing as an easy wedding."
At the second "easy" wedding I did I had about 10 minutes for the ceremony to secure 3 camera and set up sound so stress levels where high at that specific moment but that's about the only real stress moment that day, the first example I gave is non stop stress from morning until I arrive at the venue and usually I"m exhausted when I get there. This weekend I did 2 "easy" weddings in a row and I feel great :)
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Old July 7th, 2013, 03:56 AM   #6
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

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Originally Posted by John McCully View Post
Noa, I so enjoyed reading your 'typical Belgian catholic wedding at it worst'. Ha ha, so funny.
Not if you are in the middle of it :) Ah well, I do enjoy editing them, takes away the pain but I do have go out and shoot personal projects every now and then just to remind myself how much fun filming can be.
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Old July 15th, 2013, 05:47 PM   #7
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

in a typical wedding here in Spain, nobody knows what is going on, where they should be, cramped venue with rubbish lighting and crappy decor, chaos, everything happening at once... luckily i travel by vespa so parking is the least of my worries!
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Old July 16th, 2013, 01:06 AM   #8
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

I am a solo shooter myself and basically the Greek weddings are more or lees the same situations.
1. Video of the he groom first.
2. Video of the Bride.
3. Video at the Church (no mikes for groom or bride)
4. Video at Reception.(having fun there...)

What makes my life easier is that I have ALL of my equipment in a Kata bag with wheels so dragging the equipment from one place to the other is no big deal. Oh I forgot my greatest help: my GPS !!!

stelios
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Old July 16th, 2013, 06:42 AM   #9
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

Hi Stelios

I'm doing a Greek wedding next Saturday actually ...first of the new season as it's still Winter here and yes, no mics on the couple at all but the priest is a really nice and helpful guy and he has no objection to me putting a mic on him which is great.

I'll have the main camera behind him and to the left (his suggestion) as the couple never face the guests at all. Attending the rehearsal was a huge help but then again, I always do!!! I have plenty of space for cameras and his only restriction was not to cross behind him during the ceremony. I have plenty of space on the side to go and take cutaways of the guests so it should be an easy one to do.

Chris
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Old July 16th, 2013, 08:12 AM   #10
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

Hi Chris

I don't know about there but here there is no need to mike the priest because besides his hymns that he says (sings) there is also another guy who say hymns via the PA system, so nobody here mikes the priest as everything comes via the PA system. Also here, they don't object crossing him behind during the ceremony. Anyway you will have fun. Enjoy.

Oh and another thing, there is no such thing here, or in Greece "rehearsals",because there is no need really as it's not such a complicated thing getting married. The complications come after you get married.....

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Old July 16th, 2013, 09:23 AM   #11
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

Noa, thats why i am determined to keep to my new current price increase... The work i put in for the new modern wedding film is to much stress to be cheap... I have lost three clients this week because they wanted the video cheap, no what? dont care anymore...Let them choose some other mug to do a cheapo wedding film... Dslr triple the work, multi cam, here there evrywhere trying to get all that lovely bokeh and different footage that we crave just put the stress levels up. Then your right! Antwerp pheeew last time i was there it was car clog city... London Liverpool the same... Keep up the good work your not alone pal...
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Old July 16th, 2013, 09:05 PM   #12
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

Hi Stelios

Thanks for that. He told me he will do the first part of the ceremony in front of the bride and groom but only him, no other priest. He then goes right up front to the Church and uses the PA mic there to do more stuff and then they walk around the altar 3 times and go sign the documentation. I figure it's a more Westernised Creek ceremony here but I will let you know what differences there are after next weekend. He says he will be wearing a radio mic of his own plus he uses the PA mic on a stand behind the altar for other stuff. It seems that my only main camera shift will be from the couple to when he goes right to the other side of the altar where my main camera will now be in front of him but still off to the side.

I cannot forsee any issues so far and all your help is appreciated. Since he is the solo priest, I'd rather have a mic on him in case the PA sounds crappy!!

Chris
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Old July 17th, 2013, 04:07 AM   #13
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

Steve, I totally agree. Like you, I've been turning down about two weddings a week lately because they want up to 50% off in some cases. I tell them no as it's not fair to the clients that do pay full price. You don't even get a reply. One enquiry asked me for half price as "it is a weekday and you would be sitting at home anyway".
Well, she lost me at that moment.
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Old July 17th, 2013, 04:17 AM   #14
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

Yep Chris, to true, England is becoming a cheap cheap cheap country, soon there will be none of the decent videographers left mate...But like my wife says who has a bridal shop, let them go somewhere, where they will not be treated right and sold duds and do you know what Chris, they come back into the shop two days later after picking a cheaper video guy (no direspect by the way to any inexpensive guys), they drop the under skirt off and say by the way your right i should have picked your husband to film our day, the other guy did not turn up, or he was eating all the time and slightly drunk on our booze ect ect.
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Old July 17th, 2013, 04:34 AM   #15
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Re: horrible wedding day planning

Steve, if a potenfial client tells me she can get a deal much cheaper elsewhere, I tell her to do so...always. Seems to me, the lower your price, the more discount they want.
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