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


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Old July 10th, 2013, 04:33 AM   #16
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Adrian you arrive at the church only a half hour before the ceremony? Wow it takes me a half hour to get establishing shots (inside and out) plus set my extra cameras and audio recorders up - the bride would be on her way down the aisle as I was taping a mic to the lecturn!

How do you get time to film guests arriving etc? I always get to the church an hour before - that means I'm ready to film guests/groom/bridesmaids arriving and greetings etc - It's an important half hour and makes a nice opening chapter on the DVD.

All weddings are different and I have in the past - even as a solo shooter - managed bride and groom prep (separate houses but very close together) and still got to the church with an hour to spare. Hotel weddings of course are easy if the bride is getting ready there as i can float between her room and the gathering area (bar!) to get the guests - I've been told by my brides this is one of their favorite chapters as it's part of the day they miss - I couldn't possibly set up and capture all this in the 30 mins before the ceremony!
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Old July 10th, 2013, 05:18 AM   #17
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Hey Peter, one thing is that I pretty much always shoot with at least two people.

I do prefer an hour when I can, and I prefer to arrive when the church is still being set up, so I can get a few shots of that. But it just doesn't seem to fit in with couple's scheduling a lot of the time. I do want to get the shots of bride fully dressed when I can.

I don't spend much time on establishing shots at church. One decent shot of the exterior with a steadicam is enough for me. Maybe half a dozen details of features of the inside of the church. I know I can grab more during the ceremony if I have to, since I'm using at least three cameras. (So, for a lot of the ceremony, it can be one camera on whoever's talking, one safety wide shot, and the other camera free to get cutaways.)

In terms of candids of guests pre-ceremony, I don't feel the need to film everyone, and I don't usually do timelapses of people arriving.

If I get a dozen shots of people hugging/laughing or kids doing something funny, and three or four "events" filmed from a couple of angles (like someone handing out programs or someone tying a flower to a lapel or someone lighting a candle), then I'm more than happy.

Normal product I deliver, by the way, is four videos: ceremony; formal parts of reception; 5 minute highlights, and 15-minute highlights; and I find I can easily amass 90-120 minutes worth of footage from this without including all that much pre- and post-ceremony greetings and congratulations.
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Old July 10th, 2013, 07:10 AM   #18
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

I always have a 2nd shooter, I usually arrive at the brides 1st, explain what we're doing and why - get everyone feeling comfortable and 'ignoring' us then I bugger off and head to the grooms - I usually don't have a problem with the girls but the boys are sometimes a bit reticent - depending on the situation I'll tell them straight. jokes / banter etc are all great tools for getting people to feel comforatable. I usually shoot an ECU and show that to them "see I'm not filming you, just your hair being done, or your hand picking up a glass" - anything to make them feel comfortable - even sticking the camera right in their face to get a laugh
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Old July 10th, 2013, 08:39 AM   #19
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

I must admit I'm a true advocate of "the buck stops with the boss..and I'm the boss" If a segment is going to be screwed up I would rather I did it, not some assistant!!

If I'm really pushed and do groom and bride prep then I do use a local film student but I send her to the grooms prep and I still do the bridal prep cos if something is going to be sub standard, I'd rather it be the groom prep as for me the bride prep is more important.

I still cannot fathom what so called experienced film students actually learn at "film school" I have had shots when the young lady shot 80% of the footage with the guys directly in front of a sun filled lounge window .... these people technically should be a LOT better than me but I have yet to find a "qualified" shooter. Life is tough!! If they are getting ready fairly close together then I just do it on my own!!

It's hard work but if you are organised it's quite practical to do it and not many of my brides want groom prep!!

I'm like Adrian too ...30 minutes ahead is plenty of time for me ...I can set up the two cameras in the Church probably in 10 minutes flat and then I can relax at the entrance with the third camera and wait for the limo to arrive.

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Old July 11th, 2013, 03:01 AM   #20
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Being a single shooter, I don't have the luxury of having a 2nd cameraman, but if I did I'd rather they went to the church and caught the guests arrival. Groom preps are rarely desired and I find it's the Bridal Preps where my style of shooting comes into it's own as I often have the time to set up shots, compared to other parts of the day where it's run and gun. In some cases, I just become an obtrusive fly on the wall , in other occasions I'll be more chatty. It depends on the Bride. I've had some who have said they were a bridesmaid at a recent Wedding and the Videographer just never shut up, so I was asked not to be talkative as they were stressed enough as it was and didn't want to hold down a conversation for camera. So it's really a case by case scenario.
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Old July 11th, 2013, 07:20 PM   #21
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post

I still cannot fathom what so called experienced film students actually learn at "film school"
Chris
amen to that - I've had more than a few students from tafe or uni 'film school' and sometimes I'm lucky if they know where the big red button is - how anyone can graduate from a course and not know enough to at least work in the industry at a capable level is a terrible indictment on our education system
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Old July 11th, 2013, 08:22 PM   #22
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

I suppose most film school students want to be directors and aren't technically minded. Also, schools can be very reluctant to let students touch the cameras without supervision.

Maybe the more general question is: should this sort of thing be taught in a university context at all? Isn't it better to learn it on the job?

Similar case with law, incidentally. When it was first introduced at university, the lawyers complained that it was a practical subject; universities tended to respond, 'Sure, but we'll approach it from a theoretical perspective." And to this day I don't know how well studying law at university equips you to actually practise it...
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Old July 12th, 2013, 12:46 AM   #23
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

I'm sure glad it isn't just me being ultra fussy but sheesh if you spend 4 years at Uni doing a film and video course surely you learn some basics?? maybe these people exclude the camera side of things totally as suggested and it's just the production/artistic side???

When I last advertised for an assistant I was flooded with ladies in their 20's all professing to be experts in the field!!

I would still think that simply common sense might prevail when they see all the blinding light from the window and the silhouetted figures of the subjects and think ...maybe that's not right!! I bet if they were taking a pic on their iPhone they would see the error ..but then maybe not.

That's why I have ended up alone on shoots but at least I'm the only person that can ruin the shot!!

Chris
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Old July 12th, 2013, 11:00 AM   #24
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

I spent six years sub contracted to a college, to run a national diploma in Media Production. Students were mainly school leavers hoping to go to Uni after their college course. As I was sub contracted from my own recording studio and video business, I made the course hands on, with students handling the cameras from day one. All of the two year course was based on video projects, involving researching, scripting, story boarding, directing, filming and editing. All assignments were written by me, to comply with the examining board guidelines.

The students produced several productions each term, including graphics and animations, frequently working with local businesses to produce short documentaries, with the last project of the course always being the filming of a live fashion show. This involved interviews with fashion students, following them through the design stages and finally the whole team manning three cameras, live mixing, talkback, audio recording and direction of a one hour fashion show. the whole thing was edited and marketed to students and parents complete with student designed sleeves and labels.

My important point here is that I lost count of the number of students that went on to film production and related degree courses at uni, and came back to me complaining that they never reached the level that they were achieving at college. Their main comments were that the uni courses were overloaded with research and paperwork, analysing films and critiquing mainstream productions. Very little time was spent actually producing anything worthwhile, and a fair proportion of my ex students left their uni courses thoroughly disillusioned.

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Old July 12th, 2013, 12:53 PM   #25
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Good for you, Roger. Its nice to hear about the effort you put in.

Having been sort of self-teaching the last year, I can see how starting with learning the basics of your camera by picking it up, then slowly adding in more complex concepts makes the most sense.

The first time I picked up my camera, I didn't need to consider if getting the camera to look up at someone will make the composition better as opposed to just learning exposure properly first. Now that I'm getting much better at exposures and DOF elements, I can add in other concepts, though.
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Old July 12th, 2013, 01:06 PM   #26
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

I went to school and got a degree in Radio Television and Film with an emphasis on Film (so it's almost film school). The first two years I hardly touched a camera, plus we still had to take the normal academic classes (math, science, language, etc.).

The actual "film" part of it had a huge variety of classes from film theory, history of film, documentary film making (which was mostly learning how to finance a film), to actual production. In my experience you got out of film school whatever you put in to it. I learned more from actually doing video work than I did from the classes them self. Except for the film theory class, fantastic professor! Probably my hardest class in all of college.

The people who were spending their weekends learning the equipment and making their own films outside of class were the ones that excelled. The people who were just doing what were required were the ones that didn't.
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Old July 12th, 2013, 04:38 PM   #27
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

We're drifting a bit off the topic of bride/groom prep...
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Old July 15th, 2013, 02:17 AM   #28
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Bauer View Post
We're drifting a bit off the topic of bride/groom prep...
The thing with film students is that they learn a lot of theory. But the only way to be a better shooter is... to shoot more.

Anyway, back to the main topic. I am an extreme introverts and interacting with bride/groom have always been a problem for me. How do you guys introduce yourself to bride/groom? and do you direct them for you to get better shots?
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Old July 17th, 2013, 04:46 AM   #29
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

I agree that groom's prep is wayyyyyy harder than bride's prep. Whenever anybody requests groom's prep, I specifically ask them to have something prepared for the boys to do. I once had a group sit down and play a game of cards over a quick drink before getting dressed - that turned out great.

I once had a second shooter film a groom's party that turned out to be a complete trainwreck. They were already full dressed and ready by the time he got there, and everybody was so painstakingly uncomfortable that I would have loved to throw all the footage out.

My keys to getting brides and bridesmaids to relax around you and to smile a lot is to do the same to them - stay completely relaxed and stay happy, be a little chatty but only when the camera isn't rolling.
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Old July 17th, 2013, 12:25 PM   #30
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Re: Bride/Groom Prep (Awkward?)

I never direct or pose, just shoot what's happening.

I introduce myself and tell them why I'm there and what I'll be doing - I show them the camera and shoot a bit of footage on telephoto to show them - "see I'm not filming you, I'm filming the beer on the table" I stress they should ignore me - "just do what you were doing"

I'll tell them that I'll be filming while they're getting dressed but all I want is a bit of ties being done up, shoelaces tied - all close up small stuff. guys are usually pretty relaxed around me - I guess if you feel a little uncomfortable that will show.

The only time I might have a problem is if they really don't want to be filmed - if they start moving out of the way of going to other rooms I tell them straight - "you might not like to be filmed but this isn't about you - it's about the bride & groom and what they want - the more you avoid me, the more I'll concentrate on you - let's just get it over with" - said with a smile

explain to them what going to happen with the footage - the end result, talk about how the groom can sit back in 10 years time and remember the day and the time spent with the guys.

it is harder to find stuff to shoot but there's always something,
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