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Old September 12th, 2013, 02:37 AM   #1
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Solo shooters - do you stress over 'missed' shooting time?

I'm thinking of a wedding from last weekend: The ceremony was at 13:00 in a city centre cathedral but there was a service at 12:00 - even though I could setup before the service I was warned about thefts from the cathedral (there were some dodgy looking characters hanging around) so had to sit through the service - even though I could see guests starting to arrive outside - a missed opportunity leaving my only about 20 minutes to get footage of guests arriving

Then after the service I needed to get me gear down and hauled across to the car park (12 for 4hours) in order to follow the B&G to an Abbey 5 miles away for a photoshoot - as I got there (with the tog who had arrived by train so blagged a lift with me) about 5 minutes after the wedding car we saw them travelling in the opposite diection - they had been told there was no access to the abbey due to an event! As we got no phone call it was left for us to figure it out!

So back to the city centre hotel it was - a nightmare journey of one way systems and 'bus only' routes to the same car park and then haul the gear to the hotel (roped in the tog - was the least he could do) to immediately set up the gear for the speeches (I really don't like it when speeches are before the meal)

All in all I estimate an hour of good filming time was lost here - bad planning on their part but still - less good stuff for me to edit. A whole hour out of a wedding day is a lot of time.

5 years doing this full time and I still find some weddings such as multi-site affairs a challenge regarding hauling and setting up gear in a hurry, so I can get to the real business of filming! I've thought of an assistant but I don't really want to increase my prices as I'd have to pay them plus all that extra editing time - OK the potential for an increase in quality of the finished product is there but at a cost.

Much though I love churches/parks/abbeys for the rich visuals I'm starting to prefer hotel weddings for the reduced stress levels - am I just getting old?

Pete
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Old September 12th, 2013, 02:53 AM   #2
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Re: Solo shooters - do you stress over 'missed' shooting time?

I know another videographer who charges quite a bit more than us but still shoots solo but he has an assistant (not a second shooter) who is the teenage son of a neighbour & happy to lug gear around, guard it etc all for 100 cash in hand. It's a good solution if you can find the right assistant.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 02:54 AM   #3
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Re: Solo shooters - do you stress over 'missed' shooting time?

I'm always secretly happy when the whole day is taking place in the hotel. Its so so so much less stress.

But in most of these cases, its not our fault. It wasn't in your case anyway from what i could see.

Last week I found myself still at the salon with the bride at 12.20pm, with the service at a church at 1pm, and i had to somehow get back to her hotel for a few clips of dress and shoes etc... in between.

On that occasion, the couple will have to make do with very little pre ceremony guest footage, and theres no way I'm taking blame for that.

And to be honest, very rarely will clients kick up a stink if things are out of your control. As long as you have all the vital things, and acted as professionally as possible through the difficulties you faced.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 03:41 AM   #4
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Re: Solo shooters - do you stress over 'missed' shooting time?

A lot of it depends on how much gear you have to set up and how long that takes you. I have read on this forum of some videographers allowing an hour. When I arrive at a venue still at the car, I set my double camera mount on the main tripod, with one of those cameras attached to the glide gear stabiliser with a quick release to the tripod. If I am using a third camera, that also gets put on the lightweight tripod. That all take about 5 minutes, but from that point on the cameras remain mounted, and can all be carried ready to go in one trip from the car. If I am doing preps, the double mount comes in with me so that I can lift off the steadycam as required or use the tripod for stills and video. A couple of spare batteries are in my pocket and again it is just one trip from the car.

If it is a church wedding, I arrive at the church 45-60 minutes before the ceremony, cameras are already prepared as earlier, or if no preps then 5 minutes to assemble. Camera bag over shoulder and a tripod in either hand and another 5 minutes max in the church to place the lightweight tripod and camera and a sound recorder if necessary. After the service, I take the Steadycam off the tripod for the exit of the B&G, leaving the other two cameras to get the extra angles.from the tripods. If I am also taking stills, I will let the wedding party chat for about a minute, while I dash into the church to grab the two tripods and recorder. If with a photographer, I will wait until he is organising a larger group and grap the two tripods then.

Over the years, I have minimised the equipment I need to do the job and can carry everything in one trip from the car with a normal setup of only a few minutes and breakdown between church and reception of sometimes no more than a minute. It has saved stress and worry and means that I rarely miss a shot due to equipment holdups. I do carry an emergency backup camera, extra sound recorders and a tripod dolly, but they usually stay in the car unless specifically needed.

Roger
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Old September 12th, 2013, 04:04 AM   #5
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Re: Solo shooters - do you stress over 'missed' shooting time?

Hi Roger - I don't have an excess of equipment - I set up 2 locked off handycam cameras in a church on light stands and my main camera on a tripod. I also have a zoom on a light stand to record from the church speaker, an Olympus MP3 recorder on a lectern and another on the groom - and that's it!

At a church my main aim is to get the establishing shots done and my gear set up before any guests arrive and i would guess I can get this done in about 30 minutes - I've learned to work quick at weddings.

I can just about carry my gadget bag/camera bag/tripod bag in one but since I've started using sand bags for my light stands (thanks to a guest once for knocking one over) I can't quite manage it so I need to make 2 trips.

I think I'm my own worst enemy - I always think I'm missing something important while I'm sorting my gear out - I've never really been disappointed with a shoot however - I might have a bad day but everything changes when I go through the footage :)
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Old September 12th, 2013, 06:28 AM   #6
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Re: Solo shooters - do you stress over 'missed' shooting time?

Honestly, I don't stress about missed shooting time anymore. Hell, I don't stress about anything at a wedding anymore.
The B&G may not say it and they may not see it at the time but if they stop to think about it later, they KNOW what is going on...be it a limo arriving late, introductions starting late, the ceremony starting late, less setup time because there was another ceremony before theirs...I also mention things casually to them like "wow, the ceremony before yours really took a long time, kinda kept me and the photog from getting everything we needed before hand".
Deep down inside they know. Like I've said before...it is what it is and we can only do the best we can under the circumstances. Don't sweat it!
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Old September 12th, 2013, 07:02 AM   #7
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Re: Solo shooters - do you stress over 'missed' shooting time?

Have to agree with Don, I really don't stress over anything and if things happen outside my control, I usually joke about it with the couple, then they are aware of it already.

The only variations that I do sometimes find apart from the different weddings themselves, is that I seem to have days when I am more on the ball than others, pulling amazing shots out of nowhere and just getting angles that seem to work at difficult times. Even my wife when editing my video sometimes says "you were on form on that wedding". Other days are just what I call 'normal'.

Roger
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Old September 12th, 2013, 07:09 AM   #8
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Re: Solo shooters - do you stress over 'missed' shooting time?

Hey Pete

I be perfectly honest and say I LOVE shooting at Wedding Reception Centres...What's not to like..you park at the venue and they have a gazebo next to the reception hall for the ceremony, nice gardens for the photoshoot so it literally a "park 'n shoot" scenario

If all weddings were like this!! Last Saturday I arrived at the reception venue after a Church wedding a few kms away and fed the parking meter with $12.00 and displayed my ticket on the car dash ..An hour later I had a ticket (6:00pm) even though my ticket only expired at midnight!! (I sent a nasty email to the authorities with a photo of my ticket proving it was displayed and they withdrew it) However I can do without that sort of hassles and it really spoilt my mood too so give me "all-in-one" venues any day of the week!!

Chris
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