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Old October 27th, 2013, 09:21 PM   #1
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How much dancing do you supply?

What I tend to do myself is only supply any special dances. First waltz, sure. Father/daughter dance, of course. Rest of bridal party dancing -- will do. But general dancing -- usually just a minute or two will make it through to the final edit, and it'll end up as part of a montage rather than as continuous coverage.

Other companies I've worked for do it in different ways. One company supplies dancing footage the length of one song that's edited like a music video, with all the sorts of effects that implies, that's a montage of all the interesting bits from all the dancing through the night. Another company will supply real-time coverage of just three dances that's edited in a multicam way. So, there might be one locked camera getting CCTV, and one shoulder-mounted that's roaming.

What do the couples actually want? I'm not entirely sure. But some people I've met seem to have a want/expectation of complete real-time dance-floor coverage...
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Old October 27th, 2013, 09:47 PM   #2
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Re: How much dancing do you supply?

Your best bet is to ask each couple what they want, but offer a guided suggestion. I usually tell them that I record the dance floor when it's busiest (first few songs), so that we have the highest energy level and most number of happy faces. But from experience, most of my couples are fine with seeing a montage of 1-3 songs (almost never full-length). So I would say 5-10 minutes of 'open dance'. If the DJ is really good, and there is interesting lighting, I might include more of their natural segues from song to song.

If the couple has a band, then I always have a camera on the band and one on the dance floor and typically deliver more of the resulting footage (they're paying a premium to have a band, might as well showcase them a bit).

Doing this has allowed me to keep reasonable expectations (we're not recording from 1st song to last dance continuously), and shows them that I'm interested in delivering a movie that captures the energy of the evening...not security camera footage.
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Old October 27th, 2013, 10:56 PM   #3
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Re: How much dancing do you supply?

Hey Oren, I'm a bit scared to ask the question, "How much dancing do you want?", leaving amount of content up to the couple, because I've got a feeling the answer might come back as, "All of it" or "As much as you can give us."

How do you get around that?

This is not because I'm lazy, by the way! I do work very hard at receptions. I often skip meals. I don't chat to people. I'd be seated for a few minutes at most the entire night. But, for the style of product I normally produce, I think it kind of damages the quality to be tied to shooting hours of dance footage in a real-time continuous way. Realistically, once the dancing starts, it is the main thing I'm filming, since it's the main interesting thing happening in the room. But usually I'm more focused on getting as many interesting or beautiful shots as I can than as much coverage as I can.
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Old October 27th, 2013, 11:46 PM   #4
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Re: How much dancing do you supply?

Hi Adrian

I do the first dance followed by a max of 3 songs after that (but do include an FD dance if they have one)

That clip is usually around 7 -8 minutes and IMHO any more will be boring..no-one has ever complained either!

Unless they ask specifically to film anything special I simply restrict my footage to the first dance + 3

One point to make is that I will always do the 3 songs that directly follow the first dance as many weddings will have virtually no dancing after that and then you are sunk!! Once I have those in the bag it doesn't matter if the people decide not to dance anymore and footage of 4 teenagers on the floor looks like the wedding is a flop if you decide to do the dancing a bit later.

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Old October 28th, 2013, 06:32 AM   #5
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Re: How much dancing do you supply?

After the First Dance, if it's a DJ, then I'll do lots of quick cutaway type shots for three songs which then gets edited down to one song, usually from a CD and that goes down well.
Normally, that CD track didn't even get played on the night but as I use the same track each wedding, the energy comes over well with lots of quick cuts.If the bride features heavily, she'll be happy. The groom probably wouldn't care less.....he'll be at the bar.
If the music is from a band, then I make sure I record a whole song or two on a Tascam DR-05 and one camera on the band and one doing the cutaways.
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Old October 28th, 2013, 06:57 AM   #6
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Re: How much dancing do you supply?

I have done both ways that Adrian mentioned. It sort of depends on the night. I prefer just doing special dances and 2-3 songs that follow if everyone is having fun and there is enough interesting stuff going on with multiple cameras, as it is easier and less time-consuming montage building. If I don't get any nice continuous footage, I'll make a montage of usually one or two songs.

Something else I'll do sometimes is I'll show a series of clips from different songs. Thirty seconds of the bride and her friends dancing to 'Avril Lavigne - Girlfriend', then twenty seconds of Gangnam Style, then a minute of Blame it on the Boogie. Wipe them together and you see only the cool bits and it doesn't get boring.

Last edited by Bernie Johansen; October 28th, 2013 at 07:10 AM. Reason: Added second paragraph.
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Old October 28th, 2013, 06:58 AM   #7
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Re: How much dancing do you supply?

Yes the groom is nearly always at the bar lol! Once the first dance is over he usually can't wait to get off the dance floor.

For my full day package I stipulate the first dance/es should be finished by 8:30 and then I tell the couple that I will stay and film 2 or 3 more tunes if people get up and dance but 9pm is my cutoff point - In the early days I used to hang around, determined to get some dancing footage but you can end up waiting until 10pm or later - usually when the booze starts to take effect.

If I get some dancing footage over a few songs I edit it down to one track that I allow the couple to choose. I use a mixture of footage from the dancing and general evening reception, fast cut to the beat - works well for me.

I set up 2 spots for the first dance but keep them on for the next few songs - I do find though that as soon as I start packing up, more people get up and dance - I guess the presence of a camera and lights puts some folks off!

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Old October 28th, 2013, 09:44 AM   #8
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Re: How much dancing do you supply?

I agree about 5-10 minutes edited as a highlight video of the dance floors evening, which is about 2-3 songs, usually more like 2 as the 'highlights' tend to run out, and similar scenes of the same groups tend to repeat after that. On the evening however, I try to work with the DJ, and if it's packed I move around and capture various people and groups quickly, whereas if it's dead I don't run right up as soon as 3 people walk onto the floor. I think couples like the dance floor footage, as they see things they didn't see, or completely forgot "Oh hey grandma" or "Oh that guy you worked with was having a blast". I also like capturing the big songs, the Call Me Maybes, the Apache/Rappers Delight, the Shouts, the Cupid Shuffles etc... even tho it's not edited to the original song, it's cool when the see 10 seconds of their party doing the cupid shuffle or dancing along to YMCA.

Then usually with about an hour left I start trying to obtain guest interviews, mostly the parents, then onto the bridal party and ancillary family (brothers & sisters, grandparents) as best I can. I try not to pull people off the dance floor to obtain them tho. If the dance floors just dead I usually get interviews from guests sitting at the tables. IMHO I find DJ's who do a good job of acting as MC's tend to have better dance floors, whereas those who just like to play loud music like its a house party tend to flop. I kinda like watching it unfold, sometimes I cringe. Admittedly tho, sometimes it depends on the party & guests, the partiness of the bridal party (namely bridesmaids) tends to make a bit of difference as well.

Last edited by David Barnett; October 28th, 2013 at 12:22 PM.
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Old October 28th, 2013, 10:15 AM   #9
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Re: How much dancing do you supply?

Bernie.....I wish to put my name forward to have Gangnam Style wiped forever from collective consciousness and all history books as if it never existed. This is my contribution to the human race!
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Old October 28th, 2013, 12:13 PM   #10
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Re: How much dancing do you supply?

Outside of the first dance(s), I typically don't include a lot of the dancing, unless it's something really neat going on. Usually, I'll record maybe a minute of static footage with 2 or 3 of the songs, and then do a montage of other shots over it... that kind of thing.

Now , at some of these receptions people get plastered and do all kinds of crazy things, and if it's relatively "safe" or family friendly, I'll include those full segments. For example one wedding I did over the summer, the reception lasted 5 hours... and there was a lot of craziness because there was a live band performing too. I included probably close to 15 minutes of just dancing bits from that, say 7 or 8 songs just back to back with all that from the night. The final video was about an hour total.
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Old October 28th, 2013, 01:57 PM   #11
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Re: How much dancing do you supply?

The actual dancing part is always less then a minute in the final edit, only exception to the rule is if I have to do a Turkish or Kurdish wedding, recordholder by a mile is a Kurdish I did last year where I had to cover 4 hours of continuous dancing (with one camera) with a half hour break halfway to eat.
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Old October 29th, 2013, 08:48 AM   #12
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Re: How much dancing do you supply?

How much is generally determined by what I capture. My first job in my work flow is to line up all respectable footage. Then I go through it to find what is actually interesting. If, after that, there is more than a minute or two of random dancing, I usually edit it down a bit more. The non-speeches, non-1st dance part of my wedding dance video is usually 1-3 minutes.
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Old October 29th, 2013, 09:45 PM   #13
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Re: How much dancing do you supply?

Adrian, to clarify--I don't ask how many songs the couple wants to hear, I ask what is there hoped-for length of the doc edit. If they ask for 3 hours, I'm not the right guy. If they ask for 10 minutes, there won't be much time for dancing. Basically, I'm checking to make sure we're on the same page, but I ask them to leave the creative decisions to me. That's what they're paying for after all.
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