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Old December 11th, 2013, 09:12 AM   #31
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

Hi Arthur

Apart from Burmese weddings which are easy.. I very carefully avoid especially Middle Eastern weddings..I did one once and the bride said she wanted coverage of the reception from 6pm to midnight. I filmed all the guests arriving and being greeted and then turned off the camera while everyone mingled. A furious bride asked me why I wasn't filming ? She actually expected continuous filming for 6 hours non stop and yet expected to pay less than usual. That was my last ethnic wedding (she also got a refund and I swore I would never, ever do another one like it) In the last 5 years I have kept my promise!!

My son lives in Montreal and got married this year but is having a renewal of vows and a reception in July 2014 ... if that's up your alley, PM me your contact details and I'll pass them on to him and his new wife.
(They had to have a registry wedding this year so he could keep his work visa, as he is still Australian so he now wants a "proper" celebration in 2014

Chris
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Old December 11th, 2013, 09:40 AM   #32
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

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Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
hahahahahahahahaha... you think it's cold in Jersey? Right this moment, it's -21F/-29C here in North Dakota/Minnesota. During work on a wedding this coming Friday it will be -5F/-21C. That is unusual, especially this time of year (coldest in January/February) but typical is still only 8F/-13C

At least we don't have traffic.
Don't you guys plug in your cars or car batteries overnight or something? I thought I heard that one time. Yeah, it's brutal up there. Bad enough here sometimes imho.

Anyway for me it varies, I usually ask them to schedule their time as to if they prefer more bridal prep, or more dance floor fun stuff, or if they want both, pay more (obvi). That said imho I like to stay until typically 10pm at the earliest. I've found when I'm scheduled to be out at 9pm it's too early, and they have to rush thru the bouqet & cake cutting from 8:30 to 9 it just seems too forced. I've stayed till 11 & midnight. I like shooting dance floor footage, and try to be discreet with the guests, only shooting for 10-15 seconds at a time, unless it's something really big happening, or the guests are oblivious to my camera being there. But if it's a couple slow dancing or joking to Call Me Maybe I don't want my camera in their face for 2 minutes or so either. I also like getting shots of the bride &/or grooms out dancing when possible, and it helps in editing when they're with different groups of people often. In between shooting people dancing I'm also grabbing bridal party & family and asking for guests interviews & congratulations if they want to give them, sometimes alot don't want to, and sometimes I just don't have much time for that (9pm & 10pm exits).

As for the final edit, I then make a chapter for dancing, typically lasts about 2-3 songs or about 5-8 minutes. Just quick 5-10 second clips, maybe a few longer ones now & then. After a while tho, it just feels like I'm repeating the same people, the same scenes and is too much.

Going back to shooting the dance floor, is there nothing more cringe inducing then seeing a DJ blow it with an empty dance floor. Ugggh, sometimes I feel for them, it's just not the right scene, or the party & guests just aren't the dancing type. Sometimes too tho, the DJ's do seem at fault, maybe an older wedding & the musics wrong or too loud. IMHO the ones who like to MC are usually better, the ones who just like to show up and play music very loud cause they bought big speakers blow. Usually when this happens I walk around and try to get more guest interviews.
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Old December 11th, 2013, 10:49 AM   #33
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

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Don't you guys plug in your cars or car batteries overnight or something? I thought I heard that one time.
True. Though modern cars don't need it too much, it's safer to plug them in when it starts hitting -10F and lower. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, cars in these colder climates have little plug-ins that run what amounts to an oil-pan heater so your car starts up easier in the morning.
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Old December 11th, 2013, 11:05 AM   #34
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

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^^^ this.

Maybe it is a US thing. Who knows. But for some couples the open dancing is their favorite part of the day so I give it equal weight to the rest of the day. I'll stay for a couple hours of dancing usually, especially if it's a big party wedding where I can see people are gonna drink and let loose. I may let my 2nd camera op go when the formalities are done. But like Max said, it gets "going" often a bit later sometimes. Plus, I know the couples appreciate us staying and having fun so it's good business. I'll end up with about 100-150 shots or so of dancing and cut a couple fun montages out of it for the full video and then about 1/4 of that for the Highlight video.

Where else am I gonna go? I tell couples I'm in no rush to leave and like Max said, if I left after the first dance I'd miss the real party and in my opinion that would make editing actually more difficult. So many times I'll stay til the end and something really awesome will happen and I instantly feel good about my decision to wait through those "slower" times when the dancing wasn't really happening.
Case in point- the project I just finished editing had some pretty good dancing later in the night, which included an impromptu conga-line. I happened to be in the middle of the dance floor with my cam at the right time, and was able to get a pretty cool shot while walking backwards in front of the conga-line leader. Would have missed that by a long shot if I had given up on the dancing shots after the garter/bouquet toss.
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Old December 13th, 2013, 01:46 AM   #35
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
True. Though modern cars don't need it too much, it's safer to plug them in when it starts hitting -10F and lower. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, cars in these colder climates have little plug-ins that run what amounts to an oil-pan heater so your car starts up easier in the morning.
Oil pan, battery blanket, and radiator (to keep the water warm)
heaters in some Alaska cities. If you don't plug your car in,
it won't be starting until next summer. And everywhere
grocery stores, malls, restaurants) have plug in stations
for you.

On the plus side, they usually do first dances, toasts,
cut the cake and bouquet/garter all right away and
I can be out by 9:30-10. Stilla long day as bridal
prep usually starts at 10am but not as bad as some
of your stories.....plus our traffic isn't so bad :)
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Old December 13th, 2013, 04:55 AM   #36
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Arthur

Apart from Burmese weddings which are easy.. I very carefully avoid especially Middle Eastern weddings..I did one once and the bride said she wanted coverage of the reception from 6pm to midnight. I filmed all the guests arriving and being greeted and then turned off the camera while everyone mingled. A furious bride asked me why I wasn't filming ? She actually expected continuous filming for 6 hours non stop and yet expected to pay less than usual. That was my last ethnic wedding (she also got a refund and I swore I would never, ever do another one like it) In the last 5 years I have kept my promise!!

My son lives in Montreal and got married this year but is having a renewal of vows and a reception in July 2014 ... if that's up your alley, PM me your contact details and I'll pass them on to him and his new wife.
(They had to have a registry wedding this year so he could keep his work visa, as he is still Australian so he now wants a "proper" celebration in 2014

Chris
I swore the same thing for exactly the same reasons Chris - I avoid like the plague now!
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Old December 13th, 2013, 06:15 AM   #37
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

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I swore the same thing for exactly the same reasons Chris - I avoid like the plague now!
Me too, along with African weddings!
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Old December 13th, 2013, 06:34 AM   #38
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

I've done a few weddings with bride and groom from the Congo and also from Sierra Leone and they were no issues at all. The clients were happy with what they got but I must admit they were very Westernised especially the receptions. The one ceremony went on a bit (nearly 2 hours with lots of what I call a "happy clappy" Church ceremony with plenty of singing and plenty of "Praise the Lord" after each sentence. Despite the length it was still fun to shoot.

Being African I am assuming a traditional culture which, yes I do avoid ..Perth has a HUGE South African population (I was born there) but weddings from there that are non-ritual are almost identical to Western Weddings.

I normally back away rapidly if the ceremony has rituals that are specific to the ethnic group simply telling them it would be better if they found someone who understands the culture and language.

Chris
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Old December 13th, 2013, 07:25 AM   #39
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

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I've done a few weddings with bride and groom from the Congo and also from Sierra Leone and they were no issues at all.
TBH I'm not sure exactly which countries they were from, although Zimbabwe and Nigeria were two that I heard along the way.

So, imagine a couple of different weddings, both going the same sort of way….

A very large church that's full (and I do mean full to standing) before the bride arrives, then another 100 people arrive with the bride and congregate at the back and in the isle so the back camera has little / no chance, and down the sides so the side camera is ask having trouble seeing the B+G without people wandering in front. They all have their phones and iPads up in the air filming because clearly that's what they want to do and no one is going to stop them.

Outside the church everyone crowds around with their iPads so close to the B+G neither us nor the photographer get a look in. They don't listen or co-operate when the photographer is trying to get groups so things take at least 5 times longer than normal and now the light is going….

You arrive at the reception (it's now totally dark) to find it was booked for 250 people but around 450 turned up. There is no room to move and everyone is crowding around. The fire exists are all blocked and it's getting really hot and uncomfortable in there. Where ever you stand there will be at least 6 deep in front of you and you have zero chance of getting to the front.

The food takes three or four times longer than planned and plates are literally being passed hand to hand because getting to the buffet is impossible and when the food runs out because the venue only had enough for 250 there's all sorts of unhappy people.

The speeches are a total disaster because it seems like 400 people are just carrying on talking amongst themselves and have no interest in listening to the speeches. The speakers can't hear themselves, let alone the poor video guy trying to capture anything.

The first dance is delayed and delayed while seemingly everyone else gets introduced (while most people totally ignore them and keep talking until it's their turn) and has a five minute dance in their own little groups. Think about that. Everyone else does a dance in groups of maybe 15-20 people before the couple do and they each take an entire song.

The cake cut is a free for all with iPads being pushed in close and blocking your view. Even a camera held high on a monopod is hard because it's so crowded and you're being jostled!

Now, if that happened once, I could say OK, that was a hard one, life goes on. When it happens twice…. now I'm going to avoid them altogether….

Sorry to sidetrack from the OP…. though in this case filming the dancing at all was more than a little problematic.
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Old December 13th, 2013, 07:56 AM   #40
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

We did a Ugandan/Congolese wedding a few months ago. Who would have thought that there was an African population in Norwich?:-) It was pretty chaotic & I can see how it could have got out of hand & if it were more extreme it could have ended up like Dave's experience. It was however a lot of fun.

They ripped the whole DVD & uploaded it all to YouTube (Here's the highlights)

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Old December 13th, 2013, 08:08 AM   #41
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

Admittedly African weddings tend to be big mainly because they don't invite individual guests they simply announce to their entire community that they are getting married. I've had 500 guests at Burmese weddings with something like 55 tables in the reception venue compared to the usual 10 or less!!

I must admit only one guy at the one wedding decided to be the official videographer despite the fact he was not hired to do the job. The photog and I soon banished him to the side of the Church!

Chris
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Old December 13th, 2013, 08:37 AM   #42
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

Members descriptions of African weddings sound very familiar to me as well. But I don't avoid them, you just have to accept that priorities expectations and the way of doing things are poles apart from the anglo-saxon. You do have to be quite physical to obtain the shooting positions you need, then adapt quickly to changing circumstances and unscripted stuff. Guests have brought their own food to some that I've shot! Just accept that you are not going to get the bunch of "clean" tightly composed shots you are used to.

Some of the chanting and dancing can be very photogenic and atmospheric, sometimes reminiscent of some scenes from Zulu - if I'm allowed to say that :- )

I've just videod kids birthday party for a couple whose wedding I shot 6 years ago :- )

I also reckon that with the African and West Indian weddings you don't get all that haggling and disregarding signed contract terms nonsense that often accompanies Asian weddings.

Pete
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Old December 13th, 2013, 08:49 AM   #43
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

Thanks Nigel, maybe I'll re-evaluate things - but that looked like a relative walk in the park ;)
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Old December 13th, 2013, 10:42 AM   #44
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

Like I've said before, geography makes a huge difference in how a wedding is done and what we shoot and how long we're there.
In my area a TYPICAL wedding (not counting prep) will generally start at 1 to 3 pm.
Most of the time the ceremony starts at 3pm if it's a TYPICAL Catholic church wedding although sometimes it's an earlier start. Using the TYPICAL timeline,
I'll get to the church at about 1:30-1:45PM to set up and get B footage.
Ceremony starts at 3PM generally runs about 45 to 60 minutes although if it's NOT a MASS it can be 35 and if the priest is a talker can go 70-75 minutes. TYPICALLY done by 4PM.
Formal photo shoot in the church for about 30-45 minutes. I cover some of it and look for "cute" candids of the bridal party etc as well as some of the shots I need for DVD covers and faces. Out of the church by 4:30-4:45 and off to the reception.
TYPICAL cocktail hours starts at 6PM. This gives me time to get B footage at the venue and cover some of the cocktail time as well as the receiving line IF the B&G do one.
Introductions of the bridal party at about 7PM if we're lucky most times it runs a bit past. B&G GENERALLY cut the cake right away, then it on to 2 to 4 speeches (hopefully short) then DINNER!!!!!
Dancing usually starts about 9 to 9:15PM with the FIRST DANCE, FATHER DAUGHTER DANCE and the MOTHER SON DANCE. Sometimes they throw in a BRIDAL PARTY DANCE. Then the DJ opens the floor to everyone and it's party time.
I really don't care what they do, I'm done at 10:30PM come hell or high water so I tell them way in advance anything you want on video has to be done by 10:15PM I cheat the time a bit to protect myself. After they do the garter and bouquet toss (very very common here) I take the B&G do a walk away goodbye shot outside no matter the weather Say my goodbyes and pack it up. Out by 10:45-10:50PM and homeward bound.
Around here you can get from point A to point B in an hour or less so I'm usually home NLT 11:30PM. Say hello to wifey, change clothes, surf the net for a few minutes, watch a few minutes of TV then off to dreamland.
These times are of course subject to change but are for the most part pretty TYPICAL of most Catholic Church weddings here in the greater Chicagoland area.
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Old December 13th, 2013, 10:54 AM   #45
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Re: What are you delivering in terms of reception dancing?

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then it on to 2 to 4 speeches (hopefully short) then DINNER!!!!!
Out of curiousity, have you noticed the speeches have gotten longer the last few years, and typically more of them (3 or 4) as opposed to it used to be just 1 or 2. I'm only 40 but it seems the last 5 years or so speeches have begun dragging on for 10-15 minutes and aren't even speeches, just storytelling about the groom getting drunk, crazy nights out, blah blah blah with no real morale or conclusion at the end. Just 'I'm happy for you for finding someone so you can avoid all this the rest of your life. '
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