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


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Old August 8th, 2014, 03:03 PM   #46
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Re: Did it really need two?

Steven Steven Steven ...

PLEASE GO AND FILM A WEDDING.

We get ONE TAKE and that's it.

Mike pointed it out nicely. I don't want to come back to the office, offload the data on to my computer, start editing to find critical moments RUINED by an enthusiast at the wedding.

Why? Because it ruins my highlight reel, the actual film and last but not least, I have to go out of my way to now explain to the bride if she complains (she might say why didn't I get a better position instead of standing where I was).

Why should I have to have that headache? As a guest, come discreetly. Your iphone or handycam is just about tolerable. But whipping out a 5D MK3 with all the extras on top is simply rude and obstructive. I'm not talking about being intimidated by gear, i'm talking about them ruining my shots that i've been paid to deliver.
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Old August 9th, 2014, 06:19 AM   #47
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Re: Did it really need two?

I feel your pain - I have been there, and it's one of several reasons why I don't usually do weddings now. But...

I don't really see why it matters whether the idiot who blocks your shot has an iPhone or an Arri, the result is the same. I find tablets to most intrusive at events, especially the ones in a cover which hangs down doubling the area of blockage.

Perhaps we should be rethinking this as the problem is only going to get worse at weddings and other events as almost everybody brings their camera or whatever. People blocking your shot are a pain in the backside, but regrettably nowadays that is something that we need to take into account when planning how the wedding or whatever is going to be covered.

In broadcast event coverage even though there is more control and predictability, camera positions are chosen so that the shots won't be blocked by unexpected actions of participants, (though it can still happen) and perhaps we need to think along the same lines and not be taken unawares by the unthinking amateurs who are trying to get their own photos and (often vertical :-) ) videos.

What could we do? Instead of being surprised that critical shots are blocked, expect that this may well happen and plan to do our best make make sure they are not. Get some Blu-Tack and stick a GoPro 8 feet up the wall if you can't guarantee a clear shot any other way. Jibs and cranes are expensive and inconvenient, monopods to hold a camera above the crowd are not, neither are robust chairs or portable mini steps. How many people think of getting a lower angle and letting the scrum shoot above us? Forum members here have mentioned using cameras on light stands and high tripods to avoid the total blocked shot situation, but the main thing to do is to expect the worst and not just be trying to compete literally on the same level as the unintentional saboteurs. Very hard when it is a single crew operation, slightly easier when there are two.

I think that the days when guests deferred to hired videographers (if they ever did) may well be past (photographers still usually get away with it because they tend to dominate the proceedings) and we have to learn to deal with it, but I honestly think the the majority of "shotblockers" have very little awareness of the problem they are causing whatever equipment they happen to be using. They just don't get it, and if were are not careful neither will we.

Hired photographers who block our shots are another matter, adequately discussed on other threads.
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Old August 9th, 2014, 07:52 AM   #48
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Re: Did it really need two?

A truly excellent notion Colin!

In fact there are many, many times where I have had to resort to using my GoPro footage to clear not only the multitude of guests (yes with tablets too and a full size iPad blocks a shot even more than a phone) but also over enthusiastic pro photographers. Sadly there are not many considerate photog left either as you find that the average wedding photographer now consists of 3 or 4 young guys (in our area South East Asians seem to favour the profession) whose sole purpose is to get as close to the bride as they can with as wide as possible lens.

I did a marathon run for an ad agency a few weeks ago and at the finish line was what I can only call a cunning photog! He had built a mini tower from aluminium so all his still and video cameras were 8' to 10' above the road and of course every shot he got was a clear one as all the others were under him. I liked his approach PLUS he never blocked anyone so he was the good guy.

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Old August 9th, 2014, 05:43 PM   #49
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Re: Did it really need two?

James,
We will probably never agree on this at all and that’s ok. I am not trying to sway your opinion; I am just stating my disagreement. You and I have contributed a lot on this forum so hopefully you know I am not usually cantankerous.

First let me say I don’t shoot weddings because you guys deal with issues that do make things hard for you. I am not discounting the problems. I have nothing but respect for guys that earn their living shooting weddings. I don’t need to go shoot one to understand the difficulties involved in the process. I only post in your wedding threads when I can contribute in a positive way. In this case I DID get on a soap box.

As far as dealing with the still photographer problems and the advanced amateur that breaks out his pro gear issue I have said many times before a big part of solving that is talk to them before the problem occurs! I know for a fact some of you treat them all like adversaries from the start. You say it here. I cover sports, corporate events, and interviews. I am not exempt or ignorant about the issues you face. I talk to every other shooter of any type as a friendly professional before the problems start. I establish the rules before the game starts. Then if they want to play hard ball, the fight is on!

The post Colin made above is exactly what we do in my world. Whenever possible we set up so the problems don’t even occur. He is spot on.

Here are a couple of common scenarios I deal with all the time:
Sporting event coverage: Along with covering the action there is always a few mandatory shots all of us MUST get. The victor raising the trophy over his head for example. If it says ESPN (or whatever the live broadcaster is) on the back of your photo jersey then you are top dog and you have no problems. For the other fifty of us it is a dog eat dog 15 seconds. Still guys will jump in front of my tripod mounted camera or some guys will pull outright stupid stunts at the last second. Elbows and tempers can fly. Jobs are on the line, if you miss the shot you don’t get the job again. And everything is always not as it appears. In those barricaded areas just for credentialed media you might get your shot blocked by a beautiful 35 year old woman with an i-pad (I’ve seen it happen) so you open your mouth and tell her in no uncertain terms that she is not press and she better stay the hell out of the way. The credentialed shooter that swore at her was the one that got an escort out of the media area. She was the trophy wife of a guy who wrote a 15 million dollar check to be a title event sponsor. It is quite common for VIP guests to get a media credential so they can have the same access I have. The problem is they don’t know the rules. So yes, I know a little bit about shot blocking.

This happens all the time too. I also do a lot of interviews of renowned physicians, corporate executives and other people with substantial incomes. After the shoot it is common for them to say “I like to shoot too, can ask you some questions about my camera?”. Of course I gladly oblige, they pull out a LowePro camera bag and guess what’s in it? These days it is a Canon 5D XXX. It is used to shoot their kids birthday parties and vacation pictures. Why? Because they can. That is the true market for that camera. It is not a professional body. It is made for the serious hobbyist. They are all over the place. It is the DSLR fanboys that have elevated the 5D to a professional status. Canon has the cinema line for professionals that are serious about that type of camera style. So I think you are making a big deal out of nothing. Again, I am not knocking anyone’s choice of gear. You see someone with a 5D at your wedding and assume they are some kind of pro or going to be a problem. It is just a camera. They may not even be able to shoot well with it. For you to say they are rude to bring it is laughable to me. That is why I said get over it and do your job. As a professional you can’t worry about what other people are shooting. It is your gig. Do your job, do it well, and no one else can be a problem unless they get in your way.

Steve
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Old August 9th, 2014, 08:13 PM   #50
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Re: Did it really need two?

Hey Steve

I'm on your side on this too. A wedding is often an easy task compared to some commercial shoots. Besides quite often you can cheat some wedding shots ? Rings shots? I used to do dummy rings shots on a regular basis when I did stills ...much easier.

Sorry James but you obviously haven't done shoots where National media are involved!! I have done a couple for electric vehicles in our city and involving the Lord Mayor on camera ... You are happily shooting her (yep our's is a lady) getting in and out the car and then giving a little speech when the big boys arrive...they bump, push and jostle with each other to get a shot and you are trampled in the process.

You would be happy (in fact overjoyed) to have a few guests block you at a wedding after that!!

Chris
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Old August 11th, 2014, 02:02 AM   #51
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Re: Did it really need two?

Last wedding I shot there where 2 photogs, both shooting with Nikon full frames, I was chatting with the photogs during the reception and the father of the groom came up to us with a small lowepro bag which had a brandnew fullframe nikon camera and a 24-70 f2.8 lens attached to it, I am not familiar with the nikon line up but the photog told me afterwards it was a newer model then they where using.

The father had some questions about the camera and he had some issues getting good photos out of it. I hear him asking questions that I would expect from my daugther when I would give her her first camera at her birthday, he clearly didn't understand what aperture, iso and shutter was and what effect these settings have on the image.

So here you have a guy buying a few thousand dollars worth of photo equipment while he doesn't even understand the basics of photography, like Steve said, he buys the camera just because he can, not because he needs it.
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Old August 11th, 2014, 06:25 AM   #52
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Re: Did it really need two?

Yep, there are a lot of people with good disposable income that are happy to pay thousands for the best equipment regardless of knowing it's capabilities and how to use it to it's full potential.
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Old August 11th, 2014, 08:29 AM   #53
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Re: Did it really need two?

All this talk of guests with great gear is really more a problem for the Photographer than the Videographers. Guests with a camera can with some skill or luck or both, take great photos. For video, well unless they're skilled handheld, they'd need a tripod or monopod. How many Weddings has anyone been to where a guest has brought one of these along. If a guest turned up with say a C300 and support rig, yeah I might feel a little competition, but that's never happened so far. Closest I got was the DJ taking some shots of the Reception tables and some dancing using a camcorder. He had a tripod with him, and was rather throwing himself into his little video work. I just made sure I got great shots myself, and trusted my work was better than his. I caught him watching me from time to time as I was going about the room, seeing what angles I was going for.
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Old August 11th, 2014, 08:36 AM   #54
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Re: Did it really need two?

I have to admit, it really doesn't bother me a little because of their gear, with one exception: if they're firing off a flash right next to me, over and over.

Other than that, it's simply the exact thing we expect from the photog, ourselves, or anyone else: courtesy. Please don't block my cameras. Please don't stand in the middle of the aisle between the bride and the groom. Please don't walk out to them during their first dance song, and stand 2 feet away for the entire song, with your camera/iPad in their face, filming.
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Old August 11th, 2014, 08:39 AM   #55
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Re: Did it really need two?

I once had the grooms uncle who insisted to shoot at the grooms place with his 5dIII, I was at that moment shooting the brideprep and could not make time available to go to the groom as well as he was staying a half hour drive from the bride, I even used his material in my film, I had to colorcorrect the footage because the people all got a yellow face but beside that it looked decent enough.

Only he wanted to shoot in the church as well, the bride warned me about him and said if he would interfere to much I could tell him to move out of the way, I rather would her telling him to stay out the church with his equipment but she was afraid to tell him that and cause a discussion.

He came to church with a pana hvx 200 and his 5dIII on a monopod and he had a microphone stand with a shotgun mike in front of the lectern that was xlr connected to his hvx200. I was holding my sony cx730 with a small shoulderrig and a second cx730 on a tripod :)

I ended up using just one shot from him which was a closeup from the grooms face with his 5dIII during the vows, all the rest was useless to me. All his 5dIII shots has such a shallow dof it didn't match my other camera's + they where too shaky and again wrong whitebalanced.

So he had bigger and better gear then me at that moment yet my footage turned out to be of a better quality.
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Old August 12th, 2014, 03:04 AM   #56
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Re: Did it really need two?

You can give a thousand monkeys a camera.... maybe you'll get a few usable shots...

Monkeyright

And they'll work for bananas...
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Old August 12th, 2014, 04:51 AM   #57
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Re: Did it really need two?

I saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes yesterday, monkeys are much smarter then you think...
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Old September 17th, 2014, 06:57 PM   #58
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Re: Did it really need two?

I would venture to guess that a vast majority of the video taken by enthusiasts never gets used for anything or ever even will see the light of day. It is one thing for a guest to get caught up in the excitement of the event and go overboard with taking pictures and video... it is another thing when it comes time to edit and the enthusiasm has worn off, they realize how much work it really is and he would much rather just watch TV instead.

Last edited by Ralph Gereg; September 17th, 2014 at 06:58 PM. Reason: typo
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Old September 17th, 2014, 07:34 PM   #59
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Re: Did it really need two?

Totally agree.

Even though I get paid, I lose enthusiasm some times and need a break. I would be surprised if a friend or relative will dedicate that much effort on a film.
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Old September 22nd, 2014, 03:12 AM   #60
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Re: Did it really need two?

We had this last weekend. Had to have a few nice words in the end.

2 of them, same cameras, same lens and always shooting in the same place. Was a little odd but I think it was the age old problem of a pro with an assistant who didn't want to leave the side of the other and the pro couldn't trust the shots of the assistant so just re-did everything they did.

She would stand in front of me during the ceremony, take a shot and then stand there checking the shot. Just had no idea I was even there. So had to tap on the shoulder and point at my camera and then after just asked them to be more aware of not only us but other guests (standing in front of mum and dad during the ceremony). They were fine after that.

I think sometimes it is lack of experience and sometimes they just arent used to shooting with others.

IT wasn't just me though. The registrar had to have words in the end and also gave them a telling off for full on shooting the signing of the register.
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