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

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Old December 22nd, 2013, 05:35 AM   #1
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Visible technique

Spoke to a potential client tonight. When she was talking about another videographer's work that she liked, I was quite struck that she equated "creative" (and by implication high-quality and worth the money) with Steadicam roundie-roundie, basically.

What she didn't seem to regard as anything special: any static shot, in my work or the other guy's.

I've heard this before, in different forms. Eg: bride praises videographer X. In videographer x's highlight videos, almost every shot is a ground-level slider reveal.

Now, I actually find this heartening as well as disheartening.

Disheartening because I think a lot of work and creativity and talent and skill and pure luck goes into good static shots, and it's a shame these aren't appreciated.

Heartening, in a backhanded way, because what I've always thought, however mistakenly, is that if you're doing your job really well, the technique should be invisible -- should enhance content/story without drawing attention to itself. I usually go so far as to cut out any shot where a person looks directly at the camera.

Conclusion: maybe if you want to make money in weddings, the technique has to draw attention to itself...
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Old December 22nd, 2013, 06:14 AM   #2
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Re: Visible technique

Noope, just has to look like Strictly!
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Old December 22nd, 2013, 07:30 AM   #3
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Re: Visible technique

Hi Adrian

I doubt whether brides can actually define creative nor appreciate it! However IF they like something they will tell you but it doesn't necessarily have to involve creative shooting nor hard work ... they just like it .. end of story!

I do roundie rounds at every wedding and some brides rave about it and some don't ... it takes some extra effort compared to a static shot but where the problem normally occurs is that a static shot is really just a photo to a bride and what's so great about that ?? With the introduction of DSLR's for video also came creative static shots but most shooters forget that we are shooting a motion picture and not taking a photo and as soon as you cease to introduce camera movement you really are just taking multiple frames of a static subject and to a bride that is oh so boring!!

I see too many video guys at weddings with the camera on a tripod while it reels off tons of footage ... static cam position and no camera movement whatsoever. The golden rule with motion is that if the subject isn't moving then you should be otherwise you simply have, as mentioned, a glorified photo.

How can anyone expect a bride, who is expecting motion to rave about a static image? The photographer can do that far easier so they end up just booking a photog.

Sadly very very few new shooters have any idea about how to make a motion picture as the camera does everything for them and they have never even thought about motion picture basics.

Might be well worth looking at??

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Old December 22nd, 2013, 10:07 AM   #4
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Re: Visible technique

I agree that (hopefully) technique should be subtle or even invisible. They don't need to notice that I'm shooting up and close/wide on someone to make them seem larger than life. The viewer just needs to experience it.

The slider reveals can fit into this sort of thing, but for me, most often as transitions and establishing shots. I will do it for the 'Oooo, pretty' shots too, but try not to do it too much precisely because its so noticeable and I don't want to be a distraction.
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 11:47 AM   #5
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Re: Visible technique

What I hear most often as comments from the furure bride at my office is that she saw other demos which were basically all low angle, slow motion, slider stuff with black and white as well as artsy fades and wipes that were all contained in a 5 or 6 minute demo. Most of the demos, and she had a bunch of DVD's collected from other "cinematographers", were basically all the same stuff. Close-ups of rings, invitation card, flowers, slo-mo of her prep, groom in slo-mo walking with groomsmen, slo-mo of ceremony , slo-mo of this and slo-mo of that. 90% of slo-mo. All contained in 2 songs worth of stuff. Looks more like a funeral procession if the audio is muted. Funny that most demos do not include or hardly include any part of the reception footage. I always ask the client if she thinks all the rest of the work will be the same way, to which they look dazed and with open eyed response " why, it should be, won 't it, I mean it has to, will it, why shouldn't it be ? "
To which I always answer " Do you really want most of your wedding to be remembered as a slow motion event ?"
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 12:49 PM   #6
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Re: Visible technique

Arthur, I have a shiny nickel for you if you can get a hold of one of those demos for us/me.

I've always thought weddings need more slow motion. And maybe some gorillas or other wild animals. And sparkles. And star wipe transitions.
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 01:17 PM   #7
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Re: Visible technique

Fads come and go. They affect almost everything. They definitely affect ANY creative product. Technology has been good to us by bringing equipment costs down so we can produce cinema looks and styles. But it is a double edged sword. A bride does not know what a slider, jib, or steady cam is. But they know the look. Right now the current "fad" in most videos is camera movement. As small business professionals we have to be able to stay up with the competition, like it or not. I have read many threads here about the brides telling you guys what they expect to see. I am sure it is tough sometimes when your own tried and true "style" is not what they want anymore. But stagnate water becomes poisonous very quickly.

Lets hope a couple of years from now this conversation is not about CG effects. You may be shooting receptions in a cheep rental hall and the bride will expect you to remove the building and make her a princess in medieval castle! She will say "Why can't you do that, some guy did it for my girlfriends wedding?"!!!

Been at this so long I'm rounding my years of experience down...not up!
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 01:46 PM   #8
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Re: Visible technique

How many times have we heard " The computer does it good and easy, no ?"
or " I like the look that this other guy does"
Or , now here's the dillie : " I want this,that, and that, but you have to do do it at a cheaper price."
My reaction, if I had the courage to do it in front of them ( one day, perhaps one day) is to laugh so hard while holding my belly and rolling on the floor in front of them for a full minute and then rising up, still laughing and say: " Sleep with my computer, date the other guy, and marry a plumber."
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Old December 23rd, 2013, 02:34 PM   #9
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Re: Visible technique

I have had more couples who have said they donīt like all the steady cam stuff and rapid movement that a lot of videos have than have asked for it.
A lot of the greatest directors use mainly static shots, or at least quite minimal movement. Of course there are moments which call for movement and many that donīt.
Many couples are also worried about whether the video will have cuts or fades and any number of things which they might not fully understand.
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