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


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Old March 5th, 2014, 08:14 PM   #16
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Re: Advice for shooting a first time wedding

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Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
Oooh, I want to read the horror stories! Where can I find them?

I constantly forget about the *very* different kinds of weddings some of you film. Not jealous.
We keep those, and Tariq (it's OK, we love ya man, someone has to be the "there but for the grace of God..." guy), in the members only area, for the sake of the children...


@Kajito -

Seriously though, you've got a helpful lot around here, so we take pretty good care of "helping" when you need it! You can also ask Chis Hurd to approve you for the "members only lounge" if you wish to discuss details in a casual but private forum.

If it turns out to be legit (just watch out for those Nigerian princesses!), you've got time to get up to speed, and "everyone" should shoot a live event once, just for the experience, you'll either end up hooked, or swearing never to do it again!
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Old March 5th, 2014, 08:18 PM   #17
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Re: Advice for shooting a first time wedding

Here's what I have learnt from shooting weddings.

● It is good to have at least 2 camera guys. Really helpful for setting up.

● Have plenty of sound recording sources. I have a H4N on the sound desk, and a lav on the pastor and groom. I usually have a H1 also. Audio is vital.

● At least 2 or 3 cameras. Myself and the other camera operator are on both sides, one capturing the bride and the other capturing the groom. Another unmanned camera placed at the back looking towards the couple. I also setup a GoPro and mount for another angle and record at 2.5k

● Make sure you capture B roll footage, before/after the wedding.


These are a few key basics for the day itself. Hope that helps.
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Old March 5th, 2014, 08:21 PM   #18
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Re: Advice for shooting a first time wedding

Hope this helps: StillMotion did some videos for Vimeo with ideas and tips for filming weddings.

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Old March 5th, 2014, 09:58 PM   #19
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Re: Advice for shooting a first time wedding

Just for Don

Nope never done a Nigerian Princess!! If I do get an overseas request then I make sure that I meet with the couple when they arrive and all have been legit too ..Did a magic sunset beach wedding with a couple from France in December.

It's quite normal for brides to book at least 12 months ahead here ...I already have bookings up to April 2015 as long as they are not scammers. I wonder if the Nigerian princess scam is still running ...it was pretty active here about 3 years ago and is easy to spot by the poor grammar and over generous offer of extra cash ... he was going to give me GBP 1000 just as a gift for paying other vendors!!

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Old March 6th, 2014, 05:14 AM   #20
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Re: Advice for shooting a first time wedding

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Originally Posted by Kajito Nagib View Post
I advertise through various sources and local paper. My guess is the client watched my demo reel on my website and liked it that's why she contacted me. Whether this is a scam or not I have no way of knowing until I speak with her. I've filmed a few weddings as a hired cameraman but this was 20+ years ago. I won't take on a project that isn't right for me and I always make room for the ones that I am passionate about. I'm always straight with my clients I don't like to be hoodwink or bamboozled so I wouldn't do that with anyone she would definitely know that this is my first wedding. I guess it all boils down to preparation and about clearly communicating with them their expectation. I am not one to shy away from challenges but I do need to do my research. Again thanks for the walk through and the insight very helpful indeed.
Change of tack there Kajito. In your original post you gave the impression that this enquiry came out of the blue and you had no interest in wedding work and were undecided as to whether or not to tackle it, however it seems that you have been advertising for them and you have a promotional video, which has made some of the replies you've received a waste of time. If this is something you're considering because your other work is slack I'd suggest you think about some of the replies you've had before jumping into a one-off unrepeatable event. It may be a challenge for you but it would be a heartbreak for a bride if it fails to meet her expectations as you try something out and that may have unintended consequences if you don't get it right.

Anyway you've got plenty of time to prepare if you do take it on.
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Old March 6th, 2014, 12:39 PM   #21
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Re: Advice for shooting a first time wedding

To me, a willingness to do it.

Seek their expectations. I always provide a form that I talk over with them at an initial meeting and they fill out. This form usually gathers information about the size of the wedding, bridal party, expectations of style (documentary, film like, basic, etc) amount of cameras, etc.

I've done several, so I am comfortable saying yes to a wedding and know people who can serve as second shooters. Enough to be able to feel comfortable with whether I can do it myself or check the availably of another shooter.

However, I do remember beginning and it's hard to have the confidence when you've never been in the trenches of a live wedding. I've had my mental and hardware errors, etc. But I've learned from them, studied the videos while editing them. Even jotting down things to "keep in mind" for the next. The comfort comes from experience and learning from each one.

So I am not necessarily of the mindset to turn down every offer that intimidates or that just because its your first, you shouldn't do it. I think it's more about their expectations. If they are expecting what one would normally get for $5000, multiple camera editing, full day, etc. THEN you might back track. If they are just looking for it to be documented, you might just take a deep breath and go for it. Using the next couple months to really learn what you can. Ask a friend to help simulate some things (bridal walk, talking-to the camera, etc). Turn off the lights in your place, turn a select few dim ones on and play around with adjusting the camera on the fly.Etc. Things to get you prepared.

My ultimate point is to figure out what they are looking for. Gather some details (wedding size, budget, possible location, if there is anything they have specifically seen that they like from other video examples). Then take some time to review, ask us here, gauge your comfort level, and then be honest with them about whether you can or cannot do it. If you are willing to, be honest with them about what you can offer in a bold way.

There is a difference between "yeah I think I can do it..even though its my first and I have a lot to learn, I'd like to give it a shot!"

and

"Yes, I can be your videographer. I at this time I work alone, but I will let you know of the possibility of having a second shooter. We will keep in touch throughout the year just so that I am aware of some things I may need to know as you guys plan this. I am excited to do this for you and happy for you guys."

At some point you'll need to be bold and jump in. A second shooter can alleviate some anxiety. Where their task might be the details, environment and other people while you focus on the bride and groom.
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Old March 6th, 2014, 12:53 PM   #22
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Re: Advice for shooting a first time wedding

From a technical standpoint, here are some major things off the top of my head (may have already been mentioned here)

1) Have a backup camera setup and ready to go at the press of a button at just about any time if you're doing a single camera.
2) Don't forget the accessories. Have multiple batteries, chargers, power strip and storage cards or tapes (whatever media you record onto). Get more than you know you'll need. Maybe even a laptop if you need to transfer footage during a lull. It's almost like having that "corner workstation" somewhere. Sometimes time flies and so does the battery level and card space.
3) Multi camera is nice, but don't feel like it is the ultimate requirement. Sometimes you just don't have a second shooter. But if you have a second camera, you could leave it for overall shots while you get close angles of the ceremony. Or overall of the reception while you make the rounds.
4) Keep the camera steady during the ceremony especially. Tripod it up.
5) Visit the location when they give confirmation and anticipate your setup, recording spots and flow.
6) Have some sort of closeup audio source near the bride/groom/officiant during the ceremony. Don't depend solely on the DJ's audio inputs, or the DJ's live speakers. They many times have audio problems of their own.
7) Research other wedding videos and see how they record and edit.
8) Consider labeling your storage media ahead of time. I'd record the ceremony on its own card, then lock it up as soon as its over. If you have access to your car, you might put it there. Just be careful when it comes to handling card and tapes. It's easy to misplace, drop or lose.
9) Focus on quality, preparation and professionalism.
10) Know your camera, rig setup, menus, buttons, notifications/errors, etc.

This being your first, keep it simple. Make the right settings for the location/lighting. Get the right framing/cropping. Have your consistent audio source setup and functioning. Then let the beauty of the wedding shine through the bride, the groom, the people and everything they worked hard/spent to put together. You're job isn't to artificially make the wedding better. In my opinion, our job is to capture the beauty of the wedding without being distracting live and in post. An extreme example is that you may not need to do an awkward 360 rotation around the entire ceremony as some cool shooting effect. The bride and groom usually want to see a still video showing their emotion, hearing clearly and easy on the eyes. You may get creative with the reception, but even then, your camera movement complexity doesn't need to be the star of the show. Capture people having a great time in a simple way, edit the video. Then you should be a little more comfortable of the typical flow of a wedding and improve on the next one.
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Old March 7th, 2014, 09:08 AM   #23
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Re: Advice for shooting a first time wedding

Love all the good advice here. I just found in my library "The Wedding Video Handbook" don't even remember buying it. Yes i will definitely look over different wedding videos. Thanks again everyone.
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Old March 7th, 2014, 10:27 PM   #24
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Re: Advice for shooting a first time wedding

I've been reading this thread with interest and would like to share my thoughts. I am a single shooter with about 10 weddings under my belt in the last 5 years. I shoot and edit different kinds of video as a hobby and one simple first wedding video a few years ago I delivered for almost free starting turning into word of mouth recommendations to others.

I'm pretty much a freelancer. My wedding videos are simple, but nice. They capture the things that can played back years later during a "remember when" moment. I am self taught, out of necessity, in everything I have picked up from studying others' expertise. I've watched shooting styles, editing styles and general production methods from so many professionals through my short history and have the utmost respect for their craft. I am not the best, but am constantly learning a better way to shoot and edit.

Everything these folks here are telling you is the reality of a wedding shoot, which is fast paced, nerve racking and sometimes fun. All the questions they threw out are for real! You better get this info.

I cater to under-budgeted families to help them capture a little piece of their history in moving pictures when they have limited resources. I think that a price for a complete wedding event today is insane anyways.
I am certainly no threat to a big multi-cam company who has mouths to feed. They have a niche market I could never satisfy. I am blessed with a full time day job and don't need the income to live on. I use my proceeds to buy extra equipment.

My point here is to know your client and their expectations before committing to anything. Also, be realistic about your limitations and strive to under promise and over deliver. Make sure the client knows what limitations you'll have as a single shooter.

I have three weddings in the books for the next couple of months and will be, for the first time, using a second shooter. You can do this but prepare for the ride and try to be ready for the unexpected, which will happen.
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Old March 7th, 2014, 10:48 PM   #25
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Re: Advice for shooting a first time wedding

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Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
Hope this helps: StillMotion did some videos for Vimeo with ideas and tips for filming weddings.

an intro to shooting a ceremony with EOS // canon cinema caravan on Vimeo

Lol, I just was thinking of how many churches I would be banned from if I moved, set, or did this much during a ceremony.
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Old March 8th, 2014, 01:14 AM   #26
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Re: Advice for shooting a first time wedding

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Originally Posted by Robert Benda View Post
Hope this helps: StillMotion did some videos for Vimeo with ideas and tips for filming weddings.

an intro to shooting a ceremony with EOS // canon cinema caravan on Vimeo
thanks robert I saw that video when it came out a few years ago but i'll have a look again. I really love the tutorials by stillmotion they do excellent work.
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Old March 8th, 2014, 03:08 AM   #27
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Re: Advice for shooting a first time wedding

That still motion video doesn't take the photog(s) into account in any way, great tips if it's a video only shoot but at least here the photog is all over the place in church during the ceremony and in your shots a lot of times, also the entrance of the bride is not as simple as he shows it, again you"ll have to take the photog into account as well as they want their place in the center aisle plus you"d be blocking the view from all guests when the bride walks in which I think is not done.
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