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


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Old September 10th, 2014, 09:32 AM   #1
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Survey: groom prep

If you can be bothered to answer, or are looking for something to distract you from editing, here's some random questions on groom prep.

1. How much time do you normally allow for groom prep, and how much would you ideally want?
2. What equipment do you use during groom prep?
3. What is the end product you want to get from groom prep, and how many minutes are you looking to fill? Are you trying to get 15 minutes of documentary footage, or enough B-roll-type shots to do a two minute montage set to music or something else?
4. Do you have a particular shot list in mind for groom prep?
5. A there any special methods or techniques you're using during groom prep? How many shooters are you using? If multiple shooters, what are the roles of each person?
6. Are there patterns to how you go about shooting groom prep? What's the first thing you do when you get there, for instance? Or do you always pose the groom in particular ways as he's getting dressed?
7. What are the challenges of shooting groom prep?
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Old September 10th, 2014, 09:59 AM   #2
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Re: Survey: groom prep

I've noticed this changes a lot. I really like a lot of time when they're a fun group and goofing off. You can get great footage. If they're not, then I just need 5 minutes to get 5 shots. Tie goes on, cuff links and/or watch, coat on, shoes, out the door. Done.

If it's a great group you can end up with all kinds of random stuff like this one: (skip to at least 1 minute mark, but the 2 minute mark is better)

And that's from an outtake reel, never mind the stuff I put into their video :)

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Old September 10th, 2014, 10:09 AM   #3
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Re: Survey: groom prep

My own answers go like this:

1. I'd like at least an hour, preferably two hours or more, and I'd much prefer to get there before the groomsmen arrive, to catch the moment when they do. Definitely before the photographer anyway, because they're going to kill the natural moments even more than I do. Of course, there's been times when I've got more like 10 minutes than 2 hours. When it's a ceremony late in the day, I don't mind paying my second shooter extra to stay longer at groom prep if they bring back interesting footage. Recently, I had someone spend five hours with the groom.

2. Equipment: when I'm by myself, 24-105 lens covers most of it, 70-200 depending on the situation, and 100 macro for ring shot. Slider and monopod obviously, and also two light stands and two lights for accessory shots. Very rarely: some sort of sound gear. I shoot with full frame DSLRs by the way.

Actually, if my second shooter and I are doing a split in the morning, he'll usually cover groom. In this case, he ends up shooting a lot of it on 16-35 + steadicam, and deeper depth of field. And this often seems to contrast nicely with a different look for bride prep, which I'd be shooting with shallow depth of field, and monopod and slider.

3. Realistically, I'll seldom need to get more than a few minutes of good footage, in terms of the end product I'm supplying them, and I don't really need natural sound.

4. Shot list -- establishing shot, accessories shot, ring shot, the groom and groomsmen doing whatever they're doing, whatever action is going on around the house, getting dressed, maybe cars/flowers if they arrive, maybe some sort of departure shot, and that's about it for a normal wedding. Obviously, some types of weddings (Indian, Macedonian) will have various rituals. I seldom ask for interviews at groom house, and aren't usually lucky enough to get the best man doing a speech rehearsal.

5. Techniques and shooters -- much prefer two shooters, so that one person can muck around with accessories while the other person is filming the people. No particular special methods, but joking around with the guys a little bit can help.

6. Patterns -- probably will get some sort of establishing shot before going into the house, and once I get in, I'll set up tripods, light stands etc while thinking about what to do next. Usually try to get accessories out of the way quite early, so I'm not missing the action as more people arrive, and so photographer and I aren't fighting for space or replicating shots later (prefer he doesn't "steal" my shots, and I don't really want to be stealing his).

7. Challenges of groom prep -- apart from the fact that most grooms are uncomfortable on camera, so you have to do something to calm them, maybe creating some sort of story, getting some sort of interesting content, is one of the things I worry about. If there's a few guys sitting in a hotel room watching TV, I don't feel like I've got much to work with. That said, groom prep is less stressful than bride prep, and I think that there's not much you can do to stuff it up, given that you only need a little footage, and that even if you miss something, like a ring shot or his family emblem on his cuff links or whatever, you can try to get those shots during the reception.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 11:19 AM   #4
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Re: Survey: groom prep

Holy crap!!!!! That sounds like hell on earth. This is what its like from the clients point of view:

http://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/images...reality-02.jpg

My experience over many years - and particularly in the past couple of years is that the blokes are really not into getting ready coverage at all, and if there is any way they can get out of it they will. When I do cover it, it tends to be only on the express request of the bride. Occasionally I'll include it on the spur of the moment if the bride and the groom are both getting ready in close proximity making going between the two - maybe several times - feasible.

I think you have to be very careful that you don't just create a series of contrived clips that may look good on a showreel but mean absolutely nothing to a client.

I reckon that the getting ready is better served by stills which are then incorporated into the final product as a slideshow chapter. If they float the idea of video I point out that there is no way a bloke with a video rig can be anything other than highly intrusive in the average type of room full of gals. If they are comfortable with that then fine.

When I do cover the fellas its not a lot different to the gals in methodology and content. Why would it be?

Pete
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Old September 10th, 2014, 08:16 PM   #5
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Re: Survey: groom prep

I normally convince them not to do groom prep! Let's face it they sit around and drink beer/watch TV/or play with a play station and then 5 minutes before they need to go they get dressed and leave.

I might do 2 or 3 in an entire season!! Cripes all you need a one camera and on cam mic ....that's about as complex as it gets! The girls getting ready is another story especially with the DSLR guys and their slider shots as they tend to emulate the photg!! That could just as well be covered with stills anyway!
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Old September 10th, 2014, 08:27 PM   #6
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Re: Survey: groom prep

I have to say that, in general, I find slider shots really fiddly and frustrating, and a lot more time-consuming than one might think, but maybe that's just me. Issues include: getting focus and composition right, getting smooth movement (of pan/tilt as well as slide), and quite possibly fighting your slider all the way (if it's too heavy for the tripod head, or if it's not a perfectly smooth track, or whatever).

Have seen Edward Calabig and Noa do some great stuff with sliders, but I think as soon as you bring one of these guys to groom or bride prep, add 15-30 minutes to however long it would have taken you without them.
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Old September 11th, 2014, 08:42 AM   #7
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Re: Survey: groom prep

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Let's face it they sit around and drink beer/watch TV/or play with a play station and then 5 minutes before they need to go they get dressed and leave.
That about sums it up for me. I tried something different for this last wedding which worked out pretty well which leads me to believe that I may need to structure more things to do for the guys going forward. Having them lip sync and just handing them a Gopro on a stick gave me more material then I've ever had from guys coverage.

Art

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Old September 11th, 2014, 09:50 AM   #8
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Re: Survey: groom prep

I don't do them!

the usual thing here is (even if the couple are living together) they wont be together the morning of the wedding, invariably one of them will be too far away to cover, so i tell them at the consultation that unless they're virtually on the same street I cant cover both, theres an old saying in the stills world 'expose for the Bride' I tell them that most of my concentration is on her, I haven't had any guys complaining yet!
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Old September 11th, 2014, 09:54 AM   #9
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Re: Survey: groom prep

1. I always use two shooters (myself and one other), so the groom gets the same amount of time as the bride (potentially). Typically the groom doesn't require as much time so my second will also spend time getting B-roll.
2. Typically we use one camera, monopod, 35mm and 24mm lenses. We do bring a slider, but not a tripod, so any slider shots are typically from the ground or for rings, etc. Doesn't take a ton more time to setup that way.
3. Typically I'm just using it as a montage over either speeches or with music. A minute worth of good quick show is more than enough. We are always looking for sequences though, so anytime they do anything we try to get a wide shot, ms and cu so we can cut them together nicely.
4. Nope, we just get what ever they are doing.
6. We don't typically pose them unless we absolutely have to ask them to move.
7. Typically it's a small room. Our sound person has a hard time getting that boom near the groom during toast (I kid, Peter)

We've also toyed around with arriving early and capturing some fun the groomsmen may be having. For example, we've filmed the grooms party playing golf in the morning. While it's more time it does add uniqueness to the groom's prep.
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Old September 11th, 2014, 10:27 AM   #10
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Re: Survey: groom prep

the groom opening a gift from the bride is something we also try to cover during the groom prep.
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Old September 12th, 2014, 05:07 AM   #11
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Re: Survey: groom prep

Some of this is dependent on cultural background, tradition, expectations. Generally speaking:

1. 45 minutes to 60 minutes. First 10 mins to get details (rings and other bits). Rest for groom and his groomsmen getting dressed. I'll pull the groom aside for 2-3 minutes to get some 1 on 1 detail (ie tie, etc) where needed.

2. Monopod, 35mm, 50mm, 100mm macro for rings and candid shots of family from a distance, etc.

3. 2-3 minute clip montage set to music, and enough quality footage for the highlight film. However if it's a Balkan wedding, Greek, Asian, there are other traditions in which case it could be anywhere from 15 minutes upwards.

4. If I have 4-5 quality shots of the groom doing tie, cufflings, jacket I'm happy, and obviously try to get the key people in some shots (ie parens, groomsmen. Ideally I would want lots of detail and varied angles of groom getting ready. I've found that with Australian couples, it's harder to come by people who want to read a letter from their partner, do the whole gift exchange, do anything too "emotional" on camera.

5. I prefer to shoot on my own. If there's a need for a second shooter I prefer to have 2 shooters per location rather than splitting up.

6. I try to arrive at least 10-15 minutes before the photog to get my detail shots without their flash going off in the background. And then as per question 1. To make life easier for the groom I try to wait for the photog and shoot the dressing stuff together, and then try to get the groom 1 on 1 for a couple of mintutes to get the stuff I need, again without the flash going of every 2 seconds. Some times the 'older school' photogs get them doing some cheesy shit here so I try to insist on the 1 to 1 time for a bit.

7. Poor lighting, less than interesting homes or locations some times, crowded hotel rooms other times. A short time frame which often needs to be shared with the photog for the purpose of making life easier on the groom (ie not asking him to dress twice and do the same stuff twice on a 35c day)
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Old September 12th, 2014, 11:32 PM   #12
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Re: Survey: groom prep

I don't do them anymore, last one I did was like 15 years ago and even back then I didn't capture more than 5 or 6 minutes of raw footage. Equipment was just the bare basics, no tripod or slider, just shoulder supported camera with only a small on-cam light. It isnt worth the bother now to go to another location, find parking etc. Now if they pay extra it's another story.
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Old September 13th, 2014, 12:37 AM   #13
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Re: Survey: groom prep

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
I normally convince them not to do groom prep! Let's face it they sit around and drink beer/watch TV/or play with a play station and then 5 minutes before they need to go they get dressed and leave.
We must be twins man! Amen to that. I'd rather cut my penis off with a rusty bread knife than degrade myself by filming groom prep. Sorry Adrian mate.
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Old September 13th, 2014, 08:35 PM   #14
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Re: Survey: groom prep

Awesome John

I must remember that quote for future use!! I must admit I actively discourage the bride to do groom prep but most don't want it anyway.

I also feel much the same about staying at the wedding until midnight! I'm outa there after the first dance!

Chris
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