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


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Old September 23rd, 2014, 12:16 PM   #1
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Shooting the Toast and not being obtrusive

Wanted to get your feeling on shooting the toasts? We have two cameras with two operators we usually are in the center of the dance floor allowing photographers access on either side. Trying to get feelers how other's capture the toasts? We use a XHA1 and XLH1 so if lighting is low we must be closer then we would prefer.
Thank You
Cam A on the client performing the toast
Cam B on the Bride & Groom showing reactions

Last edited by Frank Garrod; September 23rd, 2014 at 06:18 PM.
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Old September 23rd, 2014, 01:04 PM   #2
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Re: Shooting the Toast and not being obtrusive

I man one camera on the speakers (they may be on separate tables or decide to walk around, have another locked off on the B&G and a third wide getting in the entire top table and as many guest tables as possible.

After years of getting fed up with 'we can't see for the video guy!' comments I tend to get pretty far back with my 70-200mm
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Old September 23rd, 2014, 02:31 PM   #3
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Re: Shooting the Toast and not being obtrusive

We use three cameras. One is locked off on the bride and groom (they don't really move), one is on a monopod where one shooter will capture guest reaction shots and the third is usually a monopod that is on the speaker.

Usually if I'm doing the speaker I will get down on one knee while filming on the monopod (since I can still see and reach all of the controls) to stay out of the way as much as possible.
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Old September 23rd, 2014, 06:23 PM   #4
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Re: Shooting the Toast and not being obtrusive

We are pretty lucky and all speeches are from the lectern here. Plus we can move it around too! That way I try to have myself somewhere on the dance floor so I'm as much out of the way as possible and not obstructing anyones view. I have a main camera on the speaker and then one roving camera for cutaways.

If the venue has support pillars I'll always position myself on the pillar and it effectively hides me and "no guests were harmed or blocked during this production"

Chris
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Old September 23rd, 2014, 07:40 PM   #5
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Re: Shooting the Toast and not being obtrusive

Hi Frank, if I had just two cameras to play with, I'd go with:

1. Speaker camera. My personal preference is for tripod, to save on shake, and so you can leave your post if you have to, to go check sound or whatever.

Low angle is obviously less obtrusive, but then there are trade-offs -- can be unflattering on the speaker, and may involve faffing about with height adjustment if the speaker decides to go walkabout in the audience, or if there's a sudden transition to cake cut/dance afterwards.

If the operator is skilled, or has a servo motor, a zoom lens can be amazingly powerful, so you can creep in during the emotional parts.

In terms of positioning, I guess I've never really tried positioning the speaker cam amongst the guests or at the back of the room. Reasons: if you're closer, you can get bigger close-ups; the in-camera sound is better if you're forced to rely on it; and you've got less risk of being blocked. On the other hand, if you're shooting from a guest's point of view, the shot is probably more "cinematic" -- more context, more foreground, middleground, background, more beauty in the frame.

2. Everything else cam. B&G/bridal table/cutaways/alternative angle of speaker/applause and audience wide shots. I'd stick this one on a monopod, with as long a lens as lighting permits.

Other things to think about:

-- Sudden transition to dancing. If you only have two cameras, and they both have long lenses, you have to mess about with lens changes.

-- If it's a choice between being obtrusive and missing the shot, be obtrusive! I try to be very conscious of blocking sight lines. But at the end of the day, you have to do what you're paid for.
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Old September 23rd, 2014, 09:55 PM   #6
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Re: Shooting the Toast and not being obtrusive

Because I shoot the entire event with only 1 camera, I place myself in the center of the dance floor, camera shoulder supported and with the zoom lens set so that the couple AND the toaster are in the frame. This is, of course if the toaster gets beside the couple.The only time I shoot at another angle/position is if there is extreme backlight for the times when a daytime event is scheduled, in which case I still include the couple and the toaster but making sure that harsh backlight is not in the frame. In this case I position myself so that the toaster is facing me or in profile to the guests. I never zoom into tight crops of faces, I just get the scene with the main 3 in it. There are many times that I crouch on one knee just so that the guest(s) behind me are not obstructed. Also I make sure that I am not at arm's length of any guest that may have the wise idea if nudging me to move. Like Chris, I take advantage of support pillars if possible.
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Old September 24th, 2014, 02:29 AM   #7
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Re: Shooting the Toast and not being obtrusive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
We are pretty lucky and all speeches are from the lectern here. Plus we can move it around too!

Chris
That would be a dream Chris - It very very rarely happens like that over here! I recently did a wedding with 5 speakers spread over 3 different tables - all speaking from where they sat!

Pete
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Old September 24th, 2014, 04:32 AM   #8
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Re: Shooting the Toast and not being obtrusive

In the UK I find the same thing as Pete, I don't think I have ever filmed a wedding with a lectern for the speeches. Usually the speakers are all on the head table and I would normally film them with one camera. If they are widely spread on the table, I may use two cameras on my double mount, with one on the speaker and the other on the couple.

It's also quite common in the UK for gifts for the main players to be handed out, which will often involve the B or G darting around the room to the recipients. I have also had a number of weddings recently where the speakers moved around the room talking, or were on other tables, which is quite challenging to film.

I just take every wedding as it comes, but always check the format with the best man before the speeches start. I also have two cameras permanently mounted on my tripod so that the second one is immediately available if needed.

Roger
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