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


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Old December 1st, 2014, 07:21 AM   #1
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Photo + Video - One Man

I see that some (Roger + others) offer photo + video packages and seem to get lots of bookings because if it.

Having done both myself, but never alone, I puzzled how you handle those moments like entering and exiting a church, especially those churches where it's not a straight isle. they come int he door then turn a corner.

Where is the priority? Photo or video? What if you're stood at the front, what's the rear camera doing, or don't you even have one?

When does video take priority over photos and when do photos take priority over video?
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Old December 1st, 2014, 10:32 AM   #2
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

Hi Dave,

If we only have one wedding on the day, my wife comes along aswell, but if we are both filming a wedding independently, then I have s stills camera and video camera mounted on the same tripod. I take stills and video up to the door of the church on the way in, then dash down to the ceremony end to get the walk down the aisle. I also have a locked off camera at the ceremony end and a GoPro for an overall shot.. I also sometimes have another video camera on a clamp on the tripod central column for a wide fixed view, while I am using the main camera for closeups etc. I take still shots whenever I need them in the ceremony, sometimes from the tripod and sometimes with the the stills camera round my neck.

If the officiant won't allow flash and/or shutter/mirror noises, I use a bridge camera for silent shots and can also take 13mp stills with the video cameras while I am filming.

The walk back down the aisle is straight forward as I stop them where I want for stills and the videos keep running. The rest of the day is a doddle, as it is completely under my control. During any formal groups, the priority is on the stills, so the camera runs on the tripod and I just stop and reframe inbetween stills. I sometimes leave the video off slightly to one side to give a different angle and to reduce the sound of my voice. Romantic shots are also easy as the emphasis is on the posed still, and the video on any posed shots is secondary. Any extra footage is easily edited out.

I also do lots of casual video and stills throughout the day, and again that is all under my control, so no pressure. I actually find doing both stills and video to be a lot more relaxing than working with a photographer. I can set the poses I want, work completely at my own pace and build a good friendly relationship with the guests in a way that you can't with video only.

I'll be getting a 4k camera shortly and will be interested to see how the stills from video stand up from that. It could make life a lot easier if they are useable.

Roger
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Old December 1st, 2014, 06:32 PM   #3
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

I do exactly as Roger and my wife does stills while I'm shooting video and this is mainly a priority for inside the limo when it arrives and of course aisle walks. I have done a wedding entirely on my own and boy, it's tough ... you can technically have a DSLR (or two) on a harness plus have a shoulder mount video camera and then another video camera on a tripod.

I have done maybe half a dozen like that and really all I do is sacrifice aisle shots for video and also you cannot take photos and video when the receiving line is going on.

Of course having video and photo with two people at the reception is often a waste so we add an open photobooth option and my wife runs that which keeps her busy while I really have plenty of time to do a few still inbetween video during speeches, first dance and cake cutting (you can dummy those anyway!!)

Dave, IF you want to do it on your own why not consider a few staged shots in the aisle after the service? There are many many times when as a photog I have done ring closeups after it's all over

Chris
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 03:37 AM   #4
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

I have to ask, because I find this crazy! :)

Would it not be worth your while to hire an assistant for the day to take pics/video whenever you are busy doing other stuff?? How much could a young/college assistant cost for the day - $150??
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 04:47 AM   #5
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

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Originally Posted by Aindreas Lynch View Post
I have to ask, because I find this crazy! :)

Would it not be worth your while to hire an assistant for the day to take pics/video whenever you are busy doing other stuff?? How much could a young/college assistant cost for the day - $150??
Would you seriously trust an inexperienced assistant to set up still shots or take video of a client's wedding? I consider taking wedding video or photographs a very skilled job, which is why people pay a lot of money for it and don't expect to have a college student turn up. If a student could do my job as well as me for $150, I would hire two of them and sit at home with my feet up. Uncle Bob Videos sounds like a good name for the business.

The whole reason I added photography to our video package is because of the poor quality of work done by spme photographers at weddings I have filmed at.

Roger
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 05:14 AM   #6
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

I think you have to make choice, you can either have decent photos and a very simple videocoverage or a good videocoverage and simple photos, no way you will be able to deliver a good standard on both at once if you shoot alone.

Another option would be to shoot video with 4K camera's only, if the couple would understand that a hugh print might cause issues because the resolution might not be sufficient then you should be able to just concentrate on the videopart only and extract all your stills afterwards, the photoshoot with the couple and family is something you could combine with a video and a photocamera or maybe just use the photocamera then and don't video it al all because there you have time and control and that's the most important part of the day, all the rest you can just extract from 4K.
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 06:39 AM   #7
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

What Roger says is worth thinking about! I have had "experienced" Uni students with supposedly 4 years video experience make a total hash of a wedding. It's simple ..pay peanuts and you get a monkey..I would never hire a photog!!! I recommended my mate who was supposedly a "pro" and had done many many weddings and guess what ..50% were out of focus!! His response was "that's normal"

If you want something done properly do it yourself or get someone you have trained to shoot your way. That's why wives are good to shoot with.

With Noa's idea of using 4K video and getting stills might work for stuff you cannot shoot while you are on video but I would still do the photoshoot with a proper DSLR especially for posed shots.
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 09:08 AM   #8
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

I often find it quite frustrating to be shooting video of a particular scene , bride walking up isle for example , and to be sharing the moment with a photographer who insists on getting a good still every second. It just seems illogical to me. It makes sense to divide the times of the day and give the best way to cover that part. Eg, the vows are obviously video. The photo session is obviously photos (with a small bit of video perhaps) . The speeches are primarily video. The first dance is mixed due to the need for a higher shutter speed to grab a still. But yes all in all I do think a nice system can be worked out to give a 'fusion' of photos and video done by one skilled operator.
My only main concern is that this doesnt get used by professionals just to get work and who dont actually charge accordingly. We will fall into the trap that photographers fell into back when digital took over. They took photos of everything and charged nothing extra. Now it has become the norm to take 1000's of pics and the money is the same as it ever was.
This is the only pitfall. If the customer wants both done, make them pay for both.
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 01:12 PM   #9
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

Most of what Ger says I completely agree with, the part I would disagree with is regarding the extra cost. It takes me no longer on the day to take stills and video as against just video. The only difference at all is the time that it takes to process the stills. I supply all the stills on disc, with no album unless they want to pay extra for that. the price I charge reflects the extra time taken for the processing.

I don't agree with other posters that both video and stills suffer if you do both, because there is enough time during the day to get exactly what you want when you are in complete control, with no photographer constantly taking the prime position. A large amount of the stills that photographers take at a wedding are of passing interest only, when there is a video aswell. The constant all day photography is really unecessary and is often the photographer justifying his time. Do the couple really want stills of the speeches or the first dance hanging on their wall? The photos that are going to be blown up and hung on the wall, are invariably going to be from the formal groups or more likely the romantic shots. These are precisely the ones that I take the time and care taken over and when the video is less intense.

I would not suggest that everybody should or could do it, but I never feel pressure with a wedding shoot, with 30 years to perfect my filming style and speed of working. Adding photography is something that feels very natural to me, but you need to be very comfortable and confident to consider it. 4k will almost certainly help for certain shots and 8k will probably see the start of the end for conventional wedding photography. The times they are a changing!

I would also say that the vast majority holding their hands up in horror at the idea of both, are speaking from the viewpoint of never having done it, whereas I am doing it most weekends.:-) I am also looking at it from the requirements of my potential clients, not to satisfy theorists and analysts and for me and my clients it works.

Roger
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 01:33 PM   #10
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
Would you seriously trust an inexperienced assistant to set up still shots or take video of a client's wedding? I consider taking wedding video or photographs a very skilled job, which is why people pay a lot of money for it and don't expect to have a college student turn up. If a student could do my job as well as me for $150, I would hire two of them and sit at home with my feet up. Uncle Bob Videos sounds like a good name for the business.

The whole reason I added photography to our video package is because of the poor quality of work done by spme photographers at weddings I have filmed at.

Roger
I would expect them to do a better job than someone trying to do both jobs at the same time, yes :)

Personally I cannot see how anyone could do a good job while trying to do both at the same time and what I meant was that during the parts of the day when two people are needed would it not make sense to train some student to give you a hand? During the vows for example, would it not be easier and make your video look better if there was someone operating the video camera while you took stills rather than a remote camera on a tripod? What happens if the shutter in your stills camera fails during the vows and you go into state of panic? Wouldn't it be easier if there was someone else there to help out?

I'm not having a go at how you work or what it looks like, I've never seen it!! I'm just wondering if it would make life easier if you had some help. If you are providing both services then Im sure it would be pretty easy to charge an additional $150 for your assistant so your not out of pocket. In the long run it might improve your product even allowing you to charge more!! :)
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 02:38 PM   #11
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

Personally I cannot see how anyone could do a good job while trying to do both at the same time

..... and personally I can't see how anyone can fly a remote spacecraft on a 10 year mission and land it on a comet. But it happened.

Or did it :- )

There are lots of much more mundane everyday things that I don't understand but none the less happen all day every day.

In my youth I was for a while an instructor on the selection wing of one of HM's special forces. The sorts of recruits who were successful were not supermans performing superhuman tasks superhumanly. They were just good all-rounders who knew their stuff and had quiet self-confidence. And had the ability to put pre-conceptions to one side - to think "out of the box" to use that awful management speak.

Just do it. Just get on with it. You'll find a way.Don't bother with whining "this won't work" as you try to justify the status quo.

Thats not to say I haven't fallen into the same trap. I also worked as a sales director in financial services. In my early time personal income was all generated by commission and this was impenetrable to the consumer. Then legislation changed requiring all commission and fees to be declared in writing up front - and this was GROSS income NOT net after business expenses. Us old-timers imagined that this would spell the end of the world. No client would buy anything if they had to sign a piece of paper with all that on it. But guess what? The new sales people came in and just got on with it. They had known nothing else and consequently had none of our reservations.

The only barrier is whats between your ears.

I'm not going to spell out chapter and verse how I do it. I used to do that in photography circles and guess what? Part-timers masquerading as pros came along and ate our lunch.

My methods have some similarities with Rogers but also big differences. For example I require much more fluidity in the use of my two stills cams so they are always on my shoulders rather than on supports.

Three key elements are to 1) have a lot of detail from a pre-wedding brief about who is doing what and where and when 2) be super-familiar with at least one discipline whether that be stills or video 3) use multiple cams for video - more cams = less pressure.

Look closely at your current product and why you offer what you offer / why you shoot how you shoot. How could you change to be more appealing to actual clients.

Other than that make your own mistakes and learn from them. The man who never did anything wrong never did anything.

Pete
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 04:23 PM   #12
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

The trouble here is Aindreas is that you are looking at it from the point of view of what you would be able to do and how you would feel. After well over 2000 weddings over 30 years, I don't panic period. you may need two or more people when you film a wedding but I don't. If we only have one wedding on, then my wife may well come along as well, because it lightens the work load and is company. She is also a solo video and photo shooter. A junior assistant would simply not be up to the job, I would have to constantly watch them and move them when they are in my way.

You are missing the whole point and also not reading my posts properly as I am not trying to do two jobs, this is what you are not understanding. Much of the work of the photographer is not necessary during the day and the same applies to the videographer, so what I am doing is one job that is a mix of video and photograpghy that blend together. There is a misunderstanding that everything has to be covered by video and photos all day, but that is not the case. When you know your business inside and out, you know what and when you need to shoot and when you don't.

In your example of the vows for instance, probably one of the most important parts of the day, you seem to feel that if I had a trainee taking video shots while I was taking stills, both would be so much better. Wrong! The trainee would not have my insight and camera skills to get better video than me. You also don't get the way that I handle that moment of the day, because I don't have a remote camera taking the video while I am shooting the stills. I have my main camera on my lightweight tripod for stability and I am operating that to get the closeups and detail shots. A few inches away on the double tripod plate is my stills camera which is pointing at exactly what my main camera is pointing at. There is a remote shutter control for the stills camera so that I can take a still of whatever I am shooting without stopping filming. It's also very easy to take a few seconds for camera adjustments as necessary. The main tripod also has a second video camera for wide shots, or I will place it as a locked off camera for a different angle. There is also a GoPro positioned for an overview depending on space and venue type.

Regarding going into a state of panic if the shutter fails on my stills camera during the vows. Again you are viewing it from your own perspective as I never panic about anything to do with weddings. If the shutter failed on a camera it would be down to using crap or poorly maintained gear. I also have a second camera hanging round my neck, as preparation and being ready for anything is what wedding work is all about. I would think there would be more chance of an assistant tripping over his camera strap and breaking his neck, or fainting into the Bride's bosom.

Video and photography is a new combined skill and one that requires a slightly different approach, but 5 years down the road it will be commonplace.

Roger
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 04:54 PM   #13
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

Great post Pete, I nearly choked on my tea over your spacecraft-comet analogy. Absolutely dead right though, just because you can't or won't do something yourself, doesn't mean others can't. While others are whinging and saying it's not possible, you, me and Chris are picking up the work.

It wasn't long ago that photographers were complaining about digital cameras and that they didn't understand computers and the quality would never match film etc.etc. News video crews used to go out with a sound recordist, lighting guy, video recorder operator and cameraman and producer. Now it's often just a self contained ENG guy. So many people seem to be stuck with the idea that this is what photographers do and this is what videographers do, so that it how it is. Well I don't subscribe to that, technology is changing, client's expectations are changing and the ideas of professionals need to change with them. In the UK, wedding video has about 10% of the available market, photography over 90%, so offering both opens up a lot more of the available market.

Roger
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 05:24 PM   #14
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
I don't agree with other posters that both video and stills suffer if you do both, because there is enough time during the day to get exactly what you want when you are in complete control
Quote:
Just do it. Just get on with it.
I more then once shot a ceremony with multiple camera's outside when the sun was coming from behind the clouds and hiding again so light conditions constantly changed, the couple was also sitting under either some trees or a small tent in the shade. I was not able to run my camera's in autoexposure because of harsh background light and a subject sitting in the shade, the disappearing and reappearing sun had me manual controlling the exposure of all my camera's one by one with each light intensity change. What I"m saying here that if I would have tried to let my camera's handle it automatically for video while I was off to shoot photo's my videofootage would have been useless, either badly underexposed or badly over exposed. My camera's required 100% of my attention to make sure I would get home with usable video footage.

How would you "just do this" if you work alone? So cover such a ceremony while getting your photos as well if you are not extracting stills from your videocamera? Time is not the issue, control is, unless you can control the sun? :)
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 05:34 PM   #15
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Re: Photo + Video - One Man

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Originally Posted by Peter Riding View Post
use multiple cams for video - more cams = less pressure.
I guess you always shoot a ceremony inside with controlled and not changing light situations and with people standing in fixed positions, then this this approach works and you can just let the camera's roll , if it's like my above example it's exactly the opposite meaning very high pressure as you have to manually control each camera depending on the lightconditions.
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