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Old February 10th, 2015, 01:06 PM   #1
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Leave the aisle free?

For a Christian ceremony in a church, do you stick a camera in the aisle?

When I first started shooting weddings, I always positioned one here. Seems like the natural place to get unblocked coverage, and the natural angle -- square, front-on, balanced. But then I ran into a photographer who said she liked to get wide shots from the back of the church, and could I please move the tripod. So, for the past few years, I've been leaving the aisle empty as much as possible as a courtesy to photographers. I suppose it gives guests a better view as well.

In Rob Adams' Creative Live course, I think he does something similar.

Now that I'm photographing more weddings myself, I have a slightly different perspective. Yes, I also appreciate being able to get a wide shot from the back that shows everything, and hopefully a wide shot from the front as well. But how many wide shots could you really stick in the album?

One thing that's surprised me in general -- I'm not sure there's actually that much for the photographer to photograph during a ceremony... So, bearing this in mind, I've gone back to relocating a tripod to front centre of aisle after processional -- usually a really low angle, so that photographer can shoot over the top if they want to.

What's your practice been? What are your reasons for/against placing a tripod front centre of the aisle?
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Old February 10th, 2015, 01:55 PM   #2
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

Hi Adrian,
I have never used an aisle tripod as most of the action in the church is with the couple facing the Vicar. Most church aisles are also pretty narrow so there is a very good chance of the camera and tripod getting knocked over by the bride or bridesmaids dresses catching it. Finally there is always the chance of the tripod being in the shot during congregation shots.

Roger
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Old February 10th, 2015, 03:24 PM   #3
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

Same here, couple faces the priest all the time so a aisle cam would be useless.
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Old February 10th, 2015, 06:32 PM   #4
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

I let the photog know that, as long as its only for a moment or two, its fine if they block my aisle cam. Unless they've proven themselves less than reasonable earlier in the day :)

Aisle camera is a safety camera for me, for most of the ceremony. Its a nice, solid shot for anything.

The exception is the recessional, where I usually shoot over the photog's shoulder, and I'm handheld.

And the processional where, if I position it correctly, just on the edge of the aisle, I'm out of my shot from the front, and I can get a shot of the groom's face over the bride's shoulder for a great action/reaction moment.

Curious then, if not an aisle camera, where are your other cameras? We have one each up front on the outside aisles (Every American church, pretty much, has 3 aisles).
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Old February 10th, 2015, 07:18 PM   #5
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

Well, generally at least three cameras. Usually four or five.

Two main cameras are 45 degrees to couple, if that makes sense. They sort of move around within that area anyway, and can get over-the-shoulder shots during the vows.

Third camera -- fairly unmanned. Often it's at the back of the church, to one side of the aisle. This is often very wide, but it's not used much in the edit unless we're desperate, or during transitions (to show people standing up/sitting down, for instance). One of the cameras at the front will have main coverage on whoever is talking during the ceremony, and that gets used during the longer versions. The other camera has couple shot and cutaways.

Sometimes, depending on church layout, I position this third camera at the front to one side, next to one of the other cameras, and it gets a more sensible wide angle of the proceedings. And lately I've been sticking it front-centre of the aisle again.

Fourth and fifth cameras -- just depends. Often one camera is just dedicated steadicam camera, and spends much of the ceremony recording the ground. The fifth camera can get used in different ways -- eg, as audience-facing wide shot, as musician cam, as closer wide angle from the front. For instance, during the signing of the register, I might reposition this camera for a wide, while I shoot a close up, and my second shooter picks up the steadicam.

Very occasionally, I use GoPros as well (eg, as dedicated musician camera, or wide angle from altar).

More than five cameras -- personally I find that it's too tricky to keep track of everything. (Just like more than three camera operators.)
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Old February 11th, 2015, 01:40 AM   #6
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

I agree with Robert plus i love the vow kiss shots with that lovely bokeh behind on my 70-200..Horses for courses just be comfy in what you really want, Latest vid love that isle shot.. Steve

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Old February 11th, 2015, 04:00 AM   #7
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

That's a nice shot Steve - I had a priest last year that kept all the bridesmaids stood in the aisle for the entire ceremony - I wasn't allowed at the front so my wide locked off cameras had to fill in!
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Old February 11th, 2015, 04:22 AM   #8
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

I also get a situation where the second tog stays in the aisle for the entire ceremony - pretty much ruining the shot, even from a high mounted camera like this. They are more work but I prefer balconies for this type of shot now.
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Old February 11th, 2015, 05:13 AM   #9
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

Nice to see the photographer dressed for a wedding Pete!!

Roger
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Old February 11th, 2015, 06:15 AM   #10
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
That's a nice shot Steve - I had a priest last year that kept all the bridesmaids stood in the aisle for the entire ceremony - I wasn't allowed at the front so my wide locked off cameras had to fill in!
That is a nightmare Pete, i have Paul my bro ready for that and when that happens he comes to the opposite side of me usually hidden or where ever he can get from a good side view, again if upstairs is available he goes there, sometimes if the tog is in the way then i tell Paul to rub on the togs shoulder and go under or over him, but ye the first pic is a nightmare when the priest does that...
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Old February 11th, 2015, 07:57 AM   #11
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

As much as I like a balcony shot for the splendor of when everyone stands for the bride, for the entire ceremony, I'm not a fan at all. It always feels too distant and removed to me. Of course, if you have to, you have to.

We have our first GoPro (bought an 3D Robotics Iris+ quadcopter) and I am considering ways to use it, like behind the priest, the balcony shot.

So far, though, for primary shots, since we're never, ever allowed up with the pastors, that leaves aisle, balcony, and the 45 degree side aisle shot (for the vows, the over-the-shoulder close up is, by far, my favorite shot).

There are a few rare locations where we can be behind teh pastor because we're in a door for some back room, but I've found they are too often obstructed by lecterns, people, and then you're trapped in the back.
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Old February 11th, 2015, 06:53 PM   #12
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

We have the same situations with photogs here ... torn jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt equals "smart casual"

Considering they are in our shots they should at least dress decently! With Church weddings (only a few weddings here are Churches nowdays) IF there is only a centre aisle and it's wide enough and there is no space up front I just have to tuck myself into a pew but I don't like it! Apart from the photog, the guests all seem to lean into the aisle so your shot is blocked anyway.

Pete? Try putting you high angle wide cam right up front with you aisle camera ...that way it just gets the bridal party and front row so the messy aisle shot is avoided. Whenever I can I sneak into the right hand front pew next to the guys so although I have only a side view of the groom I get the bride full on. Our ceremonies here have the couples facing each other so we don't get the "back of heads" shots but Greek weddings still face the priest all the time so I have my main camera behind them.

Luckily with mostly outdoor weddings we have the luxury of getting there early and can re-arrange the chairs to enable us to get a nice view but you can still get blocked! I tend to now shoot from the front row left so the bride is always favoured and it works well.
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Old February 12th, 2015, 05:37 AM   #13
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

We get the backs of their heads for most of the service apart from the vows and the ring exchange - although quite often I've had them facing the priest when doing the vows as he prompts them and they then say them to him!
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Old February 12th, 2015, 06:48 AM   #14
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

Hi Pete

That's crazy!! Vows are supposed to be spoken to each other! The only time (catholic only) they face the priest is for the declaration and nuptial blessing here . In fact most priests even turn them slightly outwards so the cameras get a better view. With Greek services the couples here don't utter one word ..the priest does all the talking so we have cameras from both angles ..I don't mic the groom, I mic the priest !!

I guess we have it easy??
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Old February 12th, 2015, 06:57 AM   #15
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Re: Leave the aisle free?

Chris it is so hard in UK there are so many b....y rules..I have had umpteen arguments with clergy
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