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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old May 16th, 2015, 12:56 PM   #1
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Expect the unexpected

So there you are at a ceremony running 3 camera's: 2 unmanned of which one is a 4K camera set wide towards the altar and lectern and one camera zoomed in on the lectern to have a closeup from the readers and the manned camera you use for b-roll.

There is a piano player en live singer so you attach your tascam dr40 to their mixer, you attach a small audiorecorder with a lav to the altar's fixed mike and you do the same with the lectern's mike. You put a pocketrecorder with a lav on the groom and you put a tascam dr05 nearby the church speaker as backup.

The only one not wearing a mike is the priest, the problem is they don't like to be miked + if they would, there is hardly any time to do that when you work solo, he puts on his priest clothing just before the couple walks in but then you are outside shooting the arrival of guest and couple and you are placing the lav on the groom.

No problem ofcourse because you have almost every place where they speak or where sound comes from covered, right? No you haven't.

The priests stands behind the altar, welcomes the couple, but then walks to the front of the alter, about 3 meter from the couple and stays there for the remainder of the ceremony. To make things worse, he is not using a wireless mike and just talks a bit louder.

So all I have there is the grooms lav mike to capture the priests voice but because the priest is 3 meter further back the mike also captures a lot of reverb. Here I have good clean and clear voices from the couple, all readers but the priests audio really sucks, especially when mixed in with all the other good audio, the difference is so obvious is distracting.

Then there is the camera placement because you didn't consider the priest to stand in front of his altar, which is very uncommon, for the entire ceremony, so you need to re position your camera's in the middle of a ceremony as well.

Should this worry me? Nah, it used to but not anymore :) I think I have done what I needed to do but when the priest decides to wander off without a mike that's his problem, the people in church could hear him because he was speaking loud but when the couple did their vows, no-one understood a thing but that at least I do have captured with the small pocket recorder.

Just when you think you have covered it all, something unexpected happens.
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Old May 16th, 2015, 02:50 PM   #2
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Re: Expect the unexpected

I swear they do it on purpose, same happened to me Noa, all similar and the priest wandered off, now when the bride and groom have the church practice i make sure i ask the bride and groom did the priest do anything different unusual, if they say no i say did he wander around somewhere. Last week they said yes he went to the back of the church so i put a zoom there ready for him phew. But there is always something you think you have covered then there is something bloody else. Ha well
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Old May 17th, 2015, 05:22 AM   #3
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Re: Expect the unexpected

Yesterday the reception was really dim, even with my f2.8 lens the camera was pushing 21db gain - about 4 minutes before the speeches I asked the manager if it would be possible to raise the house lights just a little before the speeches he said 'actually we're turning them off and the room will be lit by hidden star lights in the ceiling drapes - it's what the bride wants' - I ask if they'll be brighter or darker than the current lighting and he says 'much dimmer - very moody'

Well after some mental swearing I hurriedly swap my EA50 for the A7s which can cope with cave lighting but my 2 handycams (one on the couple and one wide on the rest of the room) record footage that is wayyyyy too dark, so dark that serious tweaking and neat video might not recover!

I have it in my terms that environmental conditions such as poor lighting might affect the quality of the video but I think I'll start to spell it out at initial meetings as this is twice not it's happened to me.
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Old May 17th, 2015, 07:01 AM   #4
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Re: Expect the unexpected

Hi Pete

I don't even ask! I just setup a light stand with two big 125W CFL's bouncing into a silver brolly and zap the speech maker with that. I have only ever had one groom complain and wanted "mood lighting" about 2 years ago. I showed him what the image would look like on the camera LCD (pushed the gain to 24db too so it looked all grainy and brown) and he said "perfect" !! That's what his speeches looked like and he never complained and even gave me a referral later too. If that did happen again I think I would definitely talk to the couple and show then what their video is likely to look like without lighting and as long as they agree ..shucks, it's their wedding.

Chris
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Old May 17th, 2015, 09:07 AM   #5
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Re: Expect the unexpected

I've had them walk up and down the aisle while they talk, from altar to midway to doors, not easy. As a single cam operator it is a nightmare, especially when they would not let me mic them.
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Old May 17th, 2015, 09:47 AM   #6
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Re: Expect the unexpected

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Pete

I don't even ask! I just setup a light stand with two big 125W CFL's bouncing into a silver brolly and zap the speech maker with that. I have only ever had one groom complain and wanted "mood lighting" about 2 years ago. I showed him what the image would look like on the camera LCD (pushed the gain to 24db too so it looked all grainy and brown) and he said "perfect" !! That's what his speeches looked like and he never complained and even gave me a referral later too. If that did happen again I think I would definitely talk to the couple and show then what their video is likely to look like without lighting and as long as they agree ..shucks, it's their wedding.

Chris
Nice Idea Chris but some weddings I do I struggle to simply place my existing equipment where the tables are crammed together - 3 cameras (2 on light stands and one on a tripod) let alone be given the time to do it - last Saturdays wedding we got back from the couple's photoshoot as the guests were being seated - and the speeches were before the meal - talk about a panicky rushed setup! If I had lights that would def mean 2 trips to the car - might be the difference between missing the beginning of the speeches on the odd occasion. I can currently drag all my gear in one trip - just!

Also recently because of the crammed tables I've had to film from the back of the room with my 200mm - there would be no room for a tripod/light nearer the top table, plus I run the risk of it blocking my own view, especially when gifts are being given.
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Old May 17th, 2015, 10:55 AM   #7
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Re: Expect the unexpected

Noa, man you are crazy for shooting weddings with 3 cams all by yourself! :) I think you should raise your price a few hundred dollars and have an assistant with you for 6-8 hours. We pay $20/hr and that person mics everyone, sets up tripods, hides gear we don't need and even operates a camera if need be. All she has to know how to do is find focus and frame the shot. She is good enough now that we have her on Grooms reaction for the Brides entrance. If you had an assistant that person could reduce the amount of stress or mess ups.

Here we have no issues in California with Priest wearing a mic especially when are assistant is a cute lady. They can't resist and neither do the DJ's for reception audio.

We mic the Bride, Groom, Officiant, Podium and Piano for Catholic Ceremonies.

Luck us I guess.

Keep up the good work my friend.
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