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


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Old June 10th, 2015, 09:04 AM   #1
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Question for the cinematographers

The more cinematography work I see that blows me away leaves me thinking something along the lines of...


'I could totally do that... if I could.'

I know, I know, that sounds nonsensical - what I mean is I have the ability to do so much more but believe I'm limited in tow ways. And I'd appreciate peoples thoughts on this, and what you do in your working day.


1) Where's the photographer??

For me, in my geographical area - the photographer is chief, and always present! They run the day effectively, and call the shots whilst (if they are nice) allowing me to step in at times.

So much of what I see seems to be setup in a way that suggests the videographer has a LOT more say and control. Some of it even suggests that there is no photopgrapher present.

For example - steadycam shot down the aisle walking backwards - is there no photographer whose shot you are ruining??



2) Do the B&G not feel like its fake and you aren't filming the 'real' event?

OK, so yea my B&G do kiss on demand, and I do do walking shots and ask them to look at each other, but surely storyboarding a full scene can start to become a little artificial no?

Take the aisle example again - it looks great on video, but when little girls dream of there special day, do you think they imagine some guy with a weird contraption walking backwards down the aisle right in front of her and her handsome man?



I want to create work that impresses. I want to push myself. I just don't know how to get the weddings these other guys get where they seem to have full control and a free reign.



Thoughts and responses?
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Old June 10th, 2015, 10:44 AM   #2
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

Start with charging 10k+ and the couple will listen to you instead to the photog :)

Are you working solo?
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Old June 10th, 2015, 11:18 AM   #3
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

I am definitely not up in that echelon of cinematographers but I can answer one or two questions.

For the photogs.. yes, they're usually king/queen here, too. I talk to them before things get started and try to let them know what I'll be doing, ask to make sure I won't be interfering, etc. They like that.

For the recessional, I am standing behind the photog in the aisle, camera on monopod. Our 70D takes care of the focus, I watch the photog and move with them. They are out of my shot, and I'm out of theirs.

For the 2nd part of that question about the stranger with a contraption standing in their way... that's what longer lenses are for. Seriously. I let my shot be wider, and I'm usually at 50-85mm equivalent. I'm actually 50 feet away and stay there until I am fully in the back, when I step off to the side of the aisle, let them pass, then follow them again (there is often a good kiss once they're out of the church). As for them being comfortable, that's what the pre-meeting and earlier in the day are all about. They need to trust you to be comfortable with you. Spend some time with them, show them you care about their day. And besides, its also the photog who is in their eye line all the time, too.

As for the staged moments, that is about asking the couple. We always ask them how they feel about that. Most like the more natural approach, with maybe a couple of little staged moments... often done while the photog is already staging them. I usually let the photog get theirs, then step in for my turn. As long as I don't ruin the photographer's timeline, I haven't had a problem. Though the couple I just met with don't want ANY staged moments. Hate them.
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Old June 10th, 2015, 11:27 AM   #4
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

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Though the couple I just met with don't want ANY staged moments. Hate them.
Those are my favorite :)

I have watched a ray roman workshop but have not seen all episodes but it looks like he makes agreements with the photog so that either can spend their time with the couple for some staged shots and if it's a one time event, like when the couple sees eachother for the first time they make agreements where to stand so both won't show up in eachothers frame, and even then they still will do some staged shots afterwards to fill in the blanks. I think it's just a good balance between making good agreements with the photog and demanding your own time to stage shots. What I often notice and Robert and Clive have allready said it is that many seem to find it normal that the photog calls the shots and that the videographer follows, that is just how you position yourself, you either follow or you lead, the ones who lead have more effect on the outcome of their film. I myself am a follower, meaning I just let it happen and document the day as it unfolds without setting anything into scene, that also means the photog comes into my frame a lot but I don't care, he was part of the day so gets included as well, my style is also not "cinematic" but more documentary with some eyecandy shots to make it visually appealing enough. That is easy to shoot, easy to edit, easy to cash in :)
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Old June 10th, 2015, 11:33 AM   #5
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

So, you know those first glance shots, where they follow over the grooms shoulder. You reckon they are normally staged and shot after the real first glance? Because you couldn't not be in the photographers shot doing that kind of follow shot.

For me, this is where it gets a little weird.

I mean do you give direction?

Do you say things like 'Be emotional, like last time!' or for that matter do you say 'Act a little more blown away!' or 'Give her a real kiss!'

For me, the first glance should be similar to first seeing the bride coming up the aisle. If its not the real one, then its just not authentic.
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Old June 10th, 2015, 11:45 AM   #6
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

Clive,

I've had photogs who will stop and reset BEFORE they turn to see each other. I guess I'm OK with that a little. We tell our couples that we may direct them up until then, but once they see each other... we leave them the heck alone.

Usually we preset 2 cameras with a view over each of their shoulders (so front view and rear view), but I guess if I wanted to follow, it would have to be staged. Otherwise the photog would be in the shot, or at least my other camera gear. Maybe you could get something earlier, like when the bride leaves her ready room and heads out... or a 5 second as she gets to that last point where she'll be told to 'hold on...OK'

We also try to build in a moment before they see each other where we and the photog can reset (if needed) or make sure they get their shot. So.. if bride walks up to groom from behind, have him put his hand back so they can hold hands. Then wait 5-10 seconds or so... then let him turn.

-----

One trick is to make sure you prime your groom (or bride) before key moments like the 1st look. If he's been goofing with the guys, or is too busy talking about his semi truck (yep, happened), I'll ask leading questions: "Are you excited to see your wife?" "Are you going to say something sweet to her?"

Things like that. You're trying to get them into the right mind set without telling them directly. Can help lead to some great stuff.
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Old June 10th, 2015, 12:24 PM   #7
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

There are a number of different ways to film a wedding, depending on the product you are selling and the expectations of the client.

My own way of selling and filming my work is to be unobtrusive and like Noa, film events as they unfold before me. I would not normally pose or set up anything, allowing the photographer to do whatever he wants. This would fit in with the expectations of my clients, who want a documentary style fly on the wall view of their day.

Other products would perhaps require a different approach, for instance a cinematic style highlights video would require more carefully planned shots probably with the pre planned agreement with the client and working with the photographer to avoid clashes of requirement. A full length cinematic video would certainly require a lot of pre planning and arrangement with the client to allow capturing and probably staging of shots that might otherwise be intrusive. A filming crew would also probably be needed to film that type of video.

I do think that there are different types of client who would have differing expectations in both style, cost and collaboration, with probably the largest number of couples having no real idea of what to expect from a wedding video. There will be some who have no constraints on what they spend and would like a full film production of their wedding, delighting in cameras, personnel and equipment following every detail. I suspect that the majority just want to get on with their wedding, posing for some photos and not wanting a videographer in their face, but something to watch afterwards, either highlights for their friends, or doc style because they will want all the detail.

You need to target the market that you really want to cover, but don't be surprised if the cinematic client is more difficult to find.

Roger
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Old June 10th, 2015, 12:30 PM   #8
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

Stopped talking to photo-gs it makes it worse.
Do not stage anything anymore.
The B & G don't know anything if nothing is said.
I have my story in my mind, i get the shots i want. If i don't and the tog or someone else ruins it, i now put them all in even IF THEY ARE BACK TRACKING DOWN THE ISLE ON EXIT AND ENTRANCE.
The dick ed toastmaster who is behind the groom in his speech with his stupid little red jacket and fat belly, pulling faces behind the speakers.
The idiot in charge of the venue who gets in the way always and never has the video guys names down like the respect the tog gets. Oh and did i mention we are last to know anything.
If the priest tells me to not go anywhere! i just wait and tell the bride after the event and say he was awkward and i could not get that best position to film you both. (rare).
Have your story ready, it helps massively when your filming,This way i always seem to be one step ahead of the tog. If he wants to take them away then that's the time to step in with the glide cam whilst he is walking with them, then politely say hey man can you give us some slack when walking just leave them to walk on their own to where you want them. If he changes his lens which most do then i step in again going around the b&g with the glide, or any other time when you are ahead in your mind story. Steve
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Old June 10th, 2015, 12:56 PM   #9
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

Steve- had to laugh at how true most of what you said applies to so many UK weddings.

You are absolutely right about thinking ahead, it is quite easy to see what the photographer is going to do and be one step ahead with your own shots.

Roger
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Old June 10th, 2015, 04:05 PM   #10
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

Roger if anyone had told me 10 years ago it was like it was i would have laughed and said noooo way what, but Paul, Lloyd and i laugh every week, it is so laughable, predictable and i could write a play on the whole wedding affairs. When i sit back and study the day and come home after the event, my wife is so intrigued and cannot wait for the shenanigans and stories. After 10 years every week becomes unbearable sometimes but when i get a really lovely couple it makes me find my creativity again till the week after haha. Now and again i work with some great photographers like last week and i found it surprising he did not speak to the bride and groom but just left them making my job so easy. Then tomorrows tog is a nightmare and has a assistant glued to the brides side, not a good looking assistant but scruffy and does not look good on Tv.
So my plans are well ahead of this tog and my story will change because of the way he works. But i am always ready for anyone and any bride and groom, you have to be. I have never given out a bad film and feedback tells me that so prepare, get ready for the unexpected and be ready for everything to go wrong then you will make it right .Phew what a bore i am....
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Old June 10th, 2015, 04:08 PM   #11
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

You sound a lot like me Steve, I see many similarities :)
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Old June 10th, 2015, 05:52 PM   #12
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

Cheers Noah, hope your well mate...
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Old June 10th, 2015, 07:24 PM   #13
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

I wonder this all the time!

I bet, though, that they are simply 'better' about hiding the photographer or
taking a few moments for themselves.

Out of curiosity, let's watch one of our own here and provide feedback as to how much
control we think the cinematographer had. Then after a few
opinions, the videographer can give the specific behind-the-scenes info.

We are welcome to use/critique my latest:


Password is 'KingFamily'
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Old June 11th, 2015, 12:04 AM   #14
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive McLaughlin View Post
So much of what I see seems to be setup in a way that suggests the videographer has a LOT more say and control. Some of it even suggests that there is no photopgrapher present... I just don't know how to get the weddings these other guys get where they seem to have full control and a free reign.
Well, one thought is that behind the scenes there might be a lot of discussion with the bride, and pre-planning, as well as negotiation with the photographer.

Another thought is... Well, in photography, there's inevitably times when candid doesn't cut it. You do need the portrait shots and other posed shots. So brides do want someone with the confidence to say bend your arm a little, lean forward towards me, turn your face towards the light until I get a sparkle in your left eye, chin down, brush your hair back a bit, eyes at the camera, give a little smile. Gorgeous. Click. The brides have no idea how to pose, so they put themselves in the professional's hands.

As a videographer... Well, videographers tend to be a lot more shy than photographers and a lot less specific. But if you know what you want, and are direct about asking for it, and perhaps not afraid to be even a little pushy and bullish, then the bride will go along with it, and the photographer will have to go along with it. In all these videos, it might not be the bride and the photographer that gives the videographer say and control, but rather the videographer who goes ahead and simply takes control.

I'm not saying that this is what videographers ought to do, and, no, I don't do it myself. But I've seen it happen enough times, and it can be done in a way that's not off-putting to the couple.

Quote:
For example - steadycam shot down the aisle walking backwards - is there no photographer whose shot you are ruining?? ... Take the aisle example again - it looks great on video, but when little girls dream of there special day, do you think they imagine some guy with a weird contraption walking backwards down the aisle right in front of her and her handsome man?
I very often get this shot. Most photographers round here back away in front of the bride rather than shoot from the end of the aisle, since they're already standing at the front of the aisle for the marriage certificate shot. So you simply keep pace with the photographer.

From the bride's point of view... Well, I'm doubtful the bride much cares that you're there, and no bride yet has complained to me over the last few hundred weddings. I do sometimes prep them for it during the rehearsal -- "At this point, I'll be backing away in front of you to get this shot."

A similar shot later -- if there's a farewell tunnel at end of reception, and bride and groom are walking through it... Well, I've encountered some couples who expect the videographer to be there in front of them, and specifically ask for it, though most videographers in Sydney try to avoid this shot, because the drunken guests will inevitably kick you in the butt and/or grope you as you reverse.

Quote:
2) Do the B&G not feel like its fake and you aren't filming the 'real' event? OK, so yea my B&G do kiss on demand, and I do do walking shots and ask them to look at each other, but surely storyboarding a full scene can start to become a little artificial no?
I think most B&Gs don't care about fake. They just want awesome photos and video, whatever it takes. If you ask for something because you know it'll look good, most will happily oblige. If you say, "Could you please kiss just one more time?", they'll do it.

I'm stereotyping and grossly generalising here, but it also seems there's particular ethnicities who tend to be more friendly to doing whatever you ask, no matter how fake, no matter how many takes, as long as you deliver epic video.

It's probably worth adding that with Ray Roman, Rob Adams, Joe Simon type videos, I think very few scenes are storyboarded as such, and the couple are probably not being pressured with requests for take after take after take. If you have a celebrity client, they're not going to put up with that stuff.

It might also be worth adding that these guys are never going to film with fewer than two videographers, so each "take" of an action will give them at least two different angles.
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Old June 11th, 2015, 01:43 AM   #15
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Re: Question for the cinematographers

Quote:
As a videographer... Well, videographers tend to be a lot more shy than photographers and a lot less specific. But if you know what you want, and are direct about asking for it, and perhaps not afraid to be even a little pushy and bullish, then the bride will go along with it, and the photographer will have to go along with it. In all these videos, it might not be the bride and the photographer that gives the videographer say and control, but rather the videographer who goes ahead and simply takes control.
I agree, that's what I meant with you either follow or you lead, many videographers just accept the fact that a photog is leading the day and just go along with that, there is nothing wrong with shooting in such a way but if you want more controlled "cinematic' shots you really need to step in and make your own calls.

Quote:
For example - steadycam shot down the aisle walking backwards - is there no photographer whose shot you are ruining?? ... Take the aisle example again - it looks great on video, but when little girls dream of there special day, do you think they imagine some guy with a weird contraption walking backwards down the aisle right in front of her and her handsome man?
I have had several times that a photog would ruin the view for me by walking backwards in front of the bride constantly snapping away while I am standing at the altar beside the groom (I also wrote a post about that: (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/wedding-...isle-view.html). I personally find this the worst thing you can do as a photog or videographer and shows no respect at all for the moment and has all to do just to get the shot no matter what. The guests can't see the bride properly? Who cares, I need my shot, the groom and the parents can't see the bride approaching? Whatever, I"m doing video and need this killer angle, if anyone wants to see it, just look at the video later. :)

I know that Ray Roman for instance stays at the end of the aisle with one locked down camera set more wide as safety and one zoomlens to track the bride when she comes down the aisle, if you have a considerate videographer and photog that's the position they both should be in and it can provide in some very nice "cinematic" like shots.
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