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Old June 12th, 2015, 11:26 AM   #1
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Wedding camera placement

For the ceremony I'm trying to come up with a plan where to position myself for 2 manned camera shoot.

Procession:
Main camera on a monopod in aisle. 2nd camera in aisle in the opposite direction filming groom reaction.

Do you allow the photographer in front of you? Do you edit him out in post or leave him in not to break continuity?

Vows: Traditionally I have a medium shot down the aisle of bride & groom. The 2nd camera closups of bride's face. I'm not sure about the placement of this camera. Obviously the location will dictate these things. Do you setup in front of everyone in between the bg and pews or behind everyone on a tripod up high?

Before I meet with clients I'd like to have a preferred game plan I can adjust.
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Old June 12th, 2015, 12:02 PM   #2
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Re: Wedding camera placement

For 2 cams, I'd ideally have one "wide" up high above the standing crowds head for the bride's entrance.

The other, I roam on the side/up front (as comfortable) for processional, then the rest all is shot from the back.
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Old June 12th, 2015, 12:45 PM   #3
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Re: Wedding camera placement

Good idea. Balcony wide shot with a tripod is a nice place. Especially if you need to cut to while other camera is changing position.

Ceremony might be in a non church setting or outdoors. But this helps me to remember to ask client whether the venue has a balcony.
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Old June 12th, 2015, 12:54 PM   #4
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Re: Wedding camera placement

How many cameras available? And what type?

My typical setup is one "high and wide" in the back - (4K if possible, then you can crop in post, otherwise two cams, one wide, one tight if available), one cam shooting from right toward the bride, one from left towards groom (frame as best as possible, and let 'em run), and one handheld "run and gun" moving between front at the beginning of ceremony (processional/bride entrance) and rear as things progress.

Man the rear cam and of course the "mobile cam", the other two can be unmanned or checked as needed.
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Old June 12th, 2015, 01:20 PM   #5
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Re: Wedding camera placement

Two cameras. I own jvc hm 600 and my 2nd shooter is dslr guy but I tink its not a good idea to mix a dslr with 1/3 chip camcorder so I'm planning on him using my backup camera (sony fx1).

I was researching gh3 or gh4 option but I'm leery of jumping into dslr for one wedding. Even if I rent setting up and operating a rig seems complicated even though the image quality is tempting. I'm undecided if I want to pursue more wedding work.
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Old June 12th, 2015, 02:56 PM   #6
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Re: Wedding camera placement

Oof. With 2 cameras only that can be tricky to get everything I'd want.

Usually I want faces coming down the aisle for the recessional. DSLR on a monopod, crouched up front. Side away from the groom so I can turn the camera and get a shot of him from there, too, if I have 10 seconds. Camera in the rear (same side of the aisle) gets his face from behind bride/dad.

Ceremony... rear aisle camera gets most everything.

Vows/Rings: I want over the shoulder close ups of each the bride and groom. For us, that's the outside aisles and long reach lenses (about 300mm equivalent).

Then aisle again for recessional, usually on a monopod, shooting over the photog's shoulder, moving when they do.

Then I'd make sure I got plenty of guest/parent/B&G closeups with the DSLR to fill and allow cutaways.
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Old June 12th, 2015, 10:02 PM   #7
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Re: Wedding camera placement

Hi Pete

At every wedding I do I have an action cam mounted on a light stand with a ball head and it sits about 8' up in the air with a wide angle view of the wedding party. It's a cheap and effective way to have a "photog proof" shot cos even if the photog totally blocks your shot on the normal height cameras you still get a clean view even though the photog might be in it. It has saved my bacon many many times from inconsiderate photogs and is cheap as chips to setup !! I just use the Chinese SJ4000 action cam as it also has a useful LCD for framing and costs around $100!!! Best investment I ever made and by having it at the front of the aisle rather than way up on a balcony so get nice framing super wide without the shot having people looking like tiny ants Brides actually love the wide view too!!

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Old June 13th, 2015, 04:14 PM   #8
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Re: Wedding camera placement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
Procession:
Main camera on a monopod in aisle. 2nd camera in aisle in the opposite direction filming groom reaction.

Do you allow the photographer in front of you? Do you edit him out in post or leave him in not to break continuity?

Vows: Traditionally I have a medium shot down the aisle of bride & groom. The 2nd camera closups of bride's face. I'm not sure about the placement of this camera. Obviously the location will dictate these things. Do you setup in front of everyone in between the bg and pews or behind everyone on a tripod up high?
Hey Pete, I don't think anyone edits out the photographer if they're backing down the aisle on processional. After all, unless they're against an unchanging background, how could you? But few photographers (in my experience anyway) are inconsiderate enough to do this. If he did this and you've got no other bride shot, you'd have to leave him in.

In terms of a plan, you've got lots of options... Eg I'd personally do what you suggested for processional, meaning groom-look person has to hold shot while monopod scrambles out of way and adjusts. But you could also cover bride high and wide or high and tight from 45 degrees to celebrant (the high part important because everyone stands). But what if instead of a bride/groom split you had camera from back plus one guy at the front getting both bride, then spinning around for a quick few seconds of groom, which is what solo togs often do? Or what if you cheated the groom first look and recorded him looking towards door prior to ceremony? Or what if you had one guy standing behind the celebrant (if that's permitted)? Lots of options.

For ceremony proper, the obvious setup is main coverage from aisle, because it's central, plus cutaway camera. From aisle rather than back of room because back of room can be too far away unless you have a long lens, and you can sometimes get blocked since people don't see the camera. But other options doable as well. What if you both shot from 45 degrees to celebrant, and didn't have a centred shot of anything? Would that be such a bad thing? Aisle free for tog to run up and down. Or what if you started with both at 45 to celebrant and relocated groom-favouring camera to aisle for vows? Or ran most of ceremony with one person 45 degrees behind celebrant (if couple are turned that way for most of it, common in Catholic and anything "Orthodox" weddings), and other person 45 degrees in front or else in aisle?

I'll do a diagram of some possibilities when I get back to computer.

For something like Indian or Zoroastrian ceremony, maybe different again.
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Old June 14th, 2015, 01:19 AM   #9
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Re: Wedding camera placement

Hi Pete, see diagram below -- some positions for cameras during processional. I think I've used all of them at one point or another. And even this doesn't exhaust the field. In particular, there's lots of things you can do with a moving steadicam camera. In terms of what combination of positions to use for a two-camera ceremony... Well, there's a lot of possibilities. I guess just think about one on bride, one on groom, the cameras shouldn't see each other, don't worry too much about crossing the line, and someone should be in position to cover handover without awkward tripod adjustment. And thinking about lens changes sometimes adds to complexity.

1. So, a camera behind the bride could be a wide angle of everything (in which case it's probably in shot), or a balcony-level camera (in which case it might still be in shot, if you have a monopod guy crouched at position 11 or 12). Or, most popular: could be a steadicam following bride, hopefully crouched behind her so he's not in shot. A steadicam from this position gets the back of the bride's dress, which is often interesting, gets the roof of the church, gets people turning to look at bride, and is in position to neatly cover the handover and hold the shot till other shooter is set up on tripod. Disadvantage of this position for two-camera shoot: it's not a close-up groom camera.

2 and 5 -- probably most useful as a wide angle, the point being to show the bigness of the church, and all the people standing up.

Position 3 -- either a wide angle that perhaps could be locked off for the entire ceremony, or sometimes people post a 70-200 or similar here, so that you can get a shot of groom's face over bride's shoulder. You can also have someone do a panning shot, exposure permitting -- following bride as she walks along back of church and then turns into aisle. Position 3 is more useful than 4 for catching groom's expression, but which side you stick a camera on depends on layout and which direction bride is coming from. If used for main wide angle during ceremony, it has a clearer view than 2 or 5.

Position 6 -- if it's a high angle (to see over heads), can be surprisingly good shot for various purposes. Often it's useful to get groom first look, where otherwise you'd be blocked by people standing up. But if it's really high, you can also use it to track the bride as she walks down aisle, up to and including the handover. If it's not a big close-up, then all the people filling the frame can add to the interest of the image.

Position 7 -- This is the wrong side for a groom first look, but this position from a high angle can be useful as an unmanned wide angle depending on layout of church. Can later reposition it as an aisle cam.

Position 8 -- One trick I use is to place a sign on one of the pews saying "Reserved for videographer". If you have someone standing here, they can get a groom first look, including over the bride's shoulder, can cover the handover without getting blocked, and can step into the aisle for the rest of the ceremony. Can start with tripod with the legs folded up, to use it as a monopod, and then unfurl it once they step into the aisle. In some churches, there's a pathway between pews that you can stand or crouch in instead. Note: sometimes people use 8 or 9 to film bride instead of filming from front of church.

Position 9 -- Depending on layout, can sometimes be useful.

Position 10 -- obvious place to put a groom camera depending on how far forward the groom is standing. If there's space between the altar and the first pew, then you won't just be looking at the side of his face.

Position 11 -- some people stand, some crouch. Obviously a good place to catch either groom first look or bride. One disadvantage is you might get in shot of other cameras, depending on what they're doing. Another disadavantage is that your movement might be limited to relocating to position 10 after processional, although position 13 is often more desirable for the sake of getting an angle that favours the bride.

Position 12 -- classic position from which to get crouch shot, or standing shot, or even high angle, of processional. Usually can't get much of groom from this position though. Main point of this position: you get a full-length shot of front of dress, which might be tricky to get from any other position.

Position 13 -- not useful as a groom cam, but can be used as a high angle to track bride into handover. Can set it up as a timelapse before ceremony to show guests arriving.

Positions 14 and 16 -- very often used for something like Greek ceremony, where couple are faced away from audience for most of it. Position 16 has the advantage of favouring the bride and being able to get a groom over-the-shoulder of processional, but, depending on position of signing table, might not be ideal. The other problem with 14-16 is that they're often in the view of a camera from the other side, especially if they're shooting diagonally opposite each other.

Position 15 -- you're unlikely to be in this position, since you'll probably spoil the view of any other camera, except perhaps for a something like a Jewish wedding, where, under a small chuppah, you might not be able to see the couple otherwise. Outside weddings might give you more freedom. Photographers once in a blue moon try to get a shot from here during the kiss, because it's epic to see all the people cheering in the background with the kiss in the foreground.
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Old June 16th, 2015, 08:35 PM   #10
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Re: Wedding camera placement

Thx for the detailed response.
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Old June 22nd, 2015, 02:46 PM   #11
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Re: Wedding camera placement

I just did a wedding. The priest would only allow us on the edges. It was difficult to shoot over the pulpit and both camera got each other in the shot when we were wide. Any other location would show the b&g backs of their heads. The shot shows when priest was at the pulpit I was able to get closer during the vows but it was challenging to get over the shoulder of face of each.The b &g heads are just above the pulpit.
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Old June 22nd, 2015, 05:20 PM   #12
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Re: Wedding camera placement

I guess in that sort of scenario, where B&G are facing away from audience for most of the ceremony, I usually try to put one camera on the "inside", and one in the aisle (to get the faces of priest and other readers).

In your case, you couldn't shoot from the aisle. But could you have shot from the edges, over the heads of the audience, to get more of the priest's face? Or would your zoom have been long enough to shoot from the back of the audience?

In really dire situations, that's when having more than two cameras comes in handy -- could be unmanned camera or even GoPro time. I think Peter Riding uses this sort of trick -- clamps prefocused unmanned cameras all over the place.
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Old June 22nd, 2015, 05:34 PM   #13
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Re: Wedding camera placement

This was a wedding that I was hired as a 2nd shooter not the one I created this thread for. I left it in the hands of the guy who hired me. His priority was for me to be in position for the vows covering the closeup of the groom while he did the bride. I did move out to the aisle and reverse my direction to each speaker. The guy who hired me was flying on seat of his pants. I took that pic with my phone and txted him so he had an idea what i was filming. Hard for me to say whether the client is that concerned with seeing the priest's face. The other thing I was conscience of when I move out in front I was directly in the field of view of the other camera.
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