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


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Old July 26th, 2015, 03:12 AM   #1
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Guests smiling for the camera

Well I've now done a half dozen weddings using a DSLR for my main camera and even though I used to get a few people thinking I was taking their photo with my EA50, I am trying to come up with a solution to the number of people now doing it when I point my A7 at them. I can't blame them and I'm not really surprised but I still can't quite get used to it.

I try and film as discreetly as possible but wonder how you folks deal with this - I tend to say 'It's for the wedding video guys' and hopefully their response is worth keeping but that's not always easy in a busy/noisy room.

Pete
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Old July 26th, 2015, 03:27 AM   #2
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

I use a longer focal length when shooting people, I use a stabilised 42,5mm lens handheld (85mm equivalent on a full frame) and a 75mm on a tripod (150mm full frame equivalent) so I can keep sufficient distance, I occasionally get some people noticing me and still take a pose though :)
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Old July 26th, 2015, 03:32 AM   #3
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

I use a stabilized 24-70 and tend not to get in people's faces but it's amazing how many people just know when you are pointing a camera at them and strike a pose!
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Old July 26th, 2015, 04:09 AM   #4
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

Although I don't use a DSLR for video, the FZ1000 looks very similar, but I use a very simple technique for video and stills when I don't want people to pose. I frame them very quickly when they are distracted then simply look somewhere else, it works 90% of the time as it doesn't seem to occur to them that you can be filming while not looking at them. Occasionally someone will move partially out of frame, but not enough to bother me. If you have a wifi camera of course, you can face away while monitoring the image on your phone.

Roger
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Old July 26th, 2015, 04:12 AM   #5
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

+ 1 roger, or just simple shout cheers thumbs up and then that's where you get your shot.
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Old July 26th, 2015, 04:19 AM   #6
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
Although I don't use a DSLR for video, the FZ1000 looks very similar, but I use a very simple technique for video and stills when I don't want people to pose. I frame them very quickly when they are distracted then simply look somewhere else, it works 90% of the time as it doesn't seem to occur to them that you can be filming while not looking at them. Occasionally someone will move partially out of frame, but not enough to bother me. If you have a wifi camera of course, you can face away while monitoring the image on your phone.

Roger
That's quite a trick Roger but by the time I've framed, got the correct exposure and then nailed the focus they've spotted me :/
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Old July 26th, 2015, 04:23 AM   #7
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

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I frame them very quickly when they are distracted then simply look somewhere else, it works 90% of the time
Not sure that works if you shoot handheld :)
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Old July 26th, 2015, 04:26 AM   #8
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

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That's quite a trick Roger but by the time I've framed, got the correct exposure and then nailed the focus they've spotted me :/
You are shooting a with a 12-35mm m4/3 equivalent, I would only consider this lens when shooting people more upclose where I can expect reactions, if I want to be sure I don't get that my 42,5mm would be at least required and even better my 75mm, I"m sure if you use a 70-200mm on your full frame camera the problem would be solved.
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Old July 26th, 2015, 04:58 AM   #9
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

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Not sure that works if you shoot handheld :)
LOL you are right of course Noa, I tend to use a lightweight tripod for everything including using it as a monopod and forget that many work handheld. The quick shots that I love are one of the reasons that I work with a lightweight tripod as I find that handheld means you are always having to face your subject and are much more noticeable.

Pete, if you are taking quick shots of people, there shouldn't be much to change from a shot of someone else in a similar area, light and distance and just quickly change to the new subject before they notice. I also find that with my fixed lens video cams and the FZ1000, the auto settings are good enough for those type of very fast shoot it or miss it shots. Having said that, I have always worked very quickly and discreetly so am very used to these type of quick shots and don't have to think about lens changes that might miss the moment.

Roger
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Old July 26th, 2015, 05:00 AM   #10
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

That's a heavy Lens Noa - Last night's evening reception was a crammed room, to be trying to film people from such a distance would have given me the problem of other people getting in the way - that would have been tricky on a monopod with so many people - I like the idea though. I do use a Neotec monopod for first dance though - maybe I'll try using the long lens at the next wedding - you loose that ability to get wide quick if something really good happens with a group of people though.

I could try my 24-105mm and speedbooster which (I think) would give me 38-168mm equivalent and f2.8 but that would put the camera in APS-C mode so I'd lose that low light capacity which I much needed last night.

If I want autofocus I'd need to use my Zeiss 24-70 but at F4 it was too slow for last night's evening reception - it was lit only by the DJ lights - no house lights at all. Some evening receptions are like filming in a cave!
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Old July 26th, 2015, 05:17 AM   #11
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

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That's a heavy Lens Noa
That's why I use m4/3 camera's :) Some lenses look like toy lenses, they are that small and light.
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Old July 26th, 2015, 09:04 AM   #12
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

Hmmm that could be an issue as I go around the tables and do comments from the guests so I have to be close! I guess the microphone pointing at them doesn't make them think "Hold on, this is video he's shooting" Then again I normally do ask them to say something to the camera and even with the EA-50 they would pose and smile .. I guess I will find out at our season start in 2 weeks time?? I also go around each table with video and with the EA-50 they would raise their glasses or wave so I'm hoping that they will do the same with the FZ1000?? I do have grips either side and a shotgun mic on top but that might not help.

If you look at it from a guest's point of view, when you point the camera at them all they really see is the front end which is the lens and hood so one cannot really fault them as both camera really look alike.

I normally say "I'm making a video guestbook for the bride so would you like to say congrats to the couple?" Surely that should tell them that "he is asking us to talk so it must be video?" ... I'm report back after the first wedding of the season on 9th August
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Old July 26th, 2015, 09:43 PM   #13
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

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Originally Posted by Peter Rush View Post
I try and film as discreetly as possible but wonder how you folks deal with this - I tend to say 'It's for the wedding video guys' and hopefully their response is worth keeping but that's not always easy in a busy/noisy room.
You're right. Short of wearing a T-shirt with embedded neon lighting (such T-shirts do exist) saying, "I'm doing video, not photo", I don't know if it's easy to communicate in a noisy room. I normally just snap their picture anyway, or pretend to, but keep rolling, and just nod at them and give a thumbs up. Such moments are possibly useful, especially in highlights and 15-, 25-minute videos -- you could do a montage of people getting into photo pose, then intercut it with shots of someone holding up a camera or a mobile phone. Or show people getting into pose, then freeze frame for a photo with a clicking sound, then continuing afterwards. With Canon DSLRs, you can activate shutter during recording to create an actual photo, though video is paused for a few seconds.

But there's another question, and Roger, Noa, etc have addressed this already. In one sense, the problem as a whole isn't specific to DSLRs: ideally, even if you're packing an obvious video camera, you might want to get completely natural reactions anyway, where the subject doesn't realise they're being watched or acknowledge the camera in any way.

My trick list would include:

-- Long lenses is the obvious method. Photojournalist photographers use the same technique. Taken to an extreme: the longer and more paparazzi, the better. Like the sort of lenses the paparazzi use to get topless shots of royals. Instead of a 70-200, try 100-400, with or without a x2 extender! Incidentally, in a crowded room, you can still stand on a chair to see through the crowd and get around minimum focus distance.
-- Looking away from screen is a great tip from Roger. After you've clocked your target, best not to look at them, but pretend you're busy with something else. Taken to an extreme: set up camera with nice framing on tripod, press record, walk away from it.
-- Indirect angles and hiding behind things is a helpful trick, of course. Positioning yourself in people's blind spots. Crouching down to partially conceal yourself behind table arrangements. Shooting someone through a crowd. Lurking in dark corners.
-- Helps to be conscious of what's going to alert people to your presence (like pressing the autofocus button, if this makes a sound, or using obvious equipment, like tripod+slider, or even camera + microphone on top).
-- There's sort of an art to knowing when people are distracted, because they're engaged in a conversation or are looking at a tray of food a waiter is carrying, etc.
-- A terrible thing to say, but quantity of footage can help in terms of producing a great edit where people don't break the fourth wall. You simply don't use the shots where they do.
-- Then there's a somewhat separate art to knowing how to get the best candid moments anyway. Reading people, seeing the laugh coming, and knowing when they're about to "pop". Being able to adjust framing and camera settings really fast to catch something. Not getting tunnel vision on a target, but being aware of room around you. Smoothly transitioning from current subject to next target. And, frankly, people skills -- if you can just make people feel relaxed around you anyway, especially for things like bridal prep where there's pretty much nowhere to hide, and it's just like they're hanging out with an old friend, then they're going to be more natural in front of camera or will become accustomed to it.

Last edited by Adrian Tan; July 26th, 2015 at 10:19 PM.
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Old July 27th, 2015, 03:03 AM   #14
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

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Originally Posted by Roger Gunkel View Post
so am very used to these type of quick shots and don't have to think about lens changes that might miss the moment.
I know what you mean Roger. Only yesterday, I was filming at the Reception, indoors due to rain. Being dimly lit, my 12-35 lens was producing some grainy footage, so I thought, for variety, why not put on my 42.5 1.2 lens. Anyway during the 10 seconds it took me to change the lens, the guy in front of me took a sip of his drink; and I missed the shot. Ahhhh. What was I thinking!! Okay so I got some great footage with my 42.5 lens, some lovely beautiful shots, but will anything I capture with that lens make up for that one missed shot, you tell me. I could have just kicked myself.

I can't confess to being too troubled by guests posing for camera. In 20 shots, 1 maybe affected that way, and in some cases I use it. A wave or smile to camera is as good a footage as any; so it breaks the 4th wall. Hell, shoot me. Those I don't like are binned, but I take enough footage, so this loss isn't a problem. Its harder as in yesterday when people are bunched together in a small room to create 2-3 minutes of dynamic footage that shows them having a good time. In some cases a smile and a wave to camera can add a touch of humour. I'll even leave in the bit where they realise they videoing. Most of the time I'm invisible.
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Old July 27th, 2015, 06:17 AM   #15
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Re: Guests smiling for the camera

@ Adrian, some great comments and points and of course there are so many ways to capture discreet shots without being noticed.

@Steve, I had a couple at a wedding yesterday that walked up to where I was filming and just stood infront of the camera grinning at it, obviously expecting me to take a still of them. I let them stand there grinning for about 10 seconds while I pretended to fiddle with the camera, then said with a cheeky smile, 'You're going to look really silly on the video waiting for your photo, but the the family will love it!' As they realised, they thought it was hilarious, but you have to pick the right couple.

Steve, I believe you were thinking of a RX10, and I have to say that after using the FZ1000 yesterday for the first time at a wedding it was a doddle to get those quick shots and I am sure the Sony would be equally as convenient as a fast action tool.

Roger
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