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


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Old August 11th, 2015, 05:37 AM   #16
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

I started using 2nd shooters about two years ago and to be perfectly honest I think it was just a status thing .. they gave me issues (despite having a Uni degree) and I realised that I was paying someone simply because I wanted to show off and be the "boss" ..I stopped about 3 months later after going thru about a dozen shooters.

Now, seriously, do you REALLY need a 2nd shooter ?? If so I would like to know why and what they do that you cannot do yourself?? Even for prep (what I used them for) there is nothing wrong with doing the guys early and then doing the girls so I can not think of any wedding where having a 2nd shooter was a make or break situation!!

Please tell me ???
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Old August 11th, 2015, 05:43 AM   #17
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

I can never do prep on my own (unless it's at the same venue as the ceremony) as the girls getting into the dresses is always too late - I need to get off to the church before they do this so leave my other half to finish off, but I'd much rather do it myself, or have someone that really knows what they are doing to get really good footage - despite my best coaching her shots are just ok but do the job. The other thing is I'd hate to get to the church after the guests have started to arrive and then start to set up - way too stressful as that's one thing I like to film, also church car parks over here are usually tiny so once the guests have started to arrive you've then got parking issues combined with a mega quick setup time - I'm getting a stress just thinking about it!

Maybe the way forward to guarantee taking on bridal prep (very rarely do groom prep - only been asked once this year) is to do it where it's the same location as the ceremony
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Old August 11th, 2015, 05:55 AM   #18
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Hi Pete

If the girls are getting ready at home and the ceremony is a say 2:30pm, the limo will probably pick them up at 2:00pm ...What I do is tell the bride that I need to be 30 minutes ahead of the limo so I'm outa here at 1:30pm ..I need you to be in your dress by 1:15pm latest!! That way I can do prep ..do the dress lace up and the jewellery going on and I'm gone. Admittedly I miss the bride leaving the house getting into the car but because I'm 30 mins ahead I can be set up and sitting on the kerb waiting for her to arrive with time to spare. They never query me about this at all ...Why can't you leave prep 30 minutes before the bride does???

Chris
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Old August 11th, 2015, 06:06 AM   #19
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post

Now, seriously, do you REALLY need a 2nd shooter ?? If so I would like to know why and what they do that you cannot do yourself?? Even for prep (what I used them for) there is nothing wrong with doing the guys early and then doing the girls so I can not think of any wedding where having a 2nd shooter was a make or break situation!!
Chris, its seems silly to be saying this to someone as experienced as yourself, but not every Wedding runs to the same schedule, nor are the couples needs identical. Guys don't need as long to get ready, so turning up early to film their Preps can be a case of filming them playing football in the garden. I know, I had this in June. As I was only asked to cover Groom Preps, I could stick around until 2 hours before the Wedding when they quickly got dressed and left. Bridal Preps were 3/4 of their way done by this time. Not to mention the distance between Preps can be a 45 minute journey - had that too. A 2nd shooter could follow them to church and get their arrival.

Then there's setting up equipment in the church and capturing guests arrivals. Yes possible as 1, easier with 2. Sending the 2nd shooter early to the reception whilst I filmed the couples departure. I could take my time and not attempt to overtake the car as I frequently do and get their arrival at the venue. Now I agree shots like this are not make or break, but some of my clients have requested it. With planning I can do this, often with the couple stopping on route, but its still a potential issue. I can think of several Weddings where a 2nd shooter would have paid dividends.

So really its a case of the kind of video you're producing and what value you place on certain shots. I shoot alone very successfully, but I'm not so foolish as to feel a 2nd shooter wouldn't bring some advantages in the right occasion.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 06:40 AM   #20
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Hi Steve

Fair enough ..UK weddings might be a lot different to ours. Also bear in mind that we have probably a 78% to 22% ratio of outdoor civil weddings to Church weddings which are easier to set up!. However I did base my observations on Church weddings and here (in fact 2 days ago) I left the bride's house at 1:30 exactly and got to the Church and had the gear in the Church by 2pm ...the bride actually pulled to a halt at 2:25 but I was ready and waiting by 2:15pm Yes you are right about being different! I have had my gear piled up outside the Church door just 15 minutes before the start time as the priest reckoned it would only take the guests 5 minutes to be seated so opened the doors at 2.25 on that occasion!! Note however I do have a helper (is that cheating?) My photog rides with me and helps carry stuff so it is a bit easier for me.

I still failed to see a few years back why a second shooter was justified though .. I had one girl who was excellent and actually had a brain but I only kept her until the end of the ceremony on shoots.

If in fact, a second shooter is a huge asset surely it would be a wise move to employ them in ALL your weddings and pay them (adjust package pricing accordingly of course) At least that way you keep the same person, iron out their faults and quirks and also give them a steady income too?? That surely would make them more reliable throughout the year and be a little safer than using Adrian's black book technique??
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Old August 11th, 2015, 06:57 AM   #21
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

I need at least an hour at the ceremony venue before it kicks off. I hardly ever get footage of the bride getting laced up. And none of them seem to mind.

They'd rather I go footage of guests arriving and a nervous looking groom along with setting up all my camera and audio gear.

If I had a second shooter they could stay longer. They could also cover groom. They could also do room shots while I'm at photoshoot. They could spend the speeches concentrating on spying out laughing faces or tears being wiped away.

But yea, I'd probably also be looking to cash in truth be told. An add-on price of 500, and pay the second shooter only part of it. A fee that covers the setup and arrangement and the extra edit time with more footage etc...

That said, out of the top 10 'cinematographers' in my locality, only two others apart from me are solo shooters. It makes you think. I'm obviously making more money despite the fact they charge a good bit more, since there's only one of me to get paid.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 07:09 AM   #22
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

To be honest Chris, a 2nd shooter is a valuable asset to some Weddings, but not all. I think couples paying extra for something you don't need half the time seems a bit much. I'd rather give them the choice; it is their video. Many Grooms don't want their Preps covered for instance, quite a few Brides too. I have Ceremony to 10pm packages which are quite popular ad where a 2nd shooter is unnecessary.

As for getting to the church; not sure what traffic is like in your part of the World, but here it is a nightmare. Midday Saturday, gridlocked. I've left an hour before and arrived 20 minutes before the Ceremony for what should be a 25 minute journey. I've had Brides arrive an hour late due to traffic. I keep advising them to have their preps closer, but for some to save cash, they get ready at their Parents place, which is some distance from the church.

And no I don't have a helper; it would I feel make a difference. It's funny how you and Roger argue against second shooters, yet both work with a 2nd person quite frequently, even if only in a Photography capacity. Having someone else on your side is surely a bonus.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 07:27 AM   #23
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

To be honest from this side Steve ..I do like to be shooting with someone ..it's nice to have company even if it's your photog so I'm not doubting that at all!!

I just don't see why the guys are getting a 2nd shooter at the last minute? If you want to shoot with a partner be it video or photos (Roger and I often chop and change) surely it's worth having a permanent partner, be it you wife or a freelancer, so at least you have reliability and of course the facility to adjust prices so you are not out of pocket.

OK, I do see your traffic issue too .. Most of our venues are out of the city where the congestion is minimal, so we seldom have your situation. That must be very frustrating and very difficult for timing too!
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Old August 11th, 2015, 07:55 AM   #24
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Last year I filmed in a town that had no parking over 2 hours - that was a nightmare as I'm always at the church longer than that - arrive one hour before the ceremony/one hour catholic service and photos in the church garden!

But back to second shooter - aside from the prep that we've already discussed, just someone to fetch and carry if the speeches are before the meal is is a massive plus and stress saver for me - otherwise I'm arriving at the reception venue well after the couple, having had to gather all my gear, and then spend another 15 minutes hauling it from my car and setting it up again ready for the speeches - lots of missed filming time.

P
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Old August 11th, 2015, 08:39 AM   #25
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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Originally Posted by Steve Burkett View Post

It's funny how you and Roger argue against second shooters, yet both work with a 2nd person quite frequently, even if only in a Photography capacity. Having someone else on your side is surely a bonus.
Hi Steve I think you're using a bit of poetic licence there ;-) I've never said I work with a 2nd person quite frequently, only when we have one video and photo joint package. Claire usually does all the video with some preps stills at the house and I do all the other stills. We don't do it so we can get more footage, but because we enjoy working together and we can both do less. When we have two joint packages, we both work solo and we shoot nothing differently. If it is one video package only, we never work together, only solo..

I also haven't argued against second shooters, it is up to the individual, but I have never had the need with careful planning. so I just don't see that it is necessary. I can't see any particular advantages, but I can see other options if you wish to use them, which I don't.

Of course it is also down to how quickly you work, how long it takes you to set up and break down etc. I work extremely quickly, so where Pete takes 15 minutes to break down and packup in a church, it takes me perhaps 5 minutes to set up when I get to the church and 30-60 seconds, to packup while they ar doing the initial signing of the register or as they are talking to guests after leaving the church, so really I miss nothing. If it's a venue wedding, the gear gets taken in first anyway and plenty of time to set up and breakdown.

Roger

Last edited by Roger Gunkel; August 11th, 2015 at 08:40 AM. Reason: missed word
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Old August 11th, 2015, 09:02 AM   #26
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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it takes me perhaps 5 minutes to set up when I get to the church and 30-60 seconds, to packup
And there was you in another thread talking about the setup time you faced, which when I included in the 4 hours you replied that it left only 3 hours of filming. So 5 minutes is all you need; I require 10-15 once inside to setup 4 cameras, 1 GoPro and 3 Audio recorders. Dismantling can take 5-10 minutes depending on how quickly the guests shift from the church.

However I am working with very different gear, utilising primes in my secondary cameras etc.

As for advantages, maybe not for yourself, but it really depends on the type of video and couple you're working for. If you want to follow both the Bride and Groom during their preps from start to end, a 2nd shooter is essential, no one can be in two places. So for me a 2nd shooter wouldn't be to compensate for packing away gear, but to simply allow for a greater range of shots.

Now like you I rarely have the need, but there are times when I know a better video would have been achievable with a 2nd shooter. Certain shots I was unable to get that would have been a better record of the day and in all cases missed or restricted by being in 1 location only. Its not every Wedding, but say 1 in 15 or 1 in 20 maybe it would have helped.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 10:01 AM   #27
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Don't forget that a second shooter adds a lot of work in the edit. With double the footage that you need to spend longer just reviewing the clips never mind synching & editing.
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Old August 11th, 2015, 05:27 PM   #28
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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And there was you in another thread talking about the setup time you faced, which when I included in the 4 hours you replied that it left only 3 hours of filming..
Ah Steve, you are very good at embellishing a little, I think it amuses you and you want to see if I pick it up :-)

What I actually said in the other thread was that I always allow extra time for travelling and setting up to allow for the unforeseen. I also quoted an example of a venue wedding last week that took a long time to get in and get set up, which would have been a severe restriction on a 4 hour subcontract if you were only allowing 30 minutes to travel to and set up at the venue as you were claiming. I believe it was actually you that mentioned that the 4 hours would include the setting up if you took it on? My contention was that payment for 4 hours filming only was insufficient and that the payment should also cover preparation travelling and set up and breakdown. As you brought it up in this thread I have responded!

In the church example that we were referring to earlier in this thread, having arrived at the church, I would only use the equipment that I need in the church. I would expect to arrive at the church an hour early, to get guest arrivals etc however I would put the cameras on my double tripod and clamps before going into the church, so the actual set up time in the church only involves placement which is very quick. The same applies to radio mics and audio recorders that are ready to drop into the groom's pocket and/or clamp onto anything appropriate. In the situation where I was coming from the preps at the bride's house, the cameras would already be put into the car attached to the tripod with the legs retracted, so again extremely quick to setup. Breakdown involves grabbing the clamps as I walk past them and chucking them in my backpack. main tripod with double mount is already with me, and Grooms transmitter or recorder are taken back before the register signing photographs, so really only 30-60 secs.

Neither church example is relevant to the other thread about subcontract work, as preparation, loading and unloading time is all allowed for in my own weddings, with setting up being the very last thing.

Roger
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Old August 11th, 2015, 05:30 PM   #29
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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Don't forget that a second shooter adds a lot of work in the edit. With double the footage that you need to spend longer just reviewing the clips never mind synching & editing.
Good point Nigel and something that needs to be allowed for in pricing if you are going down the two shooter route.

Roger
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Old August 11th, 2015, 06:36 PM   #30
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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Ah Steve, you are very good at embellishing a little, I think it amuses you and you want to see if I pick it up :-)
Just keeping you on your toes. Nice turnaround. :)

I tend not to set up cameras on tripods prior to entering the church; with 4, it would be a juggling act. My time includes placing bags in a corner, assessing the interior for camera positions and then setting up. Anyway, this bares no relation to 2nd shooter as setup isn't the issue for me as to why I'd want one at times.

I don't agree it doubles the footage. Not the way I shoot; for Ceremony, Speeches and 1st Dance, where I have unmanned cameras, it would just mean one was manned. Wouldn't really have an effect on my editing time for those sections, so would only occur for Groom Preps where you would be doubling up footage. As for the rest of the day, I think having a 2nd person wouldn't lead to too much extra footage, just an easier day. Certainly no more extra footage than the difference say between a couple getting married at 11am and one who got married at 2:30pm.
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