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Old August 14th, 2015, 07:56 AM   #1
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Wedding on a yacht - need advice?

I'll find out tomorrow if the actual wedding is on the yacht or just the reception. However, the hours are 5-9pm - i.e. sundown.
I plan to email the yacht company and get more info about layout, trip direction, etc once I have the name. So I can post that back.
What should I look out for technically? Anyone done this?
I am concerned about being able to get stable shots on a boat.
Also, working around direct sundown lighting.
Suggestions appreciated.
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Old August 14th, 2015, 09:50 AM   #2
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Re: Wedding on a yacht - need advice?

Make sure you bring a life vest with you :) I wouldn't worry about getting stable shots on a bigger boat when you use a tripod, that always will be stable, the only thing you might or will see moving in your shots is the horizon depending if it's a rough sea. If you have to shoot against the sun you could use a reflector to bounce back the light on your subject but I think the guests won't appreciate it, you could ask the captain to turn the boat 180 deg so the sun is in your back. :)
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Old August 14th, 2015, 09:53 AM   #3
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Re: Wedding on a yacht - need advice?

Hi Kell,

I've never filmed aboard a yacht, but have shot lots of video aboard aircraft carriers over the past 10 years. Just a few thoughts;
A tripod or other means of locking off a shot (clamping tripod, etc.) is best. I've read where others say the opposite, but when I'm on a ship and can put the camera on a tripod, it looks so damn good compared to most handheld footage. The yacht structure/rigging/furnishing, etc. and the people on board will all be moving together as the craft pitches and rolls, and this makes for a good-looking video. The only thing that will be in motion will be the background (water, horizon, other boats). This gives a more natural motion effect than trying to keep your camera aligned to the horizon line and making all the people in your shot bob all over the place. You should also shoot handheld to give you the freedom to move around and that will nicely augment your other footage, just try to be steady. I don't know what camera(s) you use, but I had trouble getting usable footage with anything shoulder mounted. What I do now is adjust the neck strap so I can open the LCD and push the camera away from me, making the strap tight on the back of my neck, and having the strap the right length that keeps it close enough to operate the controls, basically it's about 12 inches in front of my chest. This is with an XF305, AX100, 6D or my Panasonic FZ200. I use that technique and it works for me.

Have at least two tripods so you can cut back and forth from multiple angles. In case there isn't room for a tripod, bring lots of clamping-type tripods or whatever you have that could be attached to the yacht fixtures/railings so you can mount cameras where you want them.

Assume there will be very little space for lots of gear, so pare down to a minimum.

For the sundown issue, you might want to set the camera to automatically adjust the exposure in order to keep up with the gradual light loss as the sun goes down.

Don't forget to capture some ambient sound, as it will be noticeable if there is no sound at all as a result of editing around noises you don't want in the video.

Good luck, sounds like a fun one.

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Old August 14th, 2015, 10:12 AM   #4
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Re: Wedding on a yacht - need advice?

You have one very important decision to make, do you want the boat to stay parallel with the camera horizontally, or do you want the people to stay vertical relative to the camera?

If you work with a tripod or clamp, then the people will appear to be swaying backwards and forwards across the frame, but the boat and it's fittings will stay in the same relative position. If you handhold the camera, you will move with the guests and they will retain the same apparent position in the frame, but the boat will appear to be rocking. This is important, as if you mix the two types of filming, they will be quite different and cross fades will look odd. One shot the people will be vertical and in the next they will be rocking about.

Of course the yacht may be very big and the water very calm in which case there will be little movement and you can film how you want. There is of course also the possibility that it will be a sailing yacht, in which case you will be very cramped and permanently heeled over, except when it tacks and heels the other way.

I'd find out very quickly what you are dealing with in advance, have fun:-)

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Old August 14th, 2015, 10:25 AM   #5
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Re: Wedding on a yacht - need advice?

I thought someone here video on boats. Size of boat and conditions are going to determine the amount of rocking. Things I'd be concerned with:

1. Wind: you get a lot on the water. Good windscreens!

2. Confined space: wide angle lens.

3. Light: very bright off water. Nd filters, lens shade to reduce glare.

4. Rocking motion: Steadily cam Ronin would help
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Old August 14th, 2015, 10:44 AM   #6
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Re: Wedding on a yacht - need advice?

To be realistic, it is probably unlikely to be a 40ft sailing yacht, more likely a large luxury motor yacht where there will quite likely be a large after deck or sun deck for the wedding. There will probably be plenty of space for a couple of cameras and the most likely issue will probably be any movement and wind as Peter mentioned.

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Old August 14th, 2015, 11:46 AM   #7
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Re: Wedding on a yacht - need advice?

Joe Simon has a nice video somewhere where he shows techniques of how to mic someone to shield the wind. Perfect for wireless or pocket recorders.

Agreed on not doing handheld, letting everything on the boat be level, so to speak and let the horizon move.

We own two little (almost) spotlights that can camera mount precisely because of a problem with exposures on a lake front wedding. Now we can put them on the B&G's faces, respectively, during vows, to help. Though even that only gets us another stop closer in contrast... better than not, that's for sure. Or clamp a reflector to the tripod legs to bounce light back at the B&G.

Oh, and good shoes with a grip so you don't slip. Sunscreen so you don't burn.
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Old August 14th, 2015, 12:07 PM   #8
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Re: Wedding on a yacht - need advice?

I've done about 12 or so on "yots" most on Lake Michigan which is not the smoothest water around. Generally it's a later start so the sun really wasn't a problem. The sun was in the west and going out to the lake we were going east. Tripods 100% for the ceremony. Lav on the groom with a good foamy windscreen and my typical drum mic set up for the music. The only time I really needed a light on the camera was towards the end of the night which generally was earlier than landbased weddings because of contracts with the "yot" company. (BTW YOT is an inside joke between me and some other folks not on DVi but I'm used to spelling it like that) Other than that keep in mind that space is a bit limited even on a 100+ foot boat so plan accordingly.
Don't get seasick! ;-)
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
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Old August 14th, 2015, 12:10 PM   #9
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Re: Wedding on a yacht - need advice?

Well - sounds like a fun, but maybe a bit stressful, gig!

The sooner one can know what kind of boat it is (make and size) the better one can plan. With that info, one can go on-line and get pictures. Without knowing what it is like, here is my 2 cents:

Low ceiling (overhead) height (problems with bounce camera light or holding the cam up high to film over the heads of people). Lighting for your shots will be difficult, partially due to the low ceiling height. In the evening it will likely be very low lit and adding a camera light with the low ceiling height will be tough.

White gel coat on the exterior (highlight thing)

LOTS of small overhead halogen (maybe converted to LED) spot lights

Tripod: Going counter to previous statements, don’t count on finding room to set one up, even on a large motor yacht. Maybe on the aft bridge deck but the salon will most likely be a cramped space. A tripod can be a tripping hazard.

People will be milling around going from the main salon (living room in land speak) to the bridge deck and down to the head and galley.

The Yacht may be big in outward size but the interiors tend to be, uh, kinda cozy, if that’s a good word. The main salon will be the largest interior room but by the time one factors in the upholstered furniture, coffee table, etc., the actual walking area really diminishes. A boat with a full beam-width salon will have more room width but if it has a walk-around deck, subtract about 2.5 to 3 feet x 2 from the beam to get the salon width. May have a wet bar in the salon.

The galley will be small (probably where the drinks and h’orduvers will come from, and except for the heads, the other room probably off limits. Bridge deck will most likely have an open aft deck for the partiers.

There may be some grab rails one could clamp a locked-off cam on. Typically the rails will be 1” diameter, however, on a larger yacht they’ll often use larger diameter pipe, even up to 2” in places.

Engine vibration? They’ll probably be going very slow so this shouldn’t be an issue.

Engine noise: Ditto above, however, on my brother-in-law’s boat it’s nice to go up to the fly bridge to get away from all the engine racket.

Some kind of cam with stabilization because there will be opportunity for a lot of hand-held shots. Optionally, a monopod might be your best friend.

The lifejacket suggestion was a good one, however, from a legal standpoint the captain will be liable for inadequate PFDs. I don’t think you’ll need to wear it but just know where it’s at. They’ll probably provide them for the guests.
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Old August 15th, 2015, 02:27 AM   #10
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Re: Wedding on a yacht - need advice?

Don't shoot with an image stabilised lens while looking through a viewfinder.

Boat is rocking, image looks steady, brain wants to puke :)
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Old September 23rd, 2015, 07:48 PM   #11
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Re: Wedding on a yacht - need advice?

Thank you so much everyone!
Your advice and experience in this area is so valuable.
I'm a little late posting back. The reception is in November so this is something I'll be working on in the meantime.
Never even thought about some of those issues...
Meanwhile I'm waiting for info from the cruise line as well. It's out of the area so I will need to rely on their information, pictures, etc.
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Old September 25th, 2015, 12:38 AM   #12
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Re: Wedding on a yacht - need advice?

I am surprised no one has mentioned the humidity and camera choice. Who pays if you end up with overspray on your equipment, or worse yet, a breaking wave? If the "yot" is big enough this won't be an issue, but if it is not the Queen Marry, then you may want to select which camera you will subject to the elements depending upon which one you are prepared to sacrifice.

Great advice to get an idea of how big the "yot" will be and might not hurt if you could get a peek aboard so you can plan on tripods and mounts. Someone suggested clamping to the brightwork or furniture, better have that cleared with el capitan before you do it or you might need that life vest to wear instead of to just be handy!

If the boat is big enough, little will impress as much as an aerial shot. A little goes a long ways. If they have the bucks to hire a large yacht, they should have the bucks for a drone shot or helicopter shot which is also not cheap. Other thoughts might be to hire a small launch to take some off-yacht shots, with the groom and bride stage center, though that is another level, presents risks to equipment, as well.

Sounds like a ton of fun, I would offer to join you, but I get sea sick....just kidding!
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