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Old May 23rd, 2019, 05:32 AM   #1
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Guests Interviews At Wedding Receptions

I have a wedding coming up in which the bride wants a large number of conversations with her guests.

I've had this before but very rarely; not to mention many guests make a beeline to somewhere / anywhere else if they think a videographer is about to descend on them.

I can only recall one occasion in which the clip was a real winner, and even that was not as intended: that brides grandparents started OK but then got into an argument about how old they were when they themselves got married. The grandmother gave her other half a right good scolding and since they had very strong accents - it was an Irish gypsy wedding - the clip was even "funnier".

Anyway, do you have any ways to ensure that many of your guests do not exit stage right as soon as they see you bearing down on them? And what about the actual conversations, I don't really want the same question and just variations on the same answers.

Pete
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Old May 23rd, 2019, 05:39 AM   #2
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Re: Guests Interviews At Wedding Receptions

Hi Pete

I used to do guest interviews in fact it was one of my strong selling points! I had two approaches ..the first was if I managed to get to the reception for pre-dinner drinks and found that after a drink or two their tongues loosened up quite nicely ...they do however still try to sneak away when they realise what is happening !! My second approach was directly after bridal entry when the guests are all seated and I would do table by table ..of course you have to edit out your pleas for them to say something!!

Don't do them any more now as 99% of our shoots are Live Broadcast ceremony only!! MUCH easier!!
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Old May 24th, 2019, 02:00 AM   #3
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Re: Guests Interviews At Wedding Receptions

When in photography mode I still do table shots at some point during the wedding breakfast when requested but it can be very tricky indeed. The guests are up for it more often than not and do actually have decent facial expressions, but in practice the difficulty of getting around very close tables, the need to avoid participants when they are part way through their courses, and smoker guests disappearing for ages, all affect the execution of it.

Dangerous also to leave it till after the wedding breakfast as guests disappear to their hotel rooms etc and before long the ambient light gets turned right down. Maybe I'll take an LED on a stand just in case.

All the more difficult when video'ing the audio as you try to get something of decent quality and decent content. Oh well.

I don't think I could get interested in live broadcast. Unlike with Oz in the UK I don't think there are the same proportions of prospective guests who live abroad and who would be into watching the ceremony from their homes. There is the occasional guest who does it on the smartphone or tablet.

Looking very much like a death rattle of the dvinfo forum now. I just noticed that its still not in https mode - as with a number of other forums. Perhaps its not being maintained any more.

Pete
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Old May 24th, 2019, 05:57 AM   #4
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Re: Guests Interviews At Wedding Receptions

Hi Pete

I still do photos but the move to Live Broadcast was more of a strategic one rather than a merging market. The traditional video market here is simply flooded out and to compete you need something special and I really got tired of having to keep up huge capital expenditure just to keep up with idiots who were working below cost! They all boast multiple drones (used quite illegally!) with 4K video and stills (yep even the photogs are using drones for group shots and the bridal shoot!)

WE DO get people with family all over the world so our live shoots are popular with those brides but my main reason was to go back to a more simple wedding ceremony shoot that we edit live so once we are done we are finished apart from dropping the already edited video on a USB ..I got tired of doing 11am to 1:00am gigs and I got tired if editing all week !!

Yeah sadly everything now is via social media and with events forums are super quiet! I'm slowly winding down my operation so I can only do the occasional wedding to keep my eye in ...I have been doing this since my 20's and I'm nearly 73 so enough is enough ..time to play, not work!!!
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Old May 24th, 2019, 08:46 AM   #5
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Re: Guests Interviews At Wedding Receptions

A wireless dynamic mic makes people more at ease than a lav. Get one person at the table to do it the rest will open up. Helps if you’re personable and strike up a rapport instead of shoving a camera in their face. Another approach setup a table in the hall with a sign to “share your well wishes and funny stories...”

You often get lots of cliche cheese sounds bites but you can also get really great material. Some times we lose sight of that wedding are equally about the guests. Brides often don’t have the time to see and talk to everyone. While we are caught up creating a cinematic gem there is a very valuable albeit less glamorous documentary people’s approach.
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Old May 24th, 2019, 09:34 AM   #6
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Re: Guests Interviews At Wedding Receptions

I used to do these, but they were always an inconvenience. So now, I make it an add-on that requires a 2nd camera. They will set up a nice area for interviews, and wrangle subjects for a quick 'chat'. That left me to focus on action (if there was any during the cocktail hour), setting up lights/audio, and getting some beauty shots.

As a side note, I do tons of corporate interviews, so I've found the best techniques are to ask a softball opening question (how do you know the happy couple?), and then follow up with "tell me what they were like growing up" (assuming I'm talking with family). Otherwise, "Please share a memorable story involving B&G". If they have trouble recalling any, ask for advice they have (or have been giving), that will make for a happy marriage.

Short and sweet, 2 or 3 leading questions and onto the next person. Better yet, have them grab some friends or other family members to send to you, tell them the b&g really want to hear from everyone, but might not have a chance to talk face-to-face.
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Old May 24th, 2019, 01:19 PM   #7
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Re: Guests Interviews At Wedding Receptions

As others posted, these seem to have been going by the wayside, becoming less popular. I rarely do them, typically only when the dance floor is dead, or I have 2-3 hours of doing it & shot every possible person out there doing every possible dance move. Otherwise its if they specifically ask for them.

With that said, I learned when I did do them to focus on the immediate family (parents, brothers/sisters) then venturing on to the bridal party. IMHO Bridesmaids handle it better than groomsmen, and tend to work in groups finding other bridesmaids to speak with them. Then, if I got most of them, I may seek out an occasional guest. Don't take rejection too hard as some people may not know the couple well or at all (could be the date of a person they used to work with, etc).

Oren had a good suggestion & I believe someone recommended that here a while ago, come up with a few questions to ask for people who are at a loss over what to talk about. (Funny, I think that failed on me once as I blurted out as I was setting up, "Oh, just talk about anything like Congrats, or how you know them" and they asked "I have to tell them how I know them??" as if it was a Deposition question or something. They took it a bit too literally)
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Old May 24th, 2019, 02:40 PM   #8
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Re: Guests Interviews At Wedding Receptions

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Barnett View Post
(Funny, I think that failed on me once as I blurted out as I was setting up, "Oh, just talk about anything like Congrats, or how you know them" and they asked "I have to tell them how I know them??" as if it was a Deposition question or something. They took it a bit too literally)
You should have told them that's not it works. You only get to ask the questions. If they answer you will assume they understood the question. :p
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Old May 24th, 2019, 04:44 PM   #9
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Re: Guests Interviews At Wedding Receptions

This comment is from a non-wedding shooter; however, did shoot one a couple years ago when my wife’s nephew got married. The couple arranged to have a photographer to document it but no videographer. Needless to say I couldn’t believe it. No video? So I volunteered and got an okay.

The event was partially outdoors, in the beginning when people were arriving and for the actual wedding, then indoors for the sit-down dinner and front table affair.

Outdoors on the lawn with trees: Prior to the actual wedding there were guests everywhere, some sitting or standing in groups or milling around. During this phase I tried to get some video but wasn’t prepared for how to do it so pretty much just shot from a distance, candid style. This is one of the phases, or parts, that I would really like to be able to do over again because there were a lot of family and friends, many of whom haven’t seen each other before or perhaps not in a long time, young and old, so potential great memories to capture.

The reason for me being a stand-off was because I didn’t speak Slovakian (this was in Slovakia) and I wasn’t fluent enough in German. In hind-sight I would have liked to try the routine that Oren used by having some predetermined questions to choose from and a couple accomplices to help me out with the talking. Two accomplices who would work together would be perfect. The cam I was using for hand-held shots was the Sony AX-53 (which has the Optical Steady Shot system and wasn’t too large) with the Røde SVM mic so it didn’t look that threatening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oren Arieli View Post
As a side note, I do tons of corporate interviews, so I've found the best techniques are to ask a softball opening question (how do you know the happy couple?), and then follow up with "tell me what they were like growing up" (assuming I'm talking with family). Otherwise, "Please share a memorable story involving B&G". If they have trouble recalling any, ask for advice they have (or have been giving), that will make for a happy marriage.
Planning ahead would be very helpful. Finding out who is invited, relationships, and then finding one or two accomplices who know people and are talkers, along with Oren’s “Cheat Sheet” would be the way to go.

This is a fun time, sparkling wine flows, people are dressed up and sometimes waiting around for something to happen, so why not? Where’s my accomplice???

Banquet: In this particular case, doing clips at tables in the banquet room would not have worked well because there wasn’t very much space between tables, the tables were round so some people would have their backs to the cam or would have to strain to look toward the cam, and the focus distance would vary a lot and perhaps quickly. Also, it was VERY noisy and there were many wait staff walking around though the narrow spaces between the tables carrying things.

Peter - By the way, this is an interesting thread. Wish I could have read it a couple years ago!

Last edited by John Nantz; May 24th, 2019 at 09:45 PM. Reason: sp: tow > two
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