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


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Old January 9th, 2006, 01:01 PM   #1
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It's great to see people post examples of thier brilliant work ...but equally beneficial (I hope) is this list of my mistakes. This list is just about every mistake I can think of that I've made and learned from in the process. Many - make me look stupid I'm sure but if there's a possibility that someone else in this forum can get something out of it, then it's a noble act!


*************************************
Overexposed camera setting for a very sunny outdoor ceremony. Too much over-exposure to totally fix in post.

Not enough wide scene-setting shots.

Too few close-ups.

Not enough shots of the parents during the ceremony.

Battery ran out on my I-River during a ceremony. I may have inadvertently replaced it's batteries with 1/2 used one's prior to the wedding. Put new batteries in it and there was no file.

Two camera shoot indoor ceremony - one camera's LCD was set bright the other was not. The bright LCD camera's shots ended up very dark and the two cameras didn't match so great even after a lot of tweaking in post.

Outdoor ceremony - didn't have the wind setting for my mic set to ON, and without a dead-cat, sounded like hurricane force winds with just a breeze.

Didn't use a dead-cat, a few times, when I should have.

Didn't have mic set to attenuated during a reception. Much of the audio was trashed. This couple didn't get much raw video from the reception.

Decided to go manual with audio levels one day and 1/2 way through the reception realized audio had been clipping for about about an hour.

Two camera shoot for ceremony, my wife had focus on a candle burning brightly behind the groom - during the vows. Grooms shots were out of focus.

Two camera's sharpness settings in custom presets were one notch different. Even after tweaking/filters they looked different.

Stupidly I asked bride's sister "are you the Melissa's (bride's) Mom?" She was very offended and I felt like a dumbass.

Switched microphones on my I-River. The one I switch to was much hotter and I forgot to back down the mic volume in the I-River settings. Ended up with a scorching hot volume and clipping at the podium.

I use two tripods for ceremonies. Forgot the piece that you screw into the camera for one of the tripods and had to go handheld for one camera. My shots of the bride during the vows were shaky.

Preceremony, ceremony & reception were all approx 1/3 mile apart. I saw several guests walking and figured I could do the same and avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot in a crowded area of town. It was a bad decision on a humid 98 degree day with all my gear to mule around. To top things off, the church's A/C was down, and by the time I got back to the reception I was completely drenched in sweat and I think I looked like a heat stroke victim.

My wide angle lens had a tiny nick in it, which at the time I thought was a spec of debris which I believed I was able to clean from the lens. Spent a lot of time in post tying to minimize the amount of shots where this spec was easily seen, mostly the outdoor well lit shots.

Didn't ask the photographer/or bride & groom if/where they were planning to have a post-ceremony photo session. They went to a great location and I missed it.

Got lost going to a reception hall I had never been to before. My wife entered the wrong address on our Magellan GPS and even though I had the correct directions on a map quest printout, we still got there late.

Last edited by Craig Terott; January 9th, 2006 at 03:16 PM.
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Old January 9th, 2006, 02:03 PM   #2
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Yes - Mistakes are the BEST way to learn, (and also the most painful).

I would share, but of course I don't make mistakes :-)

Actually, the biggest issue that I had with the last wedding I did was not having a wireless communication system set up with my 2ed camera man. We ended up having the same shot (pretty much) at the same time on occasion. Also - we realized that it would be nice to talk to each other on issues that one might be having at one time (i.e I need to refocus now - make sure you get a shot of the groom at xxx time!).

In the past (non wedding shoots) - white balance issues and not having a color monitor kicked me in the butt on more than one occasion.

- Not having a dead cat on windy day.

- not having enough batteries to last the full day. . .

I'm sure there are many more - just can't think of them right now. . .

Ryan
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Old January 9th, 2006, 02:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan DesRoches
Actually, the biggest issue that I had with the last wedding I did was not having a wireless communication system set up with my 2ed camera man. We ended up having the same shot (pretty much) at the same time on occasion. Also - we realized that it would be nice to talk to each other on issues that one might be having at one time (i.e I need to refocus now - make sure you get a shot of the groom at xxx time!).
Ryan
we've developed a neat set of hand signals for the common things we'd like to communicate. we have them for:

- ecu
- cu
- medium
- wide
- changing tape
- i'm going off the sticks, shoot safe until i get back
- take the speaker
- take the couple

these are mostly for the ceremony between me and 2nd unit. 3rd unit is in the back and does his thing.

if we need to communicate anything else, we start playing charades. ;-P
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Old January 9th, 2006, 02:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.J. Briones
we've developed a neat set of hand signals for the common things we'd like to communicate. we have them for:
if we need to communicate anything else, we start playing charades. ;-P
We tried to use hand signals but I was getting pissed off too often because my wife was so focused on her shot she wouldn't look in my direction often enough! We use wireless headsets now. It saved our marriage.
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Old January 9th, 2006, 02:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott
We tried to use hand signals but I was getting pissed off too often because my wife was so focused on her shot she wouldn't look in my direction often enough! We use wireless headsets now. It saved our marriage.
that's funny. when this happens, i focus my eyes on the forehead of my 2nd unit and he instinctively seems to look up. weird. i think he has esp.
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Old January 10th, 2006, 10:41 AM   #6
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"We tried to use hand signals but I was getting pissed off too often because my wife was so focused on her shot she wouldn't look in my direction often enough! We use wireless headsets now. It saved our marriage."

roflmao
we throw rocks to get each others attention...

"that's funny. when this happens, i focus my eyes on the forehead of my 2nd unit and he instinctively seems to look up. weird. i think he has esp"

hehehe if i tried that with my wife, shed think im either giving her a dirty look, OR if she thinks I have ESP, then expect me to know whats on her mind.. and if u have a woman ur living with, u KNOW that aitn possible. lol

mistakes.. too many to mention.. but needless to say, each one carries a valuable lesson on the spot or in post...

if we dont learn from our mistakes, theres no point in going on..
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Old January 11th, 2006, 12:15 PM   #7
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mistake

Mistake: Biggest mistake I ever made was during a 2-camera ceremony, where the unmanned back camera's shot was blocked by wedding guests' heads when they stood.

Solution: Upsell clients to second camera WITH OPERATOR. My assistant could have reframed the shot and saved that ceremony shoot. BUT the client opted to save $150 and this was the result.

Alternate Solution: Find a way to elevate the back camera tripod. One of those Scorpion Pods might come in handy.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 12:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Borek
Mistake: Biggest mistake I ever made was during a 2-camera ceremony, where the unmanned back camera's shot was blocked by wedding guests' heads when they stood.

Solution: Upsell clients to second camera WITH OPERATOR. My assistant could have reframed the shot and saved that ceremony shoot. BUT the client opted to save $150 and this was the result.

Alternate Solution: Find a way to elevate the back camera tripod. One of those Scorpion Pods might come in handy.
Why would an operator for the second camera be an upsell? Just include that in the basic quote and don't even mention that an unmanned second camera is an option unless they explicitly ask about what they'd need to compromise in order to cut costs. They're asking you for a quote based on your expert knowledge of what is required to do the job properly, quite a different thing from doing it as cheaply as you can get away with. Would you volunteer to them that they could save fifty bucks if they let you prop up the camera on a chair without using a tripod or another hundred bucks if you just put a tripod there without a camera on it? ROFL
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