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


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Old January 26th, 2006, 11:05 PM   #1
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Interviewing Guests at Weddings and Events

Hello everyone, I have a question just out of curiousity... When doing interviews at events, what is your style? Do you approach the guests and ask them if they would like to say anything that the guest(s) of honor would see/hear on the video? Do you setup a tripod and have the dj make annoucements that you are doing interviews over there in the corner? I'm just curious on how everyone else does it.

I normally go from table to table just after dinner when the party starts and interview that way. I find that interviews are hard to get though because everyone seems to be camera shy. I even read one post here that sounded kind of interested where the videographer setup an "automated booth" where guests could go and record their comments anytime during the event.

I'm interested in your comments.

Thanks,
Eric Holloway
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Old January 27th, 2006, 12:27 AM   #2
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during the last dancing set, we set up a tripod somewhere nice outside the reception area and the dj announces that we are doing interviews. we also talk to the bridal party beforehand so that one of them takes the initiative to make sure that the people that matter most to the b&g come see us. we used to run around from table to table, but it took forever and we were catching people off-guard.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 02:24 AM   #3
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I have yet to try out the "interview station" strategy, so I can't comment on that.

I just go around from table to table to get what I call "personal messages to the bride and groom". I found that the word "interview" was confusing a lot of people because they thought I was going to ask them questions (like an interview, whaddayaknow?). I also use to give people the option from the start, and I was really wish-washy with it. I would give in if people asked me to come back a little later. I could lose a whole table if I gave in when the first person didn't want to do it.

Now I have a different approach. I walk up to a table and it basically goes something like this . . .

"May I interrupt you guys for a minute?"

"Cool. Thanks. I'm going around from table to table getting personal messages for the bride and groom. You can say whatever you want. It can be short or long, funny or heartfelt. Whatever you want. We'll just start with you and work our way around to this side."


#1
Asking if you can interrupt is polite, and you'll gain some respect for that.


#2
Giving a short explanation of what they can say helps people relax because it doesn't feel overly important. You'll also notice that I don't ask who wants to start or ask if anyone wants to do it. This is death to anyone trying to get personal messages. Once you put it in the perspective that it's going to happen and it's going to progress "like this", then people respond to that authority and organization and usually deliver nicely. It will also save you a bunch of time.


#3
Always start filming several seconds before you are ready, to avoid issues with those people who "jump start" their message. And I would suggest that you always look through your eyepiece while filming and avoid the LCD screen. When you look through the eyepiece, people will look at the camera, which is what you really want.


#4
If someone is struggling, you can help them out by suggesting that they just say congratulations or wish them well in the future or whatever, but don't stop filming or you might lose what they end up saying. Also, when people have that blank look on their face, don't panic and stop filming. Keep rolling, because often those people (the same one's that would refuse if you gave them the choice) will rely on what is in their heart for their words, and they can give you some of the best messages.


Hope all that helps . . .
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Old January 27th, 2006, 06:10 AM   #4
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I totally go along with Travis' 4 points; here are a few more from my experiences to add to the list.

#5
Use a wireless mike, or, at a minimum, a shotgun mike. Depending on how far back you're standing from the person talking, if you're using the on-camera mike, background noise can drown out all or parts of what the person is saying.

#6
Turn off the Record light. Most everyone knows what the red light means, and to me it seems to inhibit the camera-shy folks.

#7
Use available light even if it means grainy video. That headlight is more effective than the Record light in turning people into mutes.

#8
Don't get tunnel vision when harvesting these messages. Also keep an eye on the head table and the rest of the room. Probably 99.8% of the time there's nothing special going on, but you have to be constantly on watch for the unexpected.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 06:14 AM   #5
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i usually shiit the tables first then i play spotter while i do that.. this way u can tell youd respond and whod shy away..
those that are open to it are usually easy to pick up so their the first people i apprach. I just ask them if theyd like to leave a message.

Nothifng fancy

BUT

I also do Video Guestbooks, where i setup a camera with a mic and let them have at it..
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Old January 27th, 2006, 06:22 AM   #6
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Tom:
Great additions (especially #6 and #7; I use an onboard shotgun, so I can't comment on #5, although it sounds like a great idea).


Peter:
You're a much more trusting man than I. I can't bear to leave one of my cameras out of sight. The very first wedding I shot I had two cameras on tripods up on a stage that was not in use. They were up there to be out of sight and out of the way of guests, and to assist in recording all the dancing.

Partway through the ceremony a guest pointed out to me that a bunch of kids had found a way onto the stage and were running around in the curtains and crawling under my tripods and running around them. I still get sick remembering the sight.

So for those of you who set up a 'message camera', how does it work overall? Do you get good results, or a lot of blank tape when people forget to stop recording (even my assistant does that to me; gotta love 10 minutes of grass and concrete shots)?
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Old January 27th, 2006, 09:51 AM   #7
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I just ask the tables or "cliques" (you know, they're smaller groups who stand outside of the reception) to say "CONGRATULATIONS (bride's name) AND (groom's name)!" at the count of three and put all of those at the end of their movie. It makes for a nice blooper as not all will say it together, or say the names in the wrong order and they laugh at each other and try again!
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Old January 27th, 2006, 10:19 AM   #8
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These replies so far have been great!

I just wanted to share my best experience for interviews. When I meet with the bride and groom to go over the details of their wedding, I ask if they would "lend me" their best man or maid of honor to bring me the most important people they want to give congratulations messages to the camera. This works flawlessly because it's so easy for them to get the people to come to the camera because they know the guests in most cases and I get TONS of interviews this way. Plus being able to setup the camera on a tripod in a location with a nice background makes it even better.

Has anyone tried this approach?

As for the audio setup, I just a wireless Sennheiser G2 microphone and it blocks most if not all of the background noise. It sounds incredible.

Eric
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Old January 27th, 2006, 11:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.J. Briones
during the last dancing set, we set up a tripod somewhere nice outside the reception area and the dj announces that we are doing interviews. we also talk to the bridal party beforehand so that one of them takes the initiative to make sure that the people that matter most to the b&g come see us. we used to run around from table to table, but it took forever and we were catching people off-guard.

Aren't about 1/2 the guests gone at that point in the night?
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Old January 27th, 2006, 02:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Holloway
Has anyone tried this approach?
Eric
yes. it's what i currently do, as stated above.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott
Aren't about 1/2 the guests gone at that point in the night?
for the most part, everyone is still there. it's been the case for most of the weddings we shot in 2005. having one of the bridal party members there to help us round up people has been essential with this strategy.

shooting outside allows us to use my frezzi mini fill and get a better composed shot, with better lighting, and the people that do end up talking love the attention. we usually have a long line of people waiting to get on camera, and since we do it later in the evening, people are sauced up and are more likely to say something hilarious, which makes for good bonus material.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 12:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Holloway
Hello everyone, I have a question just out of curiousity... When doing interviews at events, what is your style? Do you approach the guests and ask them if they would like to say anything that the guest(s) of honor would see/hear on the video? Do you setup a tripod and have the dj make annoucements that you are doing interviews over there in the corner? I'm just curious on how everyone else does it.

I normally go from table to table just after dinner when the party starts and interview that way. I find that interviews are hard to get though because everyone seems to be camera shy. I even read one post here that sounded kind of interested where the videographer setup an "automated booth" where guests could go and record their comments anytime during the event.

I'm interested in your comments.

Thanks,
Eric Holloway



Eric....try confirming with your client when you have your 1st meeting if this is something they want instead of just "doing" it. We ask every client and I have to say.....95% of our clients do not want us shooting interviews. The type of interviews at the tables give a "cheese" factor to the final edit.....if youre going to do them, try setting up somewhere.....if youre near a nisy environement...USE a hanhled mic ie SURE SM 58 or close to it.....I guarentee your audio will sound sweet with the background down to a minimum. I have seen a lot of these video demos with table interview where the guests are "looking" into the cam....looks amateur. if youre along...set your camera frame...and ask some q&a about the bride....have the guest look at you off camera...NOT into the camera. Much more "professional" I work in TV a lot and conducted many interviews.....this set up is WAY nicer and more professional than the look into the camera and say something to the B&G....that is cheese!!! Good luck to you.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 02:51 AM   #12
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no i nevr do interviews coz they put everyone on teh spot and ppl become uneasy enough with video, let alone having to perform for it..

messages and greetings are far safer.

as for the Video Guestbook, i print up instructions and tape it to the desk. with an IR remote control which is BlueTaced so its difficult to move.

ive never had a problem with it..

theres afew other guest and bridal party interactions i do with my clients, but i cant publicise it coz im the only one in Aus actually offering this (not interviews or greetings, but something a little more interactive)

But theres lots u can do either way
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Old January 28th, 2006, 05:37 PM   #13
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Joe:

Are you my archnemesis? We seem to be butting heads a lot on here lately (just kidding).

I have to disagree with you about doing interviews versus looking into the camera. I'm not going to say the interview style is bad. It does have a more corporate and professional look. However, I view a wedding as a very personal event, not a corporate event.

As such, having them give a personal message while not looking into the camera (which is how I used to do it years ago), ends up looking much less personal. I want the B&G to feel like their friends and family are talking TO THEM, not to an interviewer. Once again, this is a point of opinion, not right or wrong, but if you're going for that personal feel, there's nothing like watching your friends and family talking TO YOU, versus talking off camera.

If the setup for the two styles weren't so different, it might make sense to ask the B&G what style they prefer. Maybe it makes sense anyways.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 03:52 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=Peter Jefferson]i usually shiit the tables first then i play spotter while i do that.. QUOTE]

Peter, I think that happened on "The Office" last week.. I don't know if you'll get many compliments doing that..;)
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Old January 29th, 2006, 04:16 AM   #15
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lol
yeah mate, shittin on tables is a good way to blow the potential for future jobs... lol
although its a good way for a lot of people to clear their throats... roflmao
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