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


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Old March 20th, 2006, 12:22 PM   #1
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my intro sample

Hello everyone,
This is my first shoot with the VX2100, and trying to use some of John Cooksey's broadcast camera techniques. I was hoping to get some comments on framing, etc. I know I have some shakiness in there, but otherwise I am pretty proud of my progress. Thanks in advance...

www.grantphotovideo.com/maggieintro.wmv

Bill Grant
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Old March 21st, 2006, 12:06 AM   #2
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Hey Bill, well i know the vx isn't that heavy so there's a need to work on the shakiness. On some shots you may want to get different angles and then transition them from one to the other instead of kind of scanning with the camera (what i mean is that one instance you were shooting the first box of flowers and then you moved over to the left and shot the other ones, sometimes that's not needed.) I think for the first one its not bad but can be better. Go with your own style and improve on that, not everyone's techniques work, so find one that's comfortable for you. Good job and you'll always learn better from your work.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 10:27 AM   #3
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Two things really stood out at me. Some of the shots assuredly would have looked better if shot using a tripod with a good fluid head (for example, panning shot of jewelry at 4:00). The other thing that stood out was the music. It is a wedding video, but the lyrics almost made me think I should be seeing a video about civil rights on the screen (that just seemed somewhat disjointed and distracting to me).
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Old March 21st, 2006, 03:16 PM   #4
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thanks

thanks for the comments. I realized about the shakiness (mentioned in the original post) it is something I am trying to overcome, it has gotten significantly better (believe me). The problem I have with the tripod is I never have it when i see shots I need. I always kick myself later. The whole situation is frustrating for me. Stylewise I am trying to understand style, and I hope that style will come with time. I understand the things I like to see, and the way I like to see them, but I don't really understand style. Just about all of the accomplished videographer's samples I see look about the same to me with very subtle differences. I see guys like Glenn Elliot really standing out, but I don't get it. As for the music, the groom's father was from Jamaica, and loved that song. The theme of redemption was very prevelant in this wedding for both th B & G. Can someone give me an example of style, and what we even mean when we say "develop a style?"

Bill
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Old March 21st, 2006, 03:43 PM   #5
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STYLE, hmmmm, let's see. Most guys/gals I know or know of in the business pretty much treat the ceremony the same. Document the day. Some use short form editing others long form but IMO at least, the ceremony is still the thing that most people THINK they want to see. After all that's when it (the wedding) becomes real so for that reason I don't really do anything (stylizing) to it. Yes, I do a short form edit, color correction, audio sweetening but no stylized editing. I know some others do. I think when we talk about style what we really talking about besides the length of the edit (short form or long form) is the prep or opening to the event, the photo shoot perhaps the reception (time compressed or not-short or long) and the recap. Some like Glen do a great job of matching with the client IE his Res Dogs groomsmen credits but by the same token he can go soft and sappy (sorry Glen but I think you know what I mean) so from a style point of view he trys to meet the client in the middle. Now you want hard edge stuff try Dave Bonner in Canada. He built his reputation on being very cutting edge and thinking way out of the box, BUT I'll bet his ceremony stuff is pretty straight forward. His MTV style stuff is used in recaps, highlights and prep. (pretty much based on what I've seen and I've been watching his stuff for a long time-DAVE if you're reading this I remember the one you did that was bad to the bone and had some sex for dummies-it was really quite cool) Anyway style to me has more to do than how you shoot. How do you interact with the client-I know guys that maybe say 2 words all day-me, well I'm older than most of the parents of the B&G and I'm a talkative kind of guy so I talk to the B&G all day. I don't get in their face but when I'm with them I talk...FIRST it puts them at ease because I also have a wicked sense of humor AND it takes their minds off the camera...OH OH, here's the video guy!!!! It usually works well enough that they feel comfortable when I'm around so the footage I get is natural. Sometimes not but for the most part...
In wedding videography there is so much going on and so much to capture that it's easy to get lost in the "style" of the wedding. I try to capture the day and then put it together in a meaningful way for the couple to enjoy for (hopefully) a very long time.
I think after you've done a few gigs you'll start to get a feel for your "style" and what works for you and what doesn't but remember you're making a video for THEM. If they're really outgoing people use that to your advantage-if they're more laid back-use that to your advantage.
Style is hard to define. it's a combination of them and you to make a great video.
Sorry it's so long
Don
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Old March 21st, 2006, 03:44 PM   #6
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For what it's worth, I loved the music. I lived in Jamaica for a couple of years and the songs of the island are pretty dear to me. I suppose from another point of view it wouldn't fit a wedding video, but I more than understand the idea of working with music that is provided. And if it fit their wedding, more power to them.

I didn't watch all of this yet, but I'd toss in with the others. Shakiness is difficult. I think you have decent shot ideas, they just need to be smoother. Like Mike said, you don't need to do double coverage on some things (like the example he gave). I noticed that too. You'll learn style. Just look at what others do and decide what YOU like out of it. Also, listen to your clients. If they have ideas, listen to them. Well, most of the time.
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Old March 21st, 2006, 04:07 PM   #7
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I think you may have just defined your "style". You might call it "pure opportunistic run and gun".

To accommodate that, how about getting a monopod and a light tripod (which is easy to setup fast), that you can carry on your back (with a QR plate that would work with both)?

The client's choice of music is obviously the right choice (it's their video).
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Old March 21st, 2006, 07:22 PM   #8
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Robert, I was just going to suggest the monopod. I shot handheld with the GL2 model for a full year and got pretty good. However, I added a monopod to my inventory at that point, and instantly I got better.

90% of the time I used the monopod handheld (not extended), and it acts a little like a steadicam device. But when you need a more static and stable image, you can just extend it and setup in an instant. Invaulable piece of equipment in my opinion.

As far as your shots, they weren't bad. Sometimes it felt like you were searching for a shot. One tip for that would be to try the shot once or twice without filming it. That generally gives you an opportunity to correct any speed or angle issues before you record the shot.

One thing I always tell myself is "Shoot with a purpose". If you want a shot of something (like a candle or a person getting ready). Spend that extra second or two and decide how you want the shot to look BEFORE you push "record". If you just start filming you will tend to not get a specific shot.

Hope that helps!
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Old March 21st, 2006, 09:00 PM   #9
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wow

Thanks!! for all of the advice. This is the type of thing I need to help me improve. This is actually about the 6th or so that I have done in about a year, but I am just starting to want to get great. I look at it like playing the piano, I have to learn the theory and what notes to play, before I attempt to develop my chops. This is the last of our "not for profit" weddings, and I learned a lot about the camera and how I want to shoot from this one. I am definately going to get a monopod to add to my arsenal. I also need to SHOOT more, I know that. I appreciate everyone's comments so much. I hope to bring you great things in the future...

Bill
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 03:47 AM   #10
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demos

No thanks to this and other posts I have the itch to re-edit old footage.... I restored my first two (of 3 total) weddings from backup and decided to cut together a demo. My editing style has stayed mostly constant but my shooting has vastly improved. Of course I still lack any pro level gear so there always is room for improvements there.

I did like your work. Something I found hard to do (style wise) is to honor a clients wish for type of music, and you did a good job of working with the customer in mind. That is becoming a larger portion of the business than I imagined.

In any case, I have a 2 minute 320x240 intro snagged directly from my most recent wedding (not completed yet). I didn't want to create yet another thread of "I'm kind of new but how does this look" so I'll just slip it in on yours. I hope you don't mind.

I decided to shoot the intro based entirely on still photos taken by my girlfriend. Her entire job (asside from providing backup camera should I miss a shot) was to walk around and take fancy photos for me to splice into the footage. My last clients liked that style so I stuck with it for this client.

http://www.altreephotography.net/gal...intro_only.wmv

jason
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 01:23 PM   #11
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Hey, I recognize that place . . . the Northfork Lodge. Beautiful lodge. We actually shot the first wedding they did a couple of years ago. They didn't even have the (just forgot the proper term) arena in the back finished.

Regarding your montage, I thought it was good. I would love to see some of your video work too, as that is really where it's all at for a videographer. When you have some video to show, let us know!
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 08:22 PM   #12
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Bill, I enjoyed your video, but I couldn't help but notice you're using auto exposure and auto white balance in a lot of the shots. I also own a VX2100, and even though it's fairly good in full auto mode, it's much better full manual. It is a pain to adjust the iris, especially look down on the camera with the LCD tilted 90 degrees. I used to shoot my events in full auto mode, and now that I've started using full manual on the VX2100 shots come out looking better, and better exposed. The camera has a hard time adjusting correctly when there's one source of bright light in the scene, especially in the background. Try using the backlight mode if you need to. There's one seen of the groom/groomsmen where the white balance goes off because of the light coming through the open door.

Other than that I enjoyed what you did with the video. I especially liked the very first with the B&W and the title, which fit perfectly. I also agree with the others on the tripod, it would have turned out so much better in many of the shots, like the candles for example.

In the end, one shot I noticed in particular was the shot of the bride's necklace, you had it framed up nicely, but you started tilting up towards her face but never quite made it. I think if you would have ended on her face, then dissolved to a shot of her ring it would have looked better, but that's just my opinion. Also, I thought it was a little bit long, and some of the shots were a little repetitive. I hope I'm not being too critical.

All-in-all, good job

-----------------

Jason, I also liked your video. THe montage was great. I especially liked what you did with the christmas tree in the snow globe, and also their picture that got signed (I forgot what it was called).
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 09:05 PM   #13
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thanks to everyone

The bride called today, and she is thrilled with the results. I am, however, going to go out this weekend and get myself a monopod to try and steady up some of those shaky shots. Thanks...

Bill
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