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Old March 28th, 2006, 09:46 PM   #1
Major Player
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 253
Boring camera placement for ceremony

I'm still shooting with an experienced pro this year to build some experience, so I can't really change things up much. But watching some of the samples you guys post here are making our ceremonies seem so boring! We position camera 2 in the back or the balcony, and they are the "steddie-eddie." They have almost no creative opportunities, because they have to always have a good shot to cover for camera 1. Plus, both cameras are on sticks the entire time. While this is great and allows us to get good, steady ceremonies, it also kind of boring compared to some of the clips on here.

I just watched an SDE from Daniel Boswell ( and there were some very cool camera moves DURING the ceremony. Anyhow, my question is this: would it be a bad idea to put camera 1 manned on sticks in the front for closeups and such, camera 2 un-manned on sticks in the balcony or back (if high enough), and have a roaming, handheld camera 3 to catch some cool moving shots during the ceremony?

I've read about the bad things with leaving a camera un-manned, but I figure if it's on the floor, then camera 3 will be close to it while roaming to keep an eye on it, and maybe change up the composition a little. If it's in the balcony, it should be relatively safe from kids and wanderers.

I just see these great moving, handheld shots during the ceremony, and wonder how to get those without having 3 operators, yet still having a good "cut-to" camera in the back somewhere. Plus, we do long-form ceremony edits, and the moving shots probably wouldn't work for those, but for highlights they rock!

Any opinions? How do you guys that shoot these do it?

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Old March 29th, 2006, 05:30 AM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
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I've frequently used unmanned cameras at wedding ceremonies and that works fine for me. Put one on a really tall tripod in the back of the venue a little to either side of the center aisle, and you'll usually have a clear shot even when all other cameras are blocked by people standing and/or the photographer's head.

I recently did one ceremony where I was using a roving camera up front for a while with three other cameras on tripods around the facility, and that worked out nicely most of the time. This fits with what you're saying about having two cameras on tripods and one roaming, which makes sense if (like me) you really want steady documentary footage but also want some more artistic shots.
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Old March 29th, 2006, 10:57 AM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Toronto, Canada
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With four to five cameras, we use one with a stabilizer to get the artistic shots during the ceremony. That leaves on manned camera and 2-3 unmanned angles. With three cameras total, we go with two manned and one unmanned as that seem to make the editing much smoother. We also try and deliver quality that is consistent with the package they go with. Our lower to mid level packages are not the ones I would try and get more artistic shots at the ceremony and would rather focus on a quality documnetary edit. With the higher packages we will put that extra effort on the day and in editing to get the artistic shots but from my experience, the extra camera (meaning four minimum) is the best way to shoot if your working with one other person and plan to do a large portion handheld.

Others on here bring a third videographer and they just get artistic shots. Very simple way to get the footage without changing the process.
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