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


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Old April 12th, 2006, 10:22 AM   #1
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1 camera gig

G'day guys,

Just a quick question... I just got a call from a mate of mine who wants me to do his wedding. I only have the one camera.

I do docos, so one camera is ok, but for weddings, I was wondering, has anyone ever do a one camera shoot for a wedding, and how did it go?

I'm scared that If I shoot the ceremony, I'll be trying to fit in some audience shots while not trying to miss the ceremony itself... I'm fearing a 1 cam shoot will just be too boring, even with cut aways like flowers and such that can be taken later.

I'm not sure I should go ahead with it.... Not until I can get myself a basic cam and put it on a tripod for a birds eye, or a 2nd static angle... but I dont know...

Thanks in advance
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Old April 12th, 2006, 11:12 AM   #2
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shooting a wedding with one camera is very difficult - realistically, you need another camera for a safety shot. Is renting another camera possible?
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Old April 12th, 2006, 11:54 AM   #3
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Can you find another person with their own camera?

I was lucky enough to find a teenager in my town with a brand spanking new VX2100. I swear, he'd do it for free just to get the experience.
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Old April 12th, 2006, 01:30 PM   #4
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It's defiantly possible, how creative your shots will be is going to be limited. Also it may be a little stressful because you don't have the reassurance of a second camera.

If you are only shooting with one camera it is possible to get some cut away shots during the readings and sermon. Just pan quickly to the B&G then quickly back to whom ever is speaking. Then in post just slow down the shot of the B&G to make up for the time you took to pan.

Also before and after the ceremony you can get some good shots to insert in post.
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Old April 12th, 2006, 01:46 PM   #5
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If you think that the material will be boring with one camera, or if you think that you'll miss something as you get your cutaways, then you should try and have a second camera operator. If it's not possible then just relax and enjoy the wedding. With one camera you can have a nice shoot and get 90% of the shots that make a wedding so special. It may not have all the cutaways, but it will still be valuable to your friend.

I wouldn't stress if you can't find a second operator or camera. Just enjoy the day and record it as you would a doc. Find a storyline and follow it.

Ben Lynn
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Old April 12th, 2006, 02:45 PM   #6
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before wedding shots

I find that when people are preparing for the wedding. i.e. people singing etc.. they'll do a practice performance. get video of that in a way where the "empty audience" isn't shown and you can "fake" that shot for a shot taken during the wedding.

also, if you can find people who are doing the readings. ask them to do a reading before the wedding at the podium and video that as well. video of the pianist, cellist, etc... you get my point.

hope this helps.
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Old April 12th, 2006, 02:47 PM   #7
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If you are allowed, attend the practice the day before...get a copy of the program (write notes in the margins). This will allow you to plan times to get coverage (crowd shots, close-ups).

Most weddings, you're not allowed to get close enough to do much, so you'll be relatively far back and on a tripod. I recommend the groom's side of the place if possible as the bride is the center of focus for the wedding...I hate to generalize, but the groom could generally care less about seeing himself on the screen whereas, the bride absolutely wants to see herself and show off her dress.

During the longish periods of the ceremony when it's not as important to get the shot of the couple (this is what the visit the day before lets you figure out), you can quickly pan the camera around to get some shots of the audience...don't forget to get back to the couple before they start in on important bits again. Get shots while the crowd is being seated to be able to have crowd shots to cut in and afterward once the wedding party has exited. Closeups of the mothers and fathers is a good insert too, so get some of those once they are seated.

Get footage at the shindig afterward and some interviews of friends about the couple. cut this all together to give an interesting, but complete verwion of their wedding. The bride will generally notice if segments are missing, but good editing will minimize that risk. Use glances and sound to motivate your cuts.

Try to get sound right off of the board...or the titles and performers of the songs being used so you can have pristine audio, mike the bride or groom (or the bouquet) wirelessly to get close up audio of the vows and priest/minister/rabbi/shaman...


Enjoy the faces and emotions/reactions...these are the golden parts for editing weddings...get the brides full gown front and back as she passes if possible...she paid alot for it and wants to see all of it on the dvd.

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Old April 12th, 2006, 05:06 PM   #8
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Back in the OLD DAYS before the advent of miniDV I shot everything with 1 camera-they were far too costly, work was way more sporadic than it is today and the technical ability of the cameras then dictated a fair amount of light. My first VX1000 was so far ahead of everything I used particularly low light capability that not only did it open up a whole new world for me but when I got the 2nd one it opened a new world for clients. Things progress and change. However I will say that last year of the 45 or so weddings I did, 99% of the footage came from my primary camera so in essence I was shooting 1 camera (even though I had a 2nd set up). I'm almost to the point of saying why bother with 2 - go back to basics and shot 1. Well maybe not but the thought has crossed my mind.

Don
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Old April 12th, 2006, 07:12 PM   #9
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That's interesting Don,

I've been stressing for the past year about getting a 2nd PD170 like I have now for weddings. Throughout the year the money that I've saved is going toward making my 1 camera setup better, but I still don't have the $3500 - $4000 to go dump on a second setup (and won't have anyone to operate it when I do).

The weddings that I've shot have certainly been frenzied affairs with the one camera setup (I've been doing cutaway shots when the bride, groom, or pastor does something I wish I would have got), but I always seem to manage to get just enough shots to piecemeal together a video that gives the impression it was shot with 2.

Your post reassured me to quit the stressing UNTIL I can afford to do this.

Thanks
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Old April 12th, 2006, 07:29 PM   #10
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I was forced to do a 1-camera shoot when my second camera broke down on the day of the wedding.

It didn't come out too bad. The reactions of the guests had to be ignored. The possibility of something important being missed is to great. I had to pan and slooowly zoom to do the job. There was no wedding rehearsal. No-one else had a camcorder there. Any cheap camcorder could be used for cutaways to guests' reactions, so persuade someone (e.g. a guest) to help. With a multi-camera shoot the bride is much more likely to be thrilled, being able to see things that she was unable to see on the day.

We now have 3 cameras.
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Old April 12th, 2006, 08:56 PM   #11
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I usually work alone. I make sure to take plenty of crowd shots just before and even during the ceremony (usually during the sermon), and cut them in when and if needed to give the appearance of a 2-cam shoot. If the couple is paying for a second cam, like last Saturday, then I'll get the ol' VX1000 out of mothballs, and now I have someone I can rely on as a 2nd cameraman (my nephew).

I always have my little Panasonic GS120 along - maybe I should start using it all the time. It wouldn't kill me to roll some backup footage.
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Old April 12th, 2006, 10:15 PM   #12
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I'm not suggesting anyone do a 1 camera shoot - 2 is really better now you have a sfaety shot if you need it or if you have a 2nd cam op now you can really get creative BUT whether I'm shooting with a 2nd camera locked down or with another operator on number 2 I ALWAYS assume that the other camera isn't working or the guy running #2 is sleeping. If you depend on that 2nd or even 3rd camera I promise MURPHYS LAW will eventually jump in. You know- 'if it can go wrong it will and usually at the wrong time'
I learned how to shoot with 1 camera and sometimes I feel like I'm depending too much on the gear and not the creativness. But thats just me.

Don
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Old April 12th, 2006, 10:45 PM   #13
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I think it is very important to have a two camera shoot as I have found out was in Broome which is in the top end of Western Australia doing a wedding for a mate, my second camera was not working so just decided to use the XM2; well very humid up there doing the usual camera stabilizer job when as you don't know stopped recording; camera locked up, picture still showing, Humid conditions, windy, filmed on the beach, lots of moisture; but when you are concentrating you don't see it, bang what the!... Second camera your saviour, at the moment I knew there were others with other small videos filming so trying to track those down, so as Don says ''if it can go wrong it will and usually at the wrong time'', the last wedding I did was a three camera shoot so it should be interesting, but you take these chances when you are doing a love job, but even so, not good for your self-esteem.

JS
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Old April 13th, 2006, 05:22 PM   #14
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Sounds like you read my playbook

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Kivimaki
It's defiantly possible, how creative your shots will be is going to be limited. Also it may be a little stressful because you don't have the reassurance of a second camera.

If you are only shooting with one camera it is possible to get some cut away shots during the readings and sermon. Just pan quickly to the B&G then quickly back to whom ever is speaking. Then in post just slow down the shot of the B&G to make up for the time you took to pan.

Also before and after the ceremony you can get some good shots to insert in post.

This is a summary of my tips and tricks. The best advise is to let your mate know that with one camera you can do a highlight reel but probably not a full ceremony. This will let you pan to the bride's family, grooms family, some lady that is crying in the back, that sort of thing.

The best piece of advice I can give is to get the full audio somehow. It doesn't matter too much, though I prefer a Sony MD recorder because they are cheap, record at a decent quality, and are completely portable (single AA battery). This audio feed (from the DJ's mic, or the PA system) will let you place footage (previously mentioned shots of audience, flowers, etc) with out loosing the time line of the sermon or whatever is going on.

For one wedding I shot, I had to move the camera eventually (needed multiple angles so the production did not look crappy and cheap). So I kept recording (always record for the ceremony... even if the camera is shaking all over as you move it) and moved it to the other side of the aisle. There was a special song being sung so I had the time opportunity to place in a 5 picture photo memory montage that I took from the B&G when they moved her stuff the previous day. It turned out very well and perfectly fit with the lyrics of the song.

The other posters with more experience will be able to add more advice, though they ay be more used to shooting multiple cameras. They still know miles more than me though.

jason
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Old April 13th, 2006, 05:40 PM   #15
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Brilliant

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoochul Chong
I find that when people are preparing for the wedding. i.e. people singing etc.. they'll do a practice performance. get video of that in a way where the "empty audience" isn't shown and you can "fake" that shot for a shot taken during the wedding.

also, if you can find people who are doing the readings. ask them to do a reading before the wedding at the podium and video that as well. video of the pianist, cellist, etc... you get my point.

hope this helps.

You know, that is a great idea! I hadn't eve considered using that footage because of sound syncing problems. A cellist for example might not be playing at the same tempo twice so if you use the performance audio with a practive video, you might not be able to sync them together. May be the synd is not as important as I thought.

jason
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