Recording the vows at

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

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Old May 1st, 2006, 05:33 AM   #1
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Recording the vows

Mnay posters here have stated that once the vows are underway they retiure the camera to a tripod. This gives the arms a rest and maintains a steady shot throughout.

However, bearing in mind that some vows can go on for for ever, how do people handle this is in editing? Surely in a long edit, 40+ minutes of one angled shot becomes boring?

Of course if you have more than one camera you can vary it but if you're a man-camera-band? Do you ever re-locate the camera postition at all? or not bother with a tripod so you can be free to change angles \ position?
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Old May 1st, 2006, 05:55 AM   #2
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As a 1 man band I still use 2 and sometimes 3 cameras AND I edit short form so 40-60 minute ceremonies end up at about 10-12 minutes anyway-if you edit long form then it is what it is-1 camera 2 cameras or 12 cameras its still 40 minutes or longer. You can't make it something it's not. Do the best you can with what you've got in the style that you normally edit and move on.

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Old May 1st, 2006, 06:09 AM   #3
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In my limited experience, most wedding couples are very happy that you are getting their faces, rather than a camcorder in the back of the church with poor audio. Even if an unchanging view of their faces during the vows seems boring to you, it will still be very precious to the B&G.

If you can only get one angle, be sure it's the bride. She probably wants to see herself more than the groom wants to see himself.

Get good audio of the vows - a wireless lapel mic or a mic connected to an iRiver or minidisc recorder in the groom's pocket.

During long vows, (or at other places in the ceremony) you can swing the camera around for some shots of faces in the audience. Later in post, you can slow those down, which will allow you to make clean edits between B&G and the guests.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 08:49 AM   #4
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Actually today 99.9% of the weddings the B&G face each other during the vows and rings with the officiant to the front side of the altar although sometimes the officiant stands on the congregation side which makes it a bit tougher but even so a nice 3 shot gets everything you need during the vows. A nice slow zoom into the hands for the ring exchange is easy to do also. When I first started in the industry many years ago all I had was 1 camera so you had too learn how to shoot properly with the one you had. Today cameras are relativly inexpensive and shooting 2 or 3 by yourself (1 or 2 locked down-not the best but set right it works) is not a problem. All you can do is the best you can under the circumstances. I agree 100%-AUDIO- the best footage ever is no good without good audio so make sure you get that.
Wireless, recorders it doesn't matter just get good audio and remember a wedding is like shooting a breaking news event-no matter how many you've done and whether you've gone to the rehearsal unplanned things happen and happen fast so you gotta be ready. Cameras get blocked, people stand up when you don't expect it, the B&G move to a position that is uncovered by a camera-they block out the lighting of the unity candle-what can you do!?! The best you can under the circumstances.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 05:41 PM   #5
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Before reading further, please recognize that working with a single camera at a wedding is a real challenge, and I would prefer to use two cameras operated by two people.

Like Don I am usually a one man band. Unlike Don I usually don't use more than one camera during a ceremony...and it is on a tripod all of the time. Again, unlike Don, I do not edit the ceremony. It is presented as it happened.

Without a 2nd camera one has to learn to work within the restrictions one camera poses. In terms of camera movement that means giving a lot of thought to when and how to execute a zoom or pan. If you what will happen you can make this work.

Most of the time I execute a zoom/pan combination. Any camera movement involves both zoom and pan to some degree. The camera doesn't get moved without a very good visual reason. To shift attention focus to bridesmaids during a boring part of the officiates "blah-blah", I would do a zoom out to a wider angle to bring the bridesmaid into the frame then zoom in while panning left. Once I feel I have accomplished the shift of attention, I can continue the pan at my leisure.

There are two important elements to this technique. First, one has to establish early on in the video the use of panning/zooming to accustom the viewer that this is a "normal thing". Second, executing a change in camera angle has to make visual sense. It can not be arbitrary. I have found the "cue" lies in the commentary of a ceremony. You must understand the content of the ceremony beforehand and listen carefully to what the officiate is saying, because therein will be your cue to change camera angle. All ceremonies have built into them pregnant pauses which signify "something new". Most, if not all, of ceremony officiates are skilled public speakers. They know how to "lead the crowd". Follow their lead and your camera movment cues are secure.
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