groan.... i was volunteered for a wedding at DVinfo.net

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


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Old February 11th, 2003, 11:56 AM   #1
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groan.... i was volunteered for a wedding

TO make the painful part quick, and I'm sure it's familliar to many of you, my loving fiancee volunteered me to film a co-workers wedding, for free.

So, I'm shooting a wedding, may it be the last.

Problem - I have never seen a wedding video, and don't really know what they are supposed to look like. Hell, I haven't even been to a wedding in 15 years or so. I have a good idea what goes on, but I'd like to watch a couple to make sure. Does anyone in the Vancouver area have any wedding videos I can borrow for a couple nights? I will pick up and return them.


So far my plan is.... Huddle in a ball and cry until it's all over. Failing that, I'm using three XL1's for the ceremony (thanks to Keith Loh who volunteered to help me after I told him it's a great place to pick up chicks). Then for the reception, Keith and I will have an XL1 each, plus I will have my ZR40 to hand around for people to shoot personal greetings for the B&G. Also planning on shooting footage of the B&G preparing for the wedding before hand.

Audio, I'm going to have a shotgun mic on one camera as a backup, but for my main audio I have two choices.
1) rent a pair of wireless Lav mics and wire up the B&G.
2) strategicaly place a cardioid mic hooked up to my MD player (or wired via a long XLR cable to a camera) in a position where it will pick up all the audio happening at the altar.
What do you guys think? Remember I have no budget for this, it's all coming out of my pocket, probably.

I don't really want to attend the rehersal, so I'd like to get a schedual of how the ceremony will proceed, is this something I can ask for?

How long do you find wedding ceremonies typically run? Can I shoot a tape in LP mode and hope to capture the whole thing?

I'm doing this for free, do I have to wear a tux or suit, or can I just do dress pants and a nice shirt?

I've done a search on all the wedding topics here, and read them all. If anyone has anything they'd like to add (moral support would be good), please do.
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Old February 11th, 2003, 01:17 PM   #2
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I've never done it either but I can imagine good clothing is
important at such a "serious" event....

What I've heard a lot of people say who shoot Weddings it to
definitely attend the rehearsels so you know what will happen.
I think no one wedding will be the same (at least, that is what
I'm thinking, hoping?).

Some more info here, here and here

In another thread people said shooting weddings could be
done with a 60 minute tape (the actual ceremony) and uses
a different tape for things before and/or after....

Some other people are sure to chime in and help you out!
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Old February 11th, 2003, 01:22 PM   #3
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Here's a site for you with a few demos. Got to the screening room link and perhaps you'll get some ideas.

http://www.bigskymovies.com/


Greg
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Old February 11th, 2003, 01:29 PM   #4
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Greg, are you involved with Big Sky? Their videos were actually really entertaining and engaging to me, and I normally HATE wedding foofoofery.

Cinematic Weddings... something I'd been thinking about recently myself. This is the way they should be filmed! Great job to them.
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Old February 11th, 2003, 01:31 PM   #5
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I've never shot a wedding, either. The videography crew we hired (for ours) was very good. They knew the location inside and out and had a stock formula for the whole thing. So I really learned little from it.

My meager offering to you is a link to the WEVA site. Maybe it will offer you a crust of advice. Personally, I like your "Huddle in a ball and cry until it's all over." plan. Failing that, look on the -ahem- bright side; it's certain to be a rich experience that will further broaden your videography knowledge and skills. May you go in peace, my son.

So are you really that devoted to your fiancee?
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Old February 11th, 2003, 01:41 PM   #6
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When this is all over, Dylan, a year from now, you'll look back
on this event and smile. You cannot imagine how many wonderful
things you will learn during this event!

(now if this isn't giving you hope I do not know what will :)
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Old February 11th, 2003, 02:36 PM   #7
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Ha, ha! I get volunteered for weddings sometimes---they're a lot of work. You should do just fine.

Tips:

* be prepared for people to walk in front your shooting---especially children and drunks.

* use a heavy tripod and be prepared for hand-held work.

* shoot the main things:
- the wedding party and entrance
- the couple's special moments
- speakers
- the food
- the dancing
- clips of what people are doing at the reception
- try to shoot at least 1/2 hour of the wedding, follow up with the good times at the reception
- try to make or build a story, their story.

In conclusion..., good luck!
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Old February 11th, 2003, 04:29 PM   #8
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I'll chime in as I shoot weddings all the time. Yes curl and cry, good idea. I wish I had thought of that!!! (kidding) Actually, weddings can be a lot of fun and you can get very creative in many cases.
I would attend the rehearsal only because it allows you to meet everyone involved, talk to the officiant and find out where you can and can't set up and if you can make any moves during the ceremony or not.
For the wedding, get the procession, the hand off (her father to groom) and ALWAYS keep the bride in the picture. It's her day, the groom could be a cardboard cutout and no one would notice!
Get the recession, some stuff in between the ceremony and party,(usually the still guy has them stick around and do some stuff) get the intros at the reception, 1st dance, daddy dance, mommy dance if there is one, toasts, garter and bouquet toss, if they do it, some party dancing maybe a goodbye thing from the B/G and you're done. MIC the groom to your wireless or MD and if possible MIC the podium to MD if there are any readers. You'll know this if you go to the rehearsal. Not to mention at the wedding you should get fed and sometimes you'll even get invited to the rehearsal dinner so you get 2 meals. WOW!
Since it's a freebie I would get pretty creative as long as the meat of the matter stuff is done. I like to play with shutter speed to get a strobing effect with certain music, maybe play with some dutch angles etc.. Then go home have 2 beers and start editing. . Run to DVD or tape, put into really nice cases with pictures and text and present to B/G who will thank you until they watch it and then wonder why you didn't get aunt Tilly and Uncle Joe dancing for more than 5 seconds. Oh well.
OR you can just tell the B/G the truth that you don't do weddings and they should hire someone that specializes in them. Of course your fiancee will probably never speak to you again and you won't have to worry about your wedding video cause there won't be one and she'll move out and........well.....
It's not really all that bad, just don't let them see you shake and you'll be fine. Relax, have fun, enjoy and do what you know how to do.
Let us know how it comes out!
Really sorry about the loooooong post,
Don
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Old February 11th, 2003, 04:39 PM   #9
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Reading through Don's excellent remarks made me realize that we've made the assumption that this is a young (i.e <= 30 years old) couple complete with proud parents, squealing bride's maids and half-stoned friends of the groom.

If this is an older couple your approach might have to be less formulaically structured around juvenile feminine romantic fantasy and more towards creating a shared (bride/groom) rememberance of a special life event.

Just a thought.
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Old February 11th, 2003, 05:36 PM   #10
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Ken,
You're right. I guess I made the assumption cause I married off 2 sons this year. Both 20somethings. BTW, maybe we should be the ones squealing and half stoned. I just got a phone call from a bride whose wedding I shot 2 years ago, her sister is getting married and they want to hire me. GREAT! When are they getting married? SATURDAY!!! "What the hel*, seems someone forgot to prioritize video?" "Yes" she said, "my fault, can you do it and how much MORE for the last minute booking?" I made a fast call to change a shoot that was really nothing more than an indoor conveyor belt of some sort, (the mfg. was happy, he didn't want to come in on SAturday either so we rescheduled to next week) I called back and told the sister no extra charge cause you're a previous client but my prices have gone up a little in 2 years. She's good with that, I get to bring my wife they pay for my parking (it's in downtown Chicago) plus I get to rub it in to them about last minute booking! HA! Oh yeah, they hadn't booked a photographer yet either and from what I heard, aren't going to.
SCORE:
Video 1 -- Still photographer 0
DON
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Old February 11th, 2003, 06:14 PM   #11
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What's really fun is if you're the videographer and photographer. I've done it; and both formats suffer. I say, one or the other, unless you have a skilled helper.

Since you live in Vancouver, I can lend you a reception video---I have to make an extra copy for them anyway. It's not my best work, I had no preparation, but it may give you some ideas. Just post your phone # here, and I'll call you tomorrow.
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Old February 11th, 2003, 07:01 PM   #12
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Dylan,
I hope this will be your last FREE wedding. There is so much work involved in shooting one you should be paid. But being that your were volunteered, I suggest you have your fiancee help you. My wife and I volunteered a while back to shoot a friends wedding, after that, we never made that mistake again. We didn't get to enjoy the wedding and I hardly touched my food. With all our friends there, we were so busy trying to get all the shots, everyone got to eat and drink and enjoy the moment while we always had a camera in our hands. That's the bad part.

The good part, you will be able to advertise your video services to lots of people who may one day want you to shoot something else besides a wedding. So hopefully this one time freebie can lead to some future gigs. If it doesn't, then keep this experience as an ace up you sleeve, so when the day comes, you can always tell your wife, remember when I shot your friend's wedding for free...this can be a good bargaining chip when you need another XL-1s or a new computer system.

You guys should also eat before the shoot, you won't have time once it starts and try not to drink too much, even soft drinks, you don't want to run to the bathroom at a key moment. But do keep something to once in a while drink, I made the mistake of not drinking anything at all for a while and during the speeches, my throat was so dry, I started to cough causing the camera to jump around, had to cut that part out, luckily it didn't happen during the ceremony.

For clothing, the wedding hall I work for wanted me to wear a suit, the photographers do, but with having the XL-1 against my shoulder the whole time, a suit jacket is too confining, so I just wear all black, a long sleeve shirt with a tie. There is only one video cameraman, me, so I have to run around all over the place and a suit jacket will be too hot and in the way, I told them I can shoot better if I'm comfortable and so they made an exception, I suggest you do the same, wear something comfortable, it's gonna be a long day.

Main thing, have fun. Let us know how it went.
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Old February 11th, 2003, 07:35 PM   #13
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I think Rik makes two excellent points here. Bring your fiancee
(definitely!) so she can help out and learn here too. And I also
agree with the eating/food part. I've done a shoot a couple of
weeks back (no wedding though) and I was running all day with
my XL1s up and down stairs and whatnot. While trying to eat
a sandwich at 2 PM to keep me going they forgot to inform me
of a major event happening outside of the building three stories
below. So in like 2 minutes I was down there with my XL1s.
Not fun! Don't think for a moment you are going to get rest or
a short break when your waiting for the "beauty shot" off the
day....
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Old February 11th, 2003, 07:49 PM   #14
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YES bring her, after all she got you into this mess! (I'm kidding) Really bring her, the extra hands are always a help. As for dress, I wear a black suit and during the reception the jacket comes off. I have a power belt and shoulder brace with a wireless receiver on it plus the on camera light,shotgun W/A lens (pd150) so it can get a little restrictive. OH YEAH!!! EAT BEFORE the wedding. I ALWAYS get a meal during the reception it's part of my contract, but I don't sit when everyone else does, 1st I look around for some interesting stuff to shoot plus there are the speeches to cover. I usually sit about the time the main course is being served. EAT! You will be hungry later and good advice about the drink. Make friends right away with the DJ or band leader, they will almost always know what is going to happen when and ask him/her to let you know about things, cake cutting etc. OH yeah, 1 more thing, NEVER stray far from your camera. 2 reasons; 1)the unexpected shot and 2) I hate to bring it up but THIEVES abound at weddings. They know there will be camera equipment (still and video) and at some point they will try to make off with it. It doesn't happen everytime or everywhere but it does happen. I usually put my cases behind the DJ.
Hope all of this helps, like I said just have fun and do your thing. I'm sure the B/G know weddings are not your thing so you can really surprise them by just doing your best!
Good Luck,
Don
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Old February 11th, 2003, 07:54 PM   #15
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Wow, so much info! I don't even know where to start repling... Rob, Ken, Frank, Don, Rik, great suggestions. I'm going to make a list of stuff to remember based on it, and keep them on my pocket.
ALso thanks to forum member Adam Wakely, who sent me a HUGE e-mail, which I'll get him to post here.

Greg, awsome site. I've been watching bad wedding videos online all day, and that was a refresher. I e-mail them to ask what kind of gear they use.



One thing I've realized after all this....

We are eloping.
:)
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