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


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Old May 30th, 2006, 10:54 AM   #1
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oh yes, gotta love them priests..

no offense to any catholics here, so dont fret

heres a doozy.. a couple chose to get married at 930am... at a chapel in a nursing home for brides nannna to attend..

the priest turned out to be from another city and as soon as he saw me, i just said hello...

he then GRABBED ME and pulled me aside.. i kid u not i have this on tape..

"You WILL sit when the congregation is seated, and stand when they stand only. you WILL not mic up the groom, you WILL NOT run a second camera as yo uhave set up here."

Now heres the good bit
"When i start my sermon, you WILL turn off the camera. If you do not and i see you recording, i WILL stop the sermon and tell you to stop recording. Do you UNderstand?? what did i say?? you WONT record my sermon"

turns out the bride and groom knew nothing of this..

so waht did i do?? turned off all recording indicators on the cameras, threw on an 80min tape in the stationary unit, and started recording before he even noticed it was on.

During the ceremony i sat and stood as was asked, and used the neck of my second tripod as an extended arm, holding it high above peoples heads, but stable enough against my body to limit shaking.
During the sermon i CONTINUED TO RECORD
however he noticed me pointing the camera to him, and in an attempt to embaress me, he stopped the sermon and (i kid u not)
"This boy here didnt obey my orders. I told him to stop recording but he continues"
And i looked at the bride and groom and I gave them a look as if "i tried'

OK now thoug, the second camera is STILL recording... audio at this time as it was fixed on the lectern.

Before the wedding i spoke to the groom who didnt want video in the first place, so he was indifferent, however after the wedding, the bride was almost in tears worried sick about her video. IN addition to this, the Priest did and said THE SAME THING to the photographer and with this lack of freedom to move, he lost ALOT of shots.. were talking pretty much all his shots were dead, as he was literally sitting behind me, shooting over my shoulder.

So when we aproached the couple after the ceremony, i specifically asked her why she didnt tell me about this and mentioned that in the contract, i require permission to film freely. She didnt know.. the priest was her H2B choice and he went all quiet and turned away. I asked him if he knew about this and he just turned away without answering..

Now irrespective of whether or not the groom knew about this dictator doesnt matter..
Outside. the priest came running to the phtoographer and rasied his voice to him "you didnt obey me, you didnt obey"
I then turned to the priest and said "look, just like YOU, were here to do a job. But now that youre here, you can explain to the bride and groom WHY over half of their photos didnt turn out, and why their video is stunted with being forced to stop recording halfway through...

So has anyone ever experienced anything like this? Im curious to knwo as in all my years of shooting, ive NEVER had this issue..
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Old May 30th, 2006, 11:17 AM   #2
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This is not the norm. I've done mostly Roman Catholic weddings and have never experienced this level of rigidity.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 12:09 PM   #3
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Like Cole - never a problem to this degree and most of my weddings are Catholic. Now I will on occassion have dealings of this nature with the "church lady" but never with the priest. (Actually, if the church lady denies me something I can usually go over her head and get what I want from the priest).

I'm just curious though... if this was a "visiting" priest to a non-denominational chapel, I'd have stood my ground as he has no papal jurisdiction there (I assume). But then again, I'm Catholic.

Peter, I would seriously send a tape of his performance to his boss the Bishop and demand some clarification.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 12:25 PM   #4
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Wow Peter-

Let me guess ...the Priest's sermon was peppered with teachings about how you should be kind to people and caring and to treat people lovingly.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 12:42 PM   #5
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I've done a few Catholic weddings, being a former Catholic myself. I haven't run into problems like *that* but whenever I have things come up that'll change my shooting style (see previous posts about photographers) I'll get everyone together right then and there. The bride/groom, me and the person making waves. That way it's all settled. I once was compassionate and would let someone else speak on the B/G behalf... but I soon discovered that the spokesman for the B/G don't care either way, and the problem goes to them anyway. I won't feel bad for "ruining" their day because they were presented with a problem someone else insisted on raising. I'm willing to stand my ground... after all, a videographer is close to last on the list and our work isn't fully realized. I never did like getting pushed around as a kid, either.

-Michael
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Old May 30th, 2006, 01:17 PM   #6
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Good point, Michael. I've never had this happen to me, but if it does, I'll immediately get the B&G involved. I am employed by the B&G, and will only take my orders from them. If the officiant has other rules, they will have to be communicated to me through the B&G, or a the very least, approved by them.

My experience on Saturday was the polar opposite of Peter's. The pastor went out of his was to make sure I was accommodated and even suggested camera placement locations which would give the B&G the best shots. He also asked for business cards, because he "always gets asked for videographer recomendations"...
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Old May 30th, 2006, 01:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chris Davis
Good point, Michael. I've never had this happen to me, but if it does, I'll immediately get the B&G involved. I am employed by the B&G, and will only take my orders from them. If the officiant has other rules, they will have to be communicated to me through the B&G, or a the very least, approved by them.
Alot of times the person on the day is the Mother of the Bride. She tends to be the one (in the US) that ends up as your contact on the day of the event. If you can get in on the rehearsals, you tend to be able to work out most difficulties the day before with the curch, sound and the B&G so there is a clockwork like efficiency on the actual day of the shoot. Not to mention many less problems on their wedding day.

On the actual wedding day, I figure the B&G have enough on their mind without worrying about my job. I take it as part of my job to not let my stress add to theirs.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 01:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
he then GRABBED ME and pulled me aside..
Geeez, that would have been the wrong thing to do. Peter you must have been blindsided. Wow, just thinking of someone like that grabbing me makes my hair stand up. I hope you don't lose money on this. However, if you do, I would ceretainly go over his head as others have suggested. I feel for the bride who lost out the most.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 01:58 PM   #9
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Never experienced or even heard of anything remotely close to this. I suppose it's the officiant's preogative to make the rules, but his behaviour and rules were totally bizarre, especially since this wasn't 'his' chapel or parish. It was just a big room in a nursing home, not a consecrated church.

He probably was available to preside at this wedding because couples who knew his reputation didn't want him officiating at their wedding that day.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 02:13 PM   #10
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What a story!

I can't believe a Catholic priest would do something like going totally against common courtesy, decency, and morality.

OK... maybe they would. I'm sure he's not in the majority though.

As I was reading the post and responses though, one thought prevailed. "COLLECT THE FULL PAYMENT IN ADVANCE".

Jeff
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Old May 30th, 2006, 03:02 PM   #11
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this really stinks up a room......many of our client's book us(i mean all of us on this board) due to how our demos or even full length samples looked. they could have booked us all and not even considered or known what their church rules are......and this can make a huge difference in how their video turns out.

ive had to deal with some strict churches and often times i understand why the rules are what they are.......they have had some really bad experiences with other videogs and photogs so keep that in mind but peters story is really extreme.....that chruch officiant sounds crazy.

if it were up to me i would never shoot in a church again but this is a dream.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 03:21 PM   #12
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Some ministers & priests as well as members of some congregations are so serious about their faith they become quite offended if the details of their ritual is not obeyed to the letter. My experience is very much the opposite. Once did I had a country minister who was very concerned abount my movement and the distractions it would cause during the ceremony. That all went away when he learned I always shoot (well, almost always) from a tripod.

This priest is quite the exception, apparently as inflexible as a fundamentalist christian or moslem when faced with the mere thought of change.

As mentioned, I suggest sending a complaint to this priest's bishop along with a copy of the video displaying his antics. If nothing else, you will get a good explanation of the Bishop's policy in this regard.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 03:27 PM   #13
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I've had one wedding (for a friend) where he said "you go anywhere to get the shot". The officiant was cool and we were able to get nicely blurred background tight shots...ideal shoot. That's the only one I've ever had. The rest have needed some education about lighting and shot composition. Never seen anyone so inflexible though, that is a bad representative of the catholic church.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 12:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott
Wow Peter-

Let me guess ...the Priest's sermon was peppered with teachings about how you should be kind to people and caring and to treat people lovingly.
ROFLMAO An irony in itself... coming from that guy anyway... hahahhah good call my friend and yes, it was all about that.. i think he was a little concerend that someone might steal his sermon or something.. lol
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Old May 31st, 2006, 12:33 AM   #15
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I must stress, that for me, this is an extreme case of hitlerism. Ive had afew curve balls thrown at me, and ive dodged those with noone the wiser, but in this case, it was so bizarre that i had to air my story.

Now the first no no was the physical grabbing of me at a time where there was no need to be so agressive. I dont mind gettina slight nudge or a pull if someones wanting to talk to me while im shooting, but in this case, it was like h was trying to drag me out of a nightclub (if uve ever been dragged out of a nightclub u know what im talkin about..lol)
coffee time, brb
As for his antics to me and the Photog after teh ceremony, i took him aside and spoke in length to him about the fact that i had followed his "rules" however chose to continue recording as his sermon was a part of the wedding, and as i am contracted to archive that, it was a requirement for me (irrespective of his rules) to continue recording. He didnt liek this and refused to listen to reason. Im saying here that he raised his voice and continued to yell "you didnt obey me" over and over again. I then lost it and said. Listen here. Im here to DO A JOB. I had the courtesy to follow your requests to a point of almost ruining whatever material i could acquire. Now if the client is NOT happy with the finished product, its on YOUR head, as YOUR restrictions are the reason why we couldnt get the shots we needed. (now he didnt know this, but i DID get all the shots i needed- I sat on the second pew from the front and shot from there ;) )

The chapel itslef was a real chapel, however it wasnt this guys usual hangout, but even with these rules, i spoke to the grom prior to the ceremony beginign and told him what the priest had demanded.
From there, the groom went all quiet and didnt even bother to try to work anythign out. I couldnt speak to the bride as i was restricted to where i was as soon as the groom arrived. I literally couldnt move.

I am seriosuly considering taking this further, however like any big business, they will backup their staff until thier blue in the face.

To me, this all comes down to experience and respect. In this case, the priests previous experience may have been one of distraction or a negative outlook on the way weddings are seen today. He WAS old fashioned, but hes as old as my dad, so he wasnt an old fogey. Funny thing though, 2 weeks prior to this job, a minister from a larger congregation out in the city asked us for our contact details for him to refer couples to us, as he didnt even notice we were there. It was a 3 cam/2operator shoot and coming from this guy, it was a good thing to hear then this happens and its totaly on the flipside to what another minister had said.
As for respect, i had the courtesy to approach him and introduce myself and let him know what i had planned for this ceremony. In adddition to that, he went out of HIS way to approach the photographer and grab him as he grabbed me (not that im a wuss, im not, but its just something u dont do when someone is carrying $10k worth of gear on them)

Either way, im not too phased about this, as attitudes liek this piss me off and its up to the client to find out (as stated in my contract) that permission to film is granted.

At teh end of the day, i guess it pays to be vigilant with your contract to ensure your covered, coz in many situations liek this, couple will jump on the chance to get somethign refunded as "being the profssional" you should have been able to deal with the matter
But in cases like this, totalitarian attitudes cannot be helped or avoided (especially when they stop the sermon halfway and tell u to turn off the camera)
One thign that DID piss me off was his attempt to belittle me in front of the congregation, and speak down at me as if i was some sort of schoolkid.
Now this doesnt bode well, however i did have the balls to speak up there and then in front of everyone and say that i was just doing my job

It just amazes me how some people in "power" take it too far and in he end, its the couple that lose out

I'll be emailing the couple with debrief soon, no doubt the groom wont care (he didnt during the day.. for him the weddin was more akin to wanting to get something over and done with) but i do know the bride was upset. considering the photographer ended up with next to no usable photos, i know foressee that i'll be doing some framegrabbing.. either way, i guess it pays to have an airtight contract and if that contract is breeched, at least ur covered
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