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


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Old June 6th, 2006, 01:12 AM   #1
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just getting started

ok well me and my friend are doing a wedding video for a friend this weekend. we both go to film school so we know what we are doing but not when it comes to weddings can anyone give some advice on what to look for and what to do and not to do. any help would be great.


thanks matt
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Old June 6th, 2006, 03:01 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Burns
we both go to film school so we know what we are doing
HA! Sorry, just had to chuckle at that...

Man, youre going to need more time than that, but in a nutshell

- Get there early enough to catch the bride arriving.

- One cam in back, get it up high... people stand up.

- One cam up front over to the right side (the side the groom is standing on) so you can get good closeups of the bride during vows....it's like youre behind and off to the right of the bride/groom/preacher. You should have a clear view from this cam of the crowd, bridal entrance and vows/hands/brides face. Dont zoom to much on during ceremony....very slow and smooth or VERY quicl when you know you can cut to your second to cover it up for a set up shot.

- Gotta have a way to record vows from a lav on the groom, I use iRivers, you can use Wireless. Get it on him after the pre-ceremony photosession but as much before ceremony as you can (bout 30 min) so you dont have to worry about it and can be up there filming guests seating and whatnot. Be ready to record the groom entering and watch for the grandparents/parents to be brought in either just before or after that.

- You be getting the crowd leaving and have your partner get the crowd gathering outside catching hugs and smiles and whatnot. Dont be afraid to go handheld on crowd closeups and walkthroughs, tilt and fly the plane from time to time.

- Eat when the Bride and Groom eat because that is the ONLY time you may REASONABLY ASSUME that nothing is going to happen quicker than you can get ready for it.

- Dont be a wus, stay till the end.

- Make sure that you as a person are a cool part of their day and a pleasant memory in the making. Be cool if negative stuff happens. Never let it be you that looks like an ahole.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 06:10 AM   #3
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"we both go to film school so we know what we are doing but not when it comes to weddings can anyone give some advice on what to look for and what to do and not to do"

Film school hey.. hmm.. i dont suppose they taught u about public relations, customer service, contract and account management, insurance, music legalities, human response, human psyche and psychologcal aspects of what we do, insane mother in laws, horny 14yr old bridesmaids and above all else, modesty...

if u know what ur doing, why ask??? Shoot one wedding shoot them all right... ??

forgive my snide comments, but its attitudes like "we know everything there needs to know" jsut wont cut it in this industry...
believe me...
confidence is always good, cockiness is something to watch out for

We're more than happy to help, hell thats what this forum is about, but there are many subjects already covered here which u can find via the searrch feature.
If you have specific questions and your willing to put your "training' aside, then you might get some real world answers to your questions
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Old June 6th, 2006, 06:32 AM   #4
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Matt

I've just done my first wedding - it was a freebie. The most wrong-est (!) thing that I did was not to white balance both cameras properly. This meant a whole load of corection after the event and it's still not perfect - this in turn increases the render time.

Oh - and make sure the viewfinder has "REC" displayed!

Ian
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Old June 6th, 2006, 06:59 AM   #5
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I'll amen what Peter said about 'knowing' everything. Also what he said about public relations. My first wedding I worked my ever loving buttocks off. I was sold out to my client the entire time. But that didn't help with an audio issue that I had not prepared for.

So prepare, prepare, and prepare some more. Think through everything three times and write it down. Write down your plan for the day. This may be a freebie for you, but it's priceless for your client. So work that wedding as if they were paying you a million bucks.

And like Peter said 'cockiness' is something to watch out for.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 08:34 AM   #6
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Matt, I'd suggest attending the rehearsal and bringing along at least one if not both your cameras and your audio equipment, if any. Watching the rehearsal, doing some taping & determining good camera positions is very useful for when you'll be taping the actual event the following day. When you get home, review the rehearsal footage you shot, listen to the audio. You'll likely get some ideas how to do it better the next day.

However -- and this is important when determining camera positions -- what might seem to a newbie during the rehearsal to be an excellent location, could be terrible on the wedding day. That great view you had at floor level in an almost empty church during the rehearsal is going to be blocked when one or two hundred wedding guests stand up and totally obscure your view.

Attending the rehearsal will give you an opportunity to talk with the officiant. Find out what his rules are; be flexible but also be prepared to negotiate.

Dress appropriately for both the rehearsal & wedding. Act professional, don't joke around with your buddy. People react accordingly if you give the impression you know what you're doing.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 09:04 AM   #7
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You guys are so literalistic! I didn't see " we know what we are doing" as being boastful at all. I think he was saying he knew what to do with a camera, but needed other advice. And he did so humbly.

Even if he meant it in the way you guys were assuming, is it wrong for someone to say they pick things up faster than others? Just because it takes you 20 years to learn something, it doesn't mean the next person will take 20 years. I've seen video from guys who claim they've been shooting for 25 years, and it looks like uncle charlie shot it and they have no idea how to tell a story. Then I'll see amazing, newbie work and be blown away. Time doesn't necessarily equal good or compelling work.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 09:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
Film school hey.. hmm.. i dont suppose they taught u about public relations, customer service, contract and account management, insurance, music legalities, human response, human psyche and psychologcal aspects of what we do, insane mother in laws, horny 14yr old bridesmaids and above all else, modesty...
I'm ROTFLMAO!
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Old June 6th, 2006, 09:39 AM   #9
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I tend to agree with Michelle here, a newbie can do excellent work - and some seasoned "pros" have videos that plain suck.

Some people in film school have a great artistic eye and are more willing to experiment and try new things, so that can make their videos stand out. In my mind, experience is worth a lot - but in the end - the videographer's eyes, artistic ability, and ability to think on ones feet is what pays dividends.

That said - the first wedding is always the toughest!

Matt:
- PRE-PRODUCTION IS A HUGE HELP!!! Talk to the priest, view the church and reception hall - take test footage to check lighting, etc. Know your location and people you are dealing with. Draw sketches of the place so you can see where the best camera placement may be. Try to avoid spots where you might be "crossing the line", etc. You can't plan everything - but try to plan as much as you can to try and have some clue on what your doing.

- Expect the unexpected. Unlike Fictional film, you can't yell "CUT" and retry a shoot. You need to deal with unexpected things quickly and get the shot. That might mean anything from quickly pulling your camera off a tripod and going hand-held to grabbing your backup camera if you main one suddenly kicks the bucket mid shoot.

- Show up early! Again, test out everything from sound, to lights, to tapes. Make sure you have plenty of batteries charged. Again - be prepared for the unexpected - you might have a golden shot lines up and then the priest tells you that you have to move because your distracting him.

- Prepare for the unexpected.

- Wear comfortable shoes! Your going to be on your feet a lot!

- Network with the DJ and Photographer when you can - they could help you land future weddings later on.

- Bring backups of everything you can - there is no such thing as too much stuff to bring.

- Be professional, regardless of what happens.

- expect the unexpected.

- White balance!

Oh yeah, and expect the unexpected!

Weddings can be fun to do, but any event videography can be a pain because you only have one opportunity to get the shot. You will have people jump in your way just cause they can, you will have golden shots ruined because someone had to stand up at an inopportune time, or just happens to walk into your shot and will not move (it happens a TON).

Just try to be prepared as best you can and you should do fine.

Ryan
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Old June 6th, 2006, 10:04 AM   #10
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Newbies are gold, theyre the ones that keep the market alive and force old hats to stay on their toes.
Noones saying there is no place for newbies :)

Dont misinterpret what i say, I might be a little too out there, but sometimes u have to be to get a point across.
Theres 3 fundamental aspects to what we do. the first is human response, what we do before on and after the day affects the couple and their families and friends. This affects the response of potential clients among afew hundred other elements.
The second is technical and artistic ability which is what most people in this industry have. As mentined in a previous post one persons opinion on perfection, may not be the next persons, however, so long as u can keep a constistancy throughout, then you should be right. And the 3rd, and IMO the most important is managing a business.

Yes this isnt as obvious a response as what most people would consider, but i look at things from a business perspective and future prospects. And no matter HOW GOOD you are, it wont mean shit if u dont know how to draw up a contract to protect yourself and your investment in your business.

My point? Theres a bigger picture to what we do and how we do it than what most people would even consider. Shooting teh actual event is just a part of it
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Old June 6th, 2006, 10:07 AM   #11
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Matt as you have seen you have received lots of excellent advise. One last thing though. When the ceremony is about to start put fresh brand new tapes in both cameras and begin to record and never stop recording the whole ceremony even if you have to move around. This will eat up a lot of tape however in post I guarantee you will be happy you did.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 10:15 AM   #12
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umm. enrique forgot to tell u why though.. lol multicamming my friend... saves ALOT of headache when u have unbroken timecode. Also when syncing the 2 cameras, a cheap and dirty way is to start recording on both (close together), then snap ur fingers 3 times
In post u will see the wave forms and u can easily adjust to suit
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Old June 6th, 2006, 10:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Burns
ok well me and my friend are doing a wedding video for a friend this weekend. we both go to film school so we know what we are doing but not when it comes to weddings can anyone give some advice on what to look for and what to do and not to do. any help would be great.


thanks matt
2 cam shoot?

Ceremony: Shoot from opposite sides of the church (ie During vows one get brides face the other groom). Communicate with Eartechs or hand signals to cover each other (ie if one is shooting the Officiant during the Homily have the other go for a 3-shot or crowd cut-aways)

Reception: For formals have one cam designated as your wide shot and the other doing nothing other than capturing CU/detail shots.

Audio: Use a wireless on the groom (should be good enough to capture audio of all 3 (groom, bride, and officiant) However when the ceremony is going on the officiant won't always be close enough to the couple for that to work. Mic the officiant with an iRiver, MD, or similar and do the same with the podium. If the officiant objects to wearing a mic you still get good Homily audio from the podium.

Overall: Think on your toes at all times- be ready to have to adjust to initial planning. Event videography can be very unpredictable at times. No matter how good the planning is issues can always arise to present a previously unrehearsed challenge. Be prepared for that- don't be flappable. Learn to go with the flow and improvise whenever possible.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 02:39 PM   #14
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Peter, you are absolutely right. Instead of snapping my fingers I carry this little metal toy cricket (5 for a buck at the dollar store) that puts a perfect click clack on all audio devices that can be synched in post easily. I also use it whenever cameras are being used whether there are two or three.
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Old June 6th, 2006, 03:06 PM   #15
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Not sure what just happened to my post, but I'm trying again here...

Matt go to Border's or Barnes and Noble's and purchase "The Wedding Video Handbook" by Kirk Barber. It covers the basics such as getting started, marketing, etc (should you decide to make a career out of this) But for what you need NOW, it has information on pre-production planning, setting up on the wedding day, what to shoot before and during the ceremony, what to shoot at the reception, and how to edit this type of production. It also discusses how to work with other vendors (like photographers) which you'll have to do to get the shots you want. It actually has alot of info and the best part is you can bring it with you this weekend, and refer to it if you get stuck on what to do.

Good Luck!!
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