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


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Old August 2nd, 2006, 03:06 PM   #1
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First Wedding

Hello Guys,
I need some help asap....I need some advices from you guys who are professionals in wedding videos...My friends asked me to do their wedding video as they know my hobby is making video and I am thinking about making it even more than a hobby...
So this saturday(2 more days) I will do my first wedding video with 2 Sony Z1U cameras. i would like to use both cameras on tripod on the ceremony and both cameras at the reception on tripod, handheld and on a glidecam 4000 at some shots.. i would like to use an iaudio U2 to record the reception and the ceremony from the line out so I have an undisturbed music and speeches...for the ceremony we will use wireless mics on the priest and on the groom...
Any advices anyone can give to me I really appreciate ...what to look for, anything special I need to know....
Thanks
gabor
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Old August 2nd, 2006, 08:43 PM   #2
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I'm certainly not the the most experienced person here but I also use a Glidecam4000 for weddings. Lately I've done a couple of weddings solo using 2 pd170s on tripods and the Glidecam. The last 2 couples I've done have allowed me to preceed the bride down aisle with the glidecam, which provides some great footage. I'm sure not all brides would go for that idea, but it works out well for the final product. In order to do a quick swap from the glidecam to the tripod I've just picked up a couple of Manfrotto quick release assemblies, which I'll be using my next job. If I'm going to be using the Glidecam for longer periods I go with the armbrace or vest-I don't get as worn out that way.
I've been using 2 wireless lavs and 2 IRiver/GiantSquid combos, so I'm with you on getting lots of audio. I also like to patch into any pa or dj system that I can, wirelessly or with an IRiver.
One of the most valuable things I do to prepare is to attend the rehearsal. Having a good rapport with the still photographer can be a great help also. Keeping as unobtrusive as possible while still getting good shots is what I find to be the fine line we have to walk. Since they're your friends I'm sure you'll have a bit more leeway, but find out just how 'in your face' they're going to want you to be.
Take plenty of tapes, extra batteries, bring enough light for your HD cams (check with the b&g and/or celebrant to see what's appropriate). Show up early to take some good setting shots. The bride and groom preparations usually make good footage, too.
Have fun and good luck.
Vin
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Old August 2nd, 2006, 11:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Croce
....... One of the most valuable things I do to prepare is to attend the rehearsal....
Gabor, this being your first wedding, I would definitely recommend you attend the rehearsal -- along with some equipment -- at least one camera and the wireless mics. Knowing the game plan before the actual event can be a big help -- even tho the game plan often changes. But, you can try out different camera angles, check how the wireless is working, etc. After you get home, look at what you recorded. This should give you some ideas what will work & not work well when shooting the real thing.

The church or whatever will be almost empty for the rehearsal. Keep in mind that the next day when the benches are filled and people stand up for the wedding party, they'll be blocking your view if you're set up in the wrong place. Plan accordingly.

As Vincent wrote, if there's also a pro photographer, it's helpful to try to be friendly. Discuss keeping out of each other's way, or, at least being aware of where the other guy is.

Wear comfortable shoes. You'll be on your feet a long long time.

Get to the wedding location early. It might take longer to get set up than you think, especially if some problem crops up. Also it helps calm the nerves to get settled in early.

If you have a buddy, it's helpful to have a second person to simply watch the equipment. Funny how things can vanish from inside a church when you follow the wedding party outside. A real miracle how that can happen.

Well, there's tons more of advice one can add, but I'll leave that for someone else.
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 06:06 AM   #4
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Posted by Tom--"If you have a buddy, it's helpful to have a second person to simply watch the equipment. Funny how things can vanish from inside a church when you follow the wedding party outside. A real miracle how that can happen."

Tom-You sound like you've experienced a miracle like that before...
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 03:25 PM   #5
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Guys thanks for the answers...
Unfortunatly here in Hungary there are no real reherseals so it is difficult to attend them...I went to the church today and made sample shots to see how the lighting is and where the people might stand....it was actually very helpful as I found out today that the church is very dark and I might have to use a 9db gain which I didnt wanted to....

There is also a problem with getting to the wedding location early as I will be with the bride when she is getting ready until she arrives to the church....so I will have probably 5 minutes to get into position...the 2nd camera will have the time with the 2nd operator....
Gabor
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 05:18 PM   #6
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I've heard (but have not confirmed) that you can gain up on those Z1's all the way up to 12db and it doesn't get noisy like DV does. So, you may be able to get away with that without too much image degradation. Try it out.
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Old August 3rd, 2006, 09:21 PM   #7
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Yeah, on my FX1 I've had the gain at 9-12db without even really noticing it at all when shooting in HDV, never looked how the noise is in SD, but with only 9db you should be fine
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Old August 4th, 2006, 06:24 PM   #8
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Based upon what I have read in many posts in this forum, I suspect I tend to work in a much different way than most. My approach comes from a career spent recording meeting and convention seminars where everything that happens is spontaneous, important, and often totally inappropriate. Knowing when and where to aim the camera, open or close mic signals was very important. That was a skill learned by experience which I discovered very useful shooting any event that had at its core spontaneous activity. Still, the key to a successful shoot remains careful planning. It is extremely important to write down every task you believe you will perform. What follows is my typical method for a wedding.

The day before the event I carefully pack the following:
• 2 cameras with tripods.
• one monopod with ball head.
• one road case containing 4 wireless microphone systems as well as a heavy duty light stand capable of holding the weight of the mic road case at a height of 6 feet or more.
• One four channel mic audio mixer with 4 additional aux channels.
• One large rolling tool box containing mic and audio cable as well as all kinds of tools and accessories I think I might need.
• A shot list (in sequential order) of everything that needs to be recorded on tape. Small enough to keep in a pocket.

If I am also providing a PA sound system for the ceremony, then add:
• a two speaker sound system with amplifiers.

If I know beforehand the lighting will be poor, I also bring a light kit.

One camera is placed at the back of the house on a tripod. It is connected to all of the sound equipment, and therefore can not be moved. The other camera is also advantageously positioned on a tripod, but is not connected to any external audio equipment. This is the camera that can be mobile if necessary.

• Audio being the most important part of what one sees in a video, I distribute my microphones as follows: #1- Officiate. #2 - groom. #3 - Hand mic on floor stand for family/friend commentary during ceremony, or (my preference) lapel mic on bride...much easier said than done. #4 - Free mic, usually hand mic on floor stand. Mainly for musicians, but can be placed where it is most useful. #5 - an iRiver MP3 recorder, usually hidden in the vicinity of the ceremony site with an omni directional lapel mic. This is my back up.

• All of the audio, with the exception of the iRiver, is fed into an audio mixer, which then feeds into the back house camera. The back house camera operator (usually me) can determine which mic actually feeds audio to the camera. This feature of the set-up significantly enhances audio quality. Mics not needed are off.

Ideally, this is a two person project, but it is possible to do it all alone (not recommended). There must be enough time to set the equipment, test to insure everything is working as planned, and still allow ample time for capturing the footage that is needed. One cannot be two places at once.

Planning is everything! Having done the planning, making adjustments for the unexpected is surprisingly easy.
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