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


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Old September 27th, 2006, 06:24 PM   #1
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Evil Church Ladies

They act like we are going to burn the sanctuary down. They are always afraid of us using spot lights. There always afraid of our wireless mic's causing interference. -that were going to scratch the pews with our tripods. -that we are going to walk in front of the bride and groom to get shots... or they assume all videographers are generally irresponsible.

The rules against vidography that most churches have in place are being enforced for no apparent reason. How am I suposed to video a wedding when cameras are not allowed in the santuary? Why are they afraid of cameras?
Perhaps I am not aware of the "event" that must have happened. Obviously there is a conspiracy against videographers. At some point in history, a videographer must have ruined a wedding somehow, and then that church lady from that wedding, went around to every church in America and informed all of the other church ladies that videographers are evil work of the devil and will ruin everything.

Maybe the solution is that somebody can start an "official Catholic Church approved videographers association". This association guarantees we are responsible. -that we wont screw anything up. (?) I donít know how this could work, but Iím tired of this BS when im trying to do my job here. Or maybe we can start a black list of church ladies. I donít know none of my ideas are practical. Iím not entirely serious here. But I am serious that thereís got to be something that can be done.
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Old September 27th, 2006, 07:05 PM   #2
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Yeah, I've run into a few of those as well. And it seems to be targeted on video only. Photographers are allowed (usually) to run around as much as they want.

I think a lot of the problem stems from some of our "coworkers". There are some videographers out there who see the church as their own personal film set. They try to go everywhere, and they DO get in the way, scratch things, climb on the altar. (No, really, I attended a friend's wedding where the videographer tried to do that. I thought the priest was going to tackle him)

The solution, such as it is, seems to be for us true professionals to be even more conscientious. I''ve run into some of the Evil Church Ladies who I've managed to turn around. I present my most professional appearance, which is key. Show up looking like a scruffy ruffian, and you'll be treated like one. I make a shot list during the rehearsal, and present that to the people in charge. I explain WHY I need each particular shot.

Above all, I *RESPECT* the ceremony. While we the videographer may not be religious, and the couple getting married might not be terribly religious, we need to remember that it is, in fact, a church. It's a sacred ceremony, and the people in charge are going to do everything to protect it.
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Old September 27th, 2006, 07:07 PM   #3
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So, Tyson, what's the event that triggered your rant? A lot of people here have had various encounters with church persons of various faiths. You must have a doozy of a story to tell.
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Old September 27th, 2006, 07:48 PM   #4
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I can't see why you need spot lights....so I would agree with chruch on this one. Even the darkest churches i have shot in never needed external lights. By the way, it would be extremely intrusive.

I could care less whether I have cams on the altar or not.....I can make the best of any situation regarding angles and respecting their rules is important.
Make sure you know these rules well in advance....this way your client knows your challenges for "optimum" angles.

Wireless mics have been issues for chruches too.....if you and the church are using the same frequency....well, you could have some audio issues. I dont blame the churches for their concerns. Since this is a very important issue, I would try to address it as soon as you can, I have overcome this issue in the past several times with church coordinators.....be professional, explain why they most likely had interference issues with other camera people and why they won't with you. If you own the right gear and have the knowledge.....you can overcome this challenge.

Someone recently said....I think it was Rick maybe in CO., shoot/work for the client and not your demo reel......I liked that quote, something to keep in mind when youre out there.









Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyson Persall
They act like we are going to burn the sanctuary down. They are always afraid of us using spot lights. There always afraid of our wireless mic's causing interference. -that were going to scratch the pews with our tripods. -that we are going to walk in front of the bride and groom to get shots... or they assume all videographers are generally irresponsible.

The rules against vidography that most churches have in place are being enforced for no apparent reason. How am I suposed to video a wedding when cameras are not allowed in the santuary? Why are they afraid of cameras?
Perhaps I am not aware of the "event" that must have happened. Obviously there is a conspiracy against videographers. At some point in history, a videographer must have ruined a wedding somehow, and then that church lady from that wedding, went around to every church in America and informed all of the other church ladies that videographers are evil work of the devil and will ruin everything.

Maybe the solution is that somebody can start an "official Catholic Church approved videographers association". This association guarantees we are responsible. -that we wont screw anything up. (?) I donít know how this could work, but Iím tired of this BS when im trying to do my job here. Or maybe we can start a black list of church ladies. I donít know none of my ideas are practical. Iím not entirely serious here. But I am serious that thereís got to be something that can be done.
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Old September 27th, 2006, 08:04 PM   #5
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Church and Synagogue Rules on Video

I have been dealing with this since getting into wedding video, which is further back than I will admit!

When you go into a place of workship as an event videographer, you have to walk the tightrope between respecting house rules and behaving in a professinonal manner, and creating a good video for your client.

Many of the video and photo rules in place originated because a videographer or photographer, often not a professional, behaved in a crude and obtrusive manner, totally disregarding any sense of decorum of the service or ceremony in progress. I have seen examples of this and I'm not surprised that such rules were put in place. As an example, the local Catholic Parish had an incident where a photographer set up his tripod and lighting in the main aisle, blocking the wedding procession. The Priest asked him to move, but he refused. Finally, the local police were brought in to remove him, and the Parish enacted a rule that said no stands or tripods were allowed on the main floor anywhere.

The way I walk that tightrope is by first consulting with the client about where the ceremony will take place. I usually visit the venue in advance and attend the wedding rehearsal. In this way I demonstrate professionalism to the staff, and am able to plan ahead for the idiosyncrasies of the location, like obstructions or audio problems. This has actually gotten me referrals from several churches.

But sometimes you will encounter rules which are so severe, that a reasonable video cannot be made. In those cases I warn the client, and it is his responsibility to try to negotiate more reasonable guidelines, move the ceremony elsewhere, or accept the limitations of the site. We have a house-rules contract clause that addresses this.
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Old September 27th, 2006, 08:11 PM   #6
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If you own the right gear and have the knowledge.....you can overcome this challenge.

Someone recently said....I think it was Rick maybe in CO., shoot/work for the client and not your demo reel......I liked that quote, something to keep in mind when youre out there.


I totally agree..

In the end your there to archive the day, not show off how fancy u can be... all that is a bonus FOR THE CLIENT

as for crazy churchies.. u get them in all denominations.. one of the funnies was when i miced a groom, and then the house PA wasnt set right.. and as they boosted the "mic gain" feedback came through
Thinking it was my gear, they forced me to unmic the groom (so i did) and the feedback continued for about 6 minutes until i ran out back and repatched their sound system...

Uneducated people make assumptions about what we do and teh tools we use. These passumtions affect our work and thr quality for the work
Assumption is the mother of all F-ups
Do NOT assume anything, and with the time and location restrictions you have, do not take for granted the job in which u are hired to do.
IMO, a safe stable shot will always beat an arty farty shot which took a couple of minutes to set up and execute. Those few minutes lost could be detrimental to the entire piece.
Do not lose focus of why you are there.

If in doubt, shoot from the Aisle
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Old September 27th, 2006, 08:51 PM   #7
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....and dont get me wrong, i shake my head at the way some of these church people act in general, but oh' well....

i liked what pete said about a solid stable shot over getting artsy.....solid stable shots are the meat and potatoes of general camera work.....just look at any hollywoood movie or tv show.
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Old September 27th, 2006, 09:19 PM   #8
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Havent heard from u Mark, but i welcome ur knowledge..

"the Parish enacted a rule that said no stands or tripods were allowed on the main floor anywhere."

Many churches do this for a variety of reasons. At our largest (st Marys Cathedral) here in aus, theyre VERY strict on movemnt and placement. IM literally sitting on the floor in front of teh first pew remotely controlling a camera, off centre aisle due to height and movement restrictions. Hvaing 2 or even 3 cameras also helps in situations like this. But the floor element is asthetic as much as is it sanctimonious. Many of the older churches with britle flooring or newer churches with freshly laid marble will usually ask to not have tripods etc on the floor itself. This is where picnic rugs come in handy ;)

"In this way I demonstrate professionalism to the staff, and am able to plan ahead for the idiosyncrasies of the location, like obstructions or audio problems. This has actually gotten me referrals from several churches."
Agreed. I have had more successful referelas from churches than any other service in a wedding. Reason being is that poeple DONT WANT to see you.. they dont want a camera in ur face, and they want everyone to get along. If they see that we can get along with the main element of the day and thhhhose invovled (ie the cremony officials ) they will know that if we can get along with THEM, we can get along with anyone..
Church referals are one of my biggest sales avenues. Im not religious and i dont dress up in a suit. I am strightforward and respectful and speak my mind. I wont hide my ideas or suggestions from them. Sometimes i overstep the boundary when it comes to no filming of this or that, but i usually stash a 3rd or 4th cam somewhere so SOMEHWHERE im continually shooting.. Wrong? Maybe.. but at least my clients get what tehy pay the big bux for..
SOmetimes theres no point in tryin to argue your point. No im serious, coz the time u waste could be put to better uses in working around the situation and getting on with the bread and butter of what we do

"But sometimes you will encounter rules which are so severe, that a reasonable video cannot be made. In those cases I warn the client, and it is his responsibility to try to negotiate more reasonable guidelines, move the ceremony elsewhere, or accept the limitations of the site. We have a house-rules contract clause that addresses this."

I have this in my contract, its the first clause.. as well as reiterated in their information. Leave nothing to assumption or error... coz theres no room for error..
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Old September 28th, 2006, 10:52 AM   #9
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A good method to approach these church ladies is to kill them with kindness. Even if they are frowning as you walk up, maintain a smile and kindly introduce yourself. If they are snippy don't, even for a second, break the smile and kind approach. Knowing the psychology in dealing with people can be very helpfull. Of course this doesn't solve every issue but if there is any wiggle room you may just get what you want compared to the next videographer that reacts incorrectly to their negative vibe.

I've done the same thing with bridal consultants. I've spoken to some on the phone who were down-right nasty to me. I maintainted my composure and continued to talk in a kind relaxed tone, even though I was stressing out inside about the prospect of having to deal with such a nasty person the day of the event. When I met her I continued to avoid being swayed by her negative vibe and continued to be very polite, kind, and courteous. I kid you not by the end of that day we were talking like old friends. I actually look forward to working with her again in the future.

Granted this doesn't always work but should always be your approach to "difficult" people you encounter in event shooting. If it doesn't work at least you looked good beings you didn't get flustered or respond to the negative vibe being fed to you. As many of you know- a big part of this business is not necessarily selling your product, but selling YOU.

Anyway about the church rules, and guidlines I'd, also, have to agree about lighting in the church. There should be absolutely no reason to bring additional lighting to a church. It's very intrusive and can harm your ability for future bookings. Keep in mind the idea of selling "you". All guests have to go on is your conduct the day of the event. Some of which may be possible referral bookings.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 12:05 PM   #10
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I amen everything that was said about church issues.

It is best to be very kind, listen intently to the church's concerns and address them one at a time. Explain the reason that you need A,B,C and explain that A,B,C will be able to give the B&G an intimate preservation of thier special day.

I also have in my contract that it's the contracting parties responsibility to get permission from the church, preferably in writing.

And I'll amen what was said about adjusting using the right equipment. I suppose if it came down to it, I'd shoelace myself to the rafters upside down if that's the only place I could shoot from. That's the additude you have to have when it comes to this business of wedding video.


One of the things they never teach you in film class is strong people skills. That's learned from desire and experience.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 10:04 PM   #11
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"That's the additude you have to have when it comes to this business of wedding video"

hehehe Ive been known to jump on a car rooftop (my car) and climb a tree now and then... one time i almost fell off a 200metre high water tank.. but the shot was nice so... lol my wife wasnt impressed to see me danging from the rusted iron stairs..lol

With regard to lighting, there really is no need, however i should point out that in my tie, ive come across extremly dark churches. As in no windows or churches with deteriorating mercury vapour lighting (which is usually stunning)
I usually ask the Minister if one light off the side is OK. Most of the time theyre ok. Ive really only done this twice in 6 years and it was extreme.
The light i used was a Lowel Tota 800w bounced off a brella and to everyones satsifaction (from the couple, to the minister, through to the congregation and photographer), i recieved nothing but thanks and gratitude for making the event "viewable"
The brella diffused the light and spread it across the sancuary and altar. A nice soft white throw, no shadows (if uve used a brella tota kit, you know what i mean) and it wasnt burning peoples retinas
Other times i use lights is in trippy kinda ceremonies like midnight ceremonies and the like, but im really careful with how the lighting is set up, as ssometimes, its far more powerful to be suggestive as to the event, and not the actual event.. By suggestive i mean backlighting and sillouetted shots, as well as the nroaml bread and butter stuff, but instead of flooding it with light, subtle placement and positioning is usually a better way to go and is much more pleasant as it lights the event and emphasises an atmosphere
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