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


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Old March 5th, 2007, 12:50 AM   #1
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First gig on April 28th

Hey guys!

I finally have my first gig in April, of course, it is a free one to build a portfolio and get some references. What do you guys suggest for a first timer?

I'm going to attend the rehersal the night before and the great thing is that it's an outdoor wedding. No church restrictions for this one! So that's a major plus right there.

What I'd like to know is how you guys get all those nice shots of the place with all the attendants and the all the establishing shots of the place, the inserts on the roses, without cutting into the time of the actual event? Some stuff I know I can film long after the wedding is offer, but some stuff I can't.

Also, how do you guys go about doing the individual interviews with the B&G? Before the event? A day before, or the day after?

That's all I can think of for now. Any advice that the pros can offer is greatly appreciated!

-Roger
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Old March 5th, 2007, 09:41 AM   #2
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I think the main answer to this is to browse through old threads...there's endless information and tips for you

with regards to getting 'nice shots', just try to turn up slightly before the guests...that's valuable time to get wide shots of the venue and close-ups of decorations etc. Then integrate some of those shots over the main footage.
Or if u use a multi-cam setup, you can afford to get those extra shots during the service from one of the cameras. Experiment with peculiar angles and depth of focus. Demos on these threads will show you what I mean.

Something I sometimes do is put a static camera at the front or back of the venue when the guests arrive and take their seats. Then speed it up in editing for an effective time-lapse.

Interviews with the B+G can be done before the wedding (search for 'Love Story') and/or during and/or after the wedding...it's really down to what you are after. Again, demos and old threads will be v.helpful to you.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 10:36 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Rosales View Post
Hey guys!

I finally have my first gig in April, of course, it is a free one to build a portfolio and get some references. What do you guys suggest for a first timer?
Keep an eye (actually ear) on your microphone setup and audio levels. Outdoor weddings can easially be ruined by wind noise, so keep a good wind screen with you. Also, watch the sun and plan for it moving (it sucks when you have a great angle at 9am, and then by noon time the sun is directly in your lens!).

Also, bring a rain cover for you and your camera. Even if it's raining out - plan for shoting outdoors, some couples will still do the wedding outside if it's a light rain. (whch means rain on your lens!)

Outdoor weddings can be fun to work on, but there is a TON of variables to deal with that can easially ruin your day.

Quote:
I'm going to attend the rehersal the night before and the great thing is that it's an outdoor wedding. No church restrictions for this one! So that's a major plus right there.
Good idea to attend the rehersal. I would bring your camera and shoot part of the rehersial as well, I tend to get a lot of candid/funny moments at the rehersial (where things are more laid back).

Also, you might think you have few ristrictions with an outdoor wedding, but I would still clear your camera position with the JP/Priest first - just to make sure that your not infringing on his turf.

Also, be aware of guests having the same "no restriction" philosophy with their cameras as well. Guest in outdoor weddings are more likely to get up and walk around to get photos then in church weddings (meaning that they will be more likely to be in your way/shot).

Quote:
What I'd like to know is how you guys get all those nice shots of the place with all the attendants and the all the establishing shots of the place, the inserts on the roses, without cutting into the time of the actual event? Some stuff I know I can film long after the wedding is offer, but some stuff I can't.
I get to the wedding site well before the wedding takes place, and that usially allows me to get some of those b-roll shots (as well as gives me plenty of time to set up and test my equipment). Shoot when you have an oppertunity to durring the reception to get other shots. For event videography, you really do need eyes in the front, back, and sides of your head.

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Also, how do you guys go about doing the individual interviews with the B&G? Before the event? A day before, or the day after?
I tend to rey and get any interviews with the bride and groom well before the wedding date. They tend to think of "other things" after the ceremony and totially forget about their interviews (making your life difficult to track them down). When they havce 100% mind set on the wedding, I find that that's the best time to get them - not after the wedding/honeymoon when they get back into the "real world" and remember those other responsibilities that they had been putting off for months (until after their big day!).

Quote:

That's all I can think of for now. Any advice that the pros can offer is greatly appreciated!

-Roger
Good Luck! Don't panic if you make a mistake, and just try to go with the flow as best you can!

Ryan
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Old March 5th, 2007, 12:39 PM   #4
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Sand storm

One of these days I will get off my butt and post a clip of an August wedding I did in Boise. The reception was interrupted but a MASSIVE sand storm. Tables blowing over. Venders (including me) running around trying to put their stuff away, sand covering the cake (yeah.... they had to scrape off the outside layer of frosting). It was great. Then I remembered that I have a camera and should be filming it so I got some good shots, but a little too late for the real impressive stuff.

Any way... all that to say expect anything when outside. :-)

jason
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Old March 5th, 2007, 03:14 PM   #5
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they had to scrape off the outside layer of frosting).
jason
Ok that's just bad.


To the original poster, read all the posts on this board about 'my first wedding' you'll find a lot of good information.

Besides that, film everything, you will need to stay really alert and understand who the principal actors are, i.e. the 89 year old grandma. Know where she is as well as the newest grandchild etc.

Beyond that, film everything.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 04:19 PM   #6
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More thoughts

Parent post is a gold mine so take these to heart. Here are my observations, which are more of a "what he said" with comments. Out of the 8 weddings I have shot / edited most were either outside (4) or significantly affected (2), usually adversely, by conditions outside, usually light related.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan DesRoches View Post
Outdoor weddings can easially be ruined by wind noise, so keep a good wind screen with you.
Or airplanes flying low overhead in the middle of the ceremony. Impossible to eliminate that Doppler effect noise. Or air conditioners of buildings near by like the reception, or the food service truck. Or traffic noises for the road. Or people driving by the venue with loud stereos. Just covering some of the annoyances I have had. All this to say get a mic on the groom / pastor to avoid / reduce a lot of these problems.

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Originally Posted by Ryan DesRoches View Post
Also, watch the sun and plan for it moving
Also watch for trees and the harsh shadows they cast on faces. Just more of a heads up. Shadows can be neat to play with but more likely they will be an annoyance in post.

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Originally Posted by Ryan DesRoches View Post
Also, bring a rain cover for you and your camera.
See my post about sand storm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan DesRoches View Post
Good idea to attend the rehersal. I would bring your camera and shoot part of the rehersial as well, I tend to get a lot of candid/funny moments at the rehersial (where things are more laid back).
I think attendance at the rehearsal is a MUST just because of all the variables. How is sound taken care of, if at all.

I'm going to highlight this issue specifically because (unfortunately for me) it has taken me by surprise more than once and I should have learned after the first time. When everyone stands for the Bride, unless you are shooting down the isle (either up or down) OR if you cam is at least 7.5-8 feet up, you will NOT SEE HER. Even if you have a center isle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan DesRoches View Post
I get to the wedding site well before the wedding takes place, and that usially allows me to get some of those b-roll shots
Ditto. You have to get there early to test your stuff. Especially as a newbie (I still am).

I would also suggest making a shot list just like the photographers do. They all have a style for posing the subjects and their either memorize it from sheer repetition, or they write it down and tape it to the flash (or keep it in notebook, or have assistant keep track).

Another suggestion is making a gear list and checking it before you leave.

I hope all that helps.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 04:23 PM   #7
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Wild Ride For Sure

Yes it was wild. But the reception moved inside and there was much singing and dancing so it turned out fine (from what I could tell). Of course the family was from Albania (or someplace out there) so I wouldn't be able to tell if they were arguing about the wedding problems or just having an animated conversation. Everything seemed to be fine though.

jason
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Old March 5th, 2007, 04:24 PM   #8
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As Richard wrote, you can find a wealth information and experience-sharing just by browsing thru previous posts.

Here are just a few things that come to mind, in no particular order of importance:

Bring more film than you think you'll need

Have extra fully-charged batteries

Practice with all your equipment beforehand.

Have a checklist of what equipment you plan to take, then use that checklist before you leave home base. Don't assume it's all there. Physically check each piece before you check it off as being present.

Don't be shy to get closeups. Lots of them. A short closeup of one bridesmaid is more interesting than a minute of footage of 6 bridemaids from 30-feet away

Don't depend on the wedding planner or family member to come to you to inform you of itinerary changes. Expect changes; keep eyes & ears open and be proactive in asking questions.

Get shots of anything and everything. You might not use much or any of it, but in case of some glitch, having an assortment to fill gaps can really come in handy.

Unattended equipment can undergo an extraordinary evolutionary process by growing legs and walking away.

Make sure arrangements are made for you to be fed. This should be part of your contract.

Contract. You should have a contract. A lot of posts here on contract content.

Don't skimp on the audio. FM wireless is a minimum with the groom wired. Make sure the mike isn't rubbing any clothing unless you want that whooshing sound.

Clean your lens

The rehearsal is a good time to try out different camera positions, then review your footage when you get home. Sometimes what seemed like a good location doesn't look so hot on the tv screen

Also regarding location, remember those empty chairs before ceremony will be filled with people during the ceremony. At times, the people will be standing --and that might block the view from the camera position that seemed teriffic when the chairs were empty, or when people were sitting.

The official photog might be your friend or your enemy. Best to try to strike up a friendly conversation as soon as you see him/her, and discuss the game plan. Most photogs are okay people, but some feel you're on their exclusive turf and will discreetly or sometimes blatently try to screw up your shots.

Wear comfortable shoes. You'll be standing a long time.

I'm guessing you probably don't have any sort of camera stabilizer. You don't want your video looking like it was shot by Uncle VideoBob. For the ceremony, I like to keep my main camera locked down on a tripod. Also be sure to use a tripod for any scenes in which you'll be doing an extreme zoom. You don't want your viewers getting seasick. Some jittery footage can be fixed by making it slow motion, but you don't want to overdo it.

Spending some significant bucks on a tripod & a pro head is worth it. If your tripod head doesn't glide smoothly left, right, up and down, then stop and stay exactly when you want it, you might want to take a close look at previous discussions here on tripods & heads.

And all this is really just the tip of the iceburg. There's a lot of stuff to keep in mind, do and get before the big day.
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