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


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Old March 5th, 2007, 11:29 PM   #1
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Wedding video from the guest side ?

Hi,

I'm shopping around for a videographer for a wedding (mine!) and would like a different sort of video. The animations, pans and zooms of flowers of various wedding ornaments are impressive, but somehow, I feel drawn to a different type of documentation. Has anyone seen a decent compilation of guest behavior or offer suggestion on interviews or unobstrusive commentary ?

Thanks !
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Old March 6th, 2007, 01:52 AM   #2
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Always mate..
the trick to being unbtrusive is to float and take your time.. eventually the guests will respond to the camera and its at THAT point where you approach for the well wishes and the like.. U learn to read the people and their bodylanguage i guess..
I usually use guest messages after we roll into the reception, then we have the grand entry, then meals are served (close us of melas being dished out ewtc, but NOT of people eating) then we cut back into the guest interviews, then blend into the speeches from there.. works a treat
ive done Video guestbook booths, but that really depends on teh crowd itself.. not many guests are open to this kinda thing..
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Old March 6th, 2007, 04:40 PM   #3
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Ohh, the video guestbook. That's the suggestion I was looking for. Most of my crowd is amenable to video interviews.
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Old March 6th, 2007, 06:18 PM   #4
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with the v/gueestbook, what i do is set up a smaller 3chipper cam hooked up to a handheld mic and i blutak a remote control to the table (this way they can turn it on and off as they see fit).
On the remote i only expose the record button and the rest of the buttons are covered with a paper template with a printout of instructions..
I then ask the MC to make a point of it and throughout the night to keep reminding the guests that the guestbook is there.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 12:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson View Post
with the v/gueestbook, what i do is set up a smaller 3chipper cam hooked up to a handheld mic and i blutak a remote control to the table (this way they can turn it on and off as they see fit).
On the remote i only expose the record button and the rest of the buttons are covered with a paper template with a printout of instructions..
I then ask the MC to make a point of it and throughout the night to keep reminding the guests that the guestbook is there.
Peter, that's a pretty unique idea for doing these things. I hate 'em but am sometimes asked to include them.

Do you ever monitor this interview camera or do you just "set it and forget it"?
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Old March 7th, 2007, 02:49 PM   #6
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not many guests are open to this kinda thing..
A variable that is constant for a lot of successful interviews is, much alcohol. It never fails, the more people drink, the more they will talk on video.

I actually ask my prospective b&g if there will be alcohol at the reception.
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Last edited by Steven Davis; March 7th, 2007 at 02:49 PM. Reason: slow brain.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 08:36 PM   #7
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Peter, that's a pretty unique idea for doing these things. I hate 'em but am sometimes asked to include them.

Do you ever monitor this interview camera or do you just "set it and forget it"?
i usually set it up at a visibe location and watch it from a distance.. due to safety and insurance, i also put up fluoro tape to make the tripod easy to see. Sure enough u get alot of crap, but alcohol (as mentioned) does help.. good stuff for teh outtakes/deleteed scenes clips..

as for teh alcohol, if people are a littl efunny, i usualy turn it into a joke and ask them "i'll come back after youve had a few" they usually laugh and then its al good.. makes them relax a bit..
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Old March 8th, 2007, 09:30 AM   #8
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From the customer's perspective...

Our videographer did the video guestbook type of thing, but apparently, he asked the guests to relate stories about us, or either of us. This kept each person talking longer and led to a lot of great clips. He also maintained the chronological order of the clips, so it is really easy to see the alchohol take effect over the course of the reception. Great final product!
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Old March 14th, 2007, 05:20 AM   #9
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I had a hard time finding a wedding videographer that would just do a collection of interviews and cover the event. Basically, I just wanted a cameraman rather than someone that would produce an artistic film. I had this delusional fantasy that I would have a short video interview of guests I would probably never see again for a long time and conveniently overlooked the fact that in this day and age, people are as uncomfotable projecting their day-to-day personality to a video camera as most people were with leaving message on telephone answering machines 20-30 years ago.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 08:13 AM   #10
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Gints, i think your views are also stemming from the fact that your sitting on the other side of the fence.
Being a producer, your opinon on services and inclusions and the actual products themselves offered by those you have seen so far are tainted because of your "business hat"

I too went through this about 5 years ago with my own wedding, and all i wanted was someoone to shoot the wedding using my gear.. it really wasnt much to ask for, but i came across many companies whch had issues with servicing a client who knew more about the game, knew what they wanted and knew how to get it.. even moreso than they did.
Some people just cant take direction that well..
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Old March 14th, 2007, 09:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gints Klimanis View Post
I had a hard time finding a wedding videographer that would just do a collection of interviews and cover the event. Basically, I just wanted a cameraman rather than someone that would produce an artistic film. I had this delusional fantasy that I would have a short video interview of guests I would probably never see again for a long time and conveniently overlooked the fact that in this day and age, people are as uncomfotable projecting their day-to-day personality to a video camera as most people were with leaving message on telephone answering machines 20-30 years ago.
Maybe you should search for a professional freelance cameraman rather than a wedding videographer. No offense to anyone but pro cameramen are used to shooting a variety of situations and taking direction. They are not trying to make an epic wedding movie using their viewpoint.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 10:02 AM   #12
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Hi Gints -
Sounds like you're looking for more the "style" of wedding documentary my wife and I tend to do (she shoots stills, I run cameras). More of a "get everything that happened in the can" approach, then choose what you want from the editing side.

Here's a trick I've used sucessfully, and it tends to "loosen up" the conversation - also handy if you're shooting a wedding with guests of a different language...

Think "Jaywalking" (Tonight Show, if you're from the US)... arrange in advance to have a member of the bride or grooms family or group or friends (someone in the bridal party is already dressed to the nines, but anyone will do) who is outgoing and friendly (humourous helps too, this is NOT a job for stick in the mud types) to be your "interviewer".

Rig a cam with a small or diffused light so you can shoot at the dark reception, and a wireless with a handheld mic. Give the mic to the "emcee" of your special videotape to the bride and groom, be sure to arrange a time during the festivities when you can go through the room without missing anything else critical... go from table to table, maybe shortly after dinner so you can sort of plan your route before everyone is running around visiting.

Have the emcee "work the room" with the camera following, alcohol is optional with this approach, but lubrication can be helpful with a tough crowd... It helps if you have some leading questions to have the emcee ask - short stuff like "what advice would you give the bride and groom?", "tell me how you know the bride and groom?", etc. The questions can be silly if your emcee is creative and funny... Ad libs may have you falling out of your editing station...

The interviewees tend to work with this approach fairly well, as they aren't staring into a camera lens, they are being interviewed by someone who they've likely seen during the day, and they are being led to answer simple questions that most people are just waiting to answer! Eliminates all the "creative" problems, and any "camera shyness" is reduced substantially. If you get someone who balks, just let the emcee chase them around the room a bit (usually laughing hysterically...), throw on some dialog (or add the "COPS theme" in post), have some fun with it. I've thought of doing those "bubble" pop up thingys to add commentary or thoughts like some of those "hip" TV shows, but haven't had the chance to try it yet...

I've used this approach to get some footage that is simply hilarious, often touching, and just a great gift to the B&G. The guests are more at ease, far more likely to say something than if staring into an unmanned camera (and your gear isn't sitting waiting for a "lift". Obviously a HUGE wedding could present a task to get the whole room, but if your emcee knows the friends and family, ask them to start with the most "important" people early on. Be sure to get older relatives and out of town guests - these are people that B&G probably don't get to spend as much time with as they'd like, and the sentiments can be very special to them to replay later when these special people may be "gone".

Anyway, this is just my take as someone who's shot a few weddings because I had cameras for another project and was willing, and then found the insanity to be enough fun that I wanted to get better at it and actually end up getting paid to support the gear habit! I won't say I'm at the stage where I regard my work as "art", but at least it doesn't look like "uncle BobCam", and gives the B&G a recreation of the day and the vibe, haven't had a bad review yet, and lots of "how'd you do THAT?" "that was awesome" compliments. And the "Jaywalking" thing seems to work pretty well!

Gints, if you can't find anyone "local" to do your wedding, the wife has relatives in SJ, you can message me privately, we do "out of town" stuff from time to time, even though I am hoping to do more local/SoCal stuff now that the gas budget is a major part of "production costs"...

DB>)

PS - any of you "pros" out there have any feedback to this approach or want to use it, I'd love to hear if this works for you!
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Old March 14th, 2007, 03:13 PM   #13
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Thanks, Dave. Your ideas for extracting a decent performance out of non-actor guests are inspiring.

Perhaps what is needed for a directed video guestbook is a two person team, or at least a talented investigative reporter with a static camera/stool setup. I think this is where the smaller cameras take over so as not to intimidate the subjects.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 03:56 PM   #14
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Hi Gints -
You could do it at a "station" if it's a big room or crowd, but the times I've tried that the DJ announces, everyone just sits...

That's where the roving reporter bit works wonders, they're comfy in their chairs, just stufed with a fine meal, and perhaps a bit of alcohol... they don't even have to get up (and most won't)!

Just pick your emcee from among your friends/family - he's the one that is the life of the party, and perhaps slightly embarrassing in a good way <wink>! Just make sure it's not the obnoxious drunk second uncle...

And yes, a smaller camera is nice and less intimidating (TRV900 or HC1 is ideal, or maybe even one of the new HC7 or HV20s), just be sure you have a diffused light - it only needs a 5-10 foot throw, and if it's not diffused it blinds the subjects... I run a Sony 20DMA 10/20w with a sto-fen flash diffuser, and run it "off camera" a bit with a flash bracket for a standoff - also helps the video stay shake resistant! I use a two shoe bracket so the light and the wireless are all on the bracket.

Oh yeah, also recommend headphones for the cam operator so you can monitor the audio - if something cool starts to happen, you can pull the mic and shoot on the fly - but you need to know which audio you're bringing in, the onboard mic/shotgun or the wireless. Also helps to know the mic is "on"!

Depending on your videographer of choice, it should be possible to have two cameras working the room if it's a big wedding.

Hope this helps your big day go off in a great and memorable way!

DB>)
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Old March 14th, 2007, 07:43 PM   #15
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roving reporter.. lol

i remember one time we did this as a floorshow, and i hooked up the camera to a projector with about 200metres worth of cabling then ran riot before the main meals were served. one of the brides uncles went round table to table chatting to people..
Runnign a wireless mic, i also recorded the whole thing and gave a reciever to the DJ to hook up so everyone could hear... so it wrked for the venue and for the video

worked a treat..

then the clients asked to ditch the whole thing in edit.... it wasnt classy enough.. lol go figure
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