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

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Old March 12th, 2007, 09:38 PM   #1
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Two cameras one camera person?

Ok I'm filming my first wedding in a few weeks time, orginally my girl friend was going to help me out but due to work commitments has drop out leading me with a bit of a problem.

I had orginally planned to film the bride arriving outside and have the other camera within the church manned (we are limited within the church by the vicar, we have just been allowed one camera offically in the church) as so as she enters the church it's over to camera two for the main ceromony with myself using a long shot from the back of the church ready to leave prior to the bride and groom comming out of the church.

So my qestion is how do others do it with one person and two cameras? How do you move around as to not miss shots but but still stay ahead of things? I don't want to loose the quality by leaving the camera running on LP for instance.

I have done weddings before as a stills photographer but to me in the UK video is not as staged, where as with stills it all revloves around the couple and photographer.
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Old March 12th, 2007, 10:52 PM   #2
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if i told u i'd have to kill you...

i shoot weddings with at least 2 cams and with clever timing, u can shoot what your asking to shoot...
Also to do this effectively you have to be on REALLY good "how ya goin mate" terms with yoru clients coz your actually calling the shots as soon as the limo arrives..

When u leave the brides house, tell her to DO NOTHING until she sees you at teh fornt of the church.. this ensures that if your delayed, she knows not to start without you.. you never knowwhat may happen with traffic..

@ chuirch.. Before u go out, make sure the groom is miced and ready to go.. so theres no fussing about.
leave it turned off... you need an excuse to approach him later.. (ill explain in a min)

ok, hes miced and now hes standing up the front with his Hombres..

DO NOT turn on your second cam.. tell the groom if he needs to pee, do it now..
go out the front and wait for the bride..

hey look, its a limo.. righteo, get the shots you need, daddy helping her out etc...

then BEFORE you go back in, tell the photog to stall them a bit. Now tell the bride to give you 2 minutes.. (this way BOTH people know that u need that time.. )

Now go straight to your second cam and start recording.. give it 3 fingersnaps with your handheld unit to make it easy to sync in post later..
keep both cams rolling from this point..

Now go turn on the wireless mic and get chummy with the groom as u turn it on.. make him laugh abit by asking if he thinks he'll need a tissue.. hes prolly packing shit by now, so try to lighten it up a bit...

get into position for the processional and voila, you in 2 places at once.. SHoot the groom then when the music rolls in, turn to shoot the aisle..

I have afew other tricks which help play with time but i think the above is enough to get you started..
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Old March 13th, 2007, 07:47 AM   #3
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Location: Toronto, Canada
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Our smaller packages our 3 cams one videographer. For those, we would place a cam in the balcony, another on the right hand side, and man the cam int he center. I would start them all for the start of the processional. I would either skip the bride arriving, which I find is fair if your working by yourself and you don't want to sacrifice on the quality of the overall ceremony OR ask the bride to give you five minutes once she gets inside the church before things start. our safest option is to skip it and concentrate on doing the best job you can inside the church.

Regarding changing tapes, it does happen sometimes that the ceremony is too long. Just make sure you have your wide shot running when you switch your other tape and do it as quickly as possible.

I personally couldn't/wouldn't want to do it with less than 3 cams.
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Old March 13th, 2007, 08:46 AM   #4
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with regard to tape switching, i always have one cam running an 83minute tape.. if using 63iminute tapes, i let one cam roll for 30 seconds before i start the next cam..

it takes me 17 seconds to stop recording, open transport (this takes about 4 to 6 seconds depnding on how soon i open the case vs the time i actually stopped recording), remove tape, insert new tape, number new tape, close and begin recording without jamming the spool (3 seconds for tape to be wound once loaded).
That with a DVX100

with a Z1, it takes about 25 seconds.. (yup, ive timed it.. LOL)
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Old March 13th, 2007, 09:28 AM   #5
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Andy, maybe now is the time to look for a new girlfriend. Well, at least your current friend didn't wait until the night before the event to cancel.

You're in a tough situation -- 2 cameras, one operator, your first wedding video job, a vicar with rules... Even so, I'm also a lone shooter, and I know it is possible with good planning and some luck to get most everything on tape that you want.

Both Peter and Patrick have great suggestions. I can only add that in my experience, you can't count on the B or G to remember anything. They've been inside a pressure cooker for days if not weeks, and it gets worst as ceremony time approaches. Even though they understand the importance of "Wait until ..... (fill in the blank) before .... (fill in the blank)..." they may or may not. Their brains are cooked. They'll forget. So, in addition to discussing your plan with the couple, also let the wedding coordinator or whichever family member or friend is sort of filling the position know about the timing you need to do your job. Redundancy is your friend. Even tho you told them once, an additional reminder or two at an appropriate time will help make it happen.

You might consider attending the rehearsal to plan your positions and provide some input if a slightly different arrangement or timing would work better for you.
Tom T
Mac Pro, Final Cut Studio 2, CS2, Merlin, DVRigPro, VX2100s, HV30
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Old March 13th, 2007, 11:02 AM   #6
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Well thanks for the advice people some really good tricks there, I don't know about a new gf but she is looking for a new job ASAP. ;-}

Lucky for me the B & G are very good friends so the time I need I should get but for the first once it does pile on the pressure.

I love to cover it with three cameras, which I have (current setup is (XL2 with manual lens, XL1S with it's standard lens and a XM1 and two tripods) but all I keep seeing is it will just be me carrying around all of gear and so limited myself to two. I have and can carry two over the shoulder bags at a time, three would be a struggle.

I may cover the speeches with three but it has yet to be decided.

Once again thanks for the great advice.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 10:59 AM   #7
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Hi Andy

Just wondering if you've done this shoot yet? How did it go? I may be in the same situation soon - so keen to learn! :-)

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Old May 8th, 2007, 02:15 AM   #8
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Hi Ian went well I ended up paying for an extra pair of hands though and running three cameras (we could have got away with 2 though).

I've got most of the footage into the edit (and it looks fine) but not all due to the fact as soon as a I got back I had to do pitch for a small indie film SFX job, and two of my clients who I do web design work for were in touch wanting updates done.

It's either all go or all stop no in between these days LOL
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Old May 13th, 2007, 05:01 PM   #9
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Just been there and done it also.

For carrying loads of gear, Maplins, Machine Mart, or CPC sell a collapsible sack barrow that is ideal for the job. Saved my back last night :)

I just did my first wedding yesterday on my own and used a second camera. I kept it runninng from before the ceremony through to the end of the signing. I was in the same area all the time so security wasnt an issue.

I am not convinced that I will use much footage because it was SD and the main cam was HD, a couple of shots may get in to cover camera changes. as it was a short civil ceremony.

I also used it during the speeches, again will probably use a few 5 second shots to cover transitions. I need a second HD cam.

Will colour match and resize in post.

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