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


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Old April 15th, 2007, 08:22 PM   #16
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Thanks again everyone for your help! I listened throughout the ceremony and didn't hear any of this interference yesterday, so unless this issue shows up in post for some odd reason, all went well. Here's what I did:

- made sure I had fresh, non-rechargeable batteries
- checked the room by turning on my receiver and then the priests transmitter and got nothing
- checked the Senn. website for the open channels in my area and made sure I was in one of them
- made sure cell phone was off
- placed mic on groom early and listened and sounded great
- also, when placing on groom, I left the mic wire hanging out of his inner-jacket pocket instead of shoved inside. I have the wire folded up and twist-y-tied but before I was just putting it all in his pocket. I read in the manual that the wire shouldn't be crossed with the antennae and maybe that was happening when it was all inside the grooms pocket.

So I'm not really sure where my issue lies, but all was good last night.

Quote:
It sounds to me like it could be some sort of dropout, or loose connection. Usually when I get interference from another wireless mic, it's immediate and continuous. Check all your connections. With the system on, stress all of the cables. Start with the mic to transmitter. Then move to the receiver to what? ...camera? Sound System? While stressing the cables, i.e., bending and twisting, you get static, replace the cables.
I thought of this too and tested that a few weeks ago and got nothing. By the way, I have the mic plugged straight into the camera.

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Next, play with the squelch/mute adjustment on the wireless system. Squelch/mute is essentially narrowing the broadcast bandwidth a transmitter or receiver will tolerate. Most wireless systems place this control on the receiver, but some systems allow transmitter strength as an adjustable option. Caution! Narrowing reception bandwidth reduces physical distance between transmitter and receiver.
I didn't see this before I left yesterday so I obviously didn't get a chance to play with this yet. I will definitely look into it.

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Sounds like a dropout to me. You could be moving through dead spots. I think they are created by radio waves phase cancelling after bouncing off something. I am not a radio engineer, but that is the gist of the explanation I read.
Something else I need to read up on.


Now for the rest of the wedding, (insert standard photog gripe here). They were really nice and more accommodating than others I have worked with so far, BUT they still get in the way and ruin shots. I only got about 3 seconds of usable footage of the bride walking down because the photog was in the aisle. I'll definitely be slow-moing that.

I'll keep this short since I'm getting off topic, but the DJ really sucked. And because he had no MCing skills, no one listened to him when he made announcements. Consequently, no one saw the cake cutting but the 2 photogs and me. My husband, my second cameraman, was off changing tapes because we thought we had plenty of time. But the bride and groom just dove in. He came back and was like, "What the hell happened?" The bouqet and garter went the same way. The fastest I've ever seen! She threw the bouquet without any warning. Our cameras were rolling but not sure what we got since we weren't exactly ready. For the garter, the groom went down, pulled off the garter, then as he's getting back up to stand he throws it over his shoulder. No joke! It took all of 3 seconds. I couldn't believe it.

The best part of the night was this one lady dancing. I swear it was Elaine from Seinfeld! I never knew someone to actually dance like that for real. I got her on tape so once I get it up, I'll have to show you all. I was crackin' up!
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Old April 15th, 2007, 09:36 PM   #17
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"I only got about 3 seconds of usable footage of the bride walking down because the photog was in the aisle."

The videographer and photographer should be shoulder-to-shoulder when the bride goes down the aisle. Coordination of the two disciplines is not an option. Communicate what you will be doing before the event. Try to give them room when they need it and they will probably do the same for you. I use a monopod so my camera can stay in place while I move myself out of the photographer's way. I'm not criticizing you personally, but the ego wars between the two have been well-documented around here and it helps nobody. By communicating with the photographer, I have only had a single problem and that was with a photographer that believes that nobody should ever go in the aisle. I can't change his mind about that, but I still make sure to give his assistants a shot down the aisle with their long lenses.

It's good to hear your audio was better this time. I know how stressful technical problems can be.

I don't think people have a very good perspective on time when they are in big social situations. Whenever out-of-town guests are announced, the person always stands up just long enough for their knees to straighten and then they plop back down at the speed of gravity. I just don't shoot that stuff anymore unless there are extra cameras. For the events, I try to find the person serving as M.C. and try to get them to let me know when things are going to start up. It usually helps, but sometimes they forget so I find one still must be very alert.

Can you guys just "feel" when something is about to happen? I often find myself getting spidey-sense while eating dinner and start rubber-necking the room looking for someone on the move toward the podium.
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Old April 15th, 2007, 10:46 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
Can you guys just "feel" when something is about to happen? I often find myself getting spidey-sense while eating dinner and start rubber-necking the room looking for someone on the move toward the podium.
Haha, not really, I just always feel I'm not doing my job if I'm not filming. Last wedding I was at I was at a table scarfing down a few meatballs and noticed the couple across from me opening these little fortune cookies. I just filmed them while I ate. Took me about 4-5 minutes to eat. My wife thinks I'm crazy . . and I think she's probably right, lol.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 07:29 AM   #19
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Haha, not really, I just always feel I'm not doing my job if I'm not filming. Last wedding I was at I was at a table scarfing down a few meatballs and noticed the couple across from me opening these little fortune cookies. I just filmed them while I ate. Took me about 4-5 minutes to eat. My wife thinks I'm crazy . . and I think she's probably right, lol.
Yeah, I feel the same way. I'm always nervous that I'll miss something when I sit to eat too. I want to be at the ready so I usually just scarf it down too and I'm ready to go again.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 08:33 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
"Can you guys just "feel" when something is about to happen? I often find myself getting spidey-sense while eating dinner and start rubber-necking the room looking for someone on the move toward the podium.
I'm kind of that way, get that 'feeling', but I'm a quickly learning to depend on the DJ more and more, since things at receptions usuually require an announcment, I figure he'd know before hand. I always introduce myself to the DJ, exchange cards etc. For example, we were moving to the far side to shoot/film the reception b&g pictures, and then the DJ says oh, no, actually we're starting a (not THE) b&g dance, well, I missed 15 secs of the dance because of it. So, as a practice I make sure the DJ knows what the heck he's doing, or I just don't rely on him.

But Marcus yea, the more disorganized the event, the more my spidey scense tingles.
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Old April 16th, 2007, 08:57 AM   #21
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Andrea,

I'm glad to hear it worked out well for you! My wedding went well Saturday, too, but I did a friend a favor on Sunday and shot his ordination service. My wireless fell off the podium half way thru the sermon! It really does happen to us all!

Oh, and thanks for the laugh over that lady dancing like Elaine. Can you show us the footage?

--------------------------

Marcus,

You are correct, we should be on equal footing with the photogs, but there are still those out there who think that they are IT, and don't care if they're in our shots... oh well, "Live and let live" !

As for the spidey sense, I've got that, too. Maybe we could come up with a good name that describes it as some kind of "Videographer's Sense"?

Cheers To All!
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Old April 17th, 2007, 12:25 AM   #22
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I'm going to take this all the way back to wireless audio problems and explain how it's solution, for me, helps me deal with photographers. I have mentioned that I spent $1200 for a Lectrosonics system and consider it a bargain. There is a reason for that.

My first solo wedding, done for free for a friend, was an audio disaster. I used a really cheap ~$100 system yet thought it would work as the distances were short and I had tested things out successfully before the day. Even at the setup and testing on-site things were fine. Halfway through the ceremony loud static started coming through. I ended up re-recording the vows. The couple was very happy with the video and I got a thank-you letter from the bride's mother.

About a year later, I had an affordable ~$250 diversity VHF wireless and started doing weddings professionally. I got a horrible feedback in the middle of a ceremony that was like the problem talked about in the "I picked the wrong week to stop drinking" thread:

"About 3 minutes before the bride is to walk down the aisle, there is a static, screeching sound from the speakers... Not a quick scratch. A LONG, drawn out, ear-piercing static. Thinking of it makes my head hurt. In a panic thinking I'm boinking this entire wedding, I turn off my receivers. My helper tells the priest and the groom to turn off their mics as well."

The difference is that my problem stopped when I turned off my transmitter. The other difference was that it only started when the priest approached the podium. I assumed he had a feedback problem with his PA, but it stopped when I turned off my system. I have no idea how this happened, so I'm not able to give any advice in how to prevent an issue like this. My only logical guess is that the wireless systems might have been on a similar, or harmonic frequency and his receiver started to pick up signal from my transmitter.

Having everyone in the whole church stare at you is a humbling experience.

I switched to the best-recommended system I could find and have never regretted my choice. Flawless transmission on frequencies not often used by other systems and devices allows a great deal of physical freedom and emotional comfort. I can position my camera anywhere in the room and know I will hear everything from the groom.

The second thing I have done is to deal with visual obstructions by getting a monopod and attaching a stabilizing counterweight that allows me to go high-angle in a few seconds. I don't even completely ruin the shot during the transition. I use a belt with leather pouch to hold the foot of the monopod at my waist and can stay that way the entire ceremony, if necessary. I can be quite stable as long as I don't go more than about 30 feet from the couple.

The freedom of worry-free audio and easy camera placement is priceless. I simply don't have many of the issues people around here say are their top problems. I am not the best wedding videographer on this forum, but I have almost none of the problems often reported and that is very good for reducing stress. I can spend all my time looking out for shots instead of worrying about audio problems and visual obstructions.

I would rather use a consumer camcorder and a Lectrosonics than a PD170 and a low-end wireless. It also saves time in post since I don't have seperate audio and video systems. I bought an extra lav mic since those wires are so fine I'm sure one will break some day.

A decent camera, a great wireless, freedom of movement, and event videographer tingle-sense are the basics of getting a good video. I'm still working on getting more creative with the videography. It is sometimes difficult to cover everything and get the subtle shots simultaneously.
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