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


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Old May 16th, 2007, 03:39 AM   #1
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What To Do?

I'm going to be shooting a wedding for some friends next month, and was wondering if anyone had tips for me. This is going to be my first wedding video, so I'd like to be as prepared as possible. I've got a good shotgun mic, two very good wireless lapel mics, an XL2 camera, and the Glidecam 4000 Pro/ Smooth Shooter combo.

As you can see, I've got the equipment. I'd love to get some pointers, though, on what to absolutely shoot and what I could get away with not shooting.

Besides this, does anyone have suggestions on how to control my camera with some sort of external remote, preferably small? I don't like the huge thing my XL2 comes with.

Thanks.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 04:18 AM   #2
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Hi Vishad,

When you say remote, you mean infrared? You could get a 'learning' universal remote and train it to send the record, stop, zoom and standby functions. Then you could have any size and shape you can find. You can find them in any electronics store that sells tv's, dvd players, etc. Well except for Walgreen's, they may not have the learning remotes there. ;)

If you have 3 mics, you can either switch the XL2 to 4 channel audio mode, but then you drop to 12 bit/32kHz, from 16 bit/48kHz audio. Or you can just use 2 out of the 3 mics. Or use an external mixer to combine the 2 lavs into one channel (for example) and put the shotgun on the other channel.

As far as what to capture, every wedding is different. But the general approach seems to be getting the bride (and groom if possible) getting ready beforehand, the vows with at least one lavalier closeup. Try it on the preacher's book, at the top so it is roughly the same distance from all 3 people involved. The preacher can keep the mic pack in his/her pocket. (Or justice of the peace, rabbi, minister, Elvis impersonator, etc, etc, etc). You could have the groom wear the other mic and put the belt pack in his pocket. Then the reception, maybe some wishes from friends and family (close-up interview shots at their tables). Maybe some shots of the photoshoot. Toasts, first dance, etc.

I'm not a wedding shooter though, I haven't shot one in years, so I'm sure some of the experts here have some more ideas.

Hope some of this helps! :)
Eric
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Old May 16th, 2007, 07:03 AM   #3
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Remember; The wedding day is more than the b&g and guests, it's the dress, the church/venue, flowers, preperations of everyone, the cake, the limo, their love song, the dancing (if there is any) etc. To capture a day, like videography can, is to stay on top of everything that surrounds the wedding day. There is not a wrong thing to capture at a wedding. I may not use this or that shot in the end, but at the time of filming, I would not know.

What I'm saying is, figure out how to be in 10 places at once, don't worry about how many tapes you use, capture as much as you can. It's one shot deal.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 07:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Shepherd View Post
Hi Vishad,

When you say remote, you mean infrared? You could get a 'learning' universal remote and train it to send the record, stop, zoom and standby functions. Then you could have any size and shape you can find. You can find them in any electronics store that sells tv's, dvd players, etc. Well except for Walgreen's, they may not have the learning remotes there. ;)
To add to that thought, do you happen to have a Palm PDA? There is software (shareware) that will allow you to capture your remote control IR signals and create macros for custom commands. I use this to control my Sony cameras when I don't want to touch the camera and zoom, since the small remotes that come with them tend to get misplaced when I need them, but I've always got my PDA with.

It works with any IR remote, need to change the channel at a restaurant and confuse the employees? This will work. :-)

TV at your hotel doesn't an Input button on the remote so you can't connect your portable DVD player to the TV and select AV In? This will work, too. :-)

Oh yea, and you can control your camcorder via IR.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 11:09 AM   #5
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Thanks so much for all the input, guys. Especially about the remotes! I have a Palm PDA phone and I'll check out that shareware; maybe it'll work with the Treo.

Yeah, you're right about getting every shot I possibly can. I'd rather have too much footage than not enough. That would be a bummer.

As for the lavalier mics: I have the AT PRO88W system, which is really very good. If I just mic the bride and groom, do you think it would be at all necessary to mic the pastor as well? Maybe I can aske the dude to speak louder.

Anyway, thank you again for all the help. I really appreciate it.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 01:11 PM   #6
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Try my idea of putting the mic on the book that the speaker person is holding. Then the mic is about 2 feet from everyone's mouth. The lavalier is most likely omni-directional, so everyone will be picked up. The bride isn't going to wear a mic obviously, and you could use the mic on the groom as a backup of sorts, just remember whoever the mics are closer to will end up being louder. The speaker person will most likely speak a lot louder to project anyway, so you want the mic on the end of their book to pick up the bride and groom properly.

If you have access to a cheap dv camera, you could set it up behind the speaking person to shoot the bride and groom, even if the picture quality is different. just to get the faces in there for a go-to shot.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 03:38 PM   #7
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Good point, Eric. I'll have to experiment with that the day before the wedding. Thanks.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 03:47 PM   #8
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Alright cool. That also gives you a chance to turn your camera around and get crowd shots, move to a new location if someone walks in front of you, etc.

Offhand, I can see this being important because assuming the bride walks down an aisle of some sort, you'd want to shoot the front of that shot. But then when she gets to her destination, it might be a side shot for you. So you may need 30 seconds to pick up your stuff and move elsewhere. A cheap stationary camera shot for the closeup will cover that movement nicely. When I say cheap, I mean $250-300 or whatever an average consumer camera costs, not a $70 Barbie camera or something. :)
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Old May 16th, 2007, 04:04 PM   #9
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Haha! Well, if anyone catches me with a Barbie cam I deserve horrible reviews and terrible footage. Oh man...Barbie cam...that's unnerving.

I've got the Glidecam 4000 Pro/Smooth Shooter combo, so I'll be moving about pretty easily. I do have a Sony Handycam I purchased three years ago. It works pretty well, but I'm hesitant to use it in conjunction with my XL2 footage. Do you think the B-roll footage I capture with the Sony will be too obviously different from the XL2? The weddings are going to be indoors (as far as I know) and I'm sure there'll be plenty of good light (good meaning fluorescent)...think I can pull that off? Maybe I'll use the two footages with the "24"-style box-in-box effect.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 04:11 PM   #10
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I'm sure they can be combined. Just set the focus ahead of time on the handycam, make sure it's on something stable, so that if there's a platform where the main event is taking place, the camera doesn't shake.

Hmm.. White balance can be corrected later to match the gown. If you have the right connection for that camera, or a Beachteck or SignVideo or something XLR to 1/8" converter, you could plug the shotgun mic into that camera and pick up the closeup audio that way, as a backup/possibly better source. You'll pick up the speaker's voice from the reflection off the book they're holding so it should sound decent.

The picture in picture might be a little cheesy looking. It may also reveal color/quality differences because you'll see both onscreen at once and it's much easier to compare the 2 that way. :)

Just make sure the 2nd camera is setup and focused, and doesn't blow out when there's a white (assuming here) gown and a tuxedo with a white underlayer.. or possibly white tuxedo too. The camera will probably compensate on its own, but manual settings would give you the best skin tones, without it shifting at random potentially. Of course, where are you going to find 2 people wearing the same stuff as the bride and groom at the same wedding beforehand? :) Just make sure you get 3 people in the approximate location so your camera can get the shot, and allow for them all to move a little bit obviously.

And it prolly goes without saying, but if you can't get both of them in the shot, the bride's face matters more.. Well unless you're better friends with the groom.. ;)
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Old May 16th, 2007, 04:19 PM   #11
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Well, the bride's face is almost always more important than the groom's...at least from a guy's perspective. Nobody cares about the groom.

Thanks for pointing out that box-in-box effect flaw. Come to think of it, I tried that once before and the effect was really weird. The end result was jittery and all knarled looking. I'll just stick to jump cuts. Much safer that way.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 04:48 PM   #12
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Yeah, I guess unless the groom is Napoleon, then it may be better to get him in the middle of the shot. ;)

I recently saw a 'professionally produced' doctor's informercial type video that was done locally from a few years ago and they had scaled down shots, like pic in pic or a smaller image on a background or something, and they didn't have anti-aliasing (not even sure how this is possible?), so the scaled down image was HORRIBLE. And this was released to potential patients/clients on VHS, professionally duplicated, etc.. ugg..
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Old May 16th, 2007, 05:18 PM   #13
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Here my take on it run two cameras one wide (the sony) and one you can play around with zoom in on one zoom in on the other, basically do what ever you wish as in the edit the sony is there to save your arse.

Never shot steady cam but I know anything that is not nailed to a tripod looks like amature night.

When there shooting the pictures etc look behind you see whats going on! Shot my first 2 weeks ago and I've some great shots of brides maids sat on a bench talking swinging there legs chatting , a little girl hung over her mums shoulder looking sleepy but then waving at the camera, an aunt and uncle talking to each other on a bench in the sun in all there best gear.

Maybe this is my stile but some nice informal stuff is great to have when you get to the edit.
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