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


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Old May 23rd, 2007, 03:14 PM   #1
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My First Wedding Experience/Mistakes

Hi everyone.

I thought I would share my experiences shooting my first wedding. I was much more prepared then I would have been thanks to this forum. For the most part, I thought the day went well.

At the rehearsal I realized the church isn't camera friendly with windows surrounding the whole place. Huge windows in front and back.

The day started with me shooting the groom gettting ready. The couple decided I would just be shooting him getting ready. That was kinda strange but ok with me.

Before the ceremony I talked to the photog and we made sure we were on the same page. I told me how the last wedding he did the videog used a light on his camera the whole time. I figured he meant the ceremony and agreed with him that he probably shouldn't have. Turned out he was talking about the reception. Luckily, the reception was well lit and I didn't have to annoy the photog. I understand that extra light will affect the photog's shot, but I need to get my shot too. The photog asking me to turn my light off is like asking him to turn his flash off. I've realizen now that the situation is a double edged sword.

The ceremony was interesting to shoot. I was very limited in the places I could be. I only shoot with one camera right now so coverage is gonna be an issue. It was hard to find a spot without backlight ruining the shot. The sony vx-2100 camera does an exceptional job in bad lighting situations. I'm impressed. I decided not to use wireless audio due to the PA system. It was easy to hear the minister, but hard to hear the couple :( Next time i'll make sure to use it if i can.

Another problem I had was the fake photog "friend of the couple." he ran around with his fancy camera getting in the way. i could tell the pro photog wanted to throw him out a window. during the reception he got drunk. i'm beginning to think the guy is seriously 1 beer short of a six pack. if requested, I can post a video of the crazy stuff he was doing. i couldn't help but tape him specifically as he tried to take pictures. its hilarious and scary at the same time. you'll have to see it to believe me.

During the pre-reception, I had time to kick back and talk to the hotel staff. It happened to be that I talked for awhile with the staff corrdinator. I told her how to fix a computer problem she was having and etc. This turned out to be a good idea, because I got preferential treatment for the rest of the night. I sat next to the photog all night, but they specifically made sure I was taken care of all night. The photog looked a little annoyed. oh well.

I used the FigRig as a stabilizer all night. I really need to get a remote controller on it. I kept having to move my hand to zoom and turn off the camera. Also, my neck was killing me. I've had a chronic pinched nerve in my neck and it got pretty aggrevated. I guess I need to look for something else for support or i'm not gonna make it in this business.

One of the crappy things was that the couple had no chemistry. When they would kiss, the bride shyed away like her brother was trying to kiss her. Every time. It was awkward. That sucked trying to get a good kiss shot.

Again i'd like to thank the people in this forum for being helpful and sharing their ideas. I hope that in the future I can contribute more to helping others too and raise the bar for our reputation. Sorry for this being so long.

Thanks/Cheers

Sean
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Old May 24th, 2007, 10:44 AM   #2
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Sean,

Thanks so much for sharing! It's been a long time since my first wedding, and I truly enjoyed reading your take on things.

As far as your light goes, use it if you need it. If the photog is an experienced pro, he/she will be able to deal with it and most likely use it to his/her advantage. Many times the photogs I work with ask me to turn ON my light!

Wireless mic... I use one at EVERY wedding. (but I also use 2 cameras) The only exception is one local church that doesn't allow wireless mics. (figure THAT one out!)

One camera vs Two... Go with 2 cameras for the ceremony, even if the second is an inexpensive, one chip camera. You can't beat a fixed wide shot when you've got to have it!

Mark

(Let us know how the next one goes!)
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Old May 24th, 2007, 11:38 AM   #3
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I have a different view on using lights. I have made NOT using lights a selling point, and many brides are happy with this.
As far as the photographers are concerned, they have the ability to generate a lot of work for you (or steer customers away from you). So I do everything I can to make sure they enjoy working with me, like staying out of their way, not using lights etc.
I have considered ,though, having an assistant with a low powered light at some of the reception to get me through a tough lighting situation. As long as it was well diffused and maybe on a stand so the light was coming from above, simulating natural room light, it would be OK.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 02:55 PM   #4
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thanks guys for the input. the photog actually wants to show my samples at this office because people are asking him for a package of both services. he has considered other people, but i guess he enjoyed working with me. he is hesistant though based on my lack of experience. he wants to see some of my work first. you are right about having a good relationship with the photog.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 05:01 PM   #5
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Well not to disagree because the light or no light issue has been discussed ad nauseum here before and frankly I don't know about most other areas of the country but from my experience here in Chicagoland about 99% of receptions are indoors and from the introductions through the end of the party (exception being the toasts and dinner-they turn up the lights then) most venues and B&Gs want the lights down-actually off is what they want. Obviously there are exceptions to everything. Years ago when cams weren't so good sure we blasted everyone with these super bright SunGun lights-At least 100W without them you couldn't get an image-today with my Sony cams (low light kings) I still use a 35W bulb with a softbox that kicks the effective light down to about 30W. Thats good for about an 8 foot throw. Try to do more than that and you're pretty much in a cave. There have been time I've had to kick the gain to 6 or even 9, not too often but every once in a while.
Do I use it a selling point or not? No, it never comes up and IF it does I show some footage of mine without a light and some with a light and honestly I've never had a problem. I can't think of a single job I've lost because of that in 24 years. Oh occasionally someone will make a face at the light so I just turn away from them-I've had photogs that I've worked with for many years who always ask me to turn my light on so they can see to focus.
I suppose it's whatever works for you but my job is to get the best quality footage that I can for a client who has paid me pretty well to capture their wedding in a professional manner and if that means a small on camera light that is softened then that's what it has to be.
Again of course there are times when I don't use it but thats for certain shots or certain places that I've shot at when I know there will be plenty of natural light coming in at least during the early hour(s) of the reception.
just my opinion.
Don
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Old May 24th, 2007, 05:19 PM   #6
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Great read, Sean! I plan to be shooting wedding videos in the near future so this was essential and very informative.

I am looking forward to the video of the drunk photographer. Sounds hilarious!

Cheers,
-CCC
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Old May 24th, 2007, 07:32 PM   #7
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Here's the video of the crazy Photog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBto0POdV7Q

and here's the highlight video for the wedding:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPu2PKtC3Nw

I don't don't like how youtube video's turn out low-res :(

Last edited by Sean Johnson; May 24th, 2007 at 09:39 PM.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 08:29 PM   #8
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wow...

was that before or after he was supid drunk - pretty hard to tell.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 09:44 PM   #9
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HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is the funniest idiot I have ever seen in my life.

Dude.....you should sell this video clip to "Wild Weddings" on TV, this is one of the best (worst) clips I have ever seen from a wedding, they will pay you for this......I mean, you couldn't have staged this if you tried.

Gotta love it.






Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Johnson View Post
Here's the video of the crazy Photog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBto0POdV7Q

and here's the highlight video for the wedding:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPu2PKtC3Nw

I don't don't like how youtube video's turn out low-res :(
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Old May 25th, 2007, 12:56 AM   #10
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Man, he really like Abba. I bet he slept well that night. The pro hardly get a look in.
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Old May 25th, 2007, 03:09 AM   #11
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Yeah, this guy does his first wedding and he thinks one of the photographers is a wacko. We've all done countless weddings and have seen it all.

That's what I thought until I watched the video. You got a winner on your very first wedding! I'm possibly the nerdiest guy West of the Mississippi and East of the international dateline. This guy makes me look cool. I'm cool as Fonzi next to this guy. He looks so bad that I can make a Fonzi reference and still look cool.
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Old May 25th, 2007, 03:32 PM   #12
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.....and you were saying that he was moaning about the last videographer he worked with who used a light the entire day. I think huge spot lights would be less intrusive than this nut case screaming dancing queen within inches of the couples faces.

Thanks so much for sharing, that video is great!
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Old May 25th, 2007, 10:52 PM   #13
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Haha...awesome! I would totally cut all that crazy footage together and put it in the behind-the-scenes section of the DVD for your client.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 08:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Johnson View Post
Here's the video of the crazy Photog:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBto0POdV7Q

and here's the highlight video for the wedding:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPu2PKtC3Nw

I don't don't like how youtube video's turn out low-res :(
this was an article posted to LAFCPUG.org about compressing with Apple's compressor. Even if you dont use compressor or FCP there is some good info here. This would be one of those times I am glad that I have not gotten my concealed handgun permit, I probably would have shot the guy!
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