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


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Old May 23rd, 2007, 10:25 PM   #1
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Help with how to shoot a wedding??

Okaaaaay...I'm about to venture into wedding videography in two weeks. I've got two gigs lined up (a month apart, by the way) and would really appreciate some pointers. Not to worry, though. I've got plenty of experience shooting experimental films, shorts, commercials, and theatrical productions. But not weddings.

Here's my equipment: Canon XL2, Glidecam 4000 Pro/Smooth Shooter combo, Smith-Victor SV840 on-camera light, two Audio Technica wireless lavalier mics, Rode Videomic, and other stuff I can't remember now. In any case, could someone tell me what I REALLY should shoot (minus the obvious ceremony itself)?

I would also like to take some digital pictures during the wedding...is that AT ALL possible?? I hate the thought of handing over my two Canon DSLR's to some bloke who came only for the free food.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 11:07 PM   #2
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Get there early and get some shots of the church, inside and out. Get some close-ups of details like signs, candles, and flowers, etc. Other things I try to shoot:

Guests arriving and being seated (not all, but some, especially family)
Bridal party and bride arriving
The bride's gown from many angles (they spent alot of money on it!)
Some good pans of the guests waiting

At the reception:

Interior/exterior, signs, etc. of location
The cake, the food/buffet, tables/centerpieces, guestbook, gift table
DO NOT shoot people eating! No one looks good while chewing!
If you can, get some crowd reactions to events like first dance, cake, etc.
Avoid using lights if possible. People will prefer a somewhat grainy video over seeing their guests squinting, turning their heads, and holding their hands in front of their faces!

Don't focus on the bride and groom the whole time. They always want to see what other people were doing when they watch the DVD. I always try to shoot the young and the old, because in 10 years, the young will have changed the most and the old may not be around anymore.

It would be very difficult to get stills while shooting video. I personally wouldn't even attempt it because there's a good chance I'd miss something important while I was juggling equipment.

Hope this helps.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 10:44 AM   #3
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The last post summed it up well. The only thing I would add is the formals, working with the photographer and taking advantage of the shots he/she is setting up during this time can make the bride and groom look good and make you look good in the process. The only downside is that you might miss some of the reception (just the stuff that happens before the couple gets there).
working with these "formals" shots is my favorite part of the video.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 12:05 PM   #4
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So, should I shoot using the boring standard format: 4:3, 60i? Not that there's anything wrong with that...I just would like to fully utilize my XL2. In any case, what do you suggest about this?
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Old May 25th, 2007, 07:00 AM   #5
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I spent a whole year shooting with my XL1s and GL1 set to progressive mode, thinking I would see a difference in slow motion shots and stills that I freeze on.
I didn't notice a drastic difference, it was noticable in some shots but subtle.
I was a little reluctant to take a chance with peoples weddings experimenting like that but everything turned out fine. I think either way is OK.
I shoot in 4:3 and take selected sections to "fake" letterbox. I sometimes vary the amount I clip the top and bottom depending on how dramatic I want the effect to be.

Mark
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Old May 25th, 2007, 09:04 AM   #6
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Don't forget the bride

One more thing to remember when shooting a wedding- Remember that this is a very special day for everyone- especially the bride. Don't direct her around like she is an actress. Let her enjoy the day and try not to stress her out any more than she already is. Ask her if she is OK every once in a while. I have had bride's compliment me afterwards for being considerate and respectful during their special day. I know this is common sense but sometimes we all get caught up in the excitement of creating an awesome video and forget that it's not a set... it is a family event... and you are (most likely) not family.


(I was a bride. I remember the way I felt on my wedding day.)

:)
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