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

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Old June 13th, 2007, 04:45 PM   #1
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Wedding Crashers Steal Photography Gear!

It's not "video" related but it is wedding/event related.

Can anyone share their techniques in protecting their gear while on the job?

I've heard of cars being stolen with all the gear after the job is done.

It's my first post here. I think this site is great!
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Old June 13th, 2007, 05:12 PM   #2
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I basically try to just keep all my gear in the same place, usually near the DJ, where I can keep an eye on it. Anything I'm not using I usually keep in my vehicle, which has no business identification on it.

I'll admit though, that once the reception starts, it's pretty hard to actually watch your gear. My assistant and I are both shooting.

Hear are some ideas though:

- keep all your gear far away from doorways

- keep it near the DJ or the bar, where someone is always active

- if you use cases, maybe buy one of those cable locks and lock them together

- don't bring equipment inside that you don't need

- don't leave equipment visible in your vehicle

Feel free to add ideas. I'd love to see more. This is all I could come up with quickly.
Black Label Films
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Old June 13th, 2007, 07:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Eric Manacsa View Post
Yeah Eric, I saw the story. Pretty brazen. I live in the Dallas area. They were obviously organized and waiting for the opportunity.

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Old June 15th, 2007, 03:17 AM   #4
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This is a good topic. I think if you do this long enough, you will eventually get hit with an incident. The suggestions from Travis are all very good. You can use one of those snowboard locks (has a long wire you can loop through your cases) - makes it difficult to walk off with ALL your cases at once. The cameras should be with you or within sight. The only thing I would add is to keep the recorded tapes in your pocket. In the worst case scenario, you might lose a camera, but you still have the footage from the day.

I hope in the future, we can place inexpensive lo-jack devices on everything. Track down the thieves and have the cops pay them a visit. In the meantime, stay alert.

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Old June 15th, 2007, 07:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Eric Gan View Post
The only thing I would add is to keep the recorded tapes in your pocket. In the worst case scenario, you might lose a camera, but you still have the footage from the day.
I do the same, I use a moonbag around my waist with the car keys, money, driver's license and most importantly the tapes. My camera never leaves my side. I eat at the table with it.

The rest stays with the DJ, that's why you always make friends with the DJ.

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Old June 15th, 2007, 09:35 AM   #6
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My old partner, who did all the camerawork, had his gear stolen from his car .. .he had finished for the evening, packed everything into the car, left the car sitting right in front of the well lighted hall and went in to talk to the DJ for a moment .. came back out to find his windows smashed and most of his gear stolen

This was at the same time a gang was targeting news vans in Toronto. Also, at that time, an armed group was holding up receptions (that seemed to end right after they stuck up a reception of certain well known family in Ontario)

Since that incident, my partner now works with an assistant and one of that person's main job is to eyeball the gear on a regular basis
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Old June 15th, 2007, 12:00 PM   #7
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Here is a small list of the things I do in preparation for shooting in environments where there is a large group of people, not much crowd control, or abundant opportunities for people to steal your gear:

1.) I try to hire an assistant for such occasions. If it seems like it will be beneficial, I hire a second shooter or an assistant to help manage my gear. I work my contract specifications in such instances to cover the cost of the assistant.

2.) If I don't need constant or regular access to a specific piece of gear or a few cases of stuff, I leave it locked in the van. The van is alarmed and equipped with tinted windows so folks can't see what is inside. I also avoid the temptation of painting or attaching business logos or designs to the outside of the van as such events or occasions might present such advertisement as an invitation to target my van when unattended.

3.) What I can't lock in the van or carry with me, must be kept somewhere on site. As others have noted, making friends with the DJ is a special bonus for this situation.

4.) Much of what I shoot with I am able to carry with me due to careful selection of gear to suit my needs. I usually shoot while wearing a SWAT style vest. Mine has 16 pockets and they are designed for the purpose of concealing several small to medium firearms and assault gear while allowing for comfort and mobility. (note: I don't carry firearms with me, but it is a great asset when trying to carry tons of batteries, tapes, cords, bungies, gaffer tape, audio capture devices, repair or maintainence kits, portable light kits, smaller portable camcorders, or other extras you might need on a shoot.) It is amazing how much stuff you can conceal in this vest without it appearing too bulky. I have never seen an actual video or photo vest that even comes close in terms of pracicality, durability and price. I bought mine through a law enforcement outlet service and it is one of the best purchases I ever made.

5.) All of my cams and expensive pieces of gear are equipped with Loc8tor tags. ( ) and I have these tags dialed into my handheld tracker...just in case. Although it might just be a novelty in most cases, I bought this stuff based on the theory that if my gear got lifted in a scenario such as a wedding event - there is a high probability that it might have been moved to the trunk (boot) of an attending guest, who might still be present for the remainder of the event (since ditching the event might make it obvious as to who the culprit is). One trip around the parking lot with the loc8tor handheld will very quickly reveal in which car the gear has been stashed. The problem here is that if the gear has been taken off site (beyond a few hundred feet) this gadget is nearly useless, but I figured that since I walk into a wedding carrying over $20,000 worth of gear, this little toy was a worthwhile investment. I haven't yet been faced with a situation where this has been needed (my stuff hasn't been stolen as of yet) but if it does get lifted, and is being stashed in the trunk of someones car who has subsequently returned to the reception to enjoy the festitivities, I am still on the fence as to what I would do once I have tracked down my gear. Should I call the authorities or just rely on a trusty old ball bat. I'm not sure about that one just yet.

After showing the loc8tor system to a videographer friend of mine, we discussed its benefits and limitations. I don't like its perimeter limitation (and the handheld is cheaply constructed) but for the price it is a start. He is now actively pursuing the development along the lines of a sat-tracker system, like the units that can be installed on a teens car for the parents to monitor their speed and distance statistics via satelite feedback. We'll see where that goes.

"Are we to go on record, sir, with our assertion that the 'pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers' are, in point of fact', magically delicious?"
- Walter Hollarhan before the House Subcommittee on Integrity in Advertising - May, 1974
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Old June 15th, 2007, 05:09 PM   #8
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Just throw your cell phone (newer style) into your unattended bag. If it gets lifted, the e-location will tell the authorities right where the phone is. And thieves are often dumb enough to use the cell phone. Happened to a guy I know that got help up at gunpoint while working in his garage.

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