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


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Old July 9th, 2007, 11:27 AM   #16
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On a side note, I've actually done the same thing to photographers so it works both ways. Never on purpose but my fault just the same. One videographer I know has this problem a lot but usually from guests so he just hung a sign on his tripod saying "please don't block the camera" or something like that.

An 8-10 foot lightstand with a modified attachment works pretty well for an unmanned cam. It's a pain to position it but you never have to worry about blocked shoots and it's a lot cheaper than a special tripod (which you most likely won't use that often).
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Old July 9th, 2007, 02:58 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
Though I agree it was unprofessional of the photographer to stand in front of your camera, this issue has been discussed on this forum and Travis participated in that thread.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...light=unmanned

The gist of the conversation was that unmanned cameras are fine if put in a good location and if there are already two manned cameras. The issue of how much to pay a second operator was brought up and $20-$40 was deemed insufficient no matter how inexperienced they are. Even if that operator just helped carry gear and kept an eye on your camera it is worth paying them $100.

I mostly disagree with the consensus of that thread as I don't think unmanned cameras are worthwhile. I used an unmanned camera on my first wedding and had this exact problem. The second wedding I used one I put it on my 7' tall tripod and I still did not think it worthwhile as I didn't like the static camera. I felt it only to be useful for a few quick cutaways and an expensive camera is too valuable to be wasted.

I hoped that bringing up my experiences would warn people away from depending on an unmanned camera. I hope that Travis' experience added to mine will really make people think twice of having only two cameras and one of them unmanned. It would be better to use that second camera as a tape deck in your backpack so you can send a firewire to it to duplicate the footage from your main camera.
I couldn't disagree more. Having a 3rd camera shoot a nice wide-angle shot throughout the ceremony is a huge benefit, because you always have that angle to go back to if the other two cameras don't have a shot. 99% of the time if makes your life easier.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 03:00 PM   #18
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It's not an excuse; it's just the way things are with some photographers - they're simply not thinking about the video cameras. Better to use a taller tripod next time than hope the photographer will be more professional...
Oh, I agree with that for sure. I just wanted to be clear that it's unprofessional to do what she did.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 04:24 PM   #19
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"I hope that Travis' experience added to mine will really make people think twice of having only two cameras and one of them unmanned."

Note that I did say that the second camera should not be unmanned. There are some interesting ideas for unmanned camera placement in that old thread.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 04:52 PM   #20
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Leaving an unmanned camera behind is allways a risk, you can't expect people, professional or not, to assure all the time they wan't be blocking its view. If you work like that you just have to live with the fact that every now and then it can go wrong.
You can blaim the photographer as much as you want afterwards, only thing that counts is that you lost your important footage and the only way to prevent it is to get an extra camera operator.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 04:57 PM   #21
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Leaving an unmanned camera behind is allways a risk, you can't expect people, professional or not, to assure all the time they wan't be blocking its view. If you work like that you just have to live with the fact that every now and then it can go wrong.
You can blaim the photographer as much as you want afterwards, only thing that counts is that you lost your important footage and the only way to prevent it is to get an extra camera operator.
Of course it's a risk, but I rarely have a problem with placing it somewhere that won't be problematic. However, this was a unique case because I literally had ONE place to put the camera. In the end, we got the photographer out of the way and I will probably have some great shots from that camera, so I'm still happy I had it there.
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Old July 9th, 2007, 06:44 PM   #22
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Oh Jeez

One of 60 reasons I stopped doing weddings:


Back then I had a brand new XL1s and was doing a small wedding. I had it all setup on the sticks and ready to go the I simply walked across the backyard (huge) to get a drink. By the time I had gotten back, someone took it upon themselves to be the shooter!!! I'm like "excuse me, can I help you with that" the guy says "oh, sorry I thought it was here for anyone to use"..... C'MON!!! A $4K camera (at the time) is just going to sit there for everyone to come take pictures of the wedding! Yeah, just walk over the area I roped off too, that's not there for any reason.

I've had people walk in front of the cam(s) a few times, it's not easy to prevent but it is easy to not take the blame later. "Sorry, your best man Bob didn't see me (a 6'3" with a 6' tripod and 20lb camera) and walked right in front as the best moment of the whole wedding was happening." Darnit Bob!!!
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Old July 9th, 2007, 07:06 PM   #23
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2 reasons not to stop doing weddings; never, ever leave a 4K camera unattended and never use a tripod on a very important moment if you are a solo shooter.
Maybe if you give the other 58 reasons I could help to change your mind about stopping? ;)
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Old July 9th, 2007, 07:30 PM   #24
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2 reasons not to stop doing weddings; never, ever leave a 4K camera unattended and never use a tripod on a very important moment if you are a solo shooter.
Maybe if you give the other 58 reasons I could help to change your mind about stopping? ;)
No doubt, that was the only time I ever left it alone. It wasn't on the sticks when the guy got in the way, I was just making a point about how "hard" it is to miss me.


The rest of the reasons -

3. I hate weddings, ugh.
4. I hate weddings, argh.
5. I have rotten luck with weddings (ie. weather, lighting, drunk idiots breaking things etc)
6. I'm too busy doing the other million and a half things I do that pay way better.
7. I have rotten luck with the ministers or preachers or pastors or priests (they ALWAYS want to get me to come to church, persistently).
8. PUSH Insider Magazine parties are far better to film for. (i'm spoiled now)
9. I like my weekends free, mainly for filming non-paying work, like UWOL :-)
10. Did I mention I hate weddings?


Ok, so I only get like 5 or so good reasons, lol. I just don't do weddings anymore, at any price. I gotta hand it do those of you who do, it takes a special breed. I'm far better at filming half naked models, :-)
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Old July 9th, 2007, 07:42 PM   #25
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Half-naked models . . . hmm . . . are you trying to make my week even more difficult? lol
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Old July 10th, 2007, 03:01 AM   #26
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I'm far better at filming half naked models, :-)
You lucky ***** :D
You are absolutely right, weddingvideographers are a special breed who enjoy suffering. :) There is one reason you mentioned that is by far the most uncontrollable thing and that are drunk idiots who can give you a hard time.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 06:25 AM   #27
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"drunk idiots who can give you a hard time."

Fortunately, I also am larger than the average person in Hawaii and I know to immediately deflect hassles with a comment like, "Elizabeth is paying me a lot of money to be here and I'm just trying to do my job. I know how disappointed she will be if I can't ____." Politely bringing up the bride will put even a 300-pound Samoan dude in the right frame of mind.

It seems like there is a correlation between the physical size of a man and how much he is afraid of his mother or wife. Maybe big boys get scolded more? Also, most people in Hawaii are rather nice and low key. I don't like drunks, but outright hostility is really frowned upon here so they are usually quiet enough.

On the other hand, people here being so laid back means that they are often clueless about events happening around them. That means that they will definitely stand in front of an unmanned camera.
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Old July 10th, 2007, 11:56 AM   #28
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My brother was the one at my wedding, he head butted the camera, then took it and proceeded to insult a couple people while filming. I thought it was funny as heck WAY AFTER the fact. At the time though it was like trying to get an egg from a grumpy bear.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 11:14 AM   #29
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Fact of life.

That's what it is. Photogs in front of cameras are a fact of life. but then again are uncle Joe and the bride's brother with his cellphone taking pictures and so on.
Some time ago on another thread discussing the same issue, Chris Hurd expressed is wise opinion to me (saying that my "I'll throw my 100W light at you" attitude was more unprofessional that the photog blocking my view. And he his dead right.
An unmaned camera is always a risk. Even if it is way high, it can be bumped to the ground.
I allways work with the same photogh, and believe me, he his one hell of guy, but I know the back of his head better than anyone else. Simply because at that moment he is simply trying to get the best possible shot, simple as that.
So, what do I do? I lift camera and monopod and station myself next to him.
Its we that have to acomodate, because if its not the photogh, it will be someone else, and remember, a gentle tap on the shoulder does wonders :)

Best regards,
Arnaldo
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Old July 20th, 2007, 11:54 AM   #30
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This is my biggest selling point for multiple camera weddings. When meeting with clients, we talk about vows being from multiple cameras, but we also talk about the ability to avoide problems such as photographers in the shot. I constantly work with unmanned cameras, but not out of sight cameras.

The edit I'm currently working on, the photographer walked back and forth in the front of the church about a half a dozen times, (white walls in the church, photographer dressed in black) I'm trying to work him out of the shot by switching from cam to cam, but I wont' get rid of him completely.
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