Shooting a graduation -- and graduation party... at
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Old May 11th, 2003, 10:05 PM   #1
High School Student
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Canton, Ohio, USA
Posts: 609
Shooting a graduation -- and graduation party...

Hey my uncle asked me if I could shoot his daughters (my cousins) graduation, he's going to buy me some tapes (which as a broke 14 year old, is a great thing to get free tapes). Basically i'm wondering pretty much how the hell I am going to shoot and edit anything decent, with only one camera? Whats the best way to shoot the actual graduation at the highschool? I was planning on setting up my tripod in a good spot and just doing it like that...and what about the party? What kind of footage am I even looking to get to edit into a video? What is the recommended length for a video like this? I was thinking around 20-30 minutes...

I want to make it the best I can, so please give me some advice, i'd appreciate it.


EDIT -- Oh yeah, also, what about using ANY music in the final edited video? Is this against copyright laws and stuff to use it in a video, which I am not making ANY money off of, and which I will not be selling to anyone? (it will probably be copied on a few VHS tapes for family and friends)

EDIT #2 - Sorry for the "edits", but I thought it would be a good idea to fill up time in the video, by digging up pictures of her, all through her life, so far, and scan them and do like a segment with like all of them pictures... or else I could kind of build the whole video around the pictures, like cut them in between stuff, but that might be difficult to get right...
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Old May 12th, 2003, 02:58 AM   #2
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Location: Australia
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I think it would be a good idea to include interviews.....your average graduation isnt that exciting. Ask her what she would find the most entertaining. You will probably find being in the corner on a tripod isnt going to get you great shots. or shots that look good to music.

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Old May 12th, 2003, 04:53 AM   #3
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Alex, read this thread in the business section. In particular Paul's post on the first page. It's illegal to use copyrighted material without the owners permission. Will you get caught? Well, probably not, but with your luck it's hard to say. I don't get chased out of malls when I go shopping. Use your head. If this video starts getting shown around, you could get caught. The more people that see it, the greater the chance you will get caught. This offense is a big one, and could have serious legal consequences for your parents if authorities pursue a music copyright violation against you.
Jeff Donald
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Old May 12th, 2003, 07:59 AM   #4
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Make it youthy and fun...thats what its all about...

For the interview questions just think of moments that they would want to remember.......Honestly though you may find it hard to conduct iterview style shooting given your age.

I wouldnt nock free advice (sensible advice) regarding the copyright stuff but at the end of the day its up to you.

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Old May 12th, 2003, 01:24 PM   #5
High School Student
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Canton, Ohio, USA
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Thanks guys, any more advice? I am planning on digging up pictures of her (we have about probably 200, just here, of her) and scanning them and adding like dates in the video, and making them pan and zoom...
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Old May 12th, 2003, 02:42 PM   #6
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Location: Honolulu, HI
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As you're not getting compensated for the work and it's for personal use only (not for distribution) then using music in this sort of project shouldn't be a problem. Not much different from making a copy of song to create a personal compilation of music in one's own mp3 player.

Copyright, technically, is violated anytime you make a copy of any kind of original material whether it's music, text, photos or video. It doesn't really matter if it's for re-publication, broadcast or personal use. It's still a violation.

However, enforcement is generally applied when that material is broadly distributed or publicly exhibited without permission and/or for profit. At that point the penalties can be significant, in the five-figure range.

For example, photos from our newspaper's website were discovered on another website supporting litigation against the state. The editor asked that website's webmaster to take the photos down since the newspaper couldn't publicly support the plaintiff's position. Furthermore, the photos were used without permission. The newspaper didn't sue, but it strongly requested that the photos be removed immediately from site, and they were.

Regarding interviews, one of the fun questions might be where the graduates see themselves in 10 or 20 years. The video just might survive that long and it'll be a kick seeing where they really went in that time.

Dean Sensui
Base Two Productions
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Old May 13th, 2003, 04:36 AM   #7
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Northern VA
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Having a wideangle lens may prove valuable at the party. Especially if it is a smaller room or you need to shoot close to people.

Have plenty of battery for the graduation. More thatn one shooter has had the battery die just as the person of interest approached the stage to get their diploma and thus miss the key moment.

Get the camera as close to the action as you can. Avoid shooting the back of people heads who are in front of you. Pros get the good shots because they are blocking everyone else's view.

Shoot a bunch of cut aways - scenes that can be edited in to cover camera goofs such as loss of focus, inartful zoom or bad shake.

BE selective with you music selections. If this is a one-of for fun video for in the home use that will NOT be sold, broadcast, used in a public forum (e.g., displayed at a convention), posted onthe web for d/l, or entered in a competition, then you are unlikely to have an issue using what ever audio you have already purchased.

You can purchase "buy out" music that comes with the necessary rights for commercial use.
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Old May 13th, 2003, 07:50 PM   #8
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If the entire project is meant for editing, and the focus is the cousins, then I would shoot for the edit and stay on them the entire day.

I'd get some establishing shots before the ceremony, some shots of the cousins before the ceremony, and the cousins walking to their seats. Then I'd shoot the speakers at the graduation and then just keep the camera on standby until the cousins are just about to stand up and go to the lecturn. Keep rolling from that point and cover just the cousins until after they return to their seats. At that point lay low until the end when they have the last speaker and the hat throw. That's a must have.

For the party just have some fun and mix it up. Try using a tripod to get some establishing shots and then use some hand held shots and see how you can get them to mix together in post.

I hope you've started scanning those pictures already. That sounds like a great idea to use those pictures and if you can get them all scanned before the event then it will make the editing a lot more enjoyable.

Have a good time and enjoy :)

Ben Lynn
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