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-   -   Tips for solo shooters (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/spc-single-person-crew/501587-tips-solo-shooters.html)

Ian Dart October 31st, 2011 01:40 AM

Re: Tips for solo shooters
have to agree with vaughan (hi mate ..long time no see)

as a shooter and survivor of 400+ weddings over 10 years i never used more than 1 camera

i couldnt conceive of putting up extra cameras and sound gear....where would you find the time
to set it all up and take it down.
the more complicated you make it, the more chance something stuffs up.

if the client wanted two cameras they had to pay for an extra operator.


Peter Rush October 31st, 2011 04:48 AM

Re: Tips for solo shooters
some good tips here :)

I keep it simple - 1 camera apart from ceremony (second unmanned camera from the back capturing wide) and speeches (second unmanned camera shooting out from top table to get guest reactions)

Olympus digital recorder in groom's pocket and another on the lecturn for readings - a zoom near the action as a backup. Digital recorders and boundary mics secreted on top table - all works for me

Working alone suits me and keeps the price down for my clients - I have had awsome feedback and never a complaint


Ben Creighton October 31st, 2011 12:43 PM

Re: Tips for solo shooters
You guys are encouraging me to change my thinking somewhat. I have had visions of locking down 2 cameras, roaming with another, using the DSLR now and then for the appropriate 'glamour' shots, etc. etc. But I agree that most (if not all) brides would be unappreciative and unaware of all the extra effort to get various angles, cutaways, etc. They just want to see the basics, I guess. So, KISS is an attractive motto!
Are you guys also NOT using sliders or stabilizers then?

Don Bloom October 31st, 2011 02:51 PM

Re: Tips for solo shooters
It's been my experience that especially for the ceremony and especially if a solo shooter most brides at least in my area want solid, stable, well composed properly exposed footage. Not saying that if you have 2 or 3 or more cam operators that someone shouldn't try to get some creative angles and such but as a solo operator I don't want to leave my A camera alone to try to get that kind of footage at least not during the ceremony. I use 2 to 3 cameras and sometimes do have a 2nd shooter but even in that scenario I want solid stable footage and I can't get it if I'm all over the place not to mention in many of the Catholic churches I shoot in the preists' get a little upset with a lot of moving around. the photogs are doing enough of that and frankly if I'm set up center aisle 1/2 back I get everything I need since most of the action is centered on the altar. I can cover the readers and preist at the pulpit for the vows the couple faces each other so I get profiles and if I've got a camera up front manned or not I get them when they face forward before and after the vows. For the unity canlde I can still get a good shot by giving the B&G a little advance advice. Don't stand with your back to the guests cause they can't see either. Stand a little off to each side of the canlde table so they and I can see you and the lighting of the candle.
Otherwise it is what it is and when they view the DVD they (the B&G) are pretty much seeing it as the guests' saw it. It's worked for me for 28 years and about 2000 weddings (give or take a few) without any complaints so I'll just keep doing what I'm doing unless the situation changes.

Chris Harding October 31st, 2011 06:37 PM

Re: Tips for solo shooters
Listening to the voices of experience is probably not a bad way to go. Guys like Don, Vaughan and Ian between them have done many thousands of weddings!! It might look cool settting up 4 Canon 5D's all over the Church but sometimes it's better to stick with tried and true methods.

Ben?? I don't use a slider personally as my cams are really too heavy for that sort of setup but I do use a Stedicam BUT only at photoshoots ... it;s just too much work using it for other parts of the wedding..you get magic footage of things like bridal arrival, first dance and much more but it really does eat into your time schedule!!!


Ryan Wallis October 31st, 2011 06:54 PM

Re: Tips for solo shooters
This thread continues to be fascinating and very interesting for me as a new videographer. I have shot 2 or 3 weddings in the past for friends on a casual basis with a simple handycam. It went well and they were happy enought, although their expectations werent high. Audio was more of an issue than footage.

Anyway, I shot my first wedding in a long while last weekend with just my Canon XF100 and my GoPro as a simple locked off shot wherever I could and thought I needed it. I had 2 Zoom H1's, one with a laper mic and the other on a mini tripod. The results are great and I'm very happy. With 4 methods of audio recording the GoPro picked up the best during a windy outdoor ceremony...

I will be getting a 5d Mk2 when the mk3 comes out so I'd been considering getting a decent B cam but frankly after my results of last weekend and reading all this I might just spend the money on a better tripod and a stabilzer!

Chris Harding November 1st, 2011 12:43 AM

Re: Tips for solo shooters
Hey Ryan

Us old guys are pretty familiar with weddings and at most, things happen pretty fast and there is seldom any time to "fiddle" with settings. I personally don't use a DSLR simply becuase there is no time to set focus, set aperture and shutter and still get the shot. For ceremonies you would be better off using the XF 100 ..if you really want to get creative then get a DSLR for the photoshoot where you have time to peak your creative talent and get awesome shots ... that rarely happens at a ceremony and if you happen to get a soft focus issue you can't do a reshoot!!! That's why they call weddings "run 'n gun" !!

When things get really hectic and everthing is happening around you are once, at least I can snap my cam into full auto and concentrate on the content. For me I would use a DSLR as a Cam C so if you blow focus or exposure it's not a big deal and you can just keep the nice shots!! Ask Jeff Harper about losing focus during critical times and you will see why he still uses DSLR's (3 of them now) for extra cameras but always has his new Canon as the failsafe!!


Peter Rush November 1st, 2011 02:28 AM

Re: Tips for solo shooters
I'm interested to know how many of you have an unmanned camera at the front, capturing the B&G as they face the officiant and then man the main camera from the back (I'm assuming bang in the middle of the isle)

I tend to do it the other way - man the camera at the front and have a second running either centre isle - this gives me the option of getting shots of the conrgegation which i wouldn't get from being at the back


Don Bloom November 1st, 2011 05:20 AM

Re: Tips for solo shooters
I try to have a camera up front be it manned with a 2nd shooter or unmanned but it all depends on the venue and officiant. If in a church more than likely I can have a camera up front but not a cameraman so I concentrate on the B&G when setting the shot which of course is done pre-ceremony. Again, I also shoot like that camera doesn't exsist. Who knows what can happen.

Chris Harding November 1st, 2011 05:47 AM

Re: Tips for solo shooters
Hey Peter

We have trained our priests over here and all services have the couple facing each other so the guests and cameras never see the back of their heads...in the old days we had to shoot reverse angle from behind and to the side of the altar if we wanted to see faces at all!!! Nowdays my main camera is probably 3 rows back on the right side of the aisle and I get a clear shoot of the entire vows and rings as well as the readings!!

Funnily enough I'm doing a Ukrainian Catholic wedding this weekend and they still do it the old way!! The couple face the altar all the time so my main cam for once will be behind and to the right...an unmanned cam in the aisle would really be pointless with this kind of service!! I'm using a second shooter too as when the gospel/homily is read the priest stands up behind the altar at a lectern and faces the guests and, of course faces the couple too as their backs are still to the guests.


Peter Rush November 4th, 2011 02:35 AM

Re: Tips for solo shooters
In the uk (in churches anyway) the couple face the priest for a lot of the cermony and only face each other for the vows.

Filming from the front and having my unmanned cam at the back has worked for me for 3 years (and counting) now but...

...I'm interested to know how many solo shooter have an unmanned camera at the front and have their main camera at the back. In large churches the zoom on my Z1 will be at it's limit and I'm unsure of what reaction I might get (from the other members of the congreation and the priest) if i position myself halfway down the isle


Cole Prine February 27th, 2013 04:13 PM

Re: Tips for solo shooters
My method of shooting - I shoot all day long. From the bride getting her hair done to them leaving the reception. And I shoot everything but the ceremony with one camera. Well, two cameras but, I shoot DSLR so I just have two cameras with different lenses basically. During the ceremony, I have a second manned camera in the back. This camera is a traditional video style camera (Panasonic HMC-40 usually). I like the security of not starting and stopping and the auto features for a camera op that may not be very experienced. Also, having a long range zoom is a huge help. I'm usually up front with my DSLR (60D - and I can adjust it's settings just as fast as my traditional video cameras - maybe faster at this point). But I typically stay to one side and while I move around, I don't move much. I rarely ever cross the center aisle. I set everything up and tear everything down myself. I use to digital recorders with lavs on the preacher and groom and two boundary mics - like a zoom h4n to pick up other things. I never have issues with getting this set up or packed up in time. For me the real key is knowing exactly what I will use and what I want. Once you do a few and find out the things you aren't actually going to use, then you can save a lot of time by not shooting them. And you just have to accept the fact that there are going to probably be a few little things that you'll miss. But in my experience as long as you get the big things, you're ok. Once you get a few under your belt, you'll start to find your own rhythm and work flow. There are a lot of us that do this successfully and I'm sure we all do things differently. Just gotta find what makes sense for you and keeps your clients happy.

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