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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old July 6th, 2009, 01:33 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
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Memorial Service

I have the opportunity to produce a video of a Memorial Service for the associates of a public figure in my town. As he was an important person in many diverse communities, the potential viewership will be diverse. The service is a non-denominational one being held in a large auditorium, and the brief is to simply document the event as unobtrusively as possible. I would like to pay as much attention to the visible impact of the service as possible, and not be sashaying around getting shoulder-shots.
Does anyone have any hints for me, as the event is a little outside my usual scope- ie doccy, technical and occasional weddings?
Do I reserve the shoulder-shots for the end- possible get some words from special guests or do I ditch the shoulder-shots and do it all from a tripod in one or two locations? I will be using a single camera with no extra lighting except possibly a sungun.
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Old July 6th, 2009, 09:01 AM   #2
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Location: San Jose, California
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Having covered about a dozen memorials, my technique is to get some b-roll shots of guest arriving, greeting each other, signing the guest book or looking over photo albums (plus exterior and interior shots). Mic the podium, record the eulogy and in post, I intercut the eulogy with the b-roll (appropriate music background helps maintain continuity). The results are a short-form (depending on the number of eulogies) video that should hopefully convey a respectful tone, yet keep a visual energy that wouldn't normally be a part of pure documentary coverage. Keep a respectful distance, avoid being in the front and dress like a guest.
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