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

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Old March 26th, 2005, 11:25 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Somerville, MA
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Shooting Certain Scenes?

I think there are many talented producers on this forum and thought I'd ask for some advice about shooting certain scenes. I have to admit not being sure of what is appropriate at times, so here goes.

Photo session - I often find this is the only time to get good shots of the B&G together. How do you work this out with the photographer? I've been moving in for my shots between their setups. And then backoff when they're setup.

First, last and parent dances - Do you get close (withing 10'), stay wide or circle? Do you tape the whole dance to keep the music intact? What works best for you?

I've been avoiding guest slow dances since I think it's being intrusive to tape at this time? Anybody else agree?

For guest dancing, I usually do hit and runs. But, I'll tape longer if poeple are really having fun and the music is hot. Anybody have a different philosophy?

Thanks for any advice.
Bob Harotunian is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 26th, 2005, 07:34 PM   #2
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PHOTO SESSION---Since I work with a lot of the same people time and time its really a matter of knowing what THEY do and what I need. I genrally have 2 or 3 set shots I do with the B/G BEFORE the still guy gets them (takes me about 2 minutes) then I'll cover the bridal party and immediate family shots and also get some candid footage of the bridal party and family sitting around the church while waiting. I use these shots in various ways.

AS for ALL dances, I start out a bit on the outside and move in slowly NO ZOOM I walk in the move around the couple or the father daughter or mother son. AS for the guests, you bet I get that. Fast slow it doesn't matter to me. I will absolutely walk onto the floor and by carefully watching where I'm going I get into the middle of the floor. For Jewish weddings when they do the Hora I get right in the thick of it. When the B/G get out of the chairs I get into one and they lift me up and spin me around so I can get that shot as well.

For those dances, First, mom son,father daughter I'll tape the entire song. For the others at least 2 minutes.
In post, I'll edit down to a short version but you can't edit what you don't have.

As for people getting mad about me getting into the dancing, NEVER and I've been doing wedding video for almost 22 years. Now years ago, I couldn't - the equipment really didn't allow it- thats why I don't do weddings with my FS cam-but over the last 8 or 9 years, with the smaller cams, I get right in there and frankly, people seem to have a lot of fun with it. They really become "hams".

Now having said ALL of that, please understand we all have a certain style AND it usually fits our personality. Mine is a bit more outgoing than some plus they are paying me to get fun and exciting stuff not to mention I like to have some fun also, so why not!

Sorry for the length of the answer but I HTH
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Old March 27th, 2005, 09:48 PM   #3
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Don i think weve been reading the same book.. lol

i too like to get into the thick of it.. and teh bride and groom seeing us be proactive are appreciateive of the fact that were working so hard

its not easy to grab ur balls and jump in.. but hell it sure is fun once ur in there. the impression it leaves is a memorable one and most of teh time other jobs stem from only what people see you do on th day, even without seein the end product. Its teh fact that your being proactive and in there that really stuns people as oppsed to tripoding tha cam and lettin it run which u go have a smoko..
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Old March 29th, 2005, 12:55 AM   #4
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Location: New York/New Jersey
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Hi Bob,
A good rule of thumb that I use is if the guest notices you, it's time to move. I move the camera away from the guest but stay on the dance floor with the camera off the shoulder, to the floor, to the hip, cradle it at an angle, and then composite the shots in post for the dancing. It is so much more interesting to watch. The way to spot an inexperienced shooter is if they stay wide for too long on a shot. If there is a nice mix of medium shots, close ups and long shots you know that the person has been shooting a while. The guests cannot tell how close you are, that's why they make the zoom lens. For all of the "special dances" shoot them in their entirety. You can shorten in post if you decide that it is necessary. Love and light.
Kathy Ritondo
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Old March 29th, 2005, 07:17 AM   #5
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Location: Somerville, MA
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Thanks all for your insights. I basically avoid indoor zooms and try to approach as close as possible to dancing without getting in the way. Kathy is so right about shot variety. I do the same thing when I get noticed, go somewhere else.

It's good to know that I'm on the same page with other videographers with regard to tactics.
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