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

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Old July 14th, 2011, 07:18 AM   #16
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Re: Down the Aisle with DSLR?


Try using some sort of follow focus rig. Usually I have to shoot in dark churches so my lens's are wide open.
This is my workflow for anyone coming down the isle or reception entrances as well.

- use the magnification key and focus onto something towards the entrance
- mark it on the follow focus wheel
- do the same above for a mid point, center isle...
- then again for the end point...

This way all you have to do is focus to the marks on the wheel as the bride comes down the isle. I found that I'm usually not turning the focus wheel very much for the first 40 ft or so.... But once she's about 15 ft from my lens I have to speed the process up... Of course, this depends on the lens your using...

practice also, I usually have my wife walk down the hallway in our house a few times before every wedding... Just so I get back into judging walking speeds. Also I practice this again with my assistant a few times when I'm preparing for the reception entrances.
I mark a spot on the dance floor where I "ideally" want to stand so I can always go back to there and know that my focus will be set for the upcoming entrance.

Ohh yeah, And grab some b roll shots. Such as the groom looking down the isle waiting for his bride....

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Old July 19th, 2011, 08:17 AM   #17
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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Re: Down the Aisle with DSLR?

My technique is similar to Stephen's (3 points) but I've given up gettting one continuous shot of the bride coming down the aisle--at least until I become a dragon-master of focus-pulling. Instead, I pick three spots down the aisle, each with a flower or ribbon on the pew to serve as focus point. I focus on the furthest point, the bride walks through it....then I focus on the next point, the bride walks through it...then focus on the final point, usually the end of the aisle. Since I'm in a rush, I use the instant autofocus button. With this, I get three good shots. Actually, I find the effect of the bride walking from soft focus into crisp focus is really lovely.


Last edited by Keaton Clark; July 19th, 2011 at 08:24 AM. Reason: just read another's previous post, don't want to be redundant
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Old July 19th, 2011, 09:22 AM   #18
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Location: Chattanooga, TN
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Re: Down the Aisle with DSLR?

Thank you all for the wonderful pointers. Has anyone used the Rack Focus function in Magic Lantern for the down the aisle shot? I've never used that function at all - it seems like it would work too slowly, even if you did the three focus areas technique Keaton referred to.
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Old July 19th, 2011, 07:25 PM   #19
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
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Re: Down the Aisle with DSLR?

This is one of the more challenging portions to shoot with fast glass. I usually end up with a 70-200 2.8 on all but the shortest aisles. So 2.8 isn't too bad. As others have mentioned it's important to practice, and through my experience I've found the focus pull as the bride walks towards you isn't linear in accordance with her distance. The focus ring needs to be pulled faster as she gets closer.

Once you get the feel for it you'll nail it. I've been pretty proud of myself at how accurately I've been able to focus my processionals, however it wasn't always that way.

Another challenging situation is at the reception shooting with fast glass (ie 135 f2) for a best man who paces back and forth diagonally. That happened to me last week and it was quite a challenge following him with the focus ring for 5 minutes. I know it was 90% on and 10% slightly off but that's what cutaways of the couple and crowd are for.

Btw, that program Mark posted is pretty sweet. I didn't even know it existed. Thanks!
Glen Elliott
Cord 3 Films
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