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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old November 12th, 2013, 02:46 AM   #16
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: York, England
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Re: Sticks & Heads

Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hey Dave

I never do that! Our speeches are usually done from a lectern/podium so I set the main camera up in front of it about 20' away which more often than not puts me on the dance floor. I always make sure I'm in a clear spot and have an unrestricted view of the lectern. Also here during speeches people remain seated. I rare occasions they may be asked to stand by the MC for a bridal toast but normally guests relax and sit. I have one cam in front of the lectern locked onto the speaker giving their little talk and then I use the second camera for cutaways.

It sounds like in the UK you have to go to the back of the room and film over heads of people standing up?? If I'd have that situation I think I would be happier raising the entire tripod on a base (including me) as it's tough to run a camera that's 6' over you ...I'd rather raise myself and the camera 2' and keep the tripod at 4' ....I have a very neat aluminium painter's platform that I take to weddings (mainly for filming dancing) That raises me up (with the camera) high enough to shoot over the dancers so I can get a nice view so for standing speeches it would work well too!

How do to manage with the camera so elevated ..just framing and controls are tricky to see?

We rarely have a lectern for speeches, they are usually done from the top table (which is usually on the same level as anyone else) and yes, there's rarely room other than at the back. If you try to stand in the middle you only end up blocking the view of lots of people.

People are typicaly sat for the duration of the speeches, standing only for applause and/or toasts. For that we have an 8.5 foot tripod that still sees over their heads, but that's the wide unattended shot, and not all venues have room to accommodate it (though most do).

There would be no room to raise the entire tripod and us to, it's often a case of squeezing in between chairs as it is! I guess we all have different scenarios. I'd love to come watch weddings being filmed in different countries, it would certainly be fun to see all the differences in traditions.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 02:54 AM   #17
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Central Coast - NSW, Australia
Posts: 1,606
Re: Sticks & Heads

I tried the fancier tripods & monopod but thought they were very average - didn't like them at all. I now have a couple of benro and love em
Cheers - Paul M.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 03:23 AM   #18
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Location: Perth, Western Australia
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Re: Sticks & Heads

Hi Dave

I think I had just one wedding where people complained that my lights brolly was blocking their view otherwise I have no issue in blocking people even if they do speeches at the table. People just tend to move a little so they can see but I don't purposely block anyone's view.

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Old November 12th, 2013, 04:06 AM   #19
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Reading Berkshire UK
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Re: Sticks & Heads

Those Manfrotto 058B's look good because of the height they can reach.

But if you want better height potential you may be better off with heavy duty lightstands instead of tripods, so long as your cams are not too heavy.

I have three Cheetah C12 stands among my arsenal:

They all have Manfrotto 701 heads on them though I may swap out to a 503 for a heavy combo. They are man enough to fight off inattentive guests :- ) They are also much less intrusive than full-on tripods. They are easy to carry with tripod straps. You can shoulder several at the same time like rifles. I have the air-cushioned versions which I'm not sure if Cheetah do any more.

If you cams have stabilisation then you will be able to load lightstands with far greater weight and still get steady takes.

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Old November 12th, 2013, 06:55 AM   #20
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Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
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Re: Sticks & Heads

There is no point using a video head if you are not actually going to operate the camera. It's simpler, smaller, cheaper & more straightforward to use a locking ball head for static cameras particularly on top of a lighting stand.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 09:18 AM   #21
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Re: Sticks & Heads

Well I disagree. No surprise there :- )

A ball and socket head is a very poor choice partly because of the time it takes to level it, especially if reacting to unforeseen circumstances. A video head will be much more immediate; chances are one movement and you're done. Repeat that over several cams at the setting up stage and the advantage is significant. A video head will also enable you to swap between equipment of different weights in seconds and standardize your choice of plate. I don't find spirit levels in tripods all that accurate and using a three way spirit level in a hotshoe or suchlike all takes valuable time.

The one big advantage a ball has is leveling is easier on uneven ground. A lesser one would be its less intrusive than a video head if your equipment is in shots from other cams.

This ball head from Speedgraphic - the FLM CB18 is incredibly strong for its size. I have loads of then even though they are 10x the price of some ebay stuff:

FLM CB18 Ball Head - Ball Socket

A better alternative to the ball head if you don't want to go to video heads is the Manfrotto Quick Release 234RC head which was meant for monopods:

Monopod Quick Release Head 234RC - Tilt Heads | Manfrotto

When its on a lightstand you don't get wonky horizons because it only tilts. You can pan by leaving one stage of the lightstand unlocked to swivel around its centre.

Sometimes the arm on video heads can come in useful for attaching some other lightweight accessory such as an audio recorder which can then swivel in the same direction as the cam should you wish to reframe for something impromptu.

Back to the original question, sometimes you don't need a tall tripod when something much shorter sitting on a pew or suchlike may do a better job. I have one of these Calumet Back Light Stands:

Calumet Backlight Stand

Its meant for heavy studio lights so its surprisingly sturdy. Its big advantages are its very small footprint, the ability to place each of the three feet at uneven angles, and the very low profile of the feet enabling them to be slipped underneath low furniture. If you use the shaft you can use its 1/4 x20 on one end or the 3/8 on the other.

In reality who is not going to recompose and reframe all the cams in the ceremony with the possible exception of a GoPro on a balcony, if movement between cams is allowed or practical or desirable? The manfrotto head I linked to is particularly useful when setting up a GoPro quickly. I no longer bother using the phone app for that.

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