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

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Old December 30th, 2013, 04:54 AM   #16
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Re: Another moment ruined

then when she's at the front scoot down a side isle and take up position for the rest of the ceremony - At yesterday's wedding however there was no side way for me to get into position - I'd have needed to go down the isle myself - not appropriate!

You can make that manoeuvre whilst everyone is standing up belting out the 1st hymn without you causing a distraction. I've done that loads of times. Tell the bride that is what you need to do if you think it needs mentioning for a specific wedding. The only thing to watch out for is that if she is wearing a large dress it can be tricky to pick your way around it in a narrow space - though typically you would be swinging around the groom so as to be on his side of the front to capture her face.

You can do a similar thing in civil venues at the point where the registrar asks the guests to be seated, or when she asks them to stand for the vows. Explain this to the registrar beforehand if needs be and ask them to build you in a little wiggle room; most are happy to oblige.

All this means that whilst you are at the back at the start you can get the bridal party faces as they sweep in. Then as soon as they have passed you get that cam pointing forwards - which if you had tried to do earlier may have blocked the aisle. And you can get the composition just right before decamping to the front. You could of course have your rear cam offset to one side throughout so that it does not obstruct the aisle. But then you risk having a bunch of backs of heads in the foreground whenever the guests are standing unless your cam is quite high; and if its high it may need to be too high and look unnatural, and will be susceptible to greater vibration.

When I first looked at the opening screen grab I thought it was the type of church in which you cannot man a cam at the front to capture anything other than the couples backs of heads. And as a photographer if a videographer had said to me to keep clear of the only aisle because he wants a big establishing clip lasting several crucial minutes I might have replied "thanks for sharing that technical explanation with me , now go f%$ yourself" :- )

In your instance the photographer was probably trying to get the grooms first look and felt he had to go nearer to avoid risking all those wedding party heads bobbing in the way. He was no doubt also aware that you had several cams rolling so in his subconscious he wouldn't have necessarily thought of his position as a problem. Again he would probably have experienced many videographers setting up multiple machine gun nests of cams and expecting everyone to stay miles out of their sweep at all times.

As Chris says there is a solution staring you in the face and that is to take on the stills and the video work. Its not easy but its not overly difficult either. Of course some scenarios are harder than others - like separate getting ready, ceremony, and reception venues complete with late brides parking issues and speeches at the start of the wedding breakfast. But you will find ways to make it work. I could write a book on it but then I'd be revising it all the while; just try it, not necessarily even with the clients knowledge, and you'll soon find your own ways.

You may also find - as I have done - that celebrants often are much more respectful of you and cut you slack where otherwise they might not.

Last Saturdays wedding was a case in point. The church layout was very similar to your own except there was no chance of taking up any position abreast of or to the front of the couple.

The vicar said to me in my capacity as photographer "you may take photos of the bride entering, a few shots with the register, and shots of the couple exiting at the end of the ceremony". Then i mentioned video and he replied "we have a blanket ban on video in the church". All this was of course a million miles from what the couple had understood the rules to be.

Anyway after we chatted a bit I was able to use FIVE video cams (two small ones at the front attached to fittings using friction arms and totally inaccessible during the ceremony, two on lightstands left and right part way down the main area and with limited accessibility during the ceremony, and one at the back on a tripod with full accessibility). Oh and audio recorders sprinkled to taste.

Additionally he had planned at the rehearsal that all the bridesmaids - all seven - would remain the the centre aisle standing throughout the ceremony and that the three groomsmen and two dads would stand abreast of the couple. He agreed that instead he would have them all seated at an early stage to avoid them blocking all the cams.

I did virtually all the stills coverage from the back as it simply wasn't practical to shoot anywhere else; what very limited accessibility there was at the front was blocked on one side by a Christmas tree and on the other side by a large nativity display.

The two locked off unattended cams at the front got loads of gorgeous footage which simply wasn't otherwise feasible as there were no positions suitable for manned shooting.

It really was a case of the video being a far superior product to the stills because of the physical characteristics of the church and was always going to be so regardless of the house rules.

It may have been possible to shoot using unattended stills cams at the front but that is fraught with issues whereas its perfectly straightforward with video cams.

After the ceremony the vicar appeared to be a convert - he complimented me on how unintrusive and professional the coverage had been :- )

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Old December 30th, 2013, 06:40 AM   #17
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Re: Another moment ruined

Unobtrussive coverage does seem to get kudos from pastors a fair amount.

I was considering making a change to how we cover the processional to something like this: 1 shooter takes an aisle seat near the middle of the church, maybe a little back. This allows to get the bride and groom's faces each during the processional.

Once the bride/parent have passed, step into the aisle and crouch to get, literally, a solid 5 second shot from low with a nice fisheye lens to get a grand looking 'take-it-all-in' shot of the entire front of the church with the bride and groom in it.
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Old December 30th, 2013, 07:53 AM   #18
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Re: Another moment ruined

This is a perfect example of why so many churches have rules regarding photography and videography so the service isn't disrupted ( and they do very much consider it a religious service, and want it dignified). Following the bride down the aisle is definitely not allowed. Very selfish behavior.

OTOH, even strict churches will usually work with you once they know that you know how to conduct yourself in church.
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Old December 30th, 2013, 08:57 AM   #19
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Re: Another moment ruined

Most of our Churches here will NOT allow anyone except the bridal party in the aisle when she is coming in or going out and that is really how it should be.

I just tuck into a pew and film from there ..also most Churches tend to leave the door open so if you are square in the aisle you shoot straight into the light so that is probably why the bride is followed in rather than walking towards you!

You can still get pretty nice shots from the pew and it doesn't spoil the bridal entry either

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Old December 31st, 2013, 07:25 AM   #20
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Re: Another moment ruined

I've come into this late and thought I would add my view. I usually work solo even for my video and photo joint package, although my wife will often also come along on the joint package if she isn't filming another wedding.

I always use small video cams for speed and lightness, with a double camera mount on the main tripod for two different views of the scene. I also carry an extra camera and tripod plus mini tripod, so that I can get a view from the opposite side if space and circumstances permit it. Space is usually at a premium at most UK venues for the ceremony, and in civil services it is usually the video one side with the photographer on the other. I also have a go pro which I will put fairly high up near the entrance to get the couple coming in and out.

I never worry about getting the photographer in the shot, as he is as much a part of the traditional wedding as the flowers and the outfits. In fact I will often deliberately include the photographer going about his work, bearing in mind that I do full length Doc style.

Like Chris and Peter, I much prefer doing both photos and videos as I am in complete control. As has been mentioned earlier, it is only really during the ceremony that things are hectic although I always dash from the door to the head of the aisle after getting the bride's arrival shots. I then capture the whole processional with a view of their faces. I have a DSLR around my neck and get telephoto shots with this, although usually during the ceremony in a UK church most vicars don't want flash or even shutter sounds near the couple. I also use a Lumix FZ200 for both silent stills and video, usually on the main double tripod with one of the video cams. I also frequently lift stills from the HD video if I think that the content is worth the quality drop. I present those in a separate folder so that they know what they are getting and surprisingly, they have proved very popular.

Again doing both, during the group poses, I will leave the video camera slightly to one side, usually leaving it running while I concentrate on the still pics, but altering the framing according to group sizes. Obviously a lot of that video is cut at the editing stage. I take very few stills during the speeches and first dance, as I think the video is more important at those stages.

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