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

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Old May 22nd, 2006, 09:38 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Southport - UK
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First wedding report

Hi all

I've posted this on a UK forum but as I've taken so much advice and inspiration from this forum I thought I'd post here also - an account of my first wedding done last week.

Where to start?

Firstly I doff my cap to all of the professionals who make a living from this. I'm absolutely shattered!

I haven't really seen the footage yet - in the process of capturing it at the moment.

Think of any and every possible error you can, and I think I made it.

Did I white balance properly? No - not really. Did I at least remember to white balance consistently wrong on both cameras? Nope.

Did I remember to switch of ND filter when going from outside to inside and did i remember to switch gain off when going from inside to outside? The answer to both of these questions is the same!

I got to the church early and got some cutaway shots and a 60 parking fine.

Then onto the brides house. Got some quite good shots of her preparation. Or I thought I had - then I noticed the word 'REC' was missing from the lcd panel. So then I got some quite good shots of her preparation!

Back to the church to get the guests arriving. Met the photographer - really top bloke - loads of friendly advice. Set up camera on balcony - set tripod up for main shooting. Got groom arriving (cutting it very fine). put his radio mic on (clipped it to tie). Back outside to get the bride arriving. Then while she was getting ready in the foyer I went up front and mounted camera on tripod...then the priest blocked my shot. Hastily rearranged and from there seemed to go OK. Wish I attended rehearsal though - then I'd have known the B&G were going to sit down during the ceremony.

Then everyone mingling outside. Back inside to collect kit. Got happy couple leaving church.

Off to reception - overtaking wedding car en-route to get them arriving. Missed the confetti throwing cos was concentrating too much on setting up for speeches, hiding mics in flowers, etc. Speeches went OK - one camera on speaker, other wide on top table and guests.

Then I managed to grab something to eat and have a break for a couple of hours.

Next set up for cake cutting and first dance. Got a line out from very helpful DJ. Light was getting worse but cranked up gain a bit more and thought "might just be able to get away with this" - then they dimmed the house lights - so no idea what I'm gonna get.

Then set up the camera with a light in a side room and invited guests to leave a message - that went down a storm!


So what have I learned?

I'm really relieved that my girlfriend came with me - she was brilliant at helping lug things around and even reframing shots on what was going to be the locked down camera.

Must attend rehearsal.

Have at least a mental checklist of everything you need to do for each shot.

Equipment wise the Z1E was fine. But because of it's natural holding position i found myself aiming it upwards a lot. Focussing in dark areas is almost impossible on the LCD screen. Sony seriously missed a trick by not allowing expanded focus when while recording. Stopping to use that function means any sync between 2 cameras is gone. While on the subject of focus - I do struggle a bit with the Z1E focussing mechanism - with a few degrees rotation you've gne from one metre to 100 metres. Coming from the world of still photography - it's a bit different.

No problems at all with Panasonic 83 minute Master Quality tapes. Radio mics worked no problem.

So that's the hard bit over isn't it? Apart from the editing!

Notwithstanding any of the above we both had a great day. This was a freebie and I'll definitely be doing another. Again thanx for all advice and I'll post a clip when I have something.


Ian Briscoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 22nd, 2006, 03:34 PM   #2
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Congrats on your first wedding!!! Have fun editing, and putting together a piece that they will love. Take Care
Monday Isa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 23rd, 2006, 01:29 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Hamden CT
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I too, am fairly new at weddings and I have made the same mistakes, but it does get easier and fun.

For focusing I zoom in and hit the push focus button. Rarely do I use the ring.

It all becomes instinct and then you have time to try out new shots and ideas.
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Old May 23rd, 2006, 02:25 AM   #4
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Southport - UK
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Yeah - I thought I understood the push auto focus button but I now know I didn't - I THOUGHT you pressed it once and it would autofocus and I got confused when the LCD showed a diferent distance setting every time I pressed it.

I now know that I must hold the button in until focus is achieved! D'oh!

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Old May 28th, 2006, 09:30 PM   #5
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Location: Richmond, VA
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Originally Posted by Ian Briscoe

Then I managed to grab something to eat and have a break for a couple of hours.


I need to figure this part into my weddings. Seriously, Ian congrats on your first wedding. They're a lot of fun.
What happens if I push the 'Red' button?
Steven Davis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 30th, 2006, 11:49 AM   #6
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congrats to you on your first gig. Each wedding has a little twist and turn but like everyone else said, they get easier and easier. Good luck with the edit!
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