180 degree rule – editing weddings

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    • #49373

      Would you say that the 180 degree rule doesn’t apply to weddings? I feel that when editing a 2 or more camera wedding, this is impossible. Since the event is live and there is no way to know whats’ coming, the camera men have no way of planning their shots and they are all over the place. What do you guys think?

    • #202211

      Rules are made to be broken and there’s certainly moments of justification for this one but it is less confusing, unless for a planned effect, if camera action is somewhere on the same side of the line.

      The bride coming down the aisle for example: first she’s apparently going toward the altar, then cut to her “going away?” from it? On the other hand, when two operators are shooting the bride and groom dance, 180 goes out the door, right?

      I don’t always adhere though, even in weddings, but I have no problem, with two cameras and operators, working the same side of the line so I personally can’t recognize the problem being an unavoidable one … for good reason.

      But if it does occur, or happens too frequently, I’d take measures in post to not have an overabundance of shots where somebody’s headed one way, cutting to that same somebody going in the opposite direction. I’d use cutaways to prevent the 180 switcheroo from being too startling and jolting.

    • #202212

      Also you might be able to get away with a horizontal flip of the scene if they’re headed the “wrong” way. If there’s no text that ends up backward, or other giveaways like road signs, you can slip that in there once in a while to preserve the continuity.

    • #202213

       It’s something to be aware of, especially if you’re caught in the frantic final moments of setting up.  I usually like to scout out the site the day before.  While you may not be able to decide exactly where you want to set your cameras, you’ll know general regions.  A “B” roll roving camera shouldn’t matter too much as long as you take the aforementioned precautions.  

    • #202214

      During action sequences it’s like Earl said, ‘rules are made to be broken’. With ‘linear’ actions like weddings, there’s wiggle room but you have to know when. Breaking the 180 degree rule is jarring no matter when you use it. Often it is the mark of an amateur when it appears. You’re pretty much going to have to stick with the rule when establishing your sequences particularly for starting and stopping your ‘money shots’ (the entrance of the bride, etc.) However, the easiest way to bend the rule is to get into a montage quickly and smoothly as possible. Within the montage you’ll have the greatest leeway for breaking many of the editing don’t’s like pop-ins/outs and breaking the 180 rule. As always though, to keep the professional shine on your work, you’ll still have to do so carefully and with purpose or it will look like ‘Uncle Bob’ shot the dang thing!

      Personally, if I don’t have to break the 180 degree rule, I don’t. Anytime you do though, make sure it’s a creative choice and make it work!

    • #202215

      Great stuff from the moderators!

      I thought it might be worth adding that you aren’t breaking the 180 degree rule if you shoot, and include in your final edit, the change from one side of the line to the other. Easier to apply at the reception than at the ceremony.

    • #202216

      You don’t specify if you’re talking about the ceremony or the reception. They’re really two completely different animals.

      I’ve shot dozens of weddings andseldom (if ever)had to break the 180rule for a ceremony.

      First, I don’t think of the 180 line as going down the aisle or running across the wedding party. Rather, it usually runs from one corner of the church to the bride (after all, she’s the one you have to make happy so shoot from the groom side andfocustowards her.)

      I wish I could draw this out but imagine your standard wedding setup – if you’re in the back of the church you can shoot from either side of the aisle as they enter (although groom side is preferable,) have a stationary camera (or a second camera operator) on the groom side of the church shooting towards the bride, a reverse angle camera behind the groom pointing back towards the couple showing the front of the bride, a centered up wide shot from the balcony, etc. Just think of the bride’s side of the 180 as off limits.Shoot from the groom’s side or the rearof the churchand you’ll be fine.

      Weddings are surprisingly predictable. If you attend the rehearsal they’re even more so. As a result, I almost never use handheld during a ceremony so there’s little chance I’ll ‘accidentally’ break the 180. Tripods during a ceremony are really mandatory.

      I can managetwo-three video cameras by myself during a ceremony plus as many stationary cameras as I feel the service needs for cutaways.

      When working with a partner, I work two cameras from the back (a wide shot and a zoomed in close-up of the couple) while my partner mans one off to the groom’s side getting close-ups and audience cutaways.

      As for the reception, who cares? πŸ™‚ Shoot the action wherever you can get it from whatever angle you can. I seldom try to edit receptions as a sequence. I usually editthem into a musical montage with key events mixed in here and there in agenerally chronological order. People seem to really love it.

      As for the predictability of the reception – make friends with the wedding planner, still photographer and the DJ. They’llusually know what’s going to happen and when. Also, many weddings have a writtenagenda or rundown of events that will help you plan for what’s coming up next.

    • #202217
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      im not sure who made up the 180 rule but, as with all rules, feel free to discard and create. Those who follow rules are those uncomfy with freedom.

    • #202218

      I will usually tend to keep the main 2 cams on either one side or the other whichever lends best to get the aisle intro. If i have to become an outlaw I will! Another thing that helps to orient people are the white dress and (usually) black tux will tell the viewer which way the couple are heading.


    • #202219

      Weddingmaster, not to argue the 180 point, but regarding the B&G, dress and tux are not THAT obvious to all viewers. If two shooters were on each side of the entry or exit and cuts were used from both cameras, even the B&G could become a bit discombobulated.

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