Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Specialty Topics › Wedding and Event Video › First Wedding, Where to put the static cams
February 28, 2012 at 5:32 PM #47490
I am shooting my first wedding this weekend and am wondering where would be the best place to position my static cams. I am going to be using four to five
cams. I know I’m going to use one from the choir loft and one on a tripod dolly
to follow the bride down the aisle. I’d like to setup at least two cams on the
bride and groom. Would setting them up in front of them (up on the alter
somewhere) shooting across each other’s shoulders be a good shot? I want to
shoot the ceremony in way that allows me to make different versions so as to
setup package pricing and use this footage as an example. One cam price, two
February 28, 2012 at 9:37 PM #195679
5 cameras? Nothing like diving right in! Don’t forget you will need the space to run all these cameras – a SAFE place as it seems like they will be mostly unmanned? I would use the choir loft, one wide shot facing the “audience” for starts. Altar cameras are a touchy subject. I have used them a few times, but many churches – especially catholic – are very picky about placing cameras anywhere near the altar. If that approval gets passed, then you have to run it by your bride and groom – they are not always easy to hide and may add distraction. If you get it to work though, sometimes the footage is great! Make sure you get a mock setup of where everyone will be standing before you just let that camera roll though.
I usually run with 4 cameras (well 3.5) – 2 static (balcony or back, and audience) then a manned/static camera on a tripod usually on the right side aisle as to be able to favor the Bride (she is most important! ) or left side of it is a catholic wedding and they will be seated up front. My last camera is a small DSLR that I can run with mobility and use a fig rig – for capturing bride entrance, exit and anything else you need a quick shot with.
February 28, 2012 at 9:41 PM #195680
Also don’t get so carried away on video that you neglect audio. I love my Zoom H2s. Definitely place one at the pulpit. I know of others here who will use H2s with a lavalier mic and plant it on the officiator. Personally I just plant a wireless on the Groom and never have an issue with capturing everything that needs to be captured with it.
February 28, 2012 at 11:03 PM #195681
Joshua, you didn’t mention if you are going to the rehearsal. If this fits into your schedule, I would strongly suggest going. While there introduce yourself as the videographer to the minister. At this point respectfully ask him/her where locations are allowed to used for you to operate your videocamera. You might even get some good suggestions for locations. Let it be known that you want to set up static cams and where would be an acceptable location for them, and that you won’t be running back and forth to them in front of the audience during the ceremony (you will start shooting before the processionals and retreive them after the end of the service). A few times I have been allowed to set up a static shot in a doorway leading to the sanctuary area which gave a great view to the happy couple who were facing away from the audience for part of the ceremony. I kept the tripod/cam far enough back in the doorway that it really wasn’t seen from the audience. If you attend the rehearsal and bring one tripod and cam, you can move it around and see the perspective that it will have from various postions and you should get a good idea where the wedding party plus B&G should be during the actual ceremony. You might be able to catch some b-roll for editing the cermony or for a highlight video. Get there as early as possible it will probably only last 30-45 minutes. Good luck be prepared to adapt on the fly. Keep shooting.
February 29, 2012 at 8:07 AM #195682cfxcorpParticipant
For less conspicuous placement, the consumer camcorders are handy to mount in locations that capture the candle-lighting or communion from the platform (facing the congregation. I have actually mounted a camera upside down inside a gazebo (outdoor wedding) to capture this few minutes of footage. I flipped the video in post and it gave a neat view of otherwise typical footage from the other side. If you do something like this, a long-life battery and a remote control are very handy (use AC adapter if possible so camera stays on). Take cable zip ties (and cutters), colors of electrical tape (or gaffers), extension cords, surge strips, etc. Inexpensive tripods (ya know the ones that don’t really have a fluid head on them) are great for fixed position cameras, and those little gorilla-grip tripods are handy.
I am a network administrator so backup and redundancy are always at the forefront of my planning. 5 cameras are great, just don’t ever promise a shot, always “do your best” to get the shot because strange things can always happen to make you miss “the shot”. If the cameras are there you have a greater chance of success and you don’t have to scramble so much which I hate – very distracting to the guests.
Vid-e-o-man makes a great point about being at the rehearsal. The PHOTOGRAPHER will be there — introduce yourself to him/her. These folks are gods and believe they can be anywhere they need to be to get “their shots”. They have interfered with so much of my footage that I could scream. But, if you let them know what you are planning, you can usually come to an understanding of what is also important to you (and your client).
I have actually provided footage of the photographer working the ceremony and reception (for their promotional use) in exchange for some still shots to enhance my work. If you are new, follow the photographer around during the pre-ceremony time and video what he is photographing. Bride prepping, groom prepping, family chatting in the foyer, guests arriving, bride/groom opening exchanged gifts, etc.
And, don’t forget the sound technician and DJ. The sound technician can often record a digital copy of the mic-ed service, soloists, etc. The DJ usually does the announcements and activites at the reception, so why not ask for a direct tap into his line out with a Zoom recorder set to autogain? They are usually cooperative if you list them in your credits or provide footage of them doing their “thing”.
February 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM #195683
I attend rehearsals of about 70% of my weddings and have never seen a photographer during that time. They must not like to work around here.
February 29, 2012 at 3:58 PM #195684
Joshua, as cfxcorp suggested introduce yourself to the photographer, ask them where they are shooting from and hopefully you can come to a compromise, a little bit of honey etc. Sometimes there will be multiple photographers, usually one main and assistants, I have had assistants following me as I shoot. Along with double I haven’t run into them at the rehearsal but most times they are very early to the ceremony to get prep shots. They probably won’t mind you tagging along, ask nicely. Most photographers realize that you are both there to produce something for the B&G and they don’t want to be the reason for a missed shot. In my experience, the toughest shot is to catch the bride head-on coming down the aisle, the photgrapher is a little bit of a problem but I have found that spectators leaning into the aisle (looking, taking picutres and video) present a real challenge (they are usually standing at this point). You can usually get the bridesmaids etc. because the spectators aren’t standing yet and you don’t need to be directly in the aisle. I step in as the bride begins ‘the march’ but I have my escape route planned as she arrives to the front. Having multiple cams set up helps to give alternate views to shift into in case your main shot is blocked. I try to have full batteries and empty storage before the beginning of the ceremony so I can manually start each cam and not rely on remotes working to start rolling video. Hope this helps. Good luck, do your prep but relax and take what comes and enjoy the ride.
February 29, 2012 at 6:32 PM #195685HarlinParticipant
“one on a tripod dolly to follow the bride down the aisle” I have never seen this one pulled off..most isles have barely enough room for the bride and her escort much less a dolly. Be prepared to hand hold the isle cam. I always get there early and claim a seat..(camera bags, jacket etc.) about halfway down the isle on the left side as entering (bride side) and then film as they enter until they pass. Then the escort will lift her veil and or give her a kiss. Then you can claim your spot and mount the cam. switch to alter cam while relocating. good luck
February 29, 2012 at 11:39 PM #195686faqvideoParticipant
I suggest forget 5 cameras, focus on your main camera. You can put one aerial wide one in the loft, but I’d stop there.
As for backtracking in front of the bride, I suggest handheld, orsteady-camif you have one. You want be able to run backwards pulling dolly behind and effectively controlling the shot.http://www.faqvideo.com/bride-aisle.html
March 1, 2012 at 2:17 AM #195687cfxcorpParticipant
This forum has the making of a reality show! What would we call it? (Bride Wars is taken) How about “VOGs from Hell?”
Actually, it is great to read so much input without any derogatory language, arrogance nor spitefulness.. Most other forums (news and computer stuff in general) really turn me off with the lack of civility. I guess our good manners is why we are able to pull off the weddings and receptions, huh?
March 1, 2012 at 2:59 AM #195688
cfx, AMEN on the civility on these forums! I have used a tripod dolly with some success. I setup to the side of the aisle near the front with tripod on dolly set high enough to view over the audience for the bridesmaids. As the brides time approaches, I roll into position near the center of the aisle in front and catch the escort and bride. As they near the front I carefully retreat to the side again, sometimes with the groom in the background for reaction shot. For this to succeed a number of things must fall into place. There has to be enough room up front and the floor surface needs to be hard and smooth enough for the dolly to roll. If you attend the rehearsal, you should get a handle on this. The dolly/tripod set up will be your active cam and with the dolly you should be able to get in position for a number of the other shots. Good luck.
March 1, 2012 at 3:21 AM #195689
“VOGs from Hell” I think may be a series written by the photographers. Thankfully I usually hear compliments about how well I work with them, then I hear them complain about how bad many videographers are and interfere with their work. Then again most photographers are Divas.
March 1, 2012 at 5:31 AM #195690
Thanks for all the great info everyone. I am attending the rehearsal as well as meeting the groom at the church tomorrow to get some pic of the sanctuary to get a better idea of where to place the cams. Guess I failed to mention that I’m also in the wedding :/ I have an employee who will be running the chior loft cam but the rest will be static. Its at a presbyterian church. Not sure what the rules will be on cam placement but I should find out tomorrow. It’s going to be a very interesting day. I’m no photographer but I always have someone shooting a D5100 with a 70-200mm lens in order to get my own stills. Groom checked with the actual photographer and said it won’t be a problem. I figure I’ll flash sync all the camers and then set them before the ceremony. I am planning on using a wireless mic on the groom and the H2n i just got to capture music and background audio. I’ll be sure to share the final verson once completed since I gave them a marketing discount.
Thanks again for all the great tips and info.
March 1, 2012 at 6:20 PM #195691D0nParticipant
presbeterian…. make sure you watch for the groom shoes when they kneel…. every now and then some groomsman will write “Help me” on the souls of the shoes….. evrytime they think this has never been done before and someone will ask you if you got it..lol!
March 2, 2012 at 3:44 AM #195692
haha I will definitley do that.
March 6, 2012 at 2:39 AM #195693DanielParticipant
5 cams seems a little over the top. I hope yu are charging or plan to charge upwards of at least 7000$ for that type of production ( assuming high end product).
March 6, 2012 at 11:52 PM #195694
Shot it this weekend. WOW being in the wedding and shooting it with that many cams (eneded up only being four, the guy running the DSLR pretty much dropped the ball) is a huge pain in the butt. Got my exercise in though let me tell ya. With the cams I got right now for the extra shots I pretty much charge $1100.00 a cam. They turned out pretty good minus the fact the couple pretty much got married in the dark. I warned them about it and they said thats what they wanted so thats what they got. I plan on doing fade overs of the close up cams anyway so that will help with the light issue. I’ll post the demo I’m puttingn together once I’m finished with it.
March 7, 2012 at 1:15 PM #195695HarlinParticipant
Great! I know Its hard to get good help that wanna learna craft the right way..No light is always a downfall.
March 7, 2012 at 8:03 PM #195696videoguy33Participant
A lot of very good advice from the readers. I have shot weddings using four camcorders and the positioning is important to not detract from the ceremony. I have also experienced some unplanned problems. Weddings normally have a wedding planner who puts the whole event together. Occasionally the church has a wedding coordinator that controls the facility and sometimes the two conflict. Attending the rehearsal is a must to plan the layout of your equipment and note the room lighting. On the day of one wedding the coordinator decided to dim the church lights during the processional. This of course affected the video and bright lights panels are not appreciated. I usually place an unattended camcorder on a short tripod (18) in the back of the altar off to the right shoulder of the pastor. This gives me a clear shot of the bride and grooms faces. For one wedding the bridesmaids and groomsmen took positions to the left and right on the altar. Tape was placed on the carpet to mark the spots where they should stand. It worked great during the rehearsal and the camcorder position was perfect. However, one of the bridesmaids, the one closest to the pastor had hidden in her bouquet a small digital camera. During the ceremony she kept stepping off her spot shooting pictures of the bride and groom. This of course caused the loss of many precious expressions so important to the video. Fortunately, I had a camcorder stationed to one side in the front row capturing the backs of the bride and groom and the face of the pastor. With multi-cam editing I was able to eliminate the intrusions. But, just to get even I left one intrusion in the final edit with a sub-title PAPARAZZI. The bride and groom loved it. Audio is a whole new subject, but I usually place the wireless mike on the pastor rather than the groom. Grooms have a tendency to whisper things to the bride that they would not like others to hear.
March 15, 2012 at 3:10 PM #195697nort_ljMember
I would like to say that I have experienced nearly every circumstance listed, however Vid-e-o-man very much covered most of my situations. the only things that I might add are: for the low light B&G, I ell them that the soap opera dark weddings aren’t really done in the dark, and I mostly embrace the still divas as part of the wedding proceedings however I get really tired of trying to deal with all that damn clack-clack of the SLRs in my background soundtrack.
I also second the civility of the Videomaker forums, I have visited the Adobe users group (I use PP CS3) and have found them to be a snotty group in general.
March 26, 2012 at 11:38 PM #195698
I’m Still working on the Demo Vid of the wedding but got the feed back from the couple. I guess the bride teared up (happy tears) so I’m thinking they liked it. Once the Demo is done I’ll upload it.
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