Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Miscellaneous Techniques › wedding setup and what to charge › There is a bounty of infor
There is a bounty of information available regarding this, but I will try to give you a shortform version that hopefully addresses your questions.
You can certainly go wedding (and event) video production using one camera but it is a bit more of a challenge to do so. The addition of a second camera offers many options for additional angles or points of view (POV) and many, MANY of us in the field prefer to shoot with two cameras, using the second unit as a CYA unit. Personally, I prefer two cameras AND two operators, even though one works predominately using a sturdy tripod and working from the back to the side of the main aisle, or in the balcony, even a side balcony if one exists.
I ROVE, or run-and-gun, using a unique and sturdy monopod system. I also usually monitor wireless audio coming into my unit. Sometimes not. I am nearly always somewhere up front, to the groom’s side, to capture tight, intimate shots of the bride during the vows and whathaveyou.
I will often utilize a third camera (I presently work in standard definition using two Canon XL1 and one Canon GL2 cameras) for another unique perspective, even sometimes placing it against one of the front row pews on the floor set wide to get a unique angle on the processional including the bridal entry. I have also used it as a unique overhead unit, and even hidden it in the back area of the ceremony area to pick up a wide shot or exclusive CU (closeup shot) of the mothers lighting the unity candles, and the bride & groom lighting the main unity candle.
Matching cameras make it a bit easier to get some degree of matching imaging, color balance, but that isn’t always the case, even with matching cameras. You will often have to manually white balance each unit, or even do some additional color correction in post. It is amazing how similar the image looks when screening from one unit, but even the minor shift in color when switching back and forth that makes the color change VERY evident.
In 99 percent of the venues we use natural available light, or even candellight. In only ONE church in my career have I deemed it absolutely necessary to use auxiliary lighting for the ceremony. That church is virtually totally dark with only daytime light entering (barely) from one stained glass window to the front of the church and high, nearly to the ceiling. Even with 1,800 wats of lighting from stand units in the balcony the ability of the cameras we use was sorely tested. This venue is an old mission and pretty much everything at the altar is covered with gold, highly reflective, but not very illuminating. Those instances are pretty rare actually, and even candellight can give a nice, warm hue to the ceremony if you manually white balance according to the light the candles throw off. I have also used 10W aux lights strategically placed to throw some illumination onto the vows area, suspended in the gazebo or arch, or whereever available. If it is going to interfear in any way with the visuals I will avoid doing so, same with mics or auxiliary audio recording units.
Mic the groom, wireless or hardwired, and the bride whenever possible (one or the other is going to whisper if you don’t and you will NEVER know which one forgets to project) I use a wireless system, with white cable and head for the bride (I have even temporarily coated a black mic system with liquid paper – sure, it rubs off some during the vent, but mostly stays white, and rubbing it off is easy when I am ready to clean it up and use it again in another situation).
I shoot live audio to all cameras as well, except for the one receiving whatever wireless source I utilize. I have four Zoom H2 digital recorders which I place at the podium, on mic stands or whereever they are needed to pick up soloists, readers, roving ministers, dual speaker podiums, and sometimes even directed toward the “sweet spot” if any of the house sound system. Due to many situations of bad luck and damage to my cameras or mic circuitry, I will NEVER again trust anything from the house sound or auxiliary board. EVER!
They’re either going to use some lights, or candles for evening services and that will be sufficient for most of today’s venues. Figure out the ways you can adjust your cameras to compensate for more, or less, illumination and various light temperatures and sources, then be ready to adjust on the fly when you need to.
I use LOTS of 2- to 3-hour bricks, having gotten away from battery belts (too heavy after awhile) even though they actually last pretty much for the whole 6- to 8-hours or so of most wedding events – ceremony and reception. I use NRG varilights that I can dial down as needed without making a LOT of difference in the temperature color. I use 50W lamps with screens over the fronts to keep from blasting guests with blinding white light. Even so, there will be some reaction, but I’ve not run into any of OUR clients who have complained excessively about the “bothersome” lights. Some video producers shy away from using lights at all, but my personal opinion is that “video IS light, light IS video,” and I do not personally like the coloration or the darkness of shooting natural when the DJ invariably shuts down the lighting to show off the color bar, strobes or whatever other light show brought in. We rarely stay for the “party” dancing, shooting the main dances, and two or maybe three of the first party dances, then we get the heck out of dodge, unless there’s late traditional events that have been arranged for coverage.
Most receptions feature the intro, then toasts, sometimes first dance and subsequent father/daughter, mother/son and bridal party dances happen immediately after the introductions, or the first dance will be between the introduction and toasts, whatever. Always check with the attending activities coordinator or the DJ or entertainer(s) emcee, for the general plan.
Cake cutting, bouquet and garter will often occur after dinner and prior to the party dancing. If not, you’re going to be stuck for a long night. Try to find out as much about the event plans as you can from the bride, her mother and the coordinator or activities person. Believe me, you will be glad you have some kind of handle on it, even if every thing changes somewhat.
The market seems to want a “meat and potatoes” quality visuals and quality audio with a minimum of special effects or creative elements, for a production of anywhere from 40 minutes to one and one-half hours in length. Actually, less is more, if you do a GREAT job of shooting, getting good color, quality audio visuals, and editing it all together. Botches in angle, focus, sound, etc. can create some serious editing/production headaches, but usually, if you work two cameras, nothing you cannot overcome.
With that in mind, event (wedding) coverage that provides basically a documentary/journalistic style approach, (getting what happens the way it happens without creative enhancement – maybe SOME slow motion, or a fancy cuts-to-the-beat dance sequence) should be valued at $1,200 to $2,000, depending on your experience, abilities, equipment used and assistance needed. My package starts at $1,500 for basic, and goes up to $5K. We also offer a $1k service that is primarily a highlights production with natural audio for the vows and rings, everything else edited montage style and featuring the high points of the event – plus they get TOTALLY RAW DVDs of the footage shot – no kisses, no promises.
Hope this helps.