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Jimmy

Wedding videography advice

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I have been filming weddings for 10 years. Ask yourself:

Am I beauty or am I documentary?

If you are beauty then go with full frame (doesn't matter by whom, get shallow DOF).

If you are doc, then get a c100.

Develop an instinct for schedule changes. eg. When everyone is going to the next room, and when. Even if on paper,, it always changes. Ask people where they are going and why.

Coordinate with the bride's best friend. Groom knows nothing and his friends are there to get wasted.

Develop a signal so your. B cam can. Go wide when u go telephoto eg. Ring on finger

Everything on slider, tripod or gimbal. Go hand held at your own peril.

Seek perfection.

Oh, and don't fuck up the dance by being embarrassed to light it.

 

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17 minutes ago, HelsinkiZim said:

I have been filming weddings for 10 years. Ask yourself:

Am I beauty or am I documentary?

If you are beauty then go with full frame (doesn't matter by whom, get shallow DOF).

If you are doc, then get a c100.

Develop an instinct for schedule changes. eg. When everyone is going to the next room, and when. Even if on paper,, it always changes. Ask people where they are going and why.

Coordinate with the bride's best friend. Groom knows nothing and his friends are there to get wasted.

Develop a signal so your. B cam can. Go wide when u go telephoto eg. Ring on finger

Everything on slider, tripod or gimbal. Go hand held at your own peril.

Seek perfection.

Oh, and don't fuck up the dance by being embarrassed to light it.

 

The bride's best friend is your best friend - so true. Built such a good rapport a couple of weddings back that she sought me out whenever they were to go slightly off script.

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My first ever wedding 2006-7?... excuse the crop...

 

in summary, canon wins every single time (this shoot was canon xl1 and until this year I never knew why it was viewed more than 4 000 times = canon )

Bounce around at your convenience,,,, but deliver canon equivalent. I am doc, but dof  is good too. Get an assistant.

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Here are screenshots from my latest wedding (just copied the window of quicktime, no colour or cropping etc...) - combination: full frame, doc style coverage (immense edit).. this is canon with my style I grew inside = unstoppable!

 

STRAIGHT FROM (CANON) CAMERA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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Good luck looking good, this easy, with any other camera.

 

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2 hours ago, HelsinkiZim said:

I have been filming weddings for 10 years. Ask yourself:

Am I beauty or am I documentary?

If you are beauty then go with full frame (doesn't matter by whom, get shallow DOF).

If you are doc, then get a c100.

Develop an instinct for schedule changes. eg. When everyone is going to the next room, and when. Even if on paper,, it always changes. Ask people where they are going and why.

Coordinate with the bride's best friend. Groom knows nothing and his friends are there to get wasted.

Develop a signal so your. B cam can. Go wide when u go telephoto eg. Ring on finger

Everything on slider, tripod or gimbal. Go hand held at your own peril.

Seek perfection.

Oh, and don't fuck up the dance by being embarrassed to light it.

 

Sorry to quote myself, but the biggest lesson I learn't is that the 'party' will seek out the photographer to let them know where to be and when. You have to be your own man/ woman and be where you are unexpected. If you can master this, then you provide unexpected value, which is the best kind...

I had to battle sony footage, but canon is deliverable as is.

 

 

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9 hours ago, HelsinkiZim said:

o, and remember... you are the invisible man. Let ur brother do the talking. Know ur shit.

My style is different. I talk to everybody, make compliments and jokes, smile. By this I indirectly ask everybody to look at me because my job is to portrait them in the best light. I casually reassure them, make them feel comfortable. They don't awkwardly avoid me (but forget my presence when it's appropriate), they smile directly into my lens. In other words: I direct them. 

I had this in me before, but I really improved this as a technique since I began my new job five years ago, nursing people with dementia. It's called validation. You approach the human being in question with the conviction that she is the most valuable person in the world, that he makes you radiantly smile, you let them mirror their best experiences. To achieve this, you first have to sense what makes them wary, shy or even hostile. There are quite reliable signals of body language. You charm away their unease just by your own positive reaction to that, by subconscious changes in your own eyes, posture and voice too subtle to feign. What I learned from this: you can manipulate others in a good sense and in a bad sense. People, no matter how blatantly they contradict the current concept of ideal beauty, like themselves on photos/videos when they are happy.

 

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Great, albeit slightly erratic, advice @HelsinkiZim ;-)  Which Canons do you use? How do you find them? Yes, it is difficult to get colours straight out of camera that good with anything else.

I think you can still do beauty with C100, no? But there is something special with the colour and DOF (and inherent softness) of the 5DMkII which lent itself to beauty.

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6 hours ago, Axel said:

My style is different. I talk to everybody, make compliments and jokes, smile. By this I indirectly ask everybody to look at me because my job is to portrait them in the best light. I casually reassure them, make them feel comfortable. They don't awkwardly avoid me (but forget my presence when it's appropriate), they smile directly into my lens. In other words: I direct them. 

I had this in me before, but I really improved this as a technique since I began my new job five years ago, nursing people with dementia. It's called validation. You approach the human being in question with the conviction that she is the most valuable person in the world, that he makes you radiantly smile, you let them mirror their best experiences. To achieve this, you first have to sense what makes them wary, shy or even hostile. There are quite reliable signals of body language. You charm away their unease just by your own positive reaction to that, by subconscious changes in your own eyes, posture and voice too subtle to feign. What I learned from this: you can manipulate others in a good sense and in a bad sense. People, no matter how blatantly they contradict the current concept of ideal beauty, like themselves on photos/videos when they are happy.

 

Alternatively, wait until they are a few pints to the wind. Go candid the rest of the time.

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1 hour ago, Jimbo said:

Great, albeit slightly erratic, advice @HelsinkiZim ;-)  Which Canons do you use? How do you find them? Yes, it is difficult to get colours straight out of camera that good with anything else.

I think you can still do beauty with C100, no? But there is something special with the colour and DOF (and inherent softness) of the 5DMkII which lent itself to beauty.

Sorry it was late, got back returning gear to the rental had the day off today...you can fill in the rest?

Anyways, this one was canon 5d 2, full disclosure I don't handle camera anymore for weddings and hire freelancers as I find shooting and then editing the wedding in a documentary style is just too taxing energy wise. Also you fall in love with your footage and this makes the edit longer because you are always trying to make your favourite shots work, when the don't, eg. White balance or focus was of etc.

I would say 2 5ds or 2 a7s's is all you would need for 'cinematic'*/beauty and also doc style. You just have to have a fidly audio solution for everything, but as I am snug at home when it's being shot it doesn't bother me. 

But if I was starting out, I'd go straight to the c100 and have a mark 1 or 2 as b cam to get the best of both worlds. Edit: slap a lav on the groom, a good shotgun on the c100 and a pocket audio recorder for the podiums (UK) or run into sound system (usa - usually)

35mm sensor size just simply does not generate the wow responses as much, and I have been sitting there watching their expressions. My opinion....

*Cinematic in weddings is an oxymoron, and a rather meaningless word.  But it is associated by the bride with full frame, shallow DOF, and orchestra music beds, as this is how wedding videographers sold the 5d look when it first came out and it stuck. 

7 hours ago, Axel said:

My style is different. I talk to everybody, make compliments and jokes, smile. By this I indirectly ask everybody to look at me because my job is to portrait them in the best light. I casually reassure them, make them feel comfortable. They don't awkwardly avoid me (but forget my presence when it's appropriate), they smile directly into my lens. In other words: I direct them. 

I had this in me before, but I really improved this as a technique since I began my new job five years ago, nursing people with dementia. It's called validation. You approach the human being in question with the conviction that she is the most valuable person in the world, that he makes you radiantly smile, you let them mirror their best experiences. To achieve this, you first have to sense what makes them wary, shy or even hostile. There are quite reliable signals of body language. You charm away their unease just by your own positive reaction to that, by subconscious changes in your own eyes, posture and voice too subtle to feign. What I learned from this: you can manipulate others in a good sense and in a bad sense. People, no matter how blatantly they contradict the current concept of ideal beauty, like themselves on photos/videos when they are happy.

 

If I could do this I would, but I am not that confident. Both styles work ok. I usually leave that pressure to make folks relax to the photographer and snipe shots off of his or her coattails. I usually include that banter in the cut and the photographer becomes one of the cast of characters. It adds to the realism.

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I will make a bold statement that may or may not be true -

I feel that currently product deliverables like wedding videos are about delivering something the client 'believes' they couldn't have done themselves. Even as far back as 2005 I had to fight to justify video as an addition to the photographs, because people didnt see the value. Once a client/ family firiend asked me to borrow my camera and I let him, to my peril in the edit suite, but he honest thought he could do a better job. At the time that may have been true, but the general consensus of the public is that video is easy and photography takes skill. This may be changing with the instagram generation, but probably to benefit as people realise their limits in creativity and skill.

But for weddings  I believe a full frame look instantly makes the viewers feel like it is something they couldnt do, because most people do not have full frame cameras at home. Again this might be changing, but it is still a differentiating factor for you as a professionl (on consumer video products).

I also feel that 'effort' effects go a long way. These are basically effects that still impress because most people know they take time to excecute, like a good timelapse or title/ shot sequence. I feel grading well is not so important.

Of course, you as the producer will know that a great number of skillful and creative decisions went into making the piece memorable, but most people wont know or give a sh**.

We, at the end of the day, are dancing monkeys.

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Photographers around my way (that I personally know) get £500 to £1000 for around 80 to 100 photos. They spend about 40 hours in Lightroom picking out and processing the best of 1500 shots or more.

I shot two weddings with one of them (who is a professional) and wasn't even wanted there unless I did it for free. Ended up with 45 minutes of footage, including highlight reels, which took around 30 hours each to edit.

People just aren't (in general) interested in video.

Both clients were over the moon with what I had produced (even my photos were better in some cases) but nobody thought to give me a penny. They just assume that I point the camera and upload straight to a DVD or something lol.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Davey said:

Alternatively, wait until they are a few pints to the wind. Go candid the rest of the time.

This is always my favourite. Wedding parties will apologize to me for drinking in the afternoon and I'm like no no, please do. Always makes better better. 

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The Sony rx100 series cameras, although limited in poor light, has advantages, handheld, discrete, not intimidating, lightweight, easy to put away in a hurry if doing something else with your hands.

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4 hours ago, Davey said:

Photographers around my way (that I personally know) get £500 to £1000 for around 80 to 100 photos. They spend about 40 hours in Lightroom picking out and processing the best of 1500 shots or more.

I shot two weddings with one of them (who is a professional) and wasn't even wanted there unless I did it for free. Ended up with 45 minutes of footage, including highlight reels, which took around 30 hours each to edit.

People just aren't (in general) interested in video.

Both clients were over the moon with what I had produced (even my photos were better in some cases) but nobody thought to give me a penny. They just assume that I point the camera and upload straight to a DVD or something lol.

 

 

shooting weddings is slave labour.

You simply have to have a passion for filmmaking and journalism to even come close to not feeling abused by transcoding, watching, editing and vfx'ing 20+ hours of footage for less than most people would happily spend on a tv monitor (which they will even take credit cards for, and pay monthly....).

best advice would be to find a new job and do it part-time...

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50 minutes ago, HelsinkiZim said:

shooting weddings is slave labour.

You simply have to have a passion for filmmaking and journalism to even come close to not feeling abused by transcoding, watching, editing and vfx'ing 20+ hours of footage for less than most people would happily spend on a tv monitor (which they will even take credit cards for, and pay monthly....).

best advice would be to find a new job and do it part-time...

I am actually already in paid employment (security guard) and definitely don't want to do weddings as any more than a sideline. I will pick and choose which weddings I do (friends and friends of friends) and not look to do it full time because it really does feel like slave labour. I am filming a friend's wedding in February and can't wait to do that one because I really want to bless the couple and will put my heart into it. 

Documentary work (again as a sideline) is something that I have tried my hand at and enjoyed immensely - filming, editing, writing, researching, narrating, interviewing. Though I can't see me making a living from it full time.

My ideal scenario would be working part time in a non demanding job and making up the money to a living wage using my camera (as you suggest). I am probably a few years away from that goal - I haven't even mastered colour and white balance on my Sony cameras after seven months, let alone scratched the surface of grading. 

Moving from a fixed lens bridge camera to what I have now (a7s and a7s2) has been a steep learning curve. I've spent far more time struggling with the technical side of things and mislaid the joy of actually filming in the process.

 

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1 hour ago, HelsinkiZim said:

shooting weddings is slave labour.

You simply have to have a passion for filmmaking and journalism to even come close to not feeling abused by transcoding, watching, editing and vfx'ing 20+ hours of footage for less than most people would happily spend on a tv monitor (which they will even take credit cards for, and pay monthly....).

best advice would be to find a new job and do it part-time...

I'm a general freelancer so in theory, I'm *supposed* to be doing all kinds of video work, but lately it's been practically full time weddings from June to Oct, just cause there's no damn time to do anything else once they pile up. I think it's ok if you can command the higher price points, but I definitely fucked up working for the rates I am. 

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@dbp

Quote

but I definitely fucked up working for the rates I am. 

I've assisted this year 2 weddings in Germany. For a wedding photography pro firm. Very clever guys, charging minimum 2.500 Euro /STILLS) per wedding (they have 5.000 EUR packages too). Till this year, they didn't work on wedding videography, but then from may on they started to offer videography services.

How they do it? Very simple: they hire a (in my opinion) very good, experienced camera man for 65 Euro per hour. He films totally about 6 hours = 390 Euro. Then he gets 150 Euro "gear tax", that is 150 Euro per day. So now we are at 540 Euro (+ 19% VAT in Germany) in total. Therefore he delivers the whole clips and sells the firm all rights to use it (without crediting!!)...

Then a freelancer who acts as cutter / colorist gets the clips. He works on them about 12 hours - for color grading editing, audio, etc. and delivers the end version of the film. He charges 47 Euro per hour of work. 47 x 12 = 564 Euro.

OK. in total, there are 540 + 564 = 1.104 Euro for filming, editing, etc. Their advertising / marketing / PR budget per wedding is round about 200 Euro. As clients don't have much clue of films, etc. and just wanting to get a nice film, there is not much talk on settings, sequences, etc. 

The company charges 3.900 Euro for the 5-minutes-wedding-film. A great business: 3.900 - 1.104 - 200 = 2.596 Euro. Sure, talking with clients, organizing, etc. takes time. BUT, this is a business. Payment is best for top marketers, not for the working jobs (film makers, etc.). The guys owning the firm know how to do business without ever buying or caring about any filming gear...They want to scale this in 2017, as they are pretty sure, there are people spending 5.000-10.000 Euro for a wedding video. They say: "It's not about pricing, it's all about marketing, positioning and promotion..."

 

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