Filming my friend's wedding--any advice?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Frisco, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
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    Utopia
    #1
    I will be filming my friend's wedding and the wedding party. This is my first time using a video camera. I have the camcorder now at have a few days to practice.

    Any tips are greatly appreciated!

    BTW: It's Sony DCR-TRV340

    Frisco
     
  2. realityisterror macrumors 65816

    realityisterror

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    Location:
    Snellville, GA
    #2
    The most important thing is to practice and be comfortable with the camera.

    However, two specific tips I have:
    1) Keep your battery charged :cool:
    2) Try and keep the camera running at all times. Don't worry about getting specific scenes, but record everything. When you edit it, you'll be glad you have so much to work with.

    reality
     
  3. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #3
    I'd say 'don't'. You won't enjoy the day so much and if they're expecting a semi-pro production, they're unlikely to get it unless you're a natural. Find out what they want - is it a record of the day from getting ready, through the actual ceremony, through them leaving? Or is it a more casual thing where you won't be expected to put the whole vow-taking in? Try to go to the wedding rehearsal so you can scout out the venue and figure out where the best places to stand will be. Remember that you can go back and take general outdoor/indoor shots later so don't worry about them when there's real action happening.

    Get to know how long the battery really does last and make sure you have a charged spare handy - and a spare tape. If it's at a function room, you might want to take the charger so if you run out early in the evening, you could charge for a couple of hours and get some later footage too.

    Learn how to use the spot white balance, spot focus and spot exposure on the camera - they can all make a real difference to how your footage turns out.

    Take some footage using different settings (and indoor/outdoor at different times) so you can see how it works. Then download the footage onto your Mac and actually have a look and see. That will give you a better idea of how bright/dark things really are to the camera as opposed to your eye.

    When filming, don't do the rookie zoom in and out a lot. If you think about documentaries/shows, they rarely zoom in and out and your handycam won't be as smooth as a pro's would. Zoom into what you want, let the camera focus and then hit record.

    Make sure you film a scene/object for a reasonable length of time so that you have enough footage on either end to add a transition/effect. Clips of less than about 10 seconds are going to be tough to use. Take an extra 5-10 seconds so you have a little to play with.

    Don't just film 'events' or 'people' and don't take everything full screen. Film a detail on the cake, film the flowers as a macro so you can show some things full screen when editing - remember you can't (with iMovie etc) crop film like you can pictures to get the point of interest.
     
  4. generationxwing macrumors 6502

    generationxwing

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2005
    Location:
    Calgary
    #4
    I'm going to agree with Applespider. Are you doing this just for yourself, or is the couple expecting a semi-pro video? If you've never used a video camera before, there is about an 80% chance that this will end in disaster and disapointment.

    Macs may be great for video editing, but they can't make a feast out of a pile of crap.
     
  5. Carl Spackler macrumors 6502

    Carl Spackler

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    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Outer Space
    #5
    My suggestion would be to make it simple. Put the camera on a tripod and use a power supply, not a battery for the ceremony. I'd recommend that you put the camera somewhere in front of the bride and groom so you can see their faces during the ceremony. Go for something like a 45 degree angle favoring the bride. Don't worry about the camera being in the way, no one is going to be looking at it. Plus, to get a decent shot, it'll have to be a fair distance away.

    For the party, just walk around ask people to say something or simply wish the newlyweds well. Be sure to get the important people first because you'll most likely be drinking, or so I assume. Footage of kids dancing, old ladies and all that crap makes nice filler that you can use in between interview segments.

    Most importantly, don't sweat it and have fun, it'll show in your work.

    Carl Spackler
     
  6. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

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    Oct 11, 2004
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    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #6
    Rent a second camera and tripod, set it up on AC power and point it at the altar to run continuously throughout, so if Camera #1 (or camera operator #1) messes up, you still have something.

    Indoor shots without additional lighting esp. at the reception and party, are going to be poor quality.

    Suggest to friends thay they hire someone.
     
  7. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #7
    If you're gonna do it, pack a tripod and the power adapter (with an extension cord or two). Get a mic for the cam and use it.

    Being your first time with a camcorder, though, I'd opt out if I were you. :) There is a lot to film that just can't be learned in a few days. The basic principles of framing and lighting are easy to learn but a full understanding takes time.
     
  8. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Location:
    Paddyland
    #8
    • Get a tripod for speeches and the like. I know (from pained elbow experience - I ended up balancing it on a glass on one of the tables at one point).
    • Get all the set pieces (walking up the aisle, cutting the cake, driving off in the car, etc). Find out what is being done and at what sort of times, so you can have the video set up. Nothing looks more amateurish than a recording starting half way through the first dance or of the bride and groom bowing after cutting the cake.
    • Be prepared to do some work.
    • Edit the damn thing as soon as you can. I still have the unedited tapes a friend took of my wedding 5 years ago. I'm finally getting around to it this summer, and what I'm doing is combining the wedding with the honeymoon in one video that should be about 40-50 minutes long (15-20 minutes of the honeymoon should be enough). I don't have great footage to work with though, so it might even be shorter.
    • Make sure it's no more than about 30-40 minutes long - everyone who watches it will be bored silly otherwise. You can give the couple the unedited footage on a dvd if they want to see everything, but keep the one for viewing shortish. That way they can move on to the photo album pretty quickly. Do take plenty of tape though. The more material you have the better.
    • Keep the wedding part to about 5-10 minutes and focus more time on the guests at the reception. When looking back in years to come the couple will be most interested in seeing what a good day it was, and remembering people who are no longer around. I got all the guests coming out of the church, greeting the newly married couple and it works well as then they can see everyone ("Oooh look, there's Aunty Mabel. She died six months after the wedding you know. You'd never know she was sick.... etc")
    • If the speeches witter on interminably, pick out the best soundbites and only include them. The exception to this is the brides father and if the bride herself chooses to speak. Include them in full.
    • It's a bit cheesy, but has become traditional in Ireland for the wedding video to have a couple of pics of the couple when they were children at the very start with some cheesy love song (think Celine Dion). It might go down well or might lose you a friend forever, so check out what they want.
    • Try and get some stills off someone - if inserted correctly, they can really add to the transitions between scenes serving as natural pauses in the video.
    • Don't bother buying them a present - the work you are about to do is present enough.
    • Batteries
    • Batteries
    • Batteries
    • Tapes
    • Tapes
    • Tapes
     
  9. MacRy macrumors 68040

    MacRy

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    Apr 2, 2004
    Location:
    England
    #9
    Don't take lots of footage of the brides cleavage and arse and forget about the groom or you will get a good hiding :)
     
  10. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

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    #10
    :D :D :D

    Turn the tape off if getting frisky with a bridesmaid in the toilets.
     
  11. Frisco thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Sep 24, 2002
    Location:
    Utopia
    #11
    Thanks for everyone's great advice! I really do appreciate it.

    Yes, if could opt of shooting it I would not. My friend knows I have no idea what I am doing so he can't expect much. I will do the best I can, and hopefully they will be happy with it. Maybe I shouldn't get too drunk, lol
    So many great tips you guys/gals gave that I will use.

    My other friend is really good at Final Cut so hopefully he'll edit it for me.

    My friend bought a battery for the camera, which lasts 600 minutes with the lcd viewfinder off. Are these remaining battery time indicators fairly accurate?

    Thanks again!

    Frisco
     
  12. Carl Spackler macrumors 6502

    Carl Spackler

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    Outer Space
    #12
    Generally, yes. Though, I found that old batteries can be tricky as they tend to show a full charge, fooling you into the belief that it's got plenty of juice, then, boom, it suddenly drops to nil. Just something to keep in mind.
     
  13. Frisco thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Sep 24, 2002
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    Utopia
    #13
    Okay thanks! I have been testing it over the past few days and it does seem to be accurate. I have yet to get the battery dead.

    Thanks for your input! And wish me luck :confused:
     
  14. TheAnswer macrumors 68030

    TheAnswer

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    Jan 25, 2002
    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    #14
    Is your friend the groom, then? If so, I'd opt out of it or at least suggest they get someone else to take additional footage at the same time. In wedding situations, I find it's the bride that is actually going to want to look at this video, so it's her expectations of quality that are going to matter, not his.

    Good luck!
     
  15. sigamy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2003
    Location:
    NJ USA
    #15
    If you do use an external mic, be very careful when you have the camera on AC power. You could end up with a ground loop and have a very loud hum recorded over all your audio.

    Use a tripod if you can. When hand-holding the camera do your best to keep it still, brace yourself against a wall or something. Keep your arm against your body to add stability.

    Don't go zoom happy. This is probably the #1 home video mistake.

    Being that you will edit this footage later, you should work to frame shots knowing that you can chop out the zoom or quick pan that you made.

    Make your pans/movements, slow and steady but not too slow.

    Definetly interview the guests during reception.

    Make sure you get the vows, the introduction of new couple, first dance, cutting the cake, and any of the other standard wedding stuff. Don't be hitting on that bridesmaid during the cake cutting, etc.

    Get some establishing shots. Get there 10 minutes early and get the front of the church, empty church, the reception hall, limos, flowers, centerpieces on the tables, etc. These are nice for cuts and transistions.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
  16. nutmac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #16
    I will keep the list short.
    1. Use the tripod.
    2. Do not move the camera while shooting. Don't get fancy. Keep it simple.
    3. Do not zoom in and out of the subject while shooting. Cut such transition later if you must.
    4. Get a zoom mic if possible.
     
  17. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #17
    I helped out with a videoing a friends wedding a few years ago and the best advise I can give is as follows:

    1) Take more film than you think you could ever use because we you edit you can cut film but not add anymore than you already have.

    2) Make sure you have spare batteries for the camera and a charger, ideally you want 1battery in use, 1 battery spare and 1 battery charging.

    3) Take as much footage as you can. The more the better.

    4) Use a tripod, seriously it make all the difference between crappy amature photography and good photography.

    5) Take and use some basic lighting because the night crack whore look isn't a good look for people.

    6) Use a mic.

    7) Don't do tricky zooms, a nice transion or pan is much better than trying to capture all the action. (no Wayne's World zooms, it's not good).

    8) Remember good composition (1/3 from the top/bottom and 1/3 from the sides) makes anything look good, and don't try to get too much action in the one frame, not good.

    9) Make sure before the wedding you ask the bride, groom and family what they want you to video, get a shot list because you can't build a house without a plan.

    10) Single brides maids are easy to score off and if you do don't tape it, each hole is a goal ;) :D :cool:
     
  18. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

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    Oct 12, 2005
    #18

    I nearly made that mistake :D
     
  19. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #19
    Yep - the most important thing is the 2nd camera on a tripod. You will need it when you edit it up, so don't try to save money on this one. Also, have a kind of watch that alerts you few minutes before the tape runs out on the 2nd camera :) You'd better keep it rolling at all times.
     
  20. kingkezz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    #20
    Don't do it at all. Zooms are tacky - Jared no like, baaaaaaad medicine.

    The stationary second camera is a good idea just for the crowd cutaways etc. And you can use it as filler if need be - time lapse etc

    Tripods are awkward when roving - I recomend a mono-pod for roving like interviews.

    If interviewing a good shotgun mic (or similar) is essential.

    And composition wise - just remember the rule of thirds....Good Luck!
     
  21. virus1 macrumors 65816

    virus1

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    Jun 24, 2004
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    LOST
    #21
    of course you have to zoom. you have to zoom in for the kiss, you have to zoom out for walking down the aisle. except for maybe a slow zoom in during the vows, you will cut all of those zooms out however.
     
  22. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #22
    My advice is don't do it. You're better off chasing brides maids and having fun. Friends that want friends to shoot wedding aren't very good friends. Better to have a professional do it. Trust me, I've been there done that. Perhaps you can hire a professional as a wedding present since they are too cheap to do it?

    No offense, but getting last minute lessons and tips on how to shoot a wedding from a bunch of strangers on this forum is borderline pathetic. You're expecting to read a few posts and then go do a good job? Seriously? You have no idea.
     
  23. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

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    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #23
    Don't screw up.
    I say that because a friend of mine's son is a PROFESSIONAL wedding photgrapher... years of GREAT service. A year or so ago he did a huge, expensive wedding, and wrote over images by accident. Not all of them, just enough to almost cause a freaking suicide. Talk about some seriously angry clients...
    Don't think it can't happen to you. Have back up plans, back up cameras, back up tapes, backup backups.
     
  24. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

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    Alabama
    #24
    LISTEN to the wise man! It's potentially a disaster, and you could lose friends over it.
     
  25. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #25
    That says why he shouldn't do the wedding! Amatuers don't own that kind of equipment and is why they shouldn't be trusted with lifetime memories.

    The ONLY two ways I could see it is if there is already a professional going to be there and he's just doing it for the fun. The other would be if the bride and groom are the type of people you might see on "Jerry Springer," where quality is not important to them and their marriage will last for only a couple of years anyway.

    If he does it, I hope he doesn't come back on here whining for sympathy if things go wrong.
     

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