I'm Filming my first wedding and need some advice

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by segasonic52000, Aug 5, 2013.

  1. segasonic52000 macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2013
    This weekend I am filming a wedding. I've been doing a lot of research on it. The first Wedding movie I actually did was a re-dub of my Aunt's wedding from VHS to DVD. Anyways, the rehearsal is Thursday and I still need some tips on what to do to make it great. Especially since its my first job outside of my AMV projects and Church series I do at the same church the wedding is at. Here's what I need to know:

    How much do I charge for my services especially where it's my first time most people say no more than $50-$100
    What are some good camera angles we have a balcony but the stairs we have that lead up to it is kinda dangerous I run up and down those stairs every Sunday to zoom in and out on Pastor.
    Instead of a tripod should I use a roller cart That way as they leave the building I can follow them out or maybe add wheels to the tripod.
    We have a sound system at the church should I be ready to record a dual audio.
    We have one wireless and one lapel who should get what?
    The camera I will be using is a Panasonic Tm90k with a polaroid pan head that can move up and down and left and right and has an auto pan. no zooming.
    Also I need to know more about Question 1 by at least Wednesday.

    Here are some Additional Details about this:

    first off I talked to her last night and yes she knows its my first one. So yes she knows I'm an amateur.

    Second of all, I am doing the rehearsals with them on Thursday night at the church so her family will see how I'm doing and see the quality on the TV screen I have in the back room so after that if they still want me okay.

    Also, I never like to be paid until I'm done making the DVDs and done with my work that way if somethings wrong then I don't get in trouble.

    Third I have been praised on how well of a job I did with the church series. I never have any problems.

    and I have been aware of the risks.

    Please give me some tips thank you have a good day
  2. daybreak macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    One can write a book of "DONT and DO" at weddings. You sound as if you know your basics. Just set up your tripod were they are going to say their marriage part. If it is a one man shoot hand held and you should be fine. Dont keep asking them if it is o.k. On thursday watch the movement they make and plan your camera moves out.
    The more you panic the worse it will get. They know it is your first time.
    As it is your first ask for payment when you have edited and work your cost out regards electric etc.
    Good Luck and you be fine.

    P.S. To much information will confuse you.:)
  3. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Who are most people? Will this cover your expenses and make the project worthwhile for you?

    This sounds like a recipe for shaky footage and disaster. Use a steady hand and if the moment is important and unrepeatable don't run the possibility of ruining it with a risky camera move.

    Yes, how would you normally get the audio?

    Think of it from the point of view of the viewer. Who would want to be heard on the film? Also consider that the bride and groom are unlikely to want to hold a microphone if that's what you are suggesting.

    What is auto pan and why are you not allowed to zoom?

    You're not selling yourself very well. Don't go in the with attitude that you are an amateur. Aim to make the best piece of work you can and promote yourself as a professional entity.

    Why would you get in trouble? I tend to do 50% upfront and 50% upon completion however, since your not being paid much it wouldn't really make a difference holding this off until the end.
    Then what is the issue?

    Focus on getting the important moments. Write down a shot list so you don't forget on the day.

    I assume you are editing as well so think about the different shots you would want to make sure that you can cut around umms and arrs and other parts of the ceremony that aren't as interesting.
  4. Chad3eleven macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    I would set up another camera down by the alter.. Ive done a couple weddings and we would put one down there to give us another angle to cut to (when we edited the ceremony) and we also hooked a shotgun mic to it for audio.. we also but a wireless lav on the groom and the reciever went to the closer camera.

    As for shots and what not, take a look at this:


    heres his main site:


    a friend from college does wedding photography and videography on the side, and has nailed down the process...

    Just take some notes on what he covered, ext. of church, shots of people walking in, groom getting ready, bride and bridesmaid.. etc..

    Granted he tackles these with a few friends with at least 10 years under their belts, but it helps!
  5. orph, Aug 6, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2013

    orph macrumors 65816


    Dec 12, 2005
    in the uk for photography your looking at
    some random kid £free-200 maybe ??
    newbe £400-600
    semi experienced £1000-2000
    experienced 2000- to past £10,000
    for one day + consultation, and rights to show the video in non-profit © maybe a nice DVD with menus too

    dont know about video,

    do know storage will be a big problem have lots of SD cards if thats what your camera takes + battery's :D
    dont know about where you live but you may need to get people to sign model forums

    liked the ambient shots in the video Chad3eleven

    ps i dont do it but i have friends who do weddings (im in the UK so dont know how it compares)

    have plant brakes for safe memory card swapping/dumping dont drink and have planed eating brake
  6. Lebthree macrumors newbie

    Oct 28, 2012
    I am an amateur and have videoed a couple of weddings for friends and family at no charge. My advice is to keep everything very simple especially if you are a one man show. The more complicated you make things the more difficult it will be for you to adapt to unanticipated events. Talk to the bride and her mom to see what is important to them. For example they may want video in the dressing room which may require you to get there even earlier. Talk to the minister/officiate to make sure he/she has no restrictions. If you did not go to the rehearsal get someone who did give you a run through.

    I would recommend that you get to the event early enough so you are familiar with the layout and can plan your movement to capture the event without disturbing the ceremony. Look out for all trip hazards. You may want to use an assistant as a model to test lighting and range. In my case, the minute the audience was seated and just before the minister and groom entered, someone lowered the lights. There went my exposure settings. So you make sure that you are familiar with any lighting issues. You also want to have time to organize your equipment and check your mics, batteries, etc. .

    The weddings I videoed all had professional still photographers covering the event. They were the pros, so I made sure to coordinate with them in advance to make sure I did not get in their way. This meant that I limited myself to the sides and rear of the event and gave the main middle aisle to the photographer. As a result, I did not attempt to follow the couple down the aisle. Using a DSLR, one of the most problematic issues I have is pulling focus which makes maintaining focus very difficult when there is movement by you or the subject. If you are using a dedicated video camera with a large depth of field this may be less of an issue and you may be able to move around a lot more and still get good focus shots. However, you still have the stability issue when you move with the camera while attempting to record. Therefore, I would restrict my movement unless you had assistants in fixed positions so that if you are moving and come up with a bad shot you still have something useable on the other cams. I would not attempt to use a cart or tripod with wheels unless you have practiced extensively with such a rig. Unless you want to turn the church into a movie studio with a dolly on a track, you are asking for a train wreck. You don’t want to end up on a youtube video taken buy a guest with their iphone showing you backing up and crashing your rig. I try to stay as invisible as possible as the event itself is the priority.

    The videos I did captured the entire event as opposed to those which are just edited high points. This means you have no room for error if you lose sound or video for even a few seconds. In your particular situation, it sounds as if you have a balcony. My suggestion is to borrow or rent a second high def video camera to put on a tripod in the balcony with a fixed wide view which will capture the entire wedding party and is set to the proper focus and if you can match the white balance to your other cameras all the better. Then have someone tip you a minute or two before the proceeding starts and run up and turn on the balcony camera and let it run on its own if you have no assistant. This will be your fail safe. In my case I am using a DSLR to film the close ups and other ground level views and the DSLR has a limited record time before it cuts off and has to restart. Therefore, I have the balcony cam in case of any breaks in filming.

    I usually set up the DSLR camera I am manually operating on the groom’s side, which is almost always on the right side of the room as you are facing the alter. I have a high tripod set up on this side several rows back near the side aisle. This gives me a better angle on the bride’s face and the bride’s maids. You can bet the bride will care a lot more about how she looks in the video than the groom. If your side tripod is up high enough you will see over those sitting in front of you. Going to the rehearsal will really help you in determining where to place yourself with your main camera. It will also help you in setting up your balcony camera as you will be able to see how far to the sides the bridal party will extend so that you can have your balcony camera have a tighter view, but not too tight as to cut off some in the party.

    I like to also have a backup for my sound with one separate audio recorder, a good external microphone on my camera and other cameras internal mic’s just need to pick up enough sound to make it easier to synch the different video sources.

    Another suggestion is to do a google search for wedding videos containing the search terms for wedding, video and the name of the church or venue in which the wedding is taking place. If you find some videos in this same venue it may give you some ideas of what you like and don’t like.

    I hope it works out well for you.
  7. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002

    Am I reading that right?
    $50 to $100 for a wedding videographer?
  8. Chad3eleven macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    As for price I would keep it low, as you are starting out.. But be sure to at least cover expenses.. tapes, batteries, gas etc..

    When I did a few weddings we created some packages to choose from (there were just 2 of us)

    it ranged from 800 - 1600.. keep in mind I was a graduate of a 4 year program, and 4 yrs in with my career as an editor/animator/videographer, and my friend was 5 yrs older and had a dozen weddings under his belt.

    Honestly, after you do a few ones for cheap you may find that its alot of work and may not want to pursue it.. thats the route I took. Besides I love my weekends!

    Other people are correct.. try and make it simple so you dont spread yourself too thin and miss something.. Establish what is important to the BRIDE... and go from there. Get to the church and reception hall a day or 2 prior to check things out, locating a spot to charge batteries and load in/store your gear.
  9. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    I will honestly tell you now that if you start low you will have a hard time doing another one.
    If you like this kind of work fine, but if you aspire to be at a higher level, you will regret that $50 - $100 price range.
    Make it $500 and call it a day.
    I dont do wedding videos and when asked I just throw $5k and up so they can go away never asking again.
    If they are willing to pay then you treat it like a $5k and up project.
    Add another body or two cause weddings are much bigger events than say a presentation. Think of it as a live concert.
    Again thats my two cents.
  10. Chad3eleven macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    I partially agree with Mbox.. but you have to start somewhere.

    50-100 is a bit low. but I have a friend who is a fantastic photographer (and editor, videographer) and when he started his photography side business he charged nothing.. yes $0.. weddings, senior photos, engagement photos, etc.. for a year.

    After a year of building his cliental, reputation and more importantly portfolio, his weddings now start at $2k.. and thats just for him. Him and his friend is $3k..

    Let her know whatever price you quoted is for her, and its loq because youre starting out. Word of mouth can be your friend and enemy..
  11. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    I do agree that you have to start somewhere.
    Ive done free and quarter the cost for people.
    But be realistic if you plan on doing this a living.
    You can always say that your rate should be $500 but charge her whatever you feel is right.
    But again establish your costs.
    I see people out there that charge for less but its due to what talent they bring.
    Now its not just about the gear its what you can do with what you have.
    But as you get into this deeper, that gear will have to be compensated.
  12. lyonj69 macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2013
    Los Angeles, California
    Weddings are a total nightmare, you need to do a lot of homework even before you think about the camera.

    you need to look at the venue, find out if you can video the wedding service and where they would like you to be. what is the acoustics like, lighting, where is the light coming from. you need to be able to capture the elements of the service, but you have to be invisible, certainly not intrusive.

    you are going to find it hard to do this with one camera, personally if you are on your own then set up another stationary camera maybe using your HSF10, you need an constant audio feed for the whole time so you don't miss anything. remember the XH-A1s is a tape based camera, so there is no MTS file. If someone started to video my wedding with a DSLR I would be demanding my money back with out question, sorry they just dont hack it. the Xh will record down to .3 LUX thats certainly not complete darkness, so you may struggle with that, so it may be good to change cameras.

    At the reception use the Xh as much as you can, but when you start to get close up use the HSF nice and handy and not to much in your face, people are more willing to talk to you if you use a smaller camera less intimidating.

    You have to plan it very carefully, audio is going to be you big issue, so a separate recording source would be helpful but remember about syncing the two . remember that you only get one chance at this, make a mistake and you cannot repeat it. that why its good to have the other camera running in the background. just in case you can fade to that when you edit.

    You have a few months to go see if you can contact a company that do wedding videos, and see if you can watch their camera man working.

    I cannot stress how important it is to get it right, there are hundreds of people ripping people off. This is one of the most important days in their lives, it does not matter how much you are charging $50 or $5000 it still has to be right.

    I really wish you luck, you will need it, use the people who play up to the camera, leave the quiet ones alone, children are great especially if they are playing quietly some where in their own world. dont forget speeches, close family and the couple, do some of the venue before anyone arrives. make sure you have batteries one on the camera one on charge and one ready to go. if you can connect to mains save the batteries.
  13. coldsweat macrumors 6502


    Aug 18, 2009
    Grimsby, UK
    When filming weddings - this is the best advice you can have!
  14. jayeskreezy macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2005
    I don't do wedding video, but if I did I wouldn't start at anything less than $300 and that is probably too low. I'd do $400 for a friend but that'd probably be my lowest.

    Thanks everyone for this thread. I wish there was a way to sticky it. I've been considering venturing into this area in the future, but i'm currently still weighing the pros and cons.
  15. steveash macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2008
    I don't think he wants to focus on price here and is more interested in tips on doing a good job. That said, I tend to think that you either operate as a business or as a volunteer. A business will offer insurance, full equipment and have proper experience. The OP is just starting out and I think he should be volunteering his time and charging for costs. Costs might include fuel, hire charges etc but not time. I think if you charge low for time you are suggesting your work has a low value.

    Technically, weddings require versatility. The Wedding party will move around into different lighting conditions and you need to be able to move around and follow them without missing too much. Unless you have more than one videographer you want to avoid tripods or carrying too much equipment. Try a zoom lens and some sort of stead-cam/balance devise. As Lebthree said, keep it simple.
  16. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I am being serious that you should not charge anything but materials. Given that you really have no expertise in this venue it is not right that you experiment/learn on the job and charge for that. That is just a matter of professional ethics.

    Consider this a free way for you to learn. If they really like your work then charge for the materials and ask them to add what they think it is worth. They may not pay more than your materials but on the other hand you are not cheating anyone if you do a lousy job. This is their day and you need to think about it and how it cannot be redone if your efforts come up short.
  17. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    A person's time is worth something regardless of experience. This isn't some unpaid internship. The customer already has expectations for his skill level and he should charge accordingly. But there should be some sort of compensation.

    Although it's all a moot point by now since this wedding happened over a month ago.


    -Could be a fairly lucrative part time gig or even full time job.


    -Weddings are terribly un-fun events to attend when you're not a guest. And if you're doing both the shooting and editing that means you get to sit through it more than once.
  18. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    It is hard not to give a sarcastic analogy to your comment and I have no intention of being rude. We will have to disagree. If the couple getting married handed someone a video cameras and said - 'here, please shoot whatever you see at our wedding and we'll give you 100 bucks' is one thing but to shoot a wedding professionally is entirely a different matter as there are indeed some expectations. Again its probably more a question of mindset, ethics and then some. I suppose my response is more a reflection of my values as I never wanted to be a hack photographer doing hack work and charging for mediocrity. - Every photo gig is a person's business card of sorts.
  19. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    That came off a bit condescending even if that wasn't the intent. I don't think you read the original post. Expectations were set by both sides. They know they're not hiring some seasoned professional. If they were, they would have a much larger budget. Hiring an amateur (albeit one with some video experience) is no excuse for not compensating someone fairly.

    And by him coming in here asking advice on the how and how much, it's evident that he has no intention of putting out a mediocre product or half-assing it.
  20. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    If my post was or appeared condescending, I fully apologize. I tend to be rather straight forward and perhaps came off too blunt. I'll stand by my belief that having zero experience on a shoot one should only be compensated for materials. If someone disagrees, that is that person's prerogative and it is not a matter of right and wrong but for some a measure of self worth by what they can produce. There could always be the possibility that an amateur could produce amazing work by talent, luck and "textbook" knowledge. If anything, I always wish those starting on a particular venue in photography the best of luck.
  21. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    No problem. Maybe I read more into that than what I should have.

    Where I was coming from was addressing the trend of people out there looking to save a few bucks on a videographer/photographer, but end up taking advantage of some student or someone looking to enter the business in the process. For the amount of time and effort one has to put in to shoot and edit an event like that, there should be some respectable level of compensation regardless of the skill level.
  22. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    OP please tell me you charged at bare minimum $400? ($500 is better as a bare minimum).

    $50 - $100 is not worth it at all and you're only hurting yourself. Say the wedding and reception together is an 8 hour day (this takes into account travel, setup, tear down, wedding and reception). Here is what you are making just for the day:

    @$50: $6.25 an hour.
    @$100: $12.50 an hour.

    Now, how much time will you spend editing the video? I'm going to lowball here and say 15 hours of editing. The amount you're making just went to this:

    @$50: $2.17 an hour
    @$100: $4.34 an hour

    How much does all your gear cost? Camera, mic, editing software, lights, etc?

    The sad truth is, people don't value creative work. Photogs have the same issue. People think you just press a button and the machine does the rest. Make sure you charge for your work and make money, working for free only hurts you and will make you hate your job.

    A good way to charge is show a breakdown to the client of what the charges mean. Say you charge $500, show the hours of you being at the wedding (setup included), then the remainder show for editing and final delivery medium. This helps them see what they are paying for (and also shows them a good amount of time is spent editing.)

    Not to mention if you aren't charging you'll never be able to get nicer gear and equipment.
  23. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
  24. gdeusthewhizkid macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2008
    that's exactly what im doing now .. Im glad to know that the plan will work...
  25. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    It will only work if you put out a quality product. ;)

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