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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wedding Photography- Stills operator working with the Videographer.

Copyright Geoff Thompson

In weddings still and video photography or movies have been around for a long time. My Dad captured all our Weddings in my generation, family and some of our friends, on 8mm and super 8 mm movie film. Those movies mostly only went for 3 minutes or less but they are priceless to us .
Not even any sound.Such things gain in value through the years.
I worked with a man who told me every wedding anniversary he and his wife watch their wedding video as they believe it is important to review and re evaluate their marriage continuously.
A great idea I think.
I have always suggested to couples when quoting on stills for a wedding to consider video of the wedding.
Many for some reason don't like it although that may now be changing with the social network media now available.

If you can find someone who is really good and you work well with it is possible  to recommend him or her and you find yourself doing lots of weddings together.

The same person we found also often hired my Canon XL1 digital video for some years as a back up to his own gear and when he needed a second camera in weddings or other shoots.

I have videoed a couple of weddings myself and also assisted my youngest son in some wedding videos when he started to enter this field. He was very good and in those days just using super VHS panasonic cameras(analogue).

He has now worked in the motion picture industry doing special computer stuff in hollywood and other movies including Superman, Harry Potter, and various other big time movies for quite some time.

We learnt , he learnt, I learnt,  that video of a wedding is much more demanding than still photography.
You have to get so much more right including sound.
I once did a wedding video for a couple  who came to Adelaide by themselves from England for their wedding. Thay had eloped and were going to party back home after the wedding.
The only people present in an outdoor wedding at a local popular wedding location, was the still photographer and her assistant, the celebrant and his wife, and the couple and myself.
The very bright back lighting under a shady tree was challenging  as I did not have a video light with me.
I was getting this right and concentrating so hard on this I did not get the sound right.
As the couple were signing the register and relaxing I played back some of the 10 minute ceremony and realised I had no sound.
All the way from England and no sound on their wedding video, what would you do at that point?
I swallowed my pride and said what had happenned and could we do it all again.
They agreed after a surprised and quick collaboration and as there we no other weddings following and no other timetable at risk.
So they got married  twice and we had 2 versions to play with in editing.
They went back to England happy.
I learnt some lessons I'll never forget but I doubt anyone else could be that lucky.

There is lots of editing to do on a wedding  and also there are issues in supplying popular music soundtracks.
The stills photographer these days of course also has lots of editing to do.

You more than likely will need to stay to the end of the reception.
A very long day.
We once left home at 7am saturday morning for a country shoot that started in Adelaide and moved to the Barossa valley for the reception, (1.5 hours out of town) and got home at about 3am Sunday morning.

So if you are a still photographer respect the video person.
If there is one hired be it professional or keen amateur, it is important to talk to them during the planning stages of the wedding.
Make sure you are going to be able to work together in harmony.

Make sure they are  aware of your timetable and that it fits with their style and approach.

We have,my assistant and I , whoever that may be, where the customer has not wanted video, still taken along small video cameras with us and shot video snippets of the wedding and given them as surprise bonus to our customers.
It has not however  been at the expense ie compromising, of our still photography.

Much is now talked about converging with Digital SLR's capable of high quality wedding work. I really believe to do still or video properly, professionally at a wedding, you need to have one person or couple doing video and same for stills.

Geoff Thompson

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