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Total disaster, reports from the weddings front
  • On demand, I start this topic to share and gather tips and stories for wedding cinematographers. Keep it short and helpful :-)

  • 108 Replies sorted by
  • I recently got stuck on a tripod with a zoom lens behind this huge arch of flowers and missed the bride and father walking down the isle when the traditional European wedding turned out to be American and I thought my B-cam would cover the couples entry from behind. To make matters worse, one of the guests knocked my B-cam sideways, totally obscuring the isle. Result: I only got the face of the father. The couple was hidden behind the flower arch from hell. Always ask HOW the wedding will unfold.

  • The guests always have a nasty habit of getting in the way and you NEED that cut away to save the edit. Use MORE cameras. As a solo shooter with bad planning skills I bring at least three. Two on sticks with photo ball head for quick leveling and a third on a monopod with fluid head.

  • Setting up my Konova slider in the last minute before the couples dance took ages. Quick release went AWOL and I just had to go handheld shake-a-thon instead. So much for that beatypass :( Don't waste time on screwing stuff together and miss that important shot. Use the same quick release on everything. Get your gear ready in time. Assemble that slider way before the shot. Know your bag inside out and always put stuff back in the same place.

  • Never do a highlight edit at 4 o'clock in the night and have a shoot the next day. You need those Z:s. Being sleepy on a shoot is disastrous and you barely keep up with the events. And drugs make those shaky shots even worse ;) itching with caffeine coming out of my ears I actually saw the wedding at first in post!

  • don't worry, photoshop can fix it all up =) Funny stories by the way.

    I was asked to help man a camera for a wedding and i didnt know who the groom was so i cut him in half for most of the ceremony. Forgot to switch the mic back on whilst filming a toast too.

  • @MRfanny LOL! I Interviewed all the relatives, but forgot the father of the bride (who was the one paying for the gig)

  • Thanks for sharing your experience. Now I'm 100% sure I won't shoot wedding ever.

  • @tonalt It's a dirty job, but someone got to put the GH2 to test on other things than bushes :-)

  • By that I mean flower arches!

  • I just shot my friends' wedding where the photographers they hired actually stipulated in the contract that they get priority placement. Basically the videographer comes second and they would sometimes unabashedly walk into my shots. So I wasn't able to get the best straight angles so had to improvise, like rigging a GoPro on to the altar and camoflauging it along with white Robes that bedecked it. This is how that company got so 'popular' as they basically made sure no-one gets in the way... My friends understood the complication so I could be forgiven. But next time (if ever) I would need some prior negotiation with other shooters at the event

  • Got one of my 3 cameras stolen (My HV-20) at a concert I was filming the night before a wedding shoot. Unfortunately the bag had chargers for both the HV-20 and HV-30, and I used up the battery on the concert. Scrambled to find an extra cam, ended up calling on my GoPro, hid it inconspicuously on the altar, and actually got kind of a cool shot from it. It was a low paying/low expectation gig for an acquaintance and they were happy with the result.

  • Forgot to set my Sony V1U to shoot in HDV mode, so the whole morning & ceremony's tape was in 4:3 SP....blah.

  • I've had many instances of signal-less wireless mics, or worse, absolute distortion throughout entire ceremony. Strange how that happens even when I test them right before the ceremony and they're fine...why does that happen?

  • Some of these are making not want to try a wedding event.. lol

  • Coming from a photographic background I often get asked to shoot weddings for cheap/free.

    I say... "Fine! I'll leave all my professional camera gear behind and just bring my iPhone... is that okay?"

    "You mean you're going to photograph OUR wedding with an iPhone?!!"

    "Don't be ridiculous. I'm going to text all your friends and tell them what a cheapskate asshole you are!".

  • I've shot with one camera in 24p, the other in 25p. 'nuff said. (The HV20's "24 Perf" mode isn't 24fps, unless it reset itself. I got 25p in a 50i wrapper, a solid hour of it.)

  • I always jump at any opportunity to tell my lightsaber bride story. I was graciously asked by a friend to help him shoot a wedding (his videography partner was getting hitched, so he technically was there that day, but not as a camera operator). Anyway, I'm up on stage, and this is a fairly contemporary wedding with a full set of contemporary Christian worship music. If you've ever been to a contemporary service, you know they like low light (I actually prefer it myself in a normal worship setting). The only thing is, the bride apparently REALLY wanted everything lit only in blue. So I'm up on stage, the whole auditorium is black, with blue-gelled lights pounding down on the stage . . . and who do you suppose comes walking up the isle? And what color dress do you suppose she is wearing?


    She wanted blue, that's what she got. She was lit up like Skywalker's blade of pure plasma on the Fourth of July.

    Other than that, it was a great shoot. Very courteous and professional stills photographer, plenty of pre-planning, and it all went just fine. Shooting with two camera operators makes a big difference.

  • There are some scary YouTube videos out there, including this one (been on PV before, I know, but if you haven't seen it before...)

    @pundit Love the story. Shared with my musician friends (we suffer the same shit!)

  • @pundit Spot on! @Mark_the_Harp I have yet do do Russian Mob Wedding (TM) but until then I'm gonna practice dodging camcorders!

  • Above video looks staged (like from a tv gag show)

    When I shot a wedding I had issues with the photographer either getting his head in shots or putting his camera in prime locations in a small chapel. I made the mistake of shooting with a GH1 and a GF1 in the hope it would match well. Not the case! In the end my video was not as good as I would of hoped and the photographer was shit at photos as well. Ironically the couple were happier more with the Video than the photos. Weddings are a nightmare once that magic moment has gone you cant reshoot it. Its lost. I have total respect for decent wedding videographers.

  • @Mimirsan

    Yep, I think it is very good school also. As it teach you do it all right at the first try.

  • I shot a wedding for a friend of a friend. It was a pretty big affair with the bride's childhood buddies flying in from various places, so it was sort of a reunion for them as well. Thankfully, everything that really mattered - morning prep and all the happenings at the church - went smoothly. At the reception, things were great. I covered the highlight moments without fail. Even my wireless boom mic I had my assistant running around with worked awesomely with very little static and no distortion. At the end of the reception, we were about to wrap up when all the friends decided to take some group pictures together with the bride and groom. I pointed the camera at them and asked them how they all felt about being reunited after so many years. Their gleeful responses were priceless! I was feeling really great having just captured a very special and fleeting moment when I realized that the tally light in my viewfinder wasn't flashing. OH NO! Yes, somehow I had either not pressed the record button hard enough or did the dreaded double-tap....I had captured nada! The moment was gone and the party had moved out of the banquet hall, so no chance of a restaging. Suffice to say, I was feeling like crap for the next half hour. Would've felt it longer, but after fessing up to my mistake to the bride and the friends, they were cool about it and told me not to worry. This is the one experience that taught me to obsessively check the tally light.

    Still, this is not my worst wedding story. How's about shooting your childhood BFF's wedding day with a borrowed camera, going home and watching three tapes of static?

    Actually, I'd rather not talk about it. BTW, her other friend who did the official stills - his film somehow got screwed up too, so no pics either. Double whammy.

  • I've done a number of weddings held in Catholic churches (thus, a catholic wedding), and each one of them the church coordinator tells me that I can not move at all during the whole ceremony, but then I see photographer roaming about freely...??

  • I guess they have this picture in their head: Videographer on huge tripod with a bulky broadcast camcorder decked out with huge external mic and video lights that burn holes in people's eyes VS stealthy photographer packing a 5D with silent trigger and no flash.

  • Shooting weddings ain't an easy gig but it's great experience - I don't think I've ever shot a wedding where something didn't go wrong but if you've got a backup - you can recover. Like the celebrity wedding I shot recently. grabbed a line out of the desk for the speeches one to have the operator turn the levels down to nothing! luckily each camera (3 of) has a small shotgun mike and so I had sound, not great sound but passable.

    That same wedding I discovered what happens when you shoot outside on a cold rainy day and rush inside to a warm humid room - by the time the bride entered my lens had fogged up so badly it looked like she was in a smoke filled room - I ended up in the toilet trying to defog the lens during the ceremony! - luckily I had 2 other cameramen & a static wide shot to cover things.