Thursday, April 22, 2010

Shooting the Wedding

by Nathan Stout

This is an account of the job Miguel and I took to film the wedding of a coworker.

In February I got an email from a coworker asking me if I filmed weddings. He was given my name from our marketing/web guy. I told him I do film them, and I sent him my web page with the different services I offered and their prices.

After a little haggling on price, I took the job. The wedding of his daughter was to take place in mid April in Denton with the reception far North of Decatur.

I called up Miguel and offered him some money to help me. Miguel had shot a couple of weddings, and with his degree in film from UNT I thought he would be a real help (as well a good teacher in the matter).

Before the wedding we got together to try to get our cameras 'looking' the same. Setting the iris, white balance, and other settings so the two different cameras looked similar when the footage was edited together. The plan was to use both my camera and Miguel's camera (and if possible a third camera).

The Friday in mid-April arrived and we went to the church in Denton (Denton Bible) for the rehearsal. Although not a part of the agreed wedding video package, Miguel wanted to shoot some 'behind the scenes' stuff. This also gave us the chance to set up shots and figure out logistics. The rehearsal lasted for only about an hour at the most, and we decided on our locations. Miguel would operate my camera that was on the stage where the ceremony was to take place. He was kind of awkward up there with all that was going on, but it was the only place to get good shots. I was to be at the back of the auditorium filming various people and parts. I did get to borrow my boss' camera so we did have a third, but lower quality, camera. I would use this at various points to go along side the crowd and get some reaction shots.

Saturday arrived and we showed up several hours early to get more 'behind the scenes' shots including the photo session and 'just married' truck decorating. Miguel also did a little interview bit with the bride and groom to edit into the presentation. Once the ceremony started it was all go, and we just caught as much as possible. The final positions of the bride, groom, and pastor was such that Miguel had a really hard time getting good shots. Before the bride and groom were officially done they had to walk to the corner of the stage (right near Miguel) and light a unity candle. I am guessing this is some sort of newer thing in weddings (since I have seen it more often in recent weddings). Well, they walked up to the candles, and were utterly confused. During the rehearsal no one told them what to do when it came to the candle. The look on the groom's face is priceless. He just looked at the array of candles (one that the bride's family lit and one the groom's family lit) and had this 'what the hell do we do' expression. They finally figured it out and moved on. Since their backs were to the audience, no one really saw the confusion ,so I am sure it will be a highlight of the video. I did what I could from the back and hoped Miguel got what he needed.

I feel Miguel needs to keep my camera for a while and shoot some stuff with it. He is always somewhat confused where all the controls are on it, and it would help if he were more familiar with it. He did his best though and we got as much as we could.

After the service I took off to the reception (since it was like thirty minutes away) and Miguel was going to stick behind to get the couple leaving (there wasn't any rice throwing or anything like that). I got to the house where the reception was, and started taking some random shots. Miguel got lost and was late with the second camera. I got the couple and the wedding company being presented at the reception, and then Miguel got there. We both split up and got more footage of people being happy, talking, drinking, eating...

The house where the reception was held was really nice. Miguel joked that we didn't know anyone in that tax bracket. The party was outside but the cake cutting was inside, and we got to move about a little bit in there. It was very nice. It would be a great place to shoot a movie.
We also filmed the speeches and the dancing. I was shooting the long shots, and Miguel was in close on the couples dancing. I had to be careful because I would be shooting this nice dancing couple, and here comes Miguel all guerrilla style shooting up close to them.

At the end of the night we filmed the cake cutting (in a very crowded room). We exchanged information with the photographers (two chicks who were new to all this too). We wanted to get some of the photos to integrate into the video. After that, I took off and Miguel stayed around a few more minutes (prolly to hit on the photo chicks).

In the end we will deliver much more than the agreed package. We figure if we can make a really good video, and be able to use it for promotional purposes, it would be well worth the effort.

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