Strictly For Brides – Five New Wedding Video Tips

“Strictly for Brides” is a series of tips and videos designed to help couples plan their wedding videography.

The one thing every bride wishes for on her wedding day is that everything go exactly as planned, and that none of the wedding nightmares she’s probably heard about happen to her: the unexpected storm, the AWOL vendor, the collapsing wedding cake, the wrong flowers, mom’s missing corsage, the lost wedding ring. She’s planned for months, maybe years, and dreamed about her wedding for a lifetime. The right decisions in the planning and hiring stages of the wedding can make a big difference in her stress level on the day of.

Katrina and Billy's wedding

Our beautiful bride, Katrina

The self-imposed trap: It’s often the shortcuts and shortsighted efforts to save some money that short-circuit months of planning.

Tip: Require a written contract that spells out all the services to be provided in detail. Don’t get into word-of-mouth agreements with a vendor no matter how good the offer sounds. At least with a written agreement you have some recourse if someone important doesn’t make it to the wedding or if the work is not up to par.

Tip: I understand that there’s a strong temptation to accept a freebie from a friend, especially when the budget is a bit lean, but it defies logic to let someone with little experience be responsible for any of the key services, particularly photography and video, which capture the memories.

Bride and Groom

Katrina and Billy

TIP: See the work before buying, then discus, discus, discus, and firm everything up in writing. A day or two before the event check up on all your vendors with an email or phone call to go over all the relevant details. This last task can be delegated to a responsible wedding attendant. After that, RELAX. Treat yourself to a nice massage.

TIP: Work with vendors who are willing to listen to your ideas and run with them instead of trying to impose their own ideas upon you. Be wary of vendors that try to convince you that they know it all. Inflexibility on a vendor’s part early in the game can foreshadow other problems once you’ve hired them.

Tip: Having all the technical skills and specialized equipment, the dedication to the craft and the passion for what they do isn’t always enough. A track record is also important. It speaks to stability and dependability. You can rely to some extent on reviews and trusted referrals, though the validity of reviews is sometimes questionable. Keep in mind, also, that a referral from a friend may be someone they liked, but not necessarily a good fit for you. Do the legwork yourself if you can.

Making Your Vision a Reality: When it comes to photography and videography if you’re not one who enjoys a lot of direction from your media pros, don’t select someone whose style involves a lot of posing. On the other hand, if you do enjoy the classic look of formal poses in your photography and would appreciate some direction from your videographer to compose a unique video segment, then look for that style in the vendors you hire. Not all photographers and videographers are the same and the results of their work vary widely.

Bride and her dad

Katrina and her dad, DJ. Jazzy Jackson

Wedding videography is about relationships and the feelings that underlie them. In my own videography business, my promise is to make sure that the emotional part of your story is not overlooked, and I’m very attentive to the little details that help tell that part of your story. It’s an approach that takes experience, insight and a deep love of people. That’s the challenge and the reward of creating truly compelling video. You’ll see that in the videos on display in our wedding video gallery.

Contact me directly for more great wedding video ideas! Call (310) 547-4702 or use our easy contact form.

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videographer Marc Gold with camera (Marc, a former public school teacher, is a long time Los Angeles and Orange County wedding videographer working out of his South Bay studio for the past 35 years).

 

 




So You Think Live Performance Videography is Easy? Recording Theater and Dance in Los Angeles

live performance videographer

Live performance videographer, Marc Gold

When it comes to recording live performances in L.A. whether it’s theater, ballet, concerts or recitals, the same considerations apply as with any other genre of videography:  Focusing, following, framing and exposing. What’s different in this type of work, and more challenging, are the ever-changing recording conditions on stage that require a very high level of proficiency behind the camera.

The risk factor: Few things are technically more challenging than trying to maintain a close-up of a performer moving across a stage. Close-ups of moving subjects run the risk of falling off target and creating a distraction in the finished product. The more zoomed-in and the faster the movement of the subject, the greater the risk of miscalculating the shot, particularly if the subject takes a sudden jog to the right or left, or suddenly stops as frequently happens on stage. Whether or not this type of shot comes off correctly depends on the skill and the equipment of the videographer. Much less risky (but not nearly as much fun) is to compose a wider shot, or to use a second camera locked down with a medium-to-wide safety shot as a backup so that a poorly executed close-up isn’t the only shot available. Finally, another way to reduce the risks associated with close-up videography is to attend a full dress rehearsal to become more familiar with the show. This may give the videographer a head’s up as to what’s in store, but it doesn’t help much with lack of experience and poor technique.

Pushing the limits: In my own opinion, as a videographer who records live performances throughout the Los Angeles and Orange County area each year, there’s little satisfaction in playing it safe using nothing but wide shots for an entire show (unless directed to do so). The joy of recording live shows is in finessing the more difficult shots, pushing the limits of one’s talent for the greater production value of the recording. Why risk it? Because good close-up technique (in conjunction with medium and wide shots) makes for a better viewing experience, more like being at the live performance itself. What it comes down to is this: Recording live performances requires a high level of technical skill, sharp powers of observation, an eagle’s eye for detail, a steady hand and a lot of experience with this specific type of videography in order to produce exceptional results in an environment that’s constantly changing. (See the short demo clip below).

An interesting aside: If you ever have the chance to closely observe a skilled videographer in action, it’s an amazingly well-orchestrated performance in and of itself…one finger on the iris, another on the focus ring, one eye on the monitor, the other eye on the stage, earphones monitoring audio, one hand on the tripod and the zoom control.

A 6th sense: To consistently pull-off a well-followed close-up, the videographer has to be able to sense where the performer is headed ahead of time in order to remain perfectly in sync for the duration of the shot. The trick is to sense it slightly ahead of the action instead of reacting to it. In the latter case the performer is more likely to fall out of frame.  This type of work is challenging for novices and experts alike; it takes a very intense level of concentration as well as seamless hand-to-eye coordination. It’s definitely not a situation where the videographer can afford a lapse in focus during the show. Performance videography, much like wedding videography, has no forgiveness for lapses. There are no re-do’s. (I have to admit as a dancer-turned-videographer, I  have an advantage in anticipating a performer’s movement on stage, having been there myself, so, following the action close up feels very natural).

Clunky equipment: You just can’t expect a clunky tripod to afford the videographer the kind of smooth camera control I’m referring to.  Finessing close-ups is dependent upon the fluidity of the tripod head and its ability to smoothly overcome the inertia of beginning to pan to the right or left without a noticeable ‘bump’ at the start of the pan. Because the camera may be in constant motion during a show, a videographer using the wrong kind of tripod is going to be fighting that tripod for the whole performance and the recording will show it.

The right lens: Because camera location can wind up at the far back of the theater, I use a 2X extender lens to get the kind of close-ups I’ve been mentioning. Mine is made by Century Optics, a very heavy piece of glass that fits over the fixed camera lens of my Sony PMW EX-1R, but high in quality, with no image distortion. The only caveat is that once it’s on the camera, it’s only good for close-ups. Zooming back even 20% causes a vignette which can’t be used in the finished product. In other words, you pretty much have to stay on close-ups for the whole show, or try to find a time to remove the extender lens. I record performances with 3 cameras, a wide, locked-down safety shot, a medium shot and the close up with the extender lens, so no change in lenses is necessary.

A suggestion: If you’re planning to have a live performance recorded professionally, particularly if you’re intending to sell copies of the show (which should have a professional look to them), plan ahead to hire a videographer skilled in this demanding genre of videography. You’ll be amply rewarded with outstanding results.

(I’ve just finished recording and editing a run of productions: “Shrek The Musical”, “Oliver” and “Hairspray” for Encore Entertainers, an outstanding theater production company out of Redondo Beach, California, and the ballet  “Coppelia” for Peninsula School of Performing Arts (www.pspadance.com; (31)0 375-1398) at the Norris Theater in Palos Verdes).  Here’s a short highlight from “Coppelia”.

More videos can be seen in our video gallery. Enjoy!




Ray “The Cabbie” Austin, Videotaped Interview with a Los Angeles Icon

The Trick is to Make The Video While They’re Still Alive. 

videographer Marc Gold with camera

Marc Gold, 24KT Sound & Video

My video interview with “Ray ‘The Cabbie” Austin as he talked about a robbery at gunpoint and his encounters with Actors Greer Garson, Paul Newman,  J. Carrol Nash and Bob Hope is a piece of invaluable American folklore about a local legend who drove the streets of L.A. in the 1950’s. As it turns out Ray was more than just a cabbie. His resume is beyond anything you could imagine. That interview turned out to be one of the most fascinating of my career as a professional L.A. Videographer, and the fact that it even exists makes a great argument for more people to record the life histories of their beloved elders. Ray’s video will be released once permissions are granted.

Revealing the wealth of incredible stories tucked away in the minds of our elders is the sweet essence of biographical videography, but one has to have the foresight to do it while the opportunity still exists. I hope you’ll find the motivation one day to record the life history of a beloved elder, because the day may come when you have occasion to contemplate the loss of a loved one…a whole magnificent life lived…and then gone. That’s the moment you’ll be humbled by the amazing significance of your accomplishment.

Manny and Sylvia photo from their life history video

Manny & Sylvia Gold

When I interviewed my parents, Manny and Sylvia Gold, now both deceased, I learned about my grandfather’s erratic driving that landed him in the middle of a military convoy in downtown New York City, his loss of practically everything he had during the stock market crash in the 1920’s, my father’s military service and heroism while fighting in the European theater with General Patton’s army at the Battle of the Bulge during World War Two, the armed robbery of worshipers at a Jewish temple by sing- sing escapees and my father’s own narrow escape. Watch an excerpt from Manny & Sylvia’s video.

Capturing stories like these is the focus and the reward for this very fortunate Los Angeles videographer.

More videos are available to watch at www.24ktsound.com in the video galleries.