Every now and then ya get a student who is worth it. So Kathy Vang, one of those rare ones and now a former student and a college freshman, sent out an appeal for a volunteer to shoot a benefit fashion show being produced by the San Joaquin Delta College Fashion Event Production class. Sucker that I am, (for memorable students) I agreed.
And I soon saw why Kathy was so passionate. She’s had a continuing love of style since I’ve known her and her new (I am NOT jealous) mentor, Leslie Asfour, was the quiet kind of leader I admire. She has the magical touch that allows students to lead and learn and love what they are doing.
On to practical matters.
Event videography is simple and challenging. First rule: get there early enough to scope the place out and choose shooting locations. Took me about fifteen minutes of questioning and roaming to select my spots…and another five or so the change my mind and set up in better locations. The event had chairs arranged around three “runways” … really just wide aisles between chairs. Models would be walking up Runway 1, then as they paused at Runway 2, another model would enter and the two models would walk the length of the runways, return and move over the the next walkway. Eventually there were models walking all three runways simultaneously.
So the HV20 with wide angle adapter centered on Runway 2 and included Runway 1 in the background. Classic wide shot.
My little babycam…an original Canon ZR10 (and my FIRST digital video camera) may not be the sharpest tool in the box, but it gets my vote for longevity and for being a good back-up camera. The plan for this little sweetie was to focus on the main staging area…the lights at the head of Runway 2…to capture the sass and toss before the walk.
In editing I’m planning on using the HV20 as the bed…with the ZR10 an overlay in a box, mirroring whatever shows in the HV20 video.
Final camera on the floor was my Panasonic HMC150. Handheld for cutaways and shots leading up to the event. Folks wandering in…wine poured…hors d’œuvres making the rounds. Yep. Very genteel.
The lights dimmed and as the music started, I hit the record buttons on the HV20 and ZR10. And worked up a sweat getting my cutaways. Held the camera sideways, rotated with models, did some floor and static tripod shots with plans to edit, edit, edit. Brain on…plotting shots out three, four, ten ahead of the record button. Sequencing a story.
We’ll see how this works. Video is in the hard drive and I’m converting the standard def ZR10 over to high def so I can edit it in with the video from the other two cameras.
And this wasn’t entirely altuistic on my part. With an eight year old demo reel, I need some sizzle to attract clients. So the plan is to give my “clients” what they want – a show tape…and then create my own short and long form videos.
Oh…all the while working on a dishcrawl and some family videos. Never let it be said I’m lazy. (or bored)
NOTE: as with many events, you are competing or working alongside other photographers. At this venue there were at least four still photogs (not counting the many handheld cameraphones, flip cameras, DSLRs in the audience). We had a quiet pow-wow before the event, staking out our shooting areas. The official photog claimed the floor at the end of the main runway, while the others chose Runways 1 and 3. I let them know I’d be working all areas and would stay out of their way. Rule of thumb: work WITH other photogs. They are NOT the competition…just folks like you, trying to get their job done.
Another rule of thumb: DON’T block the audience. They are paying to see. A quick way to lose a client is to loose what is important to them…paying customers. So while we did our silent ballet, shooting models and angling for the best shots, we also were all very mindful of the audience.
How do you make this work? Have eyes all over your body. Seriously. Know where the players are…where you need to be…where your subject is, was, and will be. Figure out the patterns in the room and take advantage of them.
As the only videographer I had to really work the room. While still photogs can stake out a spot and aim for that one best moment, I had to get all three runways, low/high angles…everything my lock-down cams weren’t getting. And while they could, for the most part, shoot around me…I needed spurts of real time to get my shots.
But – hey – it all worked out. We left shaking hands and thanking the DJ for his smooth moves…and moved along to our own personal versions of post.