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Thread: video shoot. Ideas anyone?

  1. #1

    Default video shoot. Ideas anyone?

    Ok, i dont know if this is posted in right section, but anyway. I usually video weddings and stuff, and I was thrown a rather strange one a couple of days ago.
    I am shooting a funeral. Yes I did spell it correctly, a FUNERAL...

    What am I supposed to video at a funeral?
    Anyone have any ideas? I have a storyboard in my head, but if anyone can come up with some ideas, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    A great POV shot is down in the grave, looking up as the first earth is shoveled in, covering the lens, with the mourners all standing around the edge looking down into the camera...

    Maybe not.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gaffer View Post
    A great POV shot is down in the grave, looking up as the first earth is shoveled in, covering the lens, with the mourners all standing around the edge looking down into the camera...

    Maybe not.
    Nice one gaffer. Did you parents ever consider birth control

    Nah, man, im serious, apparently the deceased is a British male, who was married to a Malaysian woman. i have been hired by his daughter, who told me that the dvd will be going to Malaysia for the extended family to see. Its sort of like their way in being part of it from what I can gather.

    My brother is married to a fillipino, and she went back to the Filipines for her mothers funeral. It was an open casket, and she, and everyone else there were taking pictures of her dead mother. This is the way they do things in the far east.

    I am really stumped here people. Any help would be appreciated. I am only shooting at the church, not the actual burial, so other than hooking up a radio mic to the priest and capturing him and his service, and maybe the pall bearers carrying in the coffin, and some of the floral tributes, what else can I do?

  4. #4

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    Here are some ideas...
    I would be inclined to speak to whoever is taking the service; and whoever manages the location of the service and the burial area. They may impose some restrictions on the use of cameras.
    Perhaps the film could be edited as a celebration of the person's life - interlaced with photos of the person whilst alive, and perhaps some friends or family speaking about the person.

    Depending on the service, it may last around 30 mins. Other than the Priest, it is common for other people to say something; and there is often singing (perhaps a choir, or just the attendees).

    Filming the deceased in their coffin is probably best done by arranging a private sesssion with a member of the family and the undertakers.

    Whilst the actual burial may be private; many burial grounds offer opportunities for shots of groups of people in the distance. If practical, shots a long time after the burial might usefully show the gravestone.

  5. #5

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    Nice one Tim, we are on the same tracks here. I already thought it best to make it more of a celebration of his life. its a good idea revisiting the grave site to maybe get some final after shots/photos.

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    Firstly, this is traditional television and should be treated as such. Unlike a wedding, the viewer can't be stunned by original visuals. They expect a certain "look" and "feel", especially traditional religious people in cultures like Malaya. The good news is that it makes your job easier.

    My suggestion is to treat the job in separate parts.

    The church service is a "bog standard". Treat it like a mini "Songs of Praise". I would have two manned cameras (mainly to stop you having to run about) and a third, locked off. One for the priest and the speakers, the other for the reaction shots of the mourners and the third, locked off long shot "reserve" which will also have cables from the microphones for the singing. If there's a balcony, you can get a nice shot towards the altar, showing the coffin, the pulpit(s) and the congregation. It's there for that point where neither manned camera has a shot. Don't rely on the on-camera microphones, especially if this camera is close to the organ, you won't hear the voices.

    If you can get a camera at the edge of a pew about a third of the way down the church on the opposite side to the pulpit/lecturn, you've covered the main speakers. A second camera, same side, way up at the front, if possible up on the stage (you know what I mean) but off to to the side (standing in the middle tends to draw attention to yourself!). It will give you a profile of the speaker in a mid- long shot and enable you to get the mourners from the front.

    For the carrying in/out of the coffin, just like a wedding. One covers inside the church, the other, using a convenient door, legs it outside/inside depending on which way the coffin's going.

    Visual job done.

    It is, as always, a question of cost. In my opinion the third camera pays for its rental/purchase if it rescues one shot. A second cameraman in this sort of situation is a must.

    As for sound... I would get a radio mic on the priest AND a mic on the lecturn. Church microphones can be bloody awful and you can't rely on them.
    For the music and singing: If you can't place decent mics in the church, I would think about using a Zoom H2 placed at the front of the church to get the best sound of the singing. Have a word with the priest and see if he'll allow you to place it on the floor, hidden in the flowers under the altar. Switch it on before the service starts and collect it after everyone's gone.

    Top and tail the job with Tim's suggestions and... Job done.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 06-28-2010 at 07:41 PM.

  7. #7

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    Thanks Gaffer, I know from previous posts that you know your stuff. I hope you didnt take my birth control question to heart. Im a geordie, which means im a born natural cheeky bastard lol.

    I have 3 HD cameras anyway, but i didnt know wether it was right or wrong to capture the mourners from the front, but i suppose if put the 3rd camera up front locked off on the mourners, this should be a bit of a failsafe as you said. There is a balcony, which I am going to use, and the priest has already agreed to me putting a radio mic on him.

    The main camera that I will use, i will float around both inside and out with it on a steadycam, and get some shots from the back while the locked off camera, and the balcony camera capture the meat of the event.

    Thanks guys. Your help has been greatly appreciated.

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    I know that your from "oop nawth". You can't help it and we won't mention the fact again.

    I would suggest that all the guests are informed about the video and what it's going to be used for ie: to send to the relatives in Malaya. If everyone is aware of that I can't see anyone objecting or feeling uncomfortable.

    I've worked on three, no four, funerals over the years, albeit "well knowns" for television which is not the same as your job at all. However, I believe that the principles are the same. Backs of heads are boring, faces are interesting. The frontal camera is vitally important and, in my opinion, shouldn't be a locked-off static shot. I would suggest that it should be manned, to get the slow pans along the front pews and the cutaways of the various guests.
    I appreciate that it's your decision, I won't nag you and I realise that there is a cost consideration but, in my opinion, someone smartly and respectfully dressed, operating a camera at the side of the church right at the front won't be a problem. Just make sure that they know to move slowly.

    I come from a drama background and when I started getting more "real life" type jobs I expected people to hate having a camera pointed at them (I detest being filmed) but that's not the case. Amazingly people accept it in all sorts of situations, providing that the camera crew behave in the right way. You've got the ideal "excuse" as nobody can object to someone making a record of a funeral to send to relatives far away who can't attend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gaffer View Post

    I would suggest that all the guests are informed about the video and what it's going to be used for ie: to send to the relatives in Malaya. If everyone is aware of that I can't see anyone objecting or feeling uncomfortable.
    I would think that this, together with TimA's comments about talking to key people, is key to the whole proceedings.
    I'd be inclined to discuss at some length with whoever has booked you what you intend to shoot (including where the cameras and operators will be) to make sure (a) you've covered everything they'd expect and (b) they're comfortable with it.
    You might like also to discuss how they want the mourners represented - they may wish to see people grieving or they may just wish to see people listening to the speakers attentively - this will affect your editing decisions.

    And can I just thank Gaffer for putting into a few words what I'm sure many people have written whole books about. A great simple blueprint for factual coverage.
    Tim

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