A little more than a month ago (September 4th) a couple of my friends got married! Pernilla and Johannes, and I got the honor to be acting wedding host (a.k.a. toast master) together with another friend, Veronica :) I had never done anything like it but she is a veteran in the field so I think things worked out quite alright! Afterward it feels like I used a lot of time on a few specific things, which makes me wonder if I had my priorities right, but no need to worry about that now! Here is a short list of what we spent the most time on before the wedding:
- Preparing, printing, cutting and assembling a collection of informative sheets for each seat. Luckily we got some help here :) (>1k printed pages cut into three pieces each, two of which were used, 15 pieces in an envelope)
- Planning and preparing a number of contests for the couple to participate in, though we only got time for 4 out of 11.
- Planning, recording and editing the introduction video for the party.
In addition the girl-gang planned a bachelorette party for the bride and me and my neighbor planned a bachelor party for the groom. Planning and executing the bachelor party had me preoccupied until it was over and done with, which was until the last weekend before the wedding, so the wedding week ended up very hectic! We had already planned just about everything we needed to but the actual work had to be done.
At the wedding itself me and Veronica spent most of our time trying to fit everything into the schedule, which kept looking like it would run past the set ending time, but except for the contests we got time for everything before midnight, phew!
I also got to set up a bunch of cameras which is what took most of my time the day before the wedding and practically all my time before the wedding the same day.
- A Panasonic Lumix GF1 camera on the stage, recording video, controlled by RF remote.
- A small wireless surveillance camera to see if the stage camera was recording or not.
- A Panasonic Lumix GF1 recording video from the balcony.
- An Olympus E-410 setup in a room to create a photo station where people could take pictures of themselves by using an RF remote.
- A Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 webcam in the far back for the web broadcast.
- A GoPro HD Hero on the balcony for time lapse photography.
All in all six cameras, seven with my pocket camera but I never used that one. Luckily I got some help managing them all: my brother and a friend managed the stage camera and the webcam, my parents who were on the balcony handled that camera, the time lapse I activated before running down to receive the guests with my co-host and the photo station pretty much handled itself, except for swapping out batteries and memory card.
To start the wedding party, after the grooms had gotten peppered with rice, we ran a video we had been working on that same week. You can see it below!
The stuff we discover in the beginning are things you could have found in the home of the married to be. I think we got that idea while pondering how to make it themed for them in some way. For this part I had one GF1 on a tripod in the back of the room and one in my hands with an LED movie light mounted on it.
In the second part of the video we can be seen writing text with IKEA Kalas mugs, 180 of them to be exact. The top down cameras are mounted on a boom by straps, a gorilla pod and duct tape. The boom itself was duct taped to a hydraulic crane on the floor. The main camera was my old Ixus 75 with CHDK running an intervallometer script, and the secondary camera was my GoPro HD Hero, both used to record time lapse photography.
We started by lining up paper by looking at a TV in the back of the room which displayed the view of the Ixus camera. As a side note this is a feature I lack in the GF1 which cannot show the live view externally. I had prepared the text on paper so we knew what to write and then we built the text by aligning the letters to the natural lines the paper made when being layered. All in all setting things up and recording it took about four hours.
As has been the norm lately editing the video turned into a mess. The videos would not import correctly, I would get strange flickering when exporting and uncanny oddities like that. It can be quite frustrating. I ran the last export the evening before the wedding!
I have had this in my head since seeing a similar concept on the web ages ago, then they had put up a camera where people could sit like in a photo booth to get photographed and then also get the pictures printed. Myself I put my old E-410 to use by mounting it on a tripod, attaching a flash RF trigger and a shutter RF receiver. On both sides I had two external flashes with RF receivers and white umbrellas and up front I had the RF shutter remote hanging in a fishing line.
Going from the remote the fishing line went up and through a metal loop in the ceiling and then to the side towards the wall. Halfway to the wall the line was attached to an elastic band which would reach all the way to the loop when it was fully extended. This way people could pull the remote around without having any of the white elastic showing in the picture. For some reason I was very happy with this solution when I came up with it, perhaps as it was past 1 in the morning and I was very tired? It was satisfying to see it work in any case :)
Below is a small gallery with samples from the station! After sorting out pictures where flash sync failed or they did not fire due to crappy batteries there were still 455 pictures to pick from.
When setting up the station a lot of time was spent tweaking settings so both black suits and white dresses would expose properly, but also so that people could take funny pictures like jumping. The settings I ended up using were:
- Lens at 28 mm (14 mm x2 due to APS-C sensor)
- Aperture at f/3.5 (wide open)
- Shutter speed at 1/125 seconds
- Left flash at 4/7 power
- Right flash at 6/7 power
- Manual white balance, Daylight Fluorescent (seemed to represent reality)
- Manual focus
- ISO200 (cheap eBay flashes, not enough juice for that shutter speed).
And I almost forgot! A friend helped me convert a cheap 3rd party battery for the camera to a power supply by removing the innards, solder cables to the poles and connect them to a battery eliminator. He did this for me the same week the wedding took place. I had bought the cheap battery and eliminator specifically for this reason probably a year or more ago, for time-lapse photography, but I never got around to doing the conversion myself :x
As in the introduction video I used my Go Pro HD Hero for time lapse photography. Sadly it run out of battery after about 3½ hours, just about when the wedding speeches had started. I am uncertain but perhaps I could power it by USB (that’s how you charge it) if I drill a hole in the casing. The shock-resistant and water-proof casing is needed for mounting and it actually has part of the optics integrated too so it would not work well without it. I’ll have to experiment with that, wasting a case for €50 if it does not work would be stupid :) Oh, and here is the resulting video below! A picture was taken every 5th second.