Wedding - Priest threw me out and called police

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Not a good life, Sep 27, 2004.

  1. Here is the scoop...I went to the church friday night for rehearsals,
    intriduced myself to the priest that I'm a pro, not cousing chuckie, and
    that I would scout the best camera location for the service, based on the
    church layout and wedding party positioning...this is something I do with
    all my weddings, and never has any priest given me grief....until this
    dickwad...he was adamant, that I was to stand in this obscure corner, where
    all I could get was the back of the brides head....I protested, but went
    along with him, and explained the situation to the bride-to-be.
    Then came the wedding day yesterday.
    I showed up an hour early to setup. I asked the priests wife where i could
    find the groom to put the wireless mike on him.

    You will do no such thing, she said.

    Excuse me? I asked.

    You are not putting a wireless microphone on the groom?

    Why not?, I asked.

    You're not going to do it, she replied.

    I pulled the wireless out of my pocket, all of you here know that it's 1/2
    the size of a pack of smokes. I pointed out that this was for my benefit, so
    I could capture the vows, that no one will se it, and that it wont interfere
    with the church equipment.

    Nope, she was adamant, that I would not be putting a wire on the groom.

    At that point, I lost it, called her an ignorant small minded idiot that
    knows nothing about anything, and left the basement.
    I had all my gear with me, so I went outside to get shots of the guest
    arriving. A couple of minutes past, and out of the house beside the church
    comes the priest, running like the devil was chasing him...he ran up to me
    and told me to pack up my stuff and get out of the church, that he called
    the police for me being rude to hus wife.

    Now I tried to explain the situation to him, I asked him no less than 10
    times, why I couldn't wire up the groom. All he told me was to get packing,
    that the police were on their way....the guests were all standing around,
    watching this eggplant nosed (drinker) man of the cloth fail to be much for the crap they preach every sunday, love,
    tolerance, understanding, open mindedness.

    So I packed up my stuff, all the while with him still yelling at me inside
    the church, for being rude to his wife...

    Now, at rehearsals, he sat down and the wife ran the show, telling everyone
    to do as they were told, that she would not tolerate any deviation from the
    routine, and that anyone in the wedding party with liquor on their breath,
    would cancel the wedding ceremony for 5 years....afterwards, everyone in the
    wedding party, including the parents, were commenting on how they had never
    seen such a power trip from anyone.

    So, I pack up my stuff and load in in the truck. They told me to get off the
    property. I told them I would be waiting for the bride and groom and tell
    them personally that I wouldn't be shooting the wedding, and that I'd be
    more than happy to meet with the police that was called. (None ever showed

    About 10 minutes later, the limo arrived carrying the men. I opened the door
    and announced to the groom that I wouldn't be shooting the wedding because
    the minister refused to have me put the wireless on him, then kicked me out
    of the church for asking why. I told him I'd also wait for the bride to tell
    her, since it was she who booked me over a year ago.

    I was by the truck 10 minutes later when the groom approached me....he told
    me all was cool that I could go in, just avoid the minister and wife
    alltogether...later on I was told from one of the witnesses to the
    altercation, who happened to be another minister and his wife, friends of
    the groom, that the grrom had said to the minister, "I wont be having anyone
    tape my wedding because of you", and th eminster looked at him and said,
    "OK, he can come back in"...I think the brain caught up with the lips.

    The other miniser and wife, and nearly 1/2 the guests all came up to me at
    the reception, telling me how preofessional I handled the situation with the
    ministe, how shocked they were, admitting that this minster wasn't very well
    liked by the congregation.

    He even forgot to announce "You may now kiss", and had to be reminded by the
    bride....a 15 minute service turned into a 40 minute service and sermon
    about love, lindness, understanding, etc, etc, etc...

    Wow, 25 weddings a year, and in all the years, this is a first.
    Not a good life, Sep 27, 2004
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  2. Not a good life

    Krazy Kanuck Guest

    .....But you've got a great story to tell now ;-)
    Krazy Kanuck, Sep 27, 2004
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  3. Not a good life

    Tony Guest

    While the minister and his wife over-reacted about things, it is their church and you have to listen
    to them without causing conflict. One of my first weddings ever was similar to yours. I showed up
    and introduced myself to the priest and asked where a good spot would be for me to tape. He pointed
    up toward teh back of the church and simply said :choir's loft." I looked up and said that the
    couple paid good money for a videotape of their wedding and they are not going to just want to see
    the backs of their heads from 30 feet up. Again, he said "choir's loft". I was not about to cause a
    problem so I went up and taped. He made an announcement that no one could take any pictures at all
    during the ceremony. Somewhere in the middle of the wedding, someone's flash went off and the priest
    stopped the mass and said "I was not kidding when I said there will be no pictures. If it happens
    again, I will stop the wedding."

    That was it. I explained to the couple that the entire 1hour mass ceremony was going to only show
    them from the rear. It was out of my control and they understood. I do not think it was
    professional to question or argue with the members of the clergy of the church. You are there only
    to tape the event. If there are rules, you have to follow them. End of story. You surely should not
    cause more trouble by talking back and causing more tension in a tension filled day. You are truly
    lucky they let you back in. If I were the groom and found out you were thrown out because you
    insisted on using a wireless mic in a church that does not allow them, I would have sued you. You
    cant forget that churches are houses of worship first, not tv studios. In many religions, all of
    this technology are forbidden. I was asked to do a wedding at St Patrick's Cathedral in NYC. Ever
    been there??? It is HUGER than HUGE, like a mall. The rule was that you cannot go any closer to the
    alter than the first section of pews (problem 50 feet back or more). I didnt do it but those are the
    rules. They will throw your ass out of there so fast if you even question their rules. Next time,
    do as you are told and explain it to the couple. What I wound up doing after my first wedding is
    told all of the couples to find out the rules and straighten them out with the priests before hand.

    Tony, Sep 27, 2004
  4. Not a good life

    BUD Guest

    I threw weddings and corporate work out the door some years ago - I just
    produce special interest videos and shorts for TV - my profit level and my
    health are a lot better and my own productions will continue to produce a
    good income when I retire.

    A friends studio has just finished a TV commercial for a small corporate
    and he estimates he will be out of pocket by nearly 2 thousand by the time
    he finished with re-shoots, re-recording voice overs and music changes -
    and this guy is very experienced but pissed off with some of the corporate
    assholes who call themselves managers these days.

    BUD, Sep 27, 2004
  5. thats bullshit....a priest is answerable to his congregation, and is not
    above the law....they have become arrogant and self absorbed.

    In any organization, there is a chain of command, and each person has to
    answer to someone....these people don't have that, and have become corrupted
    by their own abuse of power.

    Finally, I don't shoot in St. pauls, I shoot in small towns of 1000 people,
    and in this country (Canada), no one sues anyone. Besides, there is a
    contract, that clearly states, if I can't do my job, for ANY reason, they
    get their deposit back, and thats it.

    Not a good life, Sep 27, 2004
  6. Not a good life

    MSu1049321 Guest

    Wow, where to begin?

    Maybe this is the problem with priests marrying;-)

    Actually, I have seen the officiant at some non-Catholic weddings have to
    caution the bridal party a couple times that if she detected anyone with booze
    breath the ceremony would be canceled. I myself was shocked that some people
    apparantly get married stoned (Britney# 1, anyone?), or that some folks are so
    coarse that this even has to come up, but besides just the impropriety of it,
    there may be legal issues questioning if the couple were able to truly consent,
    if inebriated.

    I totally agree that the priest, priestess, rabbi, chief druid, Klingon
    Commander, astral projectionist and aura-welder, whatever, has the final say
    about everything in their house of worship. This is why we go to the
    rehearsals, preferably with the tripod and camera, not necessaruly to shoot
    anything (though that is a source of extra billable hours) but so everyone
    knows in advance what it's going to look and feel like, no surprises, and to
    get the 'house rules' and official permission. In my 10 years or so of doing
    weddings, I only once got stuck in the loft, but everybody knew about that in
    advance and was okay with it anyway, becasue I had the wireless lav. Oddly
    enough, my own parish priest, who did my own wedding, and who's known me for
    years, was the one to gave me grief when he was presiding at a wedding I was
    shooting. I did not bring the camera or tripod to the rehearsal, but did show
    where I was going to be shooting from, on the aisle seat, groom's side, seven
    rows back. no problem. apparently he was expecting a teeny monopod and 8mm/Dv
    palmcorder. Comes the big day, i'm there two hours ahead, and setting up a
    full-size s-VHS camcorder, with appropriate sticks, and my priest freaks out:
    I'ts too big and distracting, I can't be higher than anybody's head behind me.
    (this though they are the cathedral in our diocese, and have casually-dressed
    local news shooters run around inside with betacams and sun guns several times
    a year on stories) So I have to keep the tripod at belt-level all thru the
    mass after the incoming procession. Oh well... It wasn't too big a deal,
    when folks stood, I eother shot around them, poking a little into the aisle,
    or between their heads. The parts of the ceremony of interest for videos are
    staged with the couple facing each other, the priest between them, so the whole
    congregation and any cameraman can see better, loft or floor. Sorry your
    red-nosed crazy man is not up wth modern practice.

    I would not have mentioned the wireless lav to anybody but the groom. There was
    no reason for anybody else to know, and as you see, good reasons not to. Not
    the least of which is, you get really good candid audio if people don't know:
    one wedding I shot, the couple said some really cute and adorable things,
    whispered to each other as they departed down the aisle and out the doors. The
    doors closed on them and I kept rolling, and behind them, you can hear them
    kiss and tell each other how relieved they were it was done, and how much they
    were looking forward to each other's company, etc, etc,.( no, it wasn't
    compromising, anyway, they had first choice to see it and edit it out, and they
    loved it).

    Some churches have radio-assist hearing aids for the hearing-impaired: you can
    use one of these recievers into your camera with an adaptor, I've done it twice
    and got great results.

    Nowadays, with micro-wireless cameras and the like, another possible option for
    this problem is to plant a hidden camera in the flower decorations, set on a
    wide reverse-angle shot and edited in later. Takes a little planning of angles,
    based on where everybody stands at rehearsal. Go a little extra-wide for
    safety, because on the big day, nervous folks make mistakes about where they
    were supposed to stand, etc. Heck, you can even plant a complete hidden
    camera on the goom these days, for that matter.

    Now, about the priest's/shrew's freak-out: I don't know that it could have been
    handled any better, I wasn't there. I won't second-guess you there, except
    that it's NEVER a good idea to blow up at somebody who completely controls your
    access. (or temporarily thinks he does). When I meet with them ahead of time, I
    stress that I believe first in the dignity of the sacrament and I'm not one of
    those pushy jerks, I'm not going to draw attention to myself and away fromt he
    ceremony with lights or movement. I'm there to learn their rules, what they do
    and don't allow, and I have found 99 percent of the time they are so thrilled
    to have someone so polite and deferential and professional to work with, they
    wind up giving me carte blanche and even take the time to help me find power
    plug-ins and look into the house audio systems.

    Finally, one reason I got out of the wedding/event biz was the cost of
    insurance to protect you from such rare bizzarre happenings (non-completion)
    was too high. It ate up my profit margin, but I was unwilling to be a
    professional business, with all the legal responsibilites of such, and not have
    the protection. It's for just such [email protected] happenings as this, as well as
    sudden masssive equipment failure or theft. Guys who lowball their prices roll
    the dice such things will never happen, or that they will be long gone and out
    of reach when it does go bad. But if you do anything like this long enough, it
    will likely happen to you no matter what. And your gear, your house, your car,
    your bank accounts, are all on the line, theoretically. At that point, you must
    have a plan. Besides good running shoes.
    MSu1049321, Sep 27, 2004
  7. Not a good life

    kashe Guest

    You don't know much about the Roman Catholic Church, do you?
    In the American Episcopal Church, the vicar is called by the
    congregation and can be dismissed by them. Not so in the RCC. Trust me
    -- I live in a parish where the congregation wanted the pastor out and
    the AB wouldn't have any of it. For a lot of years.
    kashe, Sep 27, 2004
  8. Not a good life

    kashe Guest

    Just hope, however, that it doesn't inadvertently get into the
    house system.
    kashe, Sep 27, 2004
  9. We operate in a small city in Florida. Our professionalism means that we
    are well known by all of the main churches, and we know all of their
    rules. If we go to a new one, we ask if they have any special rules
    about where the front camera can be, and we salute and say yes sir. We
    also get to know the church's official coordinator, because they are the
    little Napoleons of the weddings. Some churches require us to set up a
    remote camera up front - you can have a camera but no operator! They
    have all of these peripheral people up there for the ceremony, such as
    musicians, singers, readers, or whatever, but a video guy would be one
    too many! We try to blend in no matter where we have to be, because we
    don't want to get in our own rear camera shot anyway. Usually no
    problems crop up, except at the Oak-K Farms.... but that's another story.

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Sep 27, 2004
  10. Not a good life

    WMAS 1960 Guest

    I missed the first part of this thread but have been reading the recent posts
    with great interest. What has been said, all illustrates why I generally DO
    NOT DO WEDDINGS. :-D. Every one that I have done has required expenses that
    seriously ate into what people have paid me. That is my problem though as I am
    not really equipped to do weddings and they usually require an investment that
    I don't generally require for my normal projects. Also being that most of
    these weddings were favors for friends the prices I charged was far below
    market because brides, or brides and grooms, couldn't afford a regular wedding
    videographer. That is why I did it. As a favor to help them out. In most
    cases though it was an issue of just wanting a basic tape of the event. The
    weddings that I have done, with a couple exceptions, have all been done at the
    same church so I am pretty experienced there. They have, as I said, been for
    friends and relatives.

    I have done these weddings with 3 or 4 different officiants and under 2
    differen't pastors. All have expressed concerns and I have always worked with
    them on those. I always go to the church during the rehearsal to see how they
    are doing things. I plan to stay late or get there early so I can talk to the
    officiant about his concerns, rules or whatever. I can then discuss my
    concerns with them and we have always come to an agreement and concensus. I
    can also get some time in with the wedding planner who will often know where
    flowers etc. will be placed. A lot of times when I would get to the rehearsal,
    the church is set for a regular mass. Flowers aren't there etc. I did one
    wedding where I went to the rehearsal and planned my camera placement. I didn't
    think of such things as nothing was there at the time. I got to the church on
    the day of the ceramony and found my shot of the bride and the center eisle of
    the church was blocked by a big flower arrangement.

    I have never been denied my specifications although I have had to adjust them
    slightly a couple times. I started by adjusting for things I learned the last
    time and would mention the difficulties to the priest. I have found a few
    times that the priest was interested in knowing my problems so he could relay
    them to future couples and their videographers or make adjustments himself. If
    I can encounter problems during the rehearsal that much better for the current
    couple. Also, he has often been able to share other solutions with me that
    other videographers have found. One thing with the last wedding was that, from
    the previous wedding I had shot, the officiant had changed the ceremony
    regarding the vows.

    I wanted a camera, in one of the corners of the altar where I could have a
    front shot of the bride and groom saying their vows... The camera would be on
    a tripod and stationary. I dressed in a sport coat etc. in a professional
    fashion. My attire was also darker in color (brown) so I blended into the
    shadows and against the wood walls. I was way off to the side next to one of
    the doors onto the altar. I occupied about a 4 sq ft space and didn't leave
    that. I still had a good front view of the Bride and Groom as they faced the
    altar. The church had a concern of 2 cameras. However by showing the priest
    what I had in mind he understood the need and my concern to have an angle where
    I wasn't getting the backs of readers at the lectern and getting the bride and
    groom during vows... etc. He also told me that he had changed the ceremony
    from earlier formats where he would step down off the altar and face the bride
    and groom so thay would be facing the congregation. They would be saying their
    vows facing the other direction. That made the camera on the altar less
    important but not useless. It made the other camera off the alter that much
    more necessary. I was still able to get the priest doing his thing regarding
    preparation for communion etc. and get front shots of the Bride and Groom
    coming up the steps at the beginning etc. An opposing shot of them going
    around to light the candle.

    Between myself and my brother who shot the wedding we were both off to the
    sides of the church, well out of the way of the activity on the altar. While
    we were visible we were not obtrusive. At the reception I had several people
    come up to me and say how unobtrusive we were. Some said they didn't even
    notice me up on the altar. Made me feel pretty good and confident of my
    professionalism hearing such praise. Then when the two tapes edited together
    so well and looked so good despite our difficulties it was very satisfying.

    A few of the concerns that have been expressed by the churches.

    They don't want the ceremony disrupted. They don't even want to know we are
    there. No moving around, especially on the altar. They were concerned about my
    brother off the altar because he was set up to move around a little. Main
    concern with him was, DON"T BLOCK ANYONES VIEW. We specifically selected his
    location with that in mind in the first place but, with the priest, set up
    boundries that he would not pass. We had it all worked out in advance and
    everyone seemed comfortable.

    They didn't want a lot of equipment around. Keep it simple. We reserved a pew
    near my brother and stowed his cases out of view. Keep the setup clean. I
    wanted to tap into the churches wireless mic but we found that a properly
    positioned shotgun worked fantastic. I was going to evesdrop on the churches
    system by finding the frequency for their wireless and use a good scanner to
    receive the signal. With the mic placement we had, I didn't need to do that.
    One Mic, whole HUGE church. We attached the shotgun to a tripod and positioned
    it below the lectern and pointing toward the area where the Bride and Groom
    were going to say their vows. Pointing upward to get the speakers from the
    churches PA. We USED HEADPHONES and listened to the pickup of the mic. During
    the rehearsal we positioned it around to pick up some of everything. I shot
    from the camera mic but my brother shot with the shotgun. The night of the
    rehearsal we had the whole placement worked out and knew exactly where we
    wanted to place the mic on wedding day. We taped all the rehearsals and did a
    few tests of our own. The only thing we didn't know was what the effect of the
    accoustics would be with a full church compared to fairly empty as it was on
    the night before. With all the marble and wood... we had some anxiety. We
    knew though that some of the reverberations would be muffled which might make
    things better than we expected. We hid the mic behind a flower arrangement
    where it wouldn't be noticable. And routed the cable around all traffic

    I recall one priest telling me about his concern for putting a mic on the
    groom. That is why I wanted to try and use the officiants mic. Until I found
    that he had a headset with one of those tiny thin tubes down to his face. I
    don't think that would have worked as I had expected anyways. I had envisioned
    a lav and thought when the three of them were together during the vows that his
    mic would be sufficient to pick up all the conversations. Anyways, the
    priests concern was that the Groom and Bride often talk during the ceramony.
    They sometimes say things that might not be good on a wedding tape. They joke
    around a bit etc. Certainly they don't want that possibly going over the
    churches PA and there might be some concern for interferance in the event that
    you are using a similar frequency as theirs. But, he said it might not be
    proper on their tapes. It is a little more personal sometimes. That may not
    be an issue all the time but I suppose it is something for thought. Some
    Brides and Grooms might want that though. Or at least one track that contains
    those candid comments. The thing to do then would be to mic the groom outside
    of the church and not have the officiant or anyone know about it. They don't
    need to know it. Just make the effort to try and find out the churches
    frequency and use a frequency that can't interfere with that. I figure by
    micing the priest, if possible, you would be getting more of the intended
    dialog for the tape. As it worked out for us, having the Bride and Groom facing
    out to the church and having the shotgun pointed toward them worked out GREAT
    without the wireless. Of course, putting that mic on a transmitter would be
    nice to not be tethered to a XLR cable. Again, care should be made to not
    cause interference with the churches system.

    Which brings up Tripping Hazard. Don't block eisls or routes of entrance or

    Don't get in the way and blend in as much as possible.

    I think what it comes down to is good professional commmunication with the
    priest(s) and the pastor. A new development at our church is that they now
    have their own Wedding Coordinator. Most weddings hire their own coordinator
    but it seems the church felt that they need someone on their part to assist the
    Bride and Groom. With the last wedding I did, last May, I got a suggestion
    from the church coordinator but once I explained the interest of the camera
    placement for the lectern and the lighting through the windows and position of
    floral arrangements she recognized where I was coming from. Her basis for her
    suggestion was just that other videographers have always done it from the other
    side of the church which was opposite from the location of the podium. Since
    family and friends do readings etc. I told the planner that I have found that
    those readings are an important part of the memories and that it would be
    advantageous to be on that side of the altar. No confrontation or anything,
    Just my thoughts and concerns and rational.
    WMAS 1960, Sep 27, 2004
  11. Not a good life

    leo Guest

    I used to do weddings, but I can never get what I really want to charge.
    Catholic weddings are long and tedious, so I gave up on them many, many
    years ago. I will say I will not do one, but if I do, it is with my rules.
    With everyone and their uncle having camcorders, it is hard to ask for a
    good prices for doing them. You will always get someone with a camcorder
    butting in front of you.

    If you buy a book on how to do weddings, you will get high end production
    crew that charge well over one thousand dollars, but they are for people
    that have the big bucks.

    Wedding video taking is a good stepping stone to learn you faults and get
    experience, but other then that it sucks!
    leo, Sep 27, 2004
  12. To those of you who seem to think he was talking about a Catholic
    ceremony, he said the priest's WIFE gave him so much trouble. Catholic
    priests do not have WIVES.

    Gary Eickmeier
    Gary Eickmeier, Sep 28, 2004
  13. Not a good life

    matt Guest

    Bless you for posting this.

    Ive had problems like this in the past, and I sheepishly assumed it
    was a lack of social skills on my part.

    Nope- people like preachers wives get off on being king/queen of their
    particular hills.
    matt, Sep 28, 2004
  14. Not a good life

    Bill Van Dyk Guest

    That's the spirit.

    But I wonder sometimes why religion sometimes gets a bad name among
    otherwise reasonable people...
    Bill Van Dyk, Sep 28, 2004
  15. Not a good life

    gothika Guest

    I quit doing wedding many years ago because of all the hassles
    invovled. Never mind the ever descending prices one could charge
    thanks to Uncle Henry and his 8mm Handycam.
    OR the many times I got stiffed because they simply ran out of money
    to cover all the costs.(The photographer/videographer is always
    considered to be the lowest life form attending the function so
    breaking the contract and not paying isn't really a bad.)
    I have in all the hundreds of weddings I covered early in my carrer
    had a few that were ok, but more often than not they turn out to be
    very bad experiences financially.)

    In your case sounds like you just got really bad people in the Priest
    and his wife though.
    Why on earth would they object to a wireless though?
    (When I did do video weddings I would avoid contact with the church
    officials as much as possible and just discreetly do whatever I had to
    to get the job done. I'd usually go in way early and place my mikes in
    a hidden place close to the pulpit, do my sound checks and leave until
    the ceremony was ready to start. My favorite hiding place was usually
    in the lattice work of vines and flowers around the pulpit.)
    It's been nearly 15 years since I consented to do a wedding and today
    would refuse flat out. I've just gotten to old to put up with all the
    hassles involved.
    gothika, Sep 29, 2004
  16. Not a good life

    sgordon Guest

    I was sympathetic to your plight until I read:

    : At that point, I lost it, called her an ignorant small minded idiot that
    : knows nothing about anything, and left the basement.

    That was extremely unprofessional. If I were the priest I might have
    thrown you out too, regardless of what led up to it. And if I were the
    couple who hired you, and I knew that you did that, I would have been
    very upset and would not recommend your services. (I would have also been
    upset at the priest and the church, but it is *not your place* to engage
    in an altercation with the clergy on behalf of you or the couple).

    I'm not at all surprised that the man in charge considered you a disruption
    to the church and insisted that you leave. Based on what you wrote, it
    sounds like you were pushy and unwilling to abide by the house rules.

    sgordon, Sep 29, 2004
  17. Gary, you are mistaken. He may have been confused about a women at this
    particular service, but one recent trend in church has been to let married
    Episcopal priest join the Roman Catholic church and to keep their wives. Times
    are changin'.
    David Frantz
    FrantzUnlimited, Sep 30, 2004
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