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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 09:00 PM   #1
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About to shoot another wedding

Hey everyone, my next (2nd) wedding shoot is this weekend, and I would appreciate any advice. Here is my current setup and questions:

Cameras: 2 GL2s. One is stationary at the back, the other will be manned by me on a Bogen 3182/501 tripod setup. This will likely be my setup for the ceremony and the reception.

Audio: I am a bit concerned here. I decided to buy the tripod before the mic because you really can't do anything without a decent tripod. I am told there will be little to zero house audio system, so all I am left with is the built in mics on the GL2, which I'm sure is unacceptable. The local electronics store rents a wireless lav mic system for $55/day, however I had never heard of the model they mentioned to be available. The rep said they rent a "UFO 100" but I may have heard him wrong. Has anyone heard of this system, or was he possibly talking about the Senn. Evo 100 system? Any other audio suggestions are welcome.

I may also take my old JVC 1-chip camera and set it up to record as close to the bride and groom as possible, just to see if it can record decent sound. I wouldn't use it's video, of course :)

Lighting: I can't justify spending money on lighting just yet, so I'm going to have to get the best possible image without it. Luckily, the ceremony and reception are both outdoors in the evening (6:30 – 9:30) so lighting probably won't be as bad as an indoor reception by candlelight. However, can anyone recommend the best manual settings on the GL2 to produce best low-light images?

Photo: I plan on borrowing the Canon 10-D digital camera from my school to take a few good stills to mix with video and to use when designing cover art. I may even use these pictures to create another photo montage if I have enough of them, and their photographer isnt doing this already.

So, I think thats it. I know I've posted here before about wedding stuff, but I have some more specific questions this time :)

Thanks for all your help!
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Old May 4th, 2004, 06:08 AM   #2
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Get shots of the guests, especially those who are seated and looking quietly forward; you can use those fill in shots to cover any mistakes you make during the actual wedding. The GL2 does have a voice setting; I presume it is a kind of shotgun effect. You can get a louder input using this setting in conjunction with manual setting, just be careful you have no distortion.

Oh, and anticipate the "ALL RISE" just before the bride enters. When everyone gets up it can block your view of the brides entrance.

You may want to look into lighting; If the wedding starts late, and I've had one start 3 hours late, it may be your only hope to have something from Wolfe Camera like two minimalist 250 watt Smith Victor lamps with stands and purchase the optional barn doors so as not to disturb the guests. Get extra bulbs, the are only rated at 6 hours or so, the kind with the blue coating give a nice white light that the GL2 quality thrives on. The lamps should be higher than the stands allow, so you may have to set the stands on something higher. But first check with the bride and groom to see if they prefer their half hour of ambiance, comming in late about two hours at sundown and having their wedding at the mercy of whatever lighting is available vs a couple of 250 watt bulbs... Warn them you cannot be responsible in this case....I certainly would.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 07:47 AM   #3
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Have you ever considered Minidisk recorders? I have two of them and I use them for every wedding I do. I mic the groom, and I get good sound quality from this. You can see the results at my site www.slakrboy.com (just go to the videos section and watch the Wedding Ceremony video)

MD recorders cost about $180 and do not suffer from the sound dropout issues that a wireless system can have.

I have two cams, and I record audio from both of them, plus the audio from the groom and mix them together (if I have time, I usually mic the podium for readings and songs). In post, I'll usually mix the audio from the MD recorder and the GL2 on stage, and it works out very well. Just a suggestion...

Mark Jefferson
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Old May 4th, 2004, 08:13 AM   #4
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Bill–Thanks for the tip on the lighting. I will look into it, however it may be too late to invest much money in lighting for this wedding as I am only getting paid $600 and half of that is going towards paying off my GL2. What do you think of some of the on-camera lighting solutions? Also, you mentioned to get shots of the guests. I already plan on doing this, but im not quite sure how to go about it yet. One of the cameras will be unmanned at the back recording a wide shot just in case anything goes wrong with the other cam. The camera I will be using will be closer to the front, getting close-up shots of the events. Are you saying I should take the camera I am using to get crowd shots and just plan on using the wide shot during those? Or do you think I would need a third camera to do this? Also, would it be wrong or worth a try to shoot audience (if there is much of an audience) at the reception, and use those shots as cutaways during the ceremony video?

Mark–I have considered Minidisk recorders, but I always have the fear of not knowing what I am recording until afterwards. However, considering my budget, I may try one if they are reliable. Would you mind telling me exactly what minidisk recorder and lav mic you recommend? If only I could record a mic in to my iPod...

Also, I have a new question for you. How would you go about editing the rehearsal/dinner footage? Should I cover the entire event in sequence as I would the ceremony, or should I do music-video style coverage of just the highlights of the rehearsal and dinner? If this is what you would recommend, do you know of any good music choices for this?

Sorry for such a long post... but thanks for all your help!
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Old May 4th, 2004, 03:58 PM   #5
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In my experience (during reception) I must first shoot the entrance of the wedding party, etc. Among other things I go from table to table and get congrats and best wishes from the seated guests before they eat. If you do this you must decide whether to politely ask the DJ to turn the music down low or completely off just for a while till you get the interviews. The best way is no music. This way you can record the DJ's music afterward and paste it into the interview segments, or just add your own music, that way the music soundtrack is unbroken between interview shots. I would keep the entire reception in sequence if possible. Oh! and if you can get slow zooms of the wedding party and family while the photographer is taking them directly after the wedding ceremony, before the reception. This way at the end of the video you can have credits roll up the screen in a movie like fashion over various slow zooming shots, put in even more super slow motion by your editing software. Slo-mo hugs directly after the ceremony are the bomb also, and can be put in with the scrolling ending credits.

I think a pair of Smith Victor lights from Wolfe are only about $150. It can possibly make make a big difference in an emergency situation and an investment toward recommendations from future customers. I consider a wedding/reception in dim lighting home video quality but I am sure others here will disagree and insist on ambiance. It's your choice. No way will I be without at least a small mounted cam light at least for the interviews of congratulations.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 04:12 PM   #6
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The bride and groom want me to conduct guest interviews at the reception, but wait until after the events of the reception are over, when they will make an announcement that any guests can come over to where my tripod is set up and record their message. This way I can have more control over the shot for the interview rather than running around handheld.

Also, this way I can use a simple wired lav mic that I can borrow from my school to get somewhat better audio.

The only problem is that this will have to be later in the night, and it will be darker. So, I guess I really need to look into at least some basic lighting.

Now this sounds really bad, but the big problem here is that I'm only 17, and my parents think I'm nuts when I spend so much money on equipment like this. In the past month I've bought the GL2, Bogen Tripod and 501 head, and a camera bag. They would lose it if I told them i'm going to spend even more money on lighting this week.

Oh well... I'll see what I can do.
BTW, for the guest interview shots that I mentioned, if I could get access to a Canon VL-3 or VL-10 on-camera light, would these help much?

Thanks again
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Old May 4th, 2004, 04:25 PM   #7
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Have you ever thought about a "video-booth" where guests can record their own message to the bride and groom?

I did just that at the last wedding I shot and it was a huge success. Instead walking around and sticking a camera into the faces of unsuspecting, unprepared guest, I set my second camera up on a tripod and left some simple instructions on how to record their own message to the bride and groom. The guest loved this because it gave them time to prepare what they wanted to say and they weren't nervous because there was no one behind the camera listening to what they said. This also allowed me to be free to record the reception events as they happened.

I simply used a cardboard sleeve to cover every button except "record" on my remote and left a note for people to "wait for the red light on the camera" before they started recording. The guest knew instinctively to pick up the handheld mic and talk into it. This helped eliminate a lot of the background noise.

This is a great way to get sincere messages from the guests.

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Old May 4th, 2004, 05:24 PM   #8
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I'm curious about your 'video booth'. I think it's an outstanding idea, as long as guests use it. Did you get more interviews, less interviews, or around the same using your 'booth' versus handheld? I'd hate to look at the footage later and have only 3 guests on tape with interviews.

Also, how was your booth set up. Was there a physical barrier that blocked the person being recorded from everyone else (ie - private) or not?
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Old May 4th, 2004, 06:11 PM   #9
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The reception was in a banquet hall at a hotel in Portland. My booth (not really a "booth"... yet) was set up in an ajoining room that had a few couches. With the camera on the tripod, I framed the shot to capture anyone sitting on the couch. There was no physical barrier to keep other people from watching someone record. However, the volume level of the live music at the recepetion kept any stray ears from overhearing what was being said into the mic. So, it wasn't a "private" booth, but people still felt private enough to bare their souls.

I've done handheld interviews at receptions before but they all turned out stilted and forced. When I set up the booth i ended up with over an hour of recorded messages. At one point there was a line up at the camera. The bridal party got creative and turned their interviews into a "Survivor" spoof. (i.e. they held up cards with the names of the bride or groom and confessed why they were voting them off the island)

I should note that most of the interviews were younger people. People not afraid of technology. So if you do decide to go this route I would encourage you to keep an eye on your "booth" to make sure people are using it. Have the DJ make several announcements about it. You might even go around to the tables and encourage people to use it.

I'm toying with the idea of acutually building a photo-booth like the kind you see in the mall. The fun-factor of an actual booth might really encourage people to cram in there to record a message.
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Old May 4th, 2004, 06:46 PM   #10
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haha, just to add...........let the guests get tanked up a bit before the interviews........makes it more interresting ;)

John DeLuca
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Old May 4th, 2004, 07:41 PM   #11
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Yea that would make things somewhat interesting :)
unfortuneatley, in my case, no one in the wedding party, or the caterers for that matter, drink alchohol at all... so i doubt there will be any alcoholic beverages at the reception...

Just another thought about lighting... The ceremony and reception are outdoors. I have not been to the location yet, but am told that the reception is in a "tent" that has solid walls. I assume that this will still allow some natural light into the reception. This is good news because the reception is starting at 7:00 and right about now I'm getting plenty of sunlight up to around 8:30. So, I could try to do the guest interviews at the beginning of the reception while I have daylight since the reception events don't actually start until 7:45.
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Old May 5th, 2004, 04:18 PM   #12
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I think you're taking a risk without a camera light. I would beg or borrow to get the money for a good on-board camera light especially if you're getting paid to shoot this wedding. Also, buy a good UHF diversity wireless system. I've done tent weddings and they can get dark when filled with people. Good luck.
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