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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
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Old June 10th, 2009, 10:32 AM   #1
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Best settings for wedding video?

So far, the most important thing I've videoed was my daughter's dance competitions (at least the ones that allowed videoing). So when my friend asked me to video her wedding, I started getting a little nervous. Obviously I want to do a good job, so I'll probably be posting a few questions in the near future as the date approaches. My first is specific to my HF10's settings (hence the post here vs. the events category).

For the dance videos, I use either 30p or 60i to try to get the sharpest motion possible. But for this wedding, I'm wondering if 24p might be the better choice. I'm a very technical person, so it's hard for me to grasp the concept of less being more, especially when it comes to frame rates. Does it really look better for some reason? I watch movies on the big screen and cringe when the camera pans and everything gets blurry. I guess I don't see the appeal, but maybe my friend would prefer the 24p effect. But I don't think she'd understand what I was talking about if I asked her. ;)

Also, does anyone use Cinemode? I'm inclined not to, because in my mind I know I can probably simulate the effect during editing, but if I turn it on in the camera I'm stuck with it whether I like it or not. But in reality, I know I probably won't simulate the Cinemode effect during editing, so if it's worth having I really should turn it on in camera. Did that sound crazy to anyone else?

So what's the deal with 24p and Cinemode? Gimicks or useful? And of course, if anyone has any other settings I should consider for the wedding shoot, by all means share. I need all the help I can get!

Thanks.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 11:21 AM   #2
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I would not go with 24p. I always create a highlights video in slow motion. 24p in slow motion is just unwatchable.

I put together a thread for amature using their camera for weddings. Check it out here L.A. Color Shop Blog

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Old June 10th, 2009, 11:37 AM   #3
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Hi Kevin,

I'm partial to the 24p look, but its a very subjective decision. Personally I prefer it for the better low-light sensitivity and the motion attributes. Its true that slow motion doesn't work well compared to 60i, but I do occasionally put a few shots in at 66%. In a way its been good for my shooting, knowing that I need to capture it smooth because slowing it in post isn't an option. The bottom line is to do some tests and use the setting you prefer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Zibart View Post
So far, the most important thing I've videoed was my daughter's dance competitions (at least the ones that allowed videoing). So when my friend asked me to video her wedding, I started getting a little nervous. Obviously I want to do a good job, so I'll probably be posting a few questions in the near future as the date approaches. My first is specific to my HF10's settings (hence the post here vs. the events category).

For the dance videos, I use either 30p or 60i to try to get the sharpest motion possible. But for this wedding, I'm wondering if 24p might be the better choice. I'm a very technical person, so it's hard for me to grasp the concept of less being more, especially when it comes to frame rates. Does it really look better for some reason? I watch movies on the big screen and cringe when the camera pans and everything gets blurry. I guess I don't see the appeal, but maybe my friend would prefer the 24p effect. But I don't think she'd understand what I was talking about if I asked her. ;)

Also, does anyone use Cinemode? I'm inclined not to, because in my mind I know I can probably simulate the effect during editing, but if I turn it on in the camera I'm stuck with it whether I like it or not. But in reality, I know I probably won't simulate the Cinemode effect during editing, so if it's worth having I really should turn it on in camera. Did that sound crazy to anyone else?

So what's the deal with 24p and Cinemode? Gimicks or useful? And of course, if anyone has any other settings I should consider for the wedding shoot, by all means share. I need all the help I can get!

Thanks.
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Old June 10th, 2009, 12:37 PM   #4
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Thanks for the quick replies. I read through the L.A. Color Shop Blog and found it quite useful. I may have to invest in a hood for my Raynox 6600 before the wedding. And I may just try the fake LANC idea on my second, stationary camera, since it'll be high on a tripod. I might mount the remote on a leg or something. That's a neat idea.

So 24p is better for low light conditions? Makes sense. I'm familiar with shutter speeds and aperture settings from still photography, so I should have realized 24p at least allows for a slightly slower shutter speed than 30p or 60i. I'm big on editing, and I don't want to close the door on slow motion, but I don't want the video to look "homemade" either. I guess it's still up in the air for me at this point. I'll do some test videos in different lighting conditions and see what works best.
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Old June 11th, 2009, 02:39 PM   #5
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Unless the venue for the reception is unusually well lit, 24p is your best friend. I'd trade away overly grainy slo-mo for more usable footage anytime.
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Old June 11th, 2009, 02:53 PM   #6
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Kevin, I'm glad you found the blog useful.

I have both Raynox 6600 and WD-H43 wide angle lens. The good things for Raynox is the price and the black matching body. However, it doesn't provide the high optics quality as the WD-H43. With Raynox, you can only zoom abotu half way. After that, it will be blury.

The fake LANC using Remote Control works very well for me. Optical cable is cheap.. $3. That's your investment. I will put it on all the tripod handle that I use with HV30. With such, you can pan and zoom with just one hand.

24p is better in low light. To me, 60i is too home video-ish. 24p stutter during panning, high motion, and bad in slow motion turn me off. 30p strikes a balance in between. It gives a semi film look and no need to deinterlace footage for web export. That's a winner. Only if you are using HV40, for HV20 and 30, you have to deal with pulldown removal. PF24 is 24p but wrapped in 60i stream with pulldown frames inserted. It's a pain to remove pulldown. Therefore, 30p is a winner for me in shooting weddings.

You might also need to find out the "light trick" or "cell phone trick" to lock down gain. The HV cam is not good at low light. Gain will kick in and the video will be grainy. Locking down the gain won't make it brighter but it will be a noise free video. Then you can adjust the exposure in camera, or adjust it in NLE.

The other way is to get more light. Currently I am using the Comer Cm900 and CM1800 LED lights at weddings. They work great!
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Old June 11th, 2009, 03:19 PM   #7
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I've got an HV20 and love it for an easy to tote camera that can shoot stunning footage (with decent lighting). Removing pulldown is a PITA, but I've gotten used to capturing with HDV Split and pulling the clips into VirtualDub Mod to remove the pulldown. It's not all that bad unless you have a ton of very short clips.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 09:32 AM   #8
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The reception will be outdoors at night under a tent, so I'm really looking forward to that lighting challenge... 24p sounds like a good choice on the surface, but this is a family of dancers (hip hop, jazz, lyrical). I think there will be a big focus on dancing at the reception, so I want it to come out clean and sharp. On-camera lighting would be ideal, but I don't think I can justify the expense at this point, especially since I'm doing this wedding video as a favor. Maybe an LED flashlight and some duct tape? j/k I'll check out the light trick and see how that works out in my simulated environment tests. And I'll probably practice changing between 24p and 30p to better familiarize myself with where the setting is in the menus.

Nobody has mentioned Cinemode yet. I read somewhere that you get more shutter speed options from that mode. Does anyone have any thoughts about whether that would help with my situation? I would think in ever-changing lighting situations, like I expect the reception to be, more gradation in shutter speeds would allow for less abrupt transitions.

Thanks again for the replies and useful advice.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 10:20 AM   #9
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Do you know about the light trick? If you are using HV30, you must learn to use the light trick to shoot in dark place. Otherwise, you video will be all grainy. For that, you will need a mini-Sd card.

If you are going to use LED flashlight, make sure you gel it to orange color. Otherwise, you video will be all blue-ish with the wrong white balance.

I personally do not like Cinemode. It does help in low light a little bit but all the color output is very strange to me. Some people like it and some don't. So it's best for you to try it out first before it's too late.

You should also stick with one frame rate. Otherwise you will have hard time mixing different frame rate on timeline and the final DVD.

Afterall, if the reception is in a tent at night, you do need to consider adding some artificial light.

Very likely, you should try the Tv mode with 1/30 shutter speed.

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Old June 12th, 2009, 09:12 PM   #10
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I'm sure you've seen a movie (film) with dancing in it (like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers for example)? That's 24p. There's no reason dancing can't be shot at 24p and look good. On the other hand, excessively grainy or dark footage looks like crap, no matter how smooth the motion is.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 09:25 PM   #11
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24p is just a bit tricky to make it good. You have to make sure you pan or zoom slowly. otherwise, it will be all stuttered.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 09:43 PM   #12
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Zippy zooms and pans give footage an amateurish look at any frame rate (but yes, smooth zooms and pans are even more important at 24p).
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Old June 13th, 2009, 02:18 PM   #13
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Thanks for the additional replies. I'm learning a lot, but I just taught myself a couple of very important lessons as well just from playing around with the camera. For instance, shutter speeds lower than the frame rate effectively reduce the frame rate because all the camera does is duplicate frames. But on the flip side, shutter speeds higher than the frame rate give a stop-motion effect since the entire motion of the subject isn't being recorded. So I definitely plan to match the shutter speed to the frame rate whenever possible. And after reviewing the 24p 1/24 and 30p 1/30 test footage I took, I'm leaning towards 30p at this point.

I also tried the light trick this morning in an especially dark basement. I shot both with and without locking the exposure and rendered them side by side, cropped to 1280x720. The locked (tricked) footage is less grainy but less vibrant compared to the unlocked footage. Of course this represented a near worst-case scenario, and with some additional tweaking, I think the locked footage would be the clear winner. Here's the video on Vimeo, with levels applied to the locked exposure footage mid-way through each test.
Testing Camera Settings on Vimeo
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Old June 13th, 2009, 02:30 PM   #14
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I usually shoot in P mode if there're enough lights around. That will just let the camera engine determine the optimal shutter speed and aperture value. If it's too bright or too dark, I will switch to Tv mode to avoid over-exposure and under-exposure.

You don't always match the shutter speed with frame rate. If you shoot 1/30 outdoor, the footage will be too bright.

If you go with PF24, you will have to make sure you understand pulldown and how to remove pulldown. Then you will also need to make sure your NLE support 24p editing and you are familiar how to author a 24p DVD. Those are additional stuff that you don't have to deal with if you shoot 30p.

Locking exposure makes a day and night difference in dark environment. If you do it right, using the light trick should give you a noise free video but not a "less grainy". This is one example I saw that I like so much using the light trick.

Acustic on Vimeo

I'm sure you do it right. But just to see we are on the same page, I use a small LED keychain light.

1. Switch to Tv mode 1/30.
2. Shine the light in front of the camera. Then keep pressing the photo button half way to check the exposure.
3. You will see the aperture value keep going up as you have a light in front of the lens. The camera will also think there're enough lights so automatic gain wont' kick in.
4. Slowly move the light away from the lens and keep checking the exposure. You will see the F value started to drop.
5. Lock the exposure when the F value drop to F2.0 or F1.8.

That should give you a noise free video without automatic gain, and at the same time, aperture opens the widest allowing max light goes to the sensor. You can then adjust the joystick button to the right to adjust exposure a little bit. or you can do that in NLE.

Good luck at your wedding shoot :)
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Old June 13th, 2009, 05:22 PM   #15
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Typically, you want to set the shutter speed to 1 over twice the frame rate (1/48 for 24p and 1/60 for 30p). Slower shutter speeds (like 1/24 for 24p or 1/30 for 30p) can result in excessive blur (trails) where there's motion (great for making a film about drug abuse maybe, but otherwise undesirable). That won't look very good for shooting dancing. Only use the slower shutter speed if you really need to, to overcome low light problems. Faster shutter speeds can result in a strobing effect. I would never allow the camera to automatically set the shutter speed.
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