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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
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Old August 18th, 2008, 11:48 AM   #1
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Need advice on shooting a wedding

I need to shoot my wife's sister wedding with XH-A1 in 2 weeks. I'm puzzled about what mode to shoot in (60i or 30F), considering that I will need to create both SD-DVD (I guess progressive HD would translate batter to progressive SD-DVD) and HD - most likely WMV-HD to play from PC. I'm not a pro and don't normally shoot weddings, so any advice is appreciated.

So here are my questions:

1. When shooting HD for SD-DVD output, is 30F or 24F better than 60i?

2. When shooting for WMV-HD or other non-bluray PC-based output, is 30F or 24F better than 60i?

3. When is more resolution lost: when deinterlacing 60i footage for WMV-HD or when shooting straight 30F and then compress to WMV-HD?

4. What is the best PC-based HD format in terms of quality/compression and what settings should I use for shooting and compressing to get the highest quality video on the least amount of space (say, one hour of full HD on a DVD5)? I've been trying to select the best PC-based HD format that I can output from Premiere Pro and Procoder 3, and I had failed to get any full HD output from 1080 60i footage that's not jerky, with exception of WMV-HD. I've used upper field first and tried interlaced 29.97fps output, but it looks jerky, while WMV-HD looks silky smooth. I suspect some resolution might be lost because of deinterlacing though.

5. Are there any tutorials or articles for shooting tasteful wedding videos? Maybe some online examples that can get me some creative ideas?

Any advice is appreciated, thanks!
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Old August 18th, 2008, 03:32 PM   #2
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5. Are there any tutorials or articles for shooting tasteful wedding videos? Maybe some online examples that can get me some creative ideas?

Any advice is appreciated, thanks!
"Tasteful" is quite subjective. Many fine examples of wedding videography have been posted on dvinfo, but they are not all to my taste.

There is a forum dedicated to Wedding and Events here: Wedding / Event Videography Techniques - The Digital Video Information Network
It has many links to examples on Vimeo and company websites.

I find the examples by Oleg Kalyan very good - he is quite a master of the art and he is very accomplished technically on the XH-A1. I couldn't do what he does in under pressure at a wedding but find it very inspiring. There are many other very good examples as well of course (though I personally find some a bit OTT).

Welcome to dvinfo, by the way. It's a really good list.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 04:07 PM   #3
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"Tasteful" is quite subjective. Many fine examples of wedding videography have been posted on dvinfo, but they are not all to my taste.

There is a forum dedicated to Wedding and Events here: Wedding / Event Videography Techniques - The Digital Video Information Network
It has many links to examples on Vimeo and company websites.

I find the examples by Oleg Kalyan very good - he is quite a master of the art and he is very accomplished technically on the XH-A1. I couldn't do what he does in under pressure at a wedding but find it very inspiring. There are many other very good examples as well of course (though I personally find some a bit OTT).

Welcome to dvinfo, by the way. It's a really good list.
Thanks! Plenty of resources there. Now if only someone would advise me on the main problem...
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Old August 18th, 2008, 04:21 PM   #4
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Thanks! Plenty of resources there. Now if only someone would advise me on the main problem...
Sorry, I'm PAL (50i, 25p) and use Macs. FWIW, I find 25F on the XH-A1 gives a more film-like quality than 50i.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 05:26 PM   #5
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Sorry, I'm PAL (50i, 25p) and use Macs. FWIW, I find 25F on the XH-A1 gives a more film-like quality than 50i.
Is it, in your experience, better to shoot interlaced and then transfer to HD (Quicktime H264 or WMV-HD or whatever) with deinteracing, or shoot progressive and thus avoid deinterlacing during compression? Same with regular DVD, I wonder which way more resolution is preserved.

Thanks for your help, I appreciate it!
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Old August 18th, 2008, 07:19 PM   #6
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Let me see if I can shed some light on your questions.

Frame rate for DVD:
60i, 30p or 24f is a personal decision. It depends upon the look you want. I've read that a significant number of wedding videographers like 24f for the ersatz film look.

My best recommendation is to go to the location and take some shots in all three modes. (You can mix them on the same tape.) Then view the footage and see what you like best. If you can't go to the location, try someplace similar. You want to find the look you desire.

Questions 2 & 4:
I don't think there's a "best" codec. Compressed video loses data in the process. Different codecs lose different data and toss the data around in different manners. WMV tends to have a soft look. Flash too looks soft to me, but in a different way. I prefer h.264 as the best compromise of quality and file size. But ask any 10 people for their preference and you'll get a baker's dozen answers.

Question 3:
I think the question you're asking is which will give you quality when you compress for WMV. 60i and 30p contain virtually the same amount of video information. It's just arranged differently. You will probably deinterlace for WMV so you could go either way.

Also... remember that interlaced footage will give you better options if you want to do slo motion. But you lose that so-called "film look".

In the final analysis, there are no right/wrong answers for this. You'll need to make subjective decisions that will get you to your desired goals of look and quality.
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Old August 18th, 2008, 09:56 PM   #7
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In the final analysis, there are no right/wrong answers for this. You'll need to make subjective decisions that will get you to your desired goals of look and quality.
Thanks for the thorough answer. How do you encode H.264? With QuickTime? Is there a good way to export it from Premiere Pro CS3?
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Old August 19th, 2008, 10:33 AM   #8
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The VC1 codec used by WMV-HD was designed with interlaced video in mind, which is probably why it looks smoother than H264 or MPEG2 when you feed it 60i. Conversely, H264 and the MPEG codecs seem to do better with progressive footage. If you will have lots of motion in your footage, either of your subjects or your camera (e.g. lots of hand held shots), 60i will look smoother than 30F or 24F, and VC1 will be a suitable codec. If your camera will be on a tripod the whole time, and your subjects won't be running around much, you might do well with a progressive mode, for a more "arty" look, and H264 compression.

Another tip I picked up recently: try to shoot with the lens as wide open as possible, by using the built-in ND filters, -3dB gain and, if necessary, higher shutter speeds. This has two benefits:
1) HD lenses are designed to perform best at wide appertures, where diffraction effects are least likely;
2) The slightly softer backgrounds, especially at longer focal lengths, make compression easier for the codec and so less chance of getting compression artifacts. Apparently, it doesn't need much softening of the background for the codec efficiency to increase a lot.

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Old August 19th, 2008, 07:28 PM   #9
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Roman... there are many ways to do it. The easiest way is through the Adobe Media Encoder. From Premier Pro go to File/Export/Adobe Media Encoder. That will bring up the encoder window.

Take a look at the documentation. It will detail (somewhat) the output options you have available.
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Old August 19th, 2008, 09:53 PM   #10
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Roman... there are many ways to do it. The easiest way is through the Adobe Media Encoder. From Premier Pro go to File/Export/Adobe Media Encoder. That will bring up the encoder window.

Take a look at the documentation. It will detail (somewhat) the output options you have available.
Of course. I'm quite proficient with Premiere Pro and know how to use the encoder. However all settings that I try for 60i export to quicktime H264 invariably look like crap (heavy jittering). I use 29.97fps, interlaced upped field first. Should I use 60fps maybe? I don't know what else to try. WMV-HD looks great.

One other thing I tried today is shooting 24F and 30F (manual, 1/24, 1.6) when moving at a moredate pace- looks very, almost unbearably, jittery when playing from camera to my monitor. I'll have to stripe the tape and see what comes out of the encoding of course, but it's weird.
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Old August 20th, 2008, 11:13 AM   #11
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Shoot 60i

I do a lot of weddings and although I like the look of 24F I slow down footage all the time, 60i is better for slow motion. Something to consider if you edit the way I do.
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Old August 21st, 2008, 09:17 AM   #12
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I would suggest not to shoot in 24F. You will need to telecine the final footage to form a 60i stream so it can be playback on NTSC TV and DVD player. Besides, it gets stuttering when creating a slomo footage from 24F.

60i is great but I don't like the "video" look. You also need to deinterlace footage when exporting to web or PC playback.

30F is my fav choice. I shoot all weddings in 30F. It has some what semi-film look without having to deal with deinterlacing or telecine. 30F can be treated as 60i so there's no extra process on authoring the final DVD.

I can offer you some wedding DVDs I worked on before. If interested, email me.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 05:09 AM   #13
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I would suggest not to shoot in 24F. You will need to telecine the final footage to form a 60i stream so it can be playback on NTSC TV and DVD player. Besides, it gets stuttering when creating a slomo footage from 24F.

60i is great but I don't like the "video" look. You also need to deinterlace footage when exporting to web or PC playback.

30F is my fav choice. I shoot all weddings in 30F. It has some what semi-film look without having to deal with deinterlacing or telecine. 30F can be treated as 60i so there's no extra process on authoring the final DVD.

I can offer you some wedding DVDs I worked on before. If interested, email me.
What shutter speeds do you stay at with 30F? I assume 1/60?

I'm going to make the jump from shooting in HDV 60i to either HDV 24F or 30F. I LOVE the way 24F looks from the test shooting/exporting/burning I've done with it but it hasn't been "real wedding" situations with people moving quickly and me having to pan. I'm concerned that I'll have to pan way too slow and miss action to avoid the blur.

Could you share your thoughts on that with 30F in mind? I may just shoot in 30F as I wasn't aware 24F had something extra needed to be done to it to play in DVD players. I've done a HDV > SD timeline/export convert using the method outlined here:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/776572-post1.html

And I was very happy with the results with a quick test run. Now as for shutter speeds, I don't know what I have to say at 1/48 but I went upwards of 1/90 and the footage looked fine. Do I have to keep it at 1/48 (24F) and use aperture/ND filters to adjust exposure?

Thanks in advance.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 05:20 AM   #14
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Do I have to keep it at 1/48 (24F) and use aperture/ND filters to adjust exposure?
Thanks in advance.
That's always the best way to work in movies Randy. And use NDs to keep away from using small apertures. Very high shutter speeds do have their place (Minority Report, Band of Brothers) but this is weddings we're talking here. I'm thinking most brides want the film to glorify the day, not romanticise your technical expertise.

tom.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 05:41 AM   #15
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That's always the best way to work in movies Randy. And use NDs to keep away from using small apertures. Very high shutter speeds do have their place (Minority Report, Band of Brothers) but this is weddings we're talking here. I'm thinking most brides want the film to glorify the day, not romanticise your technical expertise.

tom.
My background is shooting photography so I'm accustomed to having shutter speed and aperture used to control the exposure based on what I'm shooting (action, still life, etc.) and I am no means an expert at that so I may even have been approaching that wrong ;). I'm always learning new things about how to shoot film. I guess now it's going to be ND/Aperture for 24F/30F editing? Please correct me if I'm oversimplifying this.

Could you expand a bit on your high shutter speed comment? Forgive me but I don't catch on to the relevance of those 2 movies. That's not to be snide or rude, I just don't understand.

And I totally agree on that last part, brides care more about the telling of the story rather than how the story was told.

Thanks for the reply, it's greatly appreciated!
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