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Old April 10th, 2011, 04:50 PM   #1
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About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

I'll be shooting my first wedding with the GH2 next month. Any advice guys? I have a Canon XHA1 as my 2nd cam. Which one should I use for the wide shot during the ceremony? I'm guessing the Canon? For the Panny I don't have a useable fast zoom. Is it really necessary? If I have the Canon wide I figure I can compose my shots with the Panny. My lenses are the Panny 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95, Canon Fdn 50mm f/1.4, and Canon Fdn 100mm f/2.8. btw, I love using the stopless aperture control on my adapter...mega sweet. I also have the following filters: sky, uv, circular polarizer, and fader nd. I have an extra panny battery that I'll be able to charge while using the other one. I have two 16GB cards. I have a very old Dell laptop, but perhaps I should bring it to dump footage? I know Jeff is opposed to shooting in 24p, but does anyone else share this sentiment? I don't think I'd want to shoot interlaced at all, so if not 24p then I guess I'd do 720p60, which will suck that I can't use my monitor. The other problem is my Canon doesn't shoot 720p. It will do 1080i60i, though, so maybe do that to match the GH2?

I also have a Davis & Sanford ProVista fluid head tripod, Jag35 Straight Rig with follow focus and monitor, 2 Sony UWP-V1 wireless mics, a Zoom H4n, Rode NTG-2, Steadicam Merlin, and an ARRI Softbox I lighting kit. I take it it's not kosher to bring tungsten fresnels to a wedding reception? I plan on getting a Glidetrack SD (any length recommendation? I was thinking the .75m) this week, so I'll have that, too. Is it necessary to have a wireless handheld mic, or can I just use the Rode? I would mount the Rode on the GH2, but I will most likely have my Canon VL-20Li on camera light on the hot shoe. Unfortunately it's not dimmable.

They expect to need me for 5 hours. What do you guys normally charge for that length?

I have only done one wedding, so any advice would greatly be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old April 10th, 2011, 06:20 PM   #2
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

Also, I was going to propose the idea of doing one of those creative documentary style interview videos of the couple. I was thinking of shooting it first and playing it at the reception. What do you think? What do you guys charge for those?
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Old April 10th, 2011, 08:17 PM   #3
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

My advice would be to buy a GH1 and use it as your wide shot with your 25mm lens.

GH2 with one video camera will not be enough, IMO. I ran four yesterday and would have like another, but I can only edit four cams at a time, so there you are.

I run a 18-50mm f/2.8 and it is barely fast enough for quality footage. I would use the Canon as your primary camera to start, but I know you don't want to, of course.

It is just brutal with the GH2/GH1 as your primary camera, I know, I've done it several times, and it is VERY easy to screw it up.

Hopefully you know what mode to run in at various times. I ran in Manual Movie mode at all times, in Shutter Priority, till I found that P mode worked well, but only sometimes, then it was back to full manual.

It's too crazy, I'm still learning my way around, it's exciting, but not fun, yet.

If you shoot outdoors, I strongly recommend a ND filter, the Genus Variable, or just using your Canon. I tried out my Genus ND filter (recommended by Jim) and wow, it really works beautifully.

I know Jim S uses the 14-140mm for weddings, but I don't know how. I shot a speaker two weeks ago (before I sold it) in decent light and the images were not so great, my FX1000 would have done better. The lens is too slow for me, and defeats the whole purpose of why I went with the camera.
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Old April 10th, 2011, 10:34 PM   #4
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

Jeff, 4 cameras sounds like overkill. I shot a wedding just fine with two cameras. Most wedding production companies' basic package is just one camera. The majority of their other packages are 2 cameras. The wedding I shot was with two XHA1's. I don't have the budget to buy a GH1 right now. I negotiated a price with them, and the date is set. It's an outdoor wedding, and the reception is in the same area. As I listed, I have a Light Craft ND Fader Filter.
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Old April 10th, 2011, 11:13 PM   #5
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
I know Jim S uses the 14-140mm for weddings, but I don't know how.
The wedding I shot yesterday was outdoors at Pebble Beach. For the reception dancing which was after dark I used my Canon 20 mm. f1.7 lens. It worked great with one slightly dimmed Pro Light a few feet off the dance floor.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 12:50 AM   #6
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

Patrick, you shot a wedding before with two video cameras before, and it turned out fine. I have shot hundreds using two cameras. But they weren't these cameras, is the point.

You might be able to do it better than I am able to while new to the camera.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 02:05 AM   #7
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
I know Jim S uses the 14-140mm for weddings, but I don't know how. I shot a speaker two weeks ago (before I sold it) in decent light and the images were not so great, my FX1000 would have done better. The lens is too slow for me, and defeats the whole purpose of why I went with the camera.
Could this be because Jim is shooting 24p with 24Mbps & you are shooting 60i with a maximum of 17Mbps? I have been surprised at how good the low light footage is with the GH2. I've not been using the 14-140mm as I am not shooting weddings but have been using the 7-14mm F/4 for interiors & just bumping up the ISO. Here is an example Unique 1930s Italian style hunting lodge near Fayence The external night shots were done with the 20mm F/1.7. There are some shots done with the Canon 5DII & 16-35mm F/2.8 but I cannot remember or distinguish which camera was used for which shots. I use 24p 24Mbps with Film Mode Cinema.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 04:47 AM   #8
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

Nigle, if you paid your rent shooting weddings, you would understand better.

Below image was shot Saturday. The lights were off. Not dimmed, but turned completely off, except for lights on the altar which were oveheads pointing directly down, not out.

Would anyone here have traded the f/2.8 lens I was using for a f/4-5.6 lens? Had I used the 14-140mm zoomed, the image would have been different, to put it mildly.

They turned the lights off at the last second. I don't know if I was running auto ISO, I honestly don't remember as I had played with the setting a lot before the processional started. But regardless the loss of 2 stops would have been even uglier.

This is what the brides here do, they like the lights turned off with nothing but candles, and in this case there were not even candles. Not all brides of course, but enough of them that it makes me cross anything slower than f/2.8 right off. The 7-14mm lens is phenomenal, a really nice lens. But no matter how you look at it, 4.0 is considered slow by most anyone, and I shoot in low light scenarios which calls for faster lenses.

I have seen plenty of posts across the web with the same criticism of the 14-140, that is is poor for low light scenarios. But I don't need to be told this, the numbers already tell us.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 05:45 AM   #9
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

Jeff, I was trying to understand why Patrick finds the 14-140mm OK for weddings & you don't. You said
Quote:
I shot a speaker two weeks ago (before I sold it) in decent light and the images were not so great, my FX1000 would have done better
If it were decent light then the 14-140mm should be OK with F/4-5.6 even if it were necessary bump the ISO to 800 or 1600. Could it be that as you are capturing in the lower bit rate CODEC that there is no scope to lighten the image in post?
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Old April 11th, 2011, 06:55 AM   #10
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

Nigel, Patrick has not shot with the 14-140mm at a wedding, yet, but Jim has I think that is what you meant.

Why does it work for Jim? I don't know. The speaker I referred to was shot at high iso in 60i 24p on one camera, 720p on the other. I did say the images from the 14-140mm were decent, but by that I meant barely acceptable. The color was muddy. I disliked the results.

Because the light was decent, I want better than acceptable. With faster lenses it is possible. I'm trying to acquire images that look great without much post adjustment.

I've shot, I don't know, about 200 weddings, I have no idea. I have done my fair share of using post to enhance dark footage, and when it is grainy or muddy to begin with there it only looks granier when bumped up.

Dark footage shot at low ISO on the other hand lightens up somewhat better.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 08:05 AM   #11
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Why does it work for Jim? I don't know. The speaker I referred to was shot at high iso in 60i 24p on one camera, 720p on the other. I did say the images from the 14-140mm were decent, but by that I meant barely acceptable. The color was muddy. I disliked the results.
Jeff, you can only use the 24Mbps bit rate in 24p Cinema mode (Panasonic call this 24H REC QUALITY & there is also 17Mbps or 24L available). If you are shooting 1920x1080 60i then the bit rates are 17Mbps (FSH) or 13Mbps (FH). Likewise for 1280x720 50p there is 17Mbps (SH) & 13Mbps (H).
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Old April 11th, 2011, 08:16 AM   #12
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

Nigel, I'm not sure how a higher bit rate can compensate for a lack of light. Do I really want to transcode 24p footage to 60i, and resize it? Not sure about that.

I know you are very knowledgable about this stuff, but for weddings we want clear, bright images, and in low light conditions faster lenses are appropriate, at least that seems to be the best way to get them.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 09:51 AM   #13
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

Jeff, you are not getting the best possible images out of the camera if you are not using the 24Mbps recording quality. That's why you may be finding the colour muddy. If you really want 60i to match up with other cameras then at least make absolutely sure that you are using 17Mbps (FSH) REC QUALITY.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 10:23 AM   #14
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

Everything starts with the glass, not the camera. I have repeatedly said , in the past, that I intensely dislike artificial gain. Higher bit rates and gain cannot make up for a slow lens.

Nigel have you converted 1080i 24p to 480 60p or 60i for DVD? Cineform doesn't even offer the option.

Based on what I've read, 1080i 24p to 480 is not the best of choices for workflow. Besides, 24p is considered by many, if not most, to be the poorest of choices for event work by it's nature.

Ff/4.0 is considered slow for wedding work by most any photographer, why this insistence that it will be so great for video? No camera is so good that it can extract detail not picked up by the lens.

I have no problem if others are happy with the lens. I had it, I tried it, and sold it.

Nigel, you cannot honestly look at the image I posted above and then tell me that you would trade in a f/2.8 for a f/4.0-5.6 lens? If I can't get a decent image with f/2.8, how's it going to look a f/4 or higher?

I do appreciate your attempts to help me, but the lens thing I'm pretty much not flexible on. The glass is, in my mind, the main thing, not secondary.

I have had customers pick apart my video in my home because they are now spoiled with pristine images they see on television. That is what I'm dealing with.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 11:58 AM   #15
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Re: About to shoot first wedding with GH2...advice?

Glad most of my filming is outdoors where the 14-140 is fine,as far as 24P goes i only ever use it with a tripod where the subject matter has no fast action and i dont like panning with 24P,there is no way i would shoot weddings in pal 24P if i did them for a living.
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