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Old May 15th, 2011, 12:42 AM   #1
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Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

Well, I learned a few things on today's wedding.

1. Canon FD F/1.4 50mm is fantastic, particularly for b-roll during dancing. The low light ability, the crispness and colors, even in low light is amazing, and it is very long at 100mm, so the facial closeups catch expressions that are priceless.

2. Sigma F/2.8 18-50mm is the best general purpose lens I have, and served me very well.

3. Be extremely careful when using the focus button during recording as you are likely to inadvertently stop recording by pushing it too hard. It happened to me with my two main cameras at the same time. Luckily I was running four cameras, so I have footage of the bouquet toss anyway. That was a close call.

4. You can follow focus during the processional, but it is extremely difficult, and I did makes mistakes. Focusing while following, panning, etc is very tough.

5. I have a dual head tripod setup for two cameras, and it was an even better idea in practice than I imagined it would be.

5. The Tamron F/2.8 28-75mm is great for dancing, etc when placed in a faraway corner, and I just turned it on and left it running. Best thing I ever did.

6. You must stop recording from time to time to focus using the focus assist, or you will be sorry. It is nearly impossible to focus a long shot otherwise.

7. A 24"x24" softbox light is the best thing I've ever bought for reception lighting. I'm going to get another and run two from now on. Absolutely perfect lighting for the first dance.

8. Lights on light stands is the way to go, way better then camera top.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 11:40 AM   #2
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

Oh, almost forgot, Aperture Priorty in Movie mode with auto ISO is perfect! With FD lenses I use Shutter Priority instead. Auto ISO absolutley works, MOST of the time, and except for the constant manual focusing, it was like running a regular video camera.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 02:12 PM   #3
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

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Be extremely careful when using the focus button during recording as you are likely to inadvertently stop recording by pushing it too hard.
A huge amen to that! I found that in actual shooting situations the difference between pushing it too little and not getting the focus adjustment and pushing it too hard and stopping recording was just too dangerous to use. I have my camera set up so that it will change focus only when I touch the screen at the point where I want the camera to focus. Aside from not being dangerous to use in actual shooting situations, I can focus on a primary subject anywhere in the frame. This is very useful when a subject is not in the center of the frame.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 02:13 PM   #4
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

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5. I have a dual head tripod setup for two cameras, and it was an even better idea in practice than I imagined it would be.
How are you using the dual setup? Sounds interesting.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 02:30 PM   #5
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

I have the bar by manfrotto (I'm in a hurry now so I can't post the link if you want it let me know) and put two heads on it. I run a GH2 with a Sigma 18-50mm for example alongside a GH1 with a 20mm and I can attend two cameras at one time without running around. Very handy.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:29 AM   #6
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

How hard is it to setup the two softboxes in a run and gun situation as a wedding is? Do the bride, groom, and guests complain? Especially if they meticulously planned their mood lighting to be dim for the first dance or other parts of the reception?
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:20 PM   #7
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

Jeff, I do this sometimes with two tripods side by side. I find this useful sometimes. If for any reason I have to move, I can move one camera at a time without a disruption in coverage. Of course this is more important in a documentary style shoot. If it's a short form only production, you can always say that you 'chose' to leave that part out - - - "Dear B&G, yeah I left out the ceremony kiss." - - - "Why do you ask." - - - "Well, that 's my 'style', just leave the creative part to me. If you read the contract, I have full creative control." ;-)
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Old May 16th, 2011, 01:32 PM   #8
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

Good point Jim. I'm running at least three if not four cameras for each wedding now, so when I move the two-camera tripod I still have coverage, so I'm still covered.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 08:59 AM   #9
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

Zhong, the softbox (I only have one now) is wonderful. You cannot use it at all venues, not all brides will want it, of course. On the other corner of the dance floor I place a led light up high same way, and it's really, really nice for lighting up the dancers.

This last reception was my first time using it, and I was a bit shy about putting it up, by when it's up 9 feet high on a relatively dim setting, no one cared. It's not in anyone's eyes. The key is getting it up very high.

I always fantasized about using one at a reception, and then I saw that Mark Von Lanken uses it, and then I was determined to try it.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 01:49 PM   #10
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

Jeff,

I have 2 questions for you about your setup. Does the double camera bar shake the other camera when you are doing panning/adjusting one camera? Also which light are you using at the reception that Mark uses?

Thanks.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 03:43 PM   #11
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

Steve, no shake, if you are careful. You need a solid tripod of course to pull it off. With the smaller heads I use (701) it's finel. Downside is if you kick or bump your tripod, you get twice the shake for your money, which I do more often than I would like. Panning is limited (no 360 degree pans, etc) of course, but it's not a problem most of the time. The advantages outweight the downsides (which are few).

I don't know which softbox Mark uses, I just saw it in a lighting video of his online. He actually didn't even have it turned on in the example I saw, he said the bride didn't want it on, but when I saw he took it to weddings it looked good to me.
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Last edited by Jeff Harper; May 17th, 2011 at 09:50 PM.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 09:05 PM   #12
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

Thanks for this Jeff.

Can you tell me more about the copy of this lens you have?

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Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post

2. Sigma F/2.8 18-50mm is the best general purpose lens I have, and served me very well.
Which mount and adapter are you using? I am not sure I can wait on the mythical mythical m43 'fast' zoom.

What did you pay for it? How is the Auto focus is on it (AFS)?
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Old May 17th, 2011, 10:01 PM   #13
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

18-50mm F2.8 EX DC MACRO for Olympus is the one to look for, but is pretty hard to find, it's not made anymore. I found mine on Craiglist for $350. You need the Panasonic adapter DMW-MA1. Olympus makes an adapter that works the same, I've not used it.

Lens is not nearly as bright and crisp as the 20mm, for example, but with sufficient light it's fine. For run and gun you have a reasonalbly fast zoom.

The autofocus is pretty unreliable until you get good with it, I'm afraid. Actually, it's reliable, but it's a challenge to use it properly. You have to play with the focus modes (spot focus can work pretty well). After using the auto focus, you can turn off the AF on the lens, and then fine tune by hand.

I thought I had front focus issues with the lens (it is notorious for that issue) but instead I found you have to learn how to use it. It's tricky for sure.
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Old May 17th, 2011, 10:01 PM   #14
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

Thanks for this Jeff. I think its a great idea and the Manfrotto bar is like $100, so its a good investment for me.
I have used a 75w light on a light stand to spot the dancefloor and it seems to do a good job, but I am always looking for a better alternative. I have read that alot of people use a 250w, but it hooks up to power and Im worried about people tripping or having to lug around extension cords. I ended up just rigging a compact 75w with battery power that goes for at least 4 hours so far, maybe more haven't had it run out yet. How many watts is your softbox?
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Old May 17th, 2011, 10:12 PM   #15
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Re: Wedding experience with GH2 and lenses

Since I'm using these cameras that are SO tricky to focus, I like having two cameras in front of me and I can always have somthing in focus. Like the 20mm wide, I'll have focus set to one spot, and the other lens will be set to another area, closer or farther, and then I have multiple things covered. Like I focused on the rear where the bride came in with the zoom, then I focused the 20mm on a closer spot. So at all times I had a shot of some kind. I did the same thing with cameras 3 and 4 from the back, set the focus on different spot in the church aisle, and I always had SOMEthing to cut to.

As she came down the aisle I attempted to follow focus, by focusing on a spot in front of her and letting her come into focus, and when I couldn't keep focus I just gave up and focused further in front of her, and let her walk into focus again. Not ideal, but as I get better at it, I will get better results. It was not easy doing that while panning, as I'm sure you know. That's why I had the 20mm alongside, It kept her in focus much longer.

My softbox is 750 watts, I believe. But it is dimmable. I cranked it up to only 1/5th brightness and that was perfect. then I ran a Comer1800 on a light stand, and then I had a large led on my camera, which I kept pretty dim.
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