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Old November 14th, 2006, 11:55 AM   #1
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It's too dark in there!

Can anyone give me any strategies for shooting a wedding reception in a hall that is too dark?

The management won't let me use my lights which, I must admit, are quite bright. I also hate hate HATE the look of video shot with an on-camera light. I think it is extremely cheesy but there seems to be no way around it.

Any suggestions, stories, solutions etc?

Thanks in advance!
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Old November 14th, 2006, 12:09 PM   #2
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You could try a diffusor on the camera light, that will soften things up. An immediate light in short range will sometimes help the dark far shot look better.

I constantly have to deal with this. It is something that you should try and cover ahead of time. Sometimes that is easier said than done, because even though you think you've covered it, people are people and they don't always do what they say.

Back to the point. I put my camera light on my isle camera at the last wedding I was at because I knew that w/o it, I would lose a lot of detail. My point is sometimes you just have to do what it takes to get the shot. Because if you don't, if you're like me, you'll regreat not making the right choice to get the shot.

In short, use the light, get a diffusor.
What happens if I push the 'Red' button?
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Old November 14th, 2006, 12:13 PM   #3
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if its a matter of no shot, or grainy shot - go for grainy. Too often we try and save certain aspects of quality but forget that all the quality in the world doesn't replace "getting the moment." If you're not allowed to make the situation work for yourself, talk to your couple and inform them AHEAD OF TIME what obstacles you're running up against. They may help you talk to the venue, or they may just say "whatever, do what you can." In the end, if you get nicely composed shots of moments that matter, the couple should be looking past your gain settings.

Another trick is to use color and light contrast to help you. If you can't possibly light the foreground, try and silhouette them against something colorful or bright in the bg. And for on-camera lighting, use something dimmable to simply fill-in the mud, and get the levels high enough to record. It starts looking ugly when the on-cam light is the key light, so avoid that at all costs, just use it as gentle fill.
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Old February 13th, 2007, 10:50 PM   #4
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It's a matter of proper tool for the job IMO.

For weddings you got to go with the king of lowlight and it's brother (Vx2100 and VX2000). 1 & 2 lux rattings. GL2 cannot come close to this. Bigger CCDs on the Sony (1/3 vs 1/4 for GL2) can capture more light+Sony knows how to tweak them for low light.

I have a VX2000 and it is worth every penny.

Best of luck.
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Old February 13th, 2007, 11:40 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Michael Pulcinella
The management won't let me use my lights which, I must admit, are quite bright.
My suggestion would be to get a good adjustable (bright/dim) on-camera light with diffuser and use it on low most of the evening, just turning it up occassionally for important shots. Also, while it's good to respect the rules of any venue you work in, you shouldn't go out of your way to ask them what's okay and what's not. As the saying goes, "it's easier to get forgiveness than permission."
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Old February 14th, 2007, 04:48 AM   #6
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Here's a tip I picked up from someone yesterday.
You show the client what it looks like with no light, then you show them what it looks like with light. Their video, their choice.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 09:11 AM   #7
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I shot a brass concert a couple of weeks ago with basically no light. They were playing movie scores, above the orchestra they had a large projection screen with the movie running (the one they were playing music from). They turned the lights down to the point you could barely see the bulbs...

The only light they had were the little lights on top of their sheet music. I had two Z1Us and a Canon XL2. So I set up the two Sony's on the balcony on tripods (bumped up the gain to 12 dB) and sent the Canon mobile to wonder around for close shots.

I am pleased with the results and so is the client - see pictures. Sometimes you just have to work with what you have. C'est la vie...
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Ervin Farkas, CDVS
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