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Old August 5th, 2009, 05:29 AM   #1
Surprise Toast in Horrible Conditions
Jason Robinson Jason Robinson is offline August 5th, 2009, 05:29 AM

I filmed the following toast for my Nov 08 clients, but I haven't gotten around to releasing the special surprise toast as a web video till now. The conditions are pretty unusual, even for a wedding. There was virtually no lighting. Only a few halogen yellow work lights at one end, candles on the tables, and some dim lights up at the front of the bar. Essentially I was filming in near total darkness.

To add an extra element of danger, there were a few dozen completely oblivious 2 to 10yr olds running around (and I mean running). There were full on games of tag going on between me and the bride & groom. I spent 1/2 my filming time trying to keep kids from running into my camera (on a MultiRigPro) and keeping them from standing directly in front of my camera.

Normally I don't shoot with anything less than two cams, but the other GL2, even just 10 feet further back, was useless in the low light. As it was, I had my custom LED modified on-cam light throwing out 600 lumens and that was the only thing that saved the reception for me.

This was one of the worst shooting conditions for a reception that I could ever think of having operated under (to that point that is). To add insult to injury, the photographer spilled MY beer all over my not-a-week-old AT18020 UHF kit. Before the chiding starts about the beer, first off, it was a Fat Tire, and thus a proper beer. Secondly the groom and all the groomsmen happened to also be college buddies of mine that I shared a dorm and many a late weekend nights playing Axis & Allies.

Any way, with out further delay the aforementioned video.

Jason Robinson
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Old August 5th, 2009, 07:22 AM   #2
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that was quiet annoyingly shaky.. but I guess you tried your best with all the given situation. the lighting was ok in my eyes. I assume you have pushed the brightness up overall.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 08:50 AM   #3
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I didn't think it was THAT bad... Did you adjust the color in post or Neatvideo or anything? Given the conditions (looks like a darkly lit outdoor tent) it seemed ok. The colored spotlights in the background seems to be worse, and myb a little dark on the left hand side though. Still, pretty good job.


Cool toast btw.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 12:50 PM   #4
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Jason...

I thought the toast was pretty clever... You weren't joking about the kids. They seemed to be everywhere. Good job at overcoming all of the obstacles and capturing the moment.

Steve
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Old August 5th, 2009, 12:57 PM   #5
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Making lemonade out of lemons is part of the job description. I think you handled it as best you could have. Look into a stabilizing software to help with the shakes for that extra bit of 'polish'.
Nothing personal, but I wouldn't use this clip as an example of why a couple needs a professional video. It doesn't really shine as a stellar example of our your work (at least, I hope not). Put your 'best clip' forward. If the prospective couple doesn't know the hurdles you had to overcome to get that footage, then all they see is some shaky camera work of a toast. I doubt that will make them run for the checkbook.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 12:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Susanto Widjaja View Post
that was quiet annoyingly shaky.. but I guess you tried your best with all the given situation. the lighting was ok in my eyes. I assume you have pushed the brightness up overall.
This is MUCH shakier footage than I am comfortable with, but honestly . . I was playing basketball defense to keep the dozen kids behind me from running in front of me (and hence getting in the shot).

It was also shot wit ha fisheye (.7) to help bring in more light and not leave out some people. With out the fisheye, I would have to have been much further back to get all the guys. Also, that means the light would be even dimmer.

I pushed in cam gain to 18dB but didn't touch it in post. The colors were horrible. I couldn't white balance because of the DJs lights, so I set the cam on the "halogen" setting and let it ride.

So picture this if you can . . . I'm sitting (or kneeling, I don't remember which) on the floor (no chair) surrounded by cranky tired (and some over sugared) kids intent on getting in front of me to "play" with the on cam light or continue their game of tag. Ever few seconds I'm having to physically push a child away from the camera or to grab an arm to keep them from running in front of my camera. There is no cutaway cam because there is no room for a tripod which is why I use the MultiRigPro, and thank goodness for that too. No other way I would have been able to attach the UHF receiver, light, shotgun mic, & beachtec all on one cam.

I don't know how the guys that shoot on tripods the whole time can do it. There was NO room! Same goes for the all 5D crowd. How the heck do you get long enough run times? What about the steadicam crowd? Where would you get your audio, lighting, etc? And then lastly, the high end folks . . . how the heck do you cover this with out it being a royal SNAFU? No, and I mean zero, light to work with (and remember, I'm still SD, so I have a slight light advantage), constant danger to your shot from a dozen kids, no room for movement, and the lighting you do have is any possible color thanks to the DJ.

I'm just glad I got it recorded period because that was one of the high points for the B&G.
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Old August 5th, 2009, 01:02 PM   #7
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I didn't think it was THAT bad... Did you adjust the color in post or Neatvideo or anything? Given the conditions (looks like a darkly lit outdoor tent) it seemed ok. The colored spotlights in the background seems to be worse, and myb a little dark on the left hand side though. Still, pretty good job.


Cool toast btw.
I considered NV (and I purchased it for this reception) but the render times would kill me (still on a Core 2 Duo) and the improvements seem minimal. I basically ran out of time in post to use NV. Client was already screaming for their product AND asked for an audio rework on the ceremony (groom talked louder in ceremony than for his mic test so everything peaked and was nearly useless.... same for pastor... and three other people spoke and I didn't have a mic for them, so I had to use on cam shotgun audio (thank goodness for that).
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Old August 5th, 2009, 01:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Oren Arieli View Post
Nothing personal, but I wouldn't use this clip as an example of why a couple needs a professional video. It doesn't really shine as a stellar example of our your work (at least, I hope not). Put your 'best clip' forward. If the prospective couple doesn't know the hurdles you had to overcome to get that footage, then all they see is some shaky camera work of a toast. I doubt that will make them run for the checkbook.
Good point. My website has been starved for a sample and I've been trying to figure out what to put up, but may be this isn't a good one. I somewhat post these for the family so they can pass the link around (and keep my name out there). But you are right that this is definitely not a great sample for marketing.

Here's to hoping it turns into a "wedding entrance dance" type viral video. :-)
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Old August 6th, 2009, 11:49 AM   #9
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I personally agree with you Jason, bad clip for marketing. Overall not a remarkable clip and I'd bury it and never let it see the light of day. Looks like a relative shot it. You can explain to us the cirucumstances, but all anyone else will see is questionalble footage.

Thank you for posting it.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 02:02 PM   #10
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I'm with Jeff. The bride and groom will definitely enjoy watching it on their DVD, and it's not like the shake makes it unusable, but I wouldn't use it for marketing purposes. If you want to include footage from a speech, I would pick one what is well exposed, on a tripod, has no noise and includes reaction shots. At your next weddings it may be worth borrowing some lights, if you don't have your own, and shooting some speeches that are technically perfect. Few sites seem to show clips from speeches so it could be a way to set yourself apart.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 02:52 PM   #11
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That's not a bad idea Matthew. I've never seen a toast posted on a web site before.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 04:11 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the tips ya'll. I have yanked the video from my web site, but I am keeping it up on Vimeo so I can pass it off to the B&G so they can share it with friends & family.

Good idea about the toast sample, since you are right, I rarely see good toast videos. I know I have a couple of technically good posts to use, I just need to cut them into a demo.
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Old August 6th, 2009, 08:59 PM   #13
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Actually, the trend now is to use audio (and some video) from the toasts and ceremony in the highlights as a way to make it more 'cinematic' and keep a story going beyond the beauty shots. I've been doing that for a while, as do most of the companies in my area. For example:
Irene & Joe on Vimeo

Better have all your ducks in a row. Bad audio will ruin a good video.
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Old August 7th, 2009, 05:19 PM   #14
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I think this is another "content is king" shot - it works for what it is, and was fun to watch for the content - technically, rough shoot, duly noted...

It's not a "bad" sample of why video is important at a wedding - this IS the sort of thing that wouldn't otherwise be "captured" and will be laughed at when the bride and groom are celebrating their 50th - it won't lose it's value because of shaky footage, running kids and whoever that guy was, poor lighting, etc., etc.

Sure it would have been "nice" to get cleaner footage, but it's better than no footage at all, and I'm pretty sure superior to your average "uncle Bob cam" shot.

The only thing is it probably isn't the best example of one's "work". so as a "marketing piece", it might fall short of the desired impact (though it does show all too typical shooting conditions! Take note all who want to shoot weddings - it's not as simple as it looks!). Probably would depend on your "audience" - I can see a lot of "regular folks" being drawn in by the CONTENT, and the technical issues wouldn't really be a factor. Technically perfect footage of miserable people won't go as far as so-so footage of people who are having a great time...
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