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Old April 26th, 2013, 12:43 PM   #1
First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**
Bethany Elennah Bethany Elennah is offline April 26th, 2013, 12:43 PM

Hi everyone! Let me start off by saying I'm a total amateur, and I need all the help/advice I can get! I offered to take video for my cousins wedding (for free of course, because they didn't have a videographer and weren't going to get one) and I had never taken on such an important project...All I had done before is make slideshow videos of trips I had gone on, just as a hobby, but I LOVED every bit of taking video for such a beautiful day. Anyway, here is a link to the finished product...


oh and let me disclose this:

-I had NEVER used this camera for video before, the camera I intended to use was having charging difficulties and I had to switch that morning!

-I had my dad help with the ceremony as my camera 2 guy..go dad!

-I am well aware of mistakes I see myself: I noticed I probably had too many "location shots" (not sure if that's what you call it..) I had a problem with the camera's auto-exposure, the lighting looks weird...i didn't have mics so the audio could be worlds better than what it is..oh and I am visible in one of the shots :(

But I really want all your constructive criticism and feedback! How did I do on storytelling? I would love to shoot another wedding for a friend or family member and try not to repeat the mistakes I had made on this one... thanks for reading.. Please comment!

oh and I don't own a tripod..so...that's why the video is shaky in some parts..so please recommend a tripod and other gear I would need if I were to do this again.

Bethany Elennah
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Old April 26th, 2013, 01:13 PM   #2
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

You've already touched on most of the things I noticed such as lack of tripod etc. I thought it was a nice job though and it held my attention. Even though the voices were recorded with the camera mics they can probably still sound better with EQ and dynamics added to the track. The music track should also fade in and out with smoother transitions and more consistent levels. All and all I thought it was interesting to watch.
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Old April 26th, 2013, 01:19 PM   #3
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

Bethany.
First of all welcome. And, understand that this is the hardest part. For you to have the courage to post publicly is huge and I commend you for that. You will look back at this one day and laugh! So. My first recommendation is not to practice on someone's real wedding. You have those few things you outlined like audio, stabilization, proper exposure, etc. to worry about before you worry about storytelling. I would have 2 pieces of advice for you before you take on someone else's real wedding. First is to practice for practice. Shoot anything that moves. Find stories in your everyday life and work on telling them. Day in the life of your cat, or kids, or mailman or whatever. Second is read every word you can find, view every video, take every workshop. Understand that your first year or two should be learning. Find someone in Corpus Christi who will let you shadow them. See what they do. Do it for free. Soak it up. You will thank me in 5 yrs that you built this thing slow. I remember those days like they were yesterday and I was so anxious to get started, but I'm glad I did it slowly. Best of luck and feel free to post any specific questions. To answer your tripod one. I use the Vanguard Tracker 2 legs with the bogen 502 head. Great combo for about $300.
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Old April 26th, 2013, 01:34 PM   #4
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

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Originally Posted by Duane Adam View Post
The music track should also fade in and out with smoother transitions and more consistent levels. All and all I thought it was interesting to watch.
definitely! I had major issues with that...First, the vows weren't one smooth sentence originally, it might sound choppy because they were repeating what the officiant said in about 4 words at a time. I edited the audio to take out the officiant voice completely. Then, I wanted to add the vows in ADDITION to the music, but I didn't know how to lower the music volume without lowering the vows volume in iMovie (i don't think there's an option, or if there is i sure don't know it!) so then what i had to do was split the music at normal volume, then add another music clip in the exact place where it left off but at a lower volume, then add the vows voiceover with high volume, then cut the music clip again, then add another clip of music at the same place THAT one left off at but with normal volume.. sorry if i confused you, it was just a mess! but thank you for your time in watching my video and for your feedback!
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Old April 26th, 2013, 02:24 PM   #5
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

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Bethany.
First of all welcome. And, understand that this is the hardest part. For you to have the courage to post publicly is huge and I commend you for that. You will look back at this one day and laugh! So. My first recommendation is not to practice on someone's real wedding. You have those few things you outlined like audio, stabilization, proper exposure, etc. to worry about before you worry about storytelling. I would have 2 pieces of advice for you before you take on someone else's real wedding. First is to practice for practice. Shoot anything that moves. Find stories in your everyday life and work on telling them. Day in the life of your cat, or kids, or mailman or whatever. Second is read every word you can find, view every video, take every workshop. Understand that your first year or two should be learning. Find someone in Corpus Christi who will let you shadow them. See what they do. Do it for free. Soak it up. You will thank me in 5 yrs that you built this thing slow. I remember those days like they were yesterday and I was so anxious to get started, but I'm glad I did it slowly. Best of luck and feel free to post any specific questions. To answer your tripod one. I use the Vanguard Tracker 2 legs with the bogen 502 head. Great combo for about $300.
Bill
thanks SO much for the kind words! I could not tell you how intimidated I was to post here.. but I figured it was the only way to take a step in the right direction- to get feedback from people who actually know what they are talking about instead of being happy with my family saying the video is "really cute" (even though i'm glad they liked it). I will take your advice and practice as much as I can with the camera that I have, but I feel like some (definitely not all) of the issues I had were due to lack of proper equipment.. Given the circumstances, I think I did okay..but now I am SO anxious as you said to get out there again! I work full time in banking, so this is a much needed escape from my day-to-day life. I would love to eventually get into this industry, but equipment is so expensive. What I really wanted from this post is to reassure myself that I wasn't COMPLETELY awful so I can justify the fact that I need to invest in maybe some classes and/or some equipment..but i'm in this for the long haul! i'm only 22, I have a lot of learning to do, but I really appreciate your feedback!
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Old April 26th, 2013, 04:52 PM   #6
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

Bethany,
For people to properly get a story, they can't be distracted by all of the technical issues. I would suggest that there is a minimum level of equipment to buy before you get started and those things include a tripod and audio stuff. You can get a used tripod and legs for $150 and an H1 and mic for $150 and you're at least at the starting gate. Good to see you're determined. You have a very hard, but gratifying road ahead. Put as much of your time and money into training as you do in equipment and you'll be better off. Also, don't compromise on getting top quality gear. You will always wish you got what you wanted and you'll be challenged by your gear. Best of luck and keep us updated as to how you're doing.
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Old April 26th, 2013, 05:43 PM   #7
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

Hi Bethany,
Welcome! I very very rarely critique on others' work on here, because I feel like such an amateur myself..but I felt so compelled to do so, because for your first video, I would say this is GREAT work!

I started in exactly the same place you are right now...I had a camera, and did my first wedding video in 2003 for free for my cousin. I had no ambition of getting into the business, until I saw how gratifying it could be...(And after working for a few years in a MUCH less gratifying industry.) It's a lot of hard work, but so worth it, in my opinion.

I was going to touch on exactly what Bill said...a tripod and an H1 would be a minor investment for now, and would increase your production value DRAMATICALLY. The storytelling you have down...and I also commend you on having the guts to post on here...I would never have been so brave in my first years.

I know everyone's approach on getting into the business is different. Bill's right, practice shooting on anything that moves...but I say also practice on weddings...NOT on weddings for strangers, or paying customers...but find family members or friends who would otherwise NOT be getting a wedding video because they just don't think it's worth the money, and WOW them with what you can do! They will be so grateful you were there, and you will be building your portfolio (and saving on wedding gifts!) We did it this way, and this summer we have 20 weddings on the books for our fourth summer in the business.

When you're ready to dive in as a business, you have to be prepared to make a big investment. It will take some time, but it seems like you are already heading in the right direction. I think you'll be great!
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Old April 26th, 2013, 11:09 PM   #8
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethany Elennah View Post
definitely! I had major issues with that...First, the vows weren't one smooth sentence originally, it might sound choppy because they were repeating what the officiant said in about 4 words at a time. I edited the audio to take out the officiant voice completely. Then, I wanted to add the vows in ADDITION to the music, but I didn't know how to lower the music volume without lowering the vows volume in iMovie (i don't think there's an option, or if there is i sure don't know it!) so then what i had to do was split the music at normal volume, then add another music clip in the exact place where it left off but at a lower volume, then add the vows voiceover with high volume, then cut the music clip again, then add another clip of music at the same place THAT one left off at but with normal volume.. sorry if i confused you, it was just a mess! but thank you for your time in watching my video and for your feedback!
I watched this again as there was something about the shooting style that I really liked. The hand held shots without a tripod look like they were done intentionally for effect. Like you trying to mimic an old film camera and shoot the wedding in a vintage flavor. You may find that others who see this request you do the same style for them and who knows, this could be your signature demo piece. The audio is easy to re-mix although you may need a better software program.You have the touch so keep it up, and post here when you do.
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Old April 27th, 2013, 02:07 AM   #9
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

For a lav mic, look at the $40 one here:
Miniature Microphones and Accessories : Stereo Mono Omnidirectional and Cardioid

For a recorder, search the archives here for discussions on them. Your concern in a recorder is having it concealable in a groom's inside breast pocket and where the recording doesn't drift too much.

My tripods, I bought all like new ones from Ebay etc from people who never really did use them. My preference is the lower priced Manfrottos like a 3021B, or whatever the current model # is for it. I paid around $100 each, delivered, as I remember.

My weapon of choice though is a 561B Manfrotto monopod if I am using a light weight camera.

Whatever you buy for a tripod head, make sure it is a REAL fluid head. Again, I bought the low end Manfrotto heads that aren't as silky smooth as the one Bill has. But they aren't junk either and for around $75 will get you in the game.

Now, some opinion if you care.

In 2 years, your desires for your gear is going to be a world away from what it is today. Your experiences are going to show you what you want it to do, compared to what you know now. So I would highly suggest keeping your gear collection really skinny and low cost now. Set the additional cash aside for a bit later when you have a much better idea of not only what you want, but more importantly, WHY you want it and what you KNOW it will do for you and how you shoot.
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Old April 27th, 2013, 02:13 AM   #10
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethany Elennah View Post
oh and I don't own a tripod..so...that's why the video is shaky in some parts..so please recommend a tripod and other gear I would need if I were to do this again.
Hey Bethany, take this advice with a pinch of salt (it's just my opinion -- I'm sure others will disagree).

-- Need a tripod. Even if you like a lot of handheld shots, it would be tiring to carry a camera the whole day. As to which tripod... Just get a cheap $20 tripod, and don't worry about it too much as yet is my advice. Any tripod is better than none. See if you can manage with that until you need/know how to use/have saved up enough for a decent tripod. For weddings, you're unlikely to need more than a $1,000 tripod, because the cameras aren't that heavy. (To sort through the bewildering array of tripods, my own personal criteria for an ideal tripod are: has to support the weight I need, which in my case is at least 8lb; has to have a fluid head, for smooth pans and tilts; has to be carbon fibre, for lightness and to dissipate shocks quickly; has to have an easy way to level the head rather than have a centre column; minimum 165cm in height, so it looks over people's heads. But don't worry about this sort of tripod just yet -- honestly. There's plenty of struggling videographers I know who don't have fluid head tripods, and just use photography rather than video tripods, and get plenty of paid work.)

-- Need an editing program better than IMovie, in my opinion. Will make your life a lot easier and open up your creativity. But an old one will do -- for instance, I'm sure there's lots of older versions of FCP or Premiere Pro available for cheap on eBay. You don't need the latest version.

-- Light. Need some sort of light. Check eBay for a dimmable LED light you can attach to camera and power with AA batteries.

-- Camera. Don't worry about camera just yet. Use what you have. When you're ready to upgrade, ask on this forum first for camera recommendations before you spend anything, and have a budget in mind. You're ready to upgrade when you're running into the limitations of your current camera, when you really need it to do things that it can't.

-- Sound. Not cheap. Personally, I think you should worry about a half-decent camera first, then worry about sound. I know a couple of videographers round Sydney who just use on-camera sound! No sticking a lapel mic on groom. And, frankly, if the couple's expectations aren't high, on-camera sound is good enough, as long as they can hear what is being said during the important bits.

-- Re classes, think about not taking any, unless they're cheap. Be very careful how you're spending money. There are so many good free resources online. Just search YouTube or Google for any instructional video you can think of. If you really want to spend money, I think one starting point, instead of taking a class, is a buying or borrowing a book. If you want to edit on Final Cut Pro or Premiere, for instance, there are plenty of "teach yourself how to" books, including official ones by Adobe and Apple. After you've got through one of these, I think you'll find that it's easier to use the internet as a teacher -- to Google or ask whatever specific question you have, and also to learn while doing.

As I said, just my $0.02, but I guess I'm speaking as a person who's wasted an awful lot of money...
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Old April 27th, 2013, 03:23 AM   #11
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

If you do this
Quote:
on-camera sound is good enough, as long as they can hear what is being said during the important bits.
and combine it with this
Quote:
Just get a cheap $20 tripod
your work won't improve one bit.

I rather shoot handheld then use a really cheap tripod, or photography tripod heads, they can be just awefull to do any smooth pan or tilt motion with it and only suitable for locked off shots that don't move. A decent tripod doens't have to be that expensive, like a manfrotto 501 head which is more then ok on a budget. But a very cheapo tripod is just a waist of money and will make your production still look like it was done by an amateur.

On camera sound only on the other hand is the worst you can do, in church you need to use external recorders, I use a cheap yamaha c24 with a lapel mic on the groom, that makes all the difference. Or just a zoom h1 as backup at a soundspeaker, I place more mikes in church but if you are just starting out a just 2 recorders will lift your production to a much higher level.

You need to get your basics right and a decent tripod and external sound recorders are a part of that.
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Old April 27th, 2013, 08:50 AM   #12
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

Ultimately Bethany,
You have 2 people you have to please in this equation. You have your current bride and your future bride. Your current bride is going to love it because she's in it, and all her friends and family are in it. You future bride, however, is going to have to feel drawn to a stranger's wedding. And that is a harder challenge. Just keep in mind, how do you show something to a future client without being able to explain it? If there are "you had to be there" moments that will be lost or any of these technical issues. You want to clear the way for your future bride to love it, and see herself in it. As long as you care. You are on your way. You'll figure it out.
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Old April 27th, 2013, 10:00 AM   #13
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

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Interesting to compare the OP's video to the one on your site Bill. I think everyone would agree that yours is technically superior and more professional, but there's something about Bethanys' organic and authentic production that makes me respond emotionally. I don't do weddings, I shoot high end properties for my real estate business but I found myself taking a look at my own work to see if I've lost authenticity while my skills progress. One of my favorite shots here The Cats Estate Los Gatos-Official Site was a wedding clip on video #1 that wasn't shot by me but by my seller with her i-phone. It isn't technically great but it has the same hand held authentic feel. Something to think about.

Last edited by Duane Adam; April 27th, 2013 at 12:21 PM.
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Old April 27th, 2013, 12:25 PM   #14
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

Hi Bethany and welcome to the wonderfully addictive world of video. I do not shoot weddings but I always find these discussions interesting. I mostly shoot the two opposite ends of the spectrum compared to weddings, I shoot corporate videos and movies (fictional narratives and documentaries). So on one end I have very technical aspects to consider but at the same time from a cinematic standpoint I'm always thinking about the artistic expression too. So my point of view may be a little different than others on here. And remember this is just my opinion.

Nothing is more important than the story. That cannot stress that enough. Everything else is just in support of it. When you are telling a story, especially through sounds an pictures, you usually have one chance to draw your audience into the story. Because of the nature of storytelling you have to get people to suspend their normal beliefs for a brief time. That allows them to fill in and interpret the parts you either intentionally or through necessity, have to leave out. It also allows your audience to become emotionally invested in the story you are telling. So first I would make sure you understand your Bride and Grooms story. What is it about them and this special day that you, as a story teller, want to capture. Find a theme, something that is unique about them. This is a cinematic style known as montage and is a very powerful way of presenting something like a wedding. Capture that in what you are showing and your video will be interesting to anyone that watches it. On a technical end, you don't want to have anything that pulls your audience out of the story. This could be a distracting image, misplaced sound, or jump that is disturbing. Once your audience pulls themselves out of the story it's almost impossible to get them back into that special place. Notice this the next time you watch a movie. As has been mentioned, the style you shot it in has a feel of a home movie ( a higher quality home movie). But, ultimately, you have to ask, if you didn't shoot it, and you didn't know the people in it, would you want to watch it?

Watching your video you have a good feel for capturing emotions and for a first effort it is very good. Some people might like the handheld look but for me it has a time and place to use it. In my opinion it is not throughout an entire piece. As with any effect if over used it looses it's desired impact. Just like the over use of super shallow depth of field or rack focus. From a technical standpoint the biggest thing I noticed was to watch your framing. Check the composition of your shots. With each one, have a purpose, what are you trying to express. An example, at about 3:17, this is a cute shot of the B&G playing, but the freeway in the background is not attractive and when the car goes by it is distracting. A quick solution would have been to raise the camera so that you could get the freeway out of the frame. Raising the camera would also give the feeling that you are a grown up, looking down on children during a playful moment. The subtext of the moment would really come through then. You also have a lot of shots where the tops of their heads are cut off. In general try not to do this. Look for things that are distracting like an overly bright window. move your camera to try to minimize or eliminate it if it isn't intentionally in frame. The reason is because it will be distracting and draw your audience's attention to that instead of your intended subject. In time with practice, these things will become intuitive and you'll just automatically find that you're setting up with framing that you really like. For now though, you'll have to ask yourself these questions, very quickly, with each set up.

Editing is another super important aspect to focus on. In the beginning, you could have made a bigger impact if you would have cut from the panning shots at the end of the intro for the song at 0:25. If you would have cut to a locked down shot of the bride, a very beautifully framed and lit shot of just her, with the words of the song, "It was one of those moments, when everything changes..." playing. That would have really set a tone for the video. One other thing that really jumped out for me was at 2:13, I'm not a fan of split screen and if you would have started with a shot on the bride being walked up by her father, then cut to the groom looking at her, then back to the bride it would have been more effective. Also, when you go back to the full screen at 2:22, You should try to cut that so you don't see the groom looking camera left. It's a very strange look and again pulls you out of the moment. Those are a few things that I noticed quickly.

As for equipment, from my experience, don't go super cheap unless you can find someone who has one and you can test it first. From much experience (unfortunately my own) you can waste a lot of money buying cheap gear. If you can't afford something of quality, rent it first. Don't obsess over cameras. These will change and improve constantly and the camera isn't what is going to make a huge difference. How you use it is what matters. For tripods, I would budget a minimum of $600. Yes that sounds expensive now, but believe me, you won't be happy with very inexpensive tripods. I'm with Noa on this, I'd rather shoot handheld (but for the most part be very steady) than use a crappy tripod. Like many others I went through the steps of increasing costs looking for the diamond in the rough supper cheap tripod that would work. Luckily, I learned quickly. My current camera support is over $2500 and I still find things I would like to improve on it. Remember, you will be able to use the same tripod on many cameras and if you buy a quality one, you will have it for years through may camera changes. Sound equipment is the same. Don't go ultra cheap. Some of the best mics are those that have been around for 20 or 30 years. You don't need to spend a ton on sound but a good basic sound kit will run around $1500 to cover your bases for something like a wedding. The key to getting good sound is learning how to use it. Specifically where to place your mics. I would only use on camera mics to synch other sound sources to. If you want to hear the difference that a properly placed mic will make watch this
(and yes, we have had the discussion about the use of the word echo vs. reverb).

Don't be afraid to buy a used tripod or sound equipment either. There are some very good deals out there. Just test before you buy. This is, of course, just my viewpoint. Others will have a different take so collect all of them, keep what helps you, through out what doesn't, and go for it if it's something you enjoy doing.

Good luck!
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Old April 27th, 2013, 03:00 PM   #15
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Re: First Wedding Video! **need critique!!**

I rarely watch clips anymore but after seeing all the posts here, I figured I wanted to see for myself.
I'm not going to get specific but I will give my overall general opinions on everything from what I saw to what you should buy.
FIRST---overall, the story line is pretty good. You have the right idea as to what shots you should get and what's important and what's not. This is something that takes some experience to discover, IOW, each wedding will be slightly different as to what is deemed important and necessary but my rule has always been, does it add to the story or not. If not then it probably won't get used. You develop a feeling the more you do.
SECOND---equipment! Wow. Some say this some say that. Here's my take. First and foremost get a tripod and I agree, forget the cheapos. While there are people on this board that will say Manfrotto fits that category, I've been using Manfrottos for years and frankly they have served me quite well, carried everything up to 30 pound rigs and I have never not gotten a job because of my tripods. I've also used $10,000 Cartonis for TV works and while they are far sturdier than most anything else out there except a 12 steel beam in 10 feet of sunken concrete, they also take 2 people to set up (or 1 very big strong man like The Rock!). I'm still using a set of 3246 legs and a 501HDV head for a smaller light weight camera. I use a set of 525 legs and a 504 head for a rig that weights about 12 to 13 pounds and have had 30 pound rigs on it without killing it. Tripods and heads can be found pre-owned on the big auction site that starts with E. Audio is another thing. Some swear by recorders some like myself swear by wireless although I have and occasional use a stand alone recorder for certain things. Whichever you decide, those to can be had on the same auction site pre-owned.
Now that I've said all that, please keep in mind that buying the best you can afford at the time even if it's used is better than buying the same thing over and over again because the one you bought was cheap but didn't do the job. Remember, it's only too expensive if it doesn't do the job.
What you get is up to you and your needs, wants and budget. Everyone here will have different opinions and no one is wrong or right, just different opinions.
the key to anything be it in this business or anything else you do is PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! Shoot everything that moves everyday. Never stop shooting. Learn how to hold the camera to make dynamic moves be they fore and aft or side to side or up to down or down to up. Learn when it's the right time to use a light and when you don't need it. I've been doing video for 30 years and 12 years before that as a still photographer. I'm still learning and get excited about learning something I didn't know the day before. Of course at my age, I don't always remember what I learned the day before so I get to learn it again and get excited about it all over again. ;-)
Seriously, keep practicing. Practice until your family and friends are scared of you cause you've always got a camera in your hands. then practice some more.
Good luck, keep shooting and never be afraid of posting anything here, we're here to help each other!
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