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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old September 29th, 2007, 10:03 AM   #16
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go to the zoo. you can practice making all kinds of adjustments in relation to the subjects. you can practice tracking random motion of subjects of all shapes, sizes, and speed. and no one will look at you funny. or if you don't have a zoo, a botanical garden. or any public place where people already shoot the spectacle with a camera. sports events like marathons, triathlons, and bike rides are good for learning how to handle focus and motion tracking.

sign up for one of the zillion contests here--as the DV Challenge notes, it's "cheaper than film school"--you'll learn a lot from the feedback and acquaint yourself with how some of the good shooters do it. watch what they do, and then try to do those things yourself.

the ONLY way to master your camera is to use your camera, as others have already stated.

i have to comment on one thing--if you're not already highly motivated to get out there and shoot something on your own, or you're looking for excuses not to, such as your own self-consciousness, then this may not be the right profession. i think to be any good at this, you have to be enthralled by the alchemy of shooting. it's hard to learn passion from an instructional DVD, and if you have the passion, then the DVD or book or website or conversation with others is an accessory to what already is....

sorry if it sounds a little harsh, i'm not aiming this at you personally, just calling it as i see it.
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Old September 29th, 2007, 05:37 PM   #17
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Thanks everyone
THe more I read about the subject, the more I realize I don't know about the technical aspects of the camera and their practical application in getting the image you want, control over your shot.
I"m going to re-read this thread, then sit down and make a list of where to start. I've attempted tackling the camera a number of times, and always learn a little, get caught up in different aspects of what I"m doing (i.e. editing or something), and forget what I learned. This time it's D-day. I'm going to get to it and stay on this thing all week until I have a better foundation.
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Old September 29th, 2007, 11:48 PM   #18
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Frustrated!

I"ve been reading up on focal length, depth of field, etcetera. It seems like I understand it when I'm reading it, but when I start asking practical application questions I really don't.
For instance I was reading the specs on my camera and realized I really had still no idea what they were talking about.
It gets confusing when you try to tie it all together and start asking questions. For instance: what if you are in the back of a room, zoomed in on a stage and you want to get a particular depth of field effect - such as everything in focus, or a background out of focus?
It would depend what focal length you were at on your zoom, right? (And since i can't make heads or tails of my camera specs I guess I don't really know what the starting length is anyway). And also what your fstop is at, where you focus, and even whether you were using the wide angle adapter or not? Then, if you move closer to the stage, the whole equation changes, right?
Can anyone recommend any specific exercises I could do that would help bring all these elements together into one cohesive understanding? (Training resources will have to wait until I have a budget for them).
Thanks
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Old September 30th, 2007, 02:36 AM   #19
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You do sound as if you're in deep water Kell, but the life raft is the 'Auto' setting. It sounds to me as if you shouldn't be trying to run before you can walk, so if I were you I'd let the camera decide for now.

Of course as your experience grows you'll be able to take command and control of the situation. You'll come beck with footage where the auto focus has decided the picket fence is more important than the person standing in front of it. OK - time to use manual focus.

You'll also notice that when you film a street scene a white van passing in front of your camera will fool the light meter into thinking it had 'got brighter'. Of course that's not true, and the resulting exposure fluctuation can be contained next time you shoot such a scene by locking the iris, gain and shutter speed. You generally have to lock all three BTW.

You may film a stage play and wonder why all the spot-lit actors are bleached out in your footage, and you'll soon find out about the camera's 'spotlight' mode. You'll also realise that you can never get differential focus unless you're using long focal lengths and wide apertures.

And so on. You don't say where you're located, but I run a one day's training course for people exactly like you.

tom.
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Old September 30th, 2007, 03:13 AM   #20
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Yes England is just a bit far...
I've already had the autofocus "experience." I'm ready to get control over this thing. I've set aside tomorrow to work on bringing these some of these technical skills together and welcome any input or suggestions for specific exercises.
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Old September 30th, 2007, 10:30 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kell Smith View Post
Yes England is just a bit far...
I've already had the autofocus "experience." I'm ready to get control over this thing. I've set aside tomorrow to work on bringing these some of these technical skills together and welcome any input or suggestions for specific exercises.
Lots of good advice here but there is one thing very important to good video. That would be audio. People are somewhat forgiving of a less than perfect visual, but bad audio will send them for the exits every time. Get the best headphones you can afford, and plug them in to your camera. You have to learn that the mic doesn't hear the world the way you do. What seems like a quiet room or environment will shock you when you don the headset. Suddenly, you'll clearly hear the ceiling fan, the air conditioner, the refrigerator, etc. All those sounds don't seem to interfere with our natural hearing, but they can drown out the dialog when a mic picks up on them.

Manual focus drill: Find a basketball goal, and suspend a sizable object such as a ball from it with a rope. Set up the camera and have a friend pull straight back so that it swings directly to and away from you. Practice keeping the ball in sharp focus on a tight shot. I use my Labrador Retriever, having an assistant throw things for her to fetch. She runs away and towards the camera, forcing me to follow focus and use the zoom to maintain framing at the same time.

Okay, that's my input for now.

-gb-
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Old September 30th, 2007, 12:00 PM   #22
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oh, you know I live near a dog park. Maybe people would be cool with me practicing while they play with their dogs. That's something I could do today even though not much is going on in the area.

You're right about the audio. I did a wedding and was shocked at some of the problems iwth the audio, particularly on the dance floor. Fortunately I was able to plug in the CD versions on the songs, but was not so lucky with some of the interviews. It was a very noisy room and you have to strain to hear them.
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