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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old December 19th, 2007, 12:32 PM   #1
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home movies - the charm factor

no stabilizers, no mics, no lights, no fancy editing. Plenty of shaky cam

Professional it ain't!

but I have long thought that when we add all the professional glitz and polish we lose something - or is it just me?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVYT2Ko47AQ
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Old December 19th, 2007, 12:43 PM   #2
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If the video is for your own personal home use I would mostly agree, but if you were being paid for this, I couldn't disagree more.
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Old December 19th, 2007, 04:11 PM   #3
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HMMM - I find the more I shoot, the more I try for higher production values. I don't think it "loses" anything to shoot something that looks good.

The "pro" sensibilities will kick in even when shooting "amateur" too - you can't just "forget" how it "shoud" look, or how to shoot correctly.

Sure if it's just something for the family, it's no big deal if it looks a bit rough, but even my 5 year old notices the differences... tough critic...

It's no big deal to take a monopod, and with the smaller cams (Sony CX7 for example, but HV20 and HC7 are compact too), I can haul a pretty complete kit in a fanny pack or small camera bag, and use only what is workable for the moment!

Plus, it's good "practice" for the paid stuff to do the on the fly, bad lighting, bad sound, "personal" shoots <wink>!

Ditto on the being paid part...
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Old December 19th, 2007, 04:19 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
I can haul a pretty complete kit in a fanny pack or small camera bag, and use only what is workable for the moment!
Dave,
Nothing says "pro" like a fanny pack.
Do your family a favor and use the small camera bag. Really, it's for the best.
Just looking out for you man.
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Old December 19th, 2007, 08:43 PM   #5
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Hi Peter,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ralph View Post
no stabilizers, no mics, no lights, no fancy editing. Plenty of shaky cam

Professional it ain't!

but I have long thought that when we add all the professional glitz and polish we lose something - or is it just me?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVYT2Ko47AQ

He's good!!! Proud dad moment...

I've often thought that without the nostalgia effect shooting actual film at a wedding wouldn't be popular. That 'look' that everyone talks about carries with it memories that figure into the emotional effect the video has - makes it seem more real in a way because the shaky 8mm film look was what an entire generation's memories are embedded in. As a format it has so many drawbacks that its unbelievable to me that a couple would pay so much to have their day recorded with film, but the nostalgia factor gives it a higher perceived value despite much lower production values...
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Old December 20th, 2007, 12:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ralph View Post
but I have long thought that when we add all the professional glitz and polish we lose something - or is it just me?
It's just you. :)

But you may be on to something....

I watched a hollywood flick the other night... The Bourne Ultimatum. Your footage makes that one look like you shot from a tripod. :)

Seriously, I could barely watch the Hollywood movie. It was so bad you could tell when the cam operator was doing it on purpose just to achieve the look.

I just can't bring myself to shoot that way (on purpose anyway). I like rock-steady footage and nice, clean pans/zooms.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 02:24 PM   #7
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Yeah that's a tough flick to watch but I read somewhere (here actually) that that's the way the director wanted it shot.

I too prefer nice steady clean footage but I will say that there is a time and place for the rocky, earthquake movement type footage.

Gotta pick your spots though.

I did a training video for a large company earlier this year to show at a big meeting they were having and the department I was doing it for wanted to show the frentic, frantic movement of the department when they were doing their job. I shot the scene 2X. Once nice and smooth on a tripod, clean and steady then shot it again, hand held and kind of exaggerated the movement-zoomed in tight and stood back a bit farther to accenuate it.
Guess which one I used! The handheld stuff even after speeding up and adding some movement to the original steady footage the other just "did it" better. Keep in mind this scene ran about 20 seconds only in a 12 minute finished piece. Oh yea, I also sped this one up about 1200% :-) it was real fast and shaky-one of the reasons I hate rollercoasters ;-O but it worked.
20 seconds only!

Don
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Old December 20th, 2007, 04:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
and the department I was doing it for wanted to show the frentic, frantic movement of the department when they were doing their job
I can picture handheld for this kind of piece. Especially wide shots.

But a stationary talking head that bobs in and out of frame every second? I watched the Bourne Ultimatum on a 32" monitor at about 12 feet. I can just imagine the muscle spasms this thing caused at the theatres. :) Nope... I won't be putting my tripods on ebay just yet.
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Old December 20th, 2007, 04:55 PM   #9
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I agree. Again it's a hard movie to watch because of that.

In my training vid what I did was go to the long end of the lens, and move back to get a wider shot. Long end because it's shows every little movement of a handheld camera. Like I said, it worked for the 20 seconds I needed-longer than that and I prefer not to do that. (I got dizzy editing it :-)

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Old December 20th, 2007, 08:00 PM   #10
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thanks Joel. You are right - it's the whole 8mm trend that sparked my question.

With most brides not interested in paying for professional video and a growing number of the "money no object" couples opting for shaky, grainy 8mm, it gives one pause for thought in terms of professional production values.

Ten years ago just about any handheld footage in a wedding video flagged it as amateur, today we seem to be moving towards looking at a tripod as Uncle Bob's crutch.

It brings to mind the relentless pursuit of photo-realism that characterized so much of Renaissance art. Artists used ever more sophisticated techniques and tools - lenses and mirrors - to create realistic portraits and landscapes right up until the process was opened to everyone with the advent of chemical photography. As soon as that happened, up pops Cezanne and art steps back 700 years. Today photo-realistic art is derided as "academic" and has become the provenance of the week-end warriors - no self-respecting art student wants to touch it.

To those of you who complain that my footage was not as shaky as Bourne - gimme a break guys - I was sitting down the whole time! I did have a 2 year old on my lap but still...here's another one with a lot more shake in it. I did use a fanny pack - I can't really imagine that it impacted my shooting much but at 13,000 feet in midwinter you need somewhere to store your gloves and such:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm0eU08XuTE
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Old December 20th, 2007, 09:34 PM   #11
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Hi Peter,

Super thoughts there. Loved reading it. I've got an aversion to shaky footage, but for as long as I can remember when I have a moment I want to include that isn't stable I put on an 8mm film filter. I don't include damage effects like dust, hair or scratches, just subtle grain, a light vignette, a little flicker and a few sprocket hops - just enough to give it that home movie feel. I have to wonder if in 5 or 10 years we'll all be putting on filters that re-interlace our footage, crop it to 4:3, and put a blinking red "REC" in the corner of the screen. The date in the lower corner would be a nice touch too...




Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ralph View Post
thanks Joel. You are right - it's the whole 8mm trend that sparked my question.

With most brides not interested in paying for professional video and a growing number of the "money no object" couples opting for shaky, grainy 8mm, it gives one pause for thought in terms of professional production values.

Ten years ago just about any handheld footage in a wedding video flagged it as amateur, today we seem to be moving towards looking at a tripod as Uncle Bob's crutch.

It brings to mind the relentless pursuit of photo-realism that characterized so much of Renaissance art. Artists used ever more sophisticated techniques and tools - lenses and mirrors - to create realistic portraits and landscapes right up until the process was opened to everyone with the advent of chemical photography. As soon as that happened, up pops Cezanne and art steps back 700 years. Today photo-realistic art is derided as "academic" and has become the provenance of the week-end warriors - no self-respecting art student wants to touch it.

To those of you who complain that my footage was not as shaky as Bourne - gimme a break guys - I was sitting down the whole time! I did have a 2 year old on my lap but still...here's another one with a lot more shake in it. I did use a fanny pack - I can't really imagine that it impacted my shooting much but at 13,000 feet in midwinter you need somewhere to store your gloves and such:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm0eU08XuTE
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Old December 20th, 2007, 10:00 PM   #12
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yes we shoot mostly HD and film deliver in HDDVD but we do offer a special Turn of The Century Option where we shoot in DV and deliver in SD. Its a 5K upgrade but the really discerning couples love the retro look.

:)

Shaky cam? Paul Greengrass has got nothing on Ryszard Lenczewski, check this out, the camera never stops moving:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8EGCC9NNvo
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Old December 27th, 2007, 04:31 PM   #13
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I saw the Bourne films on TV and the camera movement didnt bother me. It definitely added to the excitement. I'm not sure whether it wouldnt have been a bit distracting on the big screen though. Inches on a TV translate to feet on a movie screen but the movement was deliberate. It's not like they couldn't have used a steadicam or tripod if they had wanted to create a steady frame.
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Old January 21st, 2008, 12:19 PM   #14
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the Bourne Ultimatum has surpassed 100 million in DVD sales propelling the Bourne franchise gross to over $3 billion.

Love it or loathe it - but a lot to learn from it. Check this month's Vanity Fair for Spielberg's take on Bourne Ultimatum (he loved it).
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