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


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Old April 9th, 2008, 05:06 PM   #1
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Just starting out - using GL2 - low light

Hi everyone - my name is Nick and I am just starting out in the wedding videography business. I am truly excited that I found this forum - as I have so many questions.

I tested out the industry last October when I filmed my first wedding. All I had was a camera (borrowed a friends Sony VX2000), a great tripod, and a positive attitude. I had an incredible experience and I fell in love with wedding videography.

I felt the editing process was smooth (on imovie for pete's sake). A few mistakes here and there, but they were covered up nicely (using slo-mo's, cutaways, etc). I was very nervous to give the B & G the video, as I really thought that the editing was great, but the video could have been better.

Nevertheless, they LOVED the video and I got showered with referrals - and well - now I'm in business.

Then I came across this forum, and it totally overwhelmed me. It helped me a great deal and I purchased some more equipment. I bought a GL2 and HV20 - wireless mics, irivers, Rode Videomic, a zoom H2, Final Cut Express, and some other items.

My next wedding is the beginning of May. And I have a few over the summer.

I am very concerned about low lighting situations at receptions and I really don't have any adequate lighting at my disposal.

I have read many posts about what to do about it, but I am having a hard time deciding what the best option is for me.

I'm on a tight budget - so I wanted to find out what my best options are. Are their any "tested and true" custom settings on the GL2? Is there a good quality light that doesn't require a gigantic battery pack?

I would appreciate any expert advise. This issue is keeping me up at night.

Glad to be here!
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Old April 9th, 2008, 05:41 PM   #2
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I use 3 GL2's at the weddings I film, and I also run into low-light situations all the time. In my market people generally scatter from the dance floor if you approach it with a video light on your camera, so I'm usually stuck with working with the camera settings.

As for the settings I use, I have a custom preset that scales back the red a little, and scales back the contrast a little. I've noticed that the GL2 tends to shoot a little more red in low light, so when the light drops I usually activate that custom preset. As for the other settings, in low light I'm usually shooting with the shutter at 1/30, my iris as low as possible, and the gain at +6 or +12 at the most. I never go to +18 on the gain because for me it just feels way to grainy for the added exposure benefit. I mostly try to stick with +6 gain and only go to +12 when there is virtually no light.

I have a Bescor on-camera light (2 20w bulbs), but I'm seriously considering a Litepanels Micro because it is fully-dimmable and the LED lights don't change in color temperature noticably ... AND, it is powered by 4 AA batteries, meaning I don't have to wear a heavy battery pack on my belt and mess around with another cord going up to my camera. Also, my Bescor with a full charge will only go about an hour or so, which isn't much. The Litepanels Micro can go as long as you have batteries for, which is great.

Hope that helps!
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Old April 10th, 2008, 07:20 PM   #3
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Travis's advice is good. The GL2's performance in low light is close to that of the XL1s cameras I used to use. Quartz lights at low wattage provide just enough kick to make an image pop. One has to continually white balance as the evening wears on. They are usually inexpensive, so a good way to get you through the season. The 12v batteries sold by most video vendors are way more expensive than they need to be. Look in the yellow pages for an industrial battery supplier in your area. I buy 6 or 8 amp-hour 12 sealed gel cell batteries (identical to those sold by Bescor) for less than $25.
A lighting variation I use involves the use of an additional AC powered flood light as a fill ... really helps. However, there are safety issues which must be observed. I made a rather extensive post on this subject a few months ago. Follow this link http://dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?p=814437#poststop
Hope I put the link in correctly ... never done that before.
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Last edited by Waldemar Winkler; April 10th, 2008 at 07:22 PM. Reason: left out a word
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Old April 11th, 2008, 04:34 PM   #4
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Thanks guys for helping me out. I'll give this setting a go and see what happens.
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Old April 12th, 2008, 09:21 AM   #5
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Hi all!
I'm very impressed, Travis. 3 cameras for a wedding!!!. How do you control so many cameras?. Do you work alone or use assistant??. Please, can you describe a little how do you prepare the recording session??.
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Old April 12th, 2008, 02:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose Luis Alcaraz View Post
Hi all!
I'm very impressed, Travis. 3 cameras for a wedding!!!. How do you control so many cameras?. Do you work alone or use assistant??. Please, can you describe a little how do you prepare the recording session??.
I use myself and an assistant as operators. One camera is unmanned, and is placed somewhere in the back as a wide shot. The other two cameras are manned and are on either side of the bride and groom (near the front but on the sides) to allow for closeups of each. That's pretty much it. All editing is done in post - no live switching is done.
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