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


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Old May 4th, 2008, 03:55 PM   #1
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Best HD camera for weddings?

Thinking about jumping to a HD camera in the next year. . .

Which one is the best for wedding videography, but not limited to just that?
Which one is the best in low light situations i.e receptions?

I currently use a DVX100a.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 01:18 AM   #2
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I use a Canon XH-A1 and it gets really good low light stuff as long as you know how to set it up. -3db gain, with the VIVID RGB preset. Samples here:

http://www.vimeo.com/861675
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Old May 5th, 2008, 02:42 AM   #3
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For under $10K your best low-light choice is the Sony EX1, but many wedding videographers are going for the Z7U instead for practical reasons. You can also get decent results with the Canon XH-A1 or Sony FX1/Z1U, but the latest Sony cameras are the popular ones for low-light situations.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 02:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy Moss View Post
I use a Canon XH-A1 and it gets really good low light stuff as long as you know how to set it up. -3db gain, with the VIVID RGB preset. Samples here:

http://www.vimeo.com/861675
@ Jimmy: It's nice to see to sample footage of the XH-A1 in not so good circumstances, what type of extra light have you used during these darker recordings?

I'm planning to switch to hd as well by the end of this year and I had the xh-a1 on my mind, but with panasonic coming with the tapeless AG-HMC150 I"ll wait long enough to see how it performs and what the price will be. Untill know cameras that recorded to memory cards were a bit above my budget but from what I read the AG-HMC150 will be in the price range of the XH-A1. Ofcourse you need to consider the price of the memorycards but using no tape anymore will be a huge advantage well worth the extra investment.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 11:06 AM   #5
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Hey Jimmy,
Explain what post production you are doing there at -3db etc. In that situation I woul dhave been at 12db gain and 1/30 shutter on the A1. That looks nice and clean. Also, what NLE?
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Old May 5th, 2008, 11:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Brian Mercer View Post
Thinking about jumping to a HD camera in the next year. . .

Which one is the best for wedding videography, but not limited to just that?
Which one is the best in low light situations i.e receptions?

I currently use a DVX100a.


I have a couple of V1us, a Z1u, and a G2. I use the sony's for weddings, and with proper light they do fine. I say that because a lot of emphasis in this forum is on low light capability. As I tell me clients, if you turn the lights out, your video will be dark, or have that spotted deer effect at least. So with any camera you buy, get a good light to go along with it.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 01:03 PM   #7
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Steven,

Thanks for the info.

We tell all of our clients "if you turn the lights out, your video will be dark". So I'm with you there. Howverm in this market, the photographers are the ones passing the word around about videography. The photographers hate the video lights on cameras. That's why we don't use any.

I know HD needs some light. Now the delicate balance of making great videos and getting work. Unfortunately in this market, getting the work is tough enough. Upsetting the large population of photogs would be detrimental. Now the search for the best low light capable, affordable HD camera.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 01:10 PM   #8
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Steven,
Howverm in this market, the photographers are the ones passing the word around about videography. The photographers hate the video lights on cameras. That's why we don't use any.....Upsetting the large population of photogs would be detrimental.
Wow. I don't like photographer flashes in my cameras lenses, but that's just the way things are. I feel for you dude. Asking me to turn my light off is like asking the photog not to use his/her flash.

I honestly can't see video lights used descretely as a problem. What's fair is fair.

Ok I'm off my soapbox now.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 01:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brian Mercer View Post
Steven,

Thanks for the info.

We tell all of our clients "if you turn the lights out, your video will be dark". So I'm with you there. Howverm in this market, the photographers are the ones passing the word around about videography. The photographers hate the video lights on cameras. That's why we don't use any.

I know HD needs some light. Now the delicate balance of making great videos and getting work. Unfortunately in this market, getting the work is tough enough. Upsetting the large population of photogs would be detrimental. Now the search for the best low light capable, affordable HD camera.
I've never had a photographer tell me that they hate my lights whe used.

Funny thing is that they actually like ti when I use my lights, as then they can actually see what they are focusing on when the lights go out. A flash does a photographer no good as he can't see if he's in focus when he/she takes the picture.

I find it funny that everyone keeps asking what is the best camera for low light. When video needs light to begin with.

I used to shoot with Sony PD170's (the king of prosumer low light 1 lux).
It was great that the camera could almost see in the dark. But when the lights went out and I cranked up the gain and exposure the picture turned to grainy mush. Add a small on board light and the picture and color instantly comes back.

Now I shot with Sony FX1's, and although they cameras don't have as good a lux rating like the PD170's, the picture is better in low light (comparatively speaking). As I can go to 15-18 DB and the backs hold, while on a PD170 the picture would start to grain at 12db. Add a small on board light and the color can be stunning. Or you could setup a portable light like the Reception light (http://receptionlight.com/index.html) or two by the dance floor by the DJ stand or stage and get just enough light to not need a camera light. And get a better balanced shot to boot, due to the even lighting.

So in y opinion HD video doesn't need light...
Video as well as Photography needs light.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 03:07 PM   #10
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I've seen some photographers bring their own video lights for the reception.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 03:23 PM   #11
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Yeah, we experienced this in April. It was terrible. Photographer was moving it around like a large search light. It wouldn't have been so bad if they would have left them in one place.

There is one videographer that uses small LED lights on his cameras. He says they don't effect the photographer at all.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 03:28 PM   #12
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Yeah, we experienced this in April. It was terrible. Photographer was moving it around like a large search light. It wouldn't have been so bad if they would have left them in one place.

There is one videographer that uses small LED lights on his cameras. He says they don't effect the photographer at all.
Yep been there. Had a photographer bring a softbox that he drug around the entire day. The thing was 4x3 feet and looked like a big glowing now-a-later. Needless today, it was annoying because it only glowed when a picture was taken, so it looked like 'someone' was dimming the lights on and off.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 03:39 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Brian Mercer View Post
Thinking about jumping to a HD camera in the next year. . .

Which one is the best for wedding videography, but not limited to just that?
Which one is the best in low light situations i.e receptions?

I currently use a DVX100a.
Have you considered a budget number yet? That would help focus our recommendations dramatically.
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Old May 5th, 2008, 03:57 PM   #14
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To be honest, I don't even know where the range would be. I have a DVX-100a and I've looked at the HVX-200a. So let's say $6K.

Isn't it better to go with something that can do tapeless at this stage of the game?
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Old May 5th, 2008, 04:06 PM   #15
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I've seen some photographers bring their own video lights for the reception.
My wife brings me and my video light <VBG>. Even asks me to shadow her while we shoot side by side!

Seriously though, I'm using the Sony 10/20W light with a diffuser and a bracket to get it up and away from the camera, and it's plenty adequate - the diffusion helps keep the subject "happy" and softens the "hot spot" so things turn out looking pretty decent.

"Low light" is a problem for ANY imaging device other than IR... and solving it is a dark art of its own. I've got several hundred $ worth of brackets/diffusers/flashes/lights to get the best image under nearly any circumstance for stills and video. It's part of the "package", not sure there' s a single "best" solution for every situation!

Obviously though, small and unobtrusive is preferable in many live situations!! I'm not lugging a full light kit around thanks!
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