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


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Old August 16th, 2007, 08:35 PM   #16
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"Yet another lesson learned here, DON'T USE RECHARGABLES."

Sadly, that is true. I think the real problem with rechargeable batteries is their lower voltage. A "9V" rechargeable is actually 7.2V which is at the borderline of where my Lectrosonics will function. I tested my wireless and I seem to recall it cut off around 7V which is not a lot of margin for error. With a coppertop alkaline, my wireless lasts for over 7 hours!

I hate throwing away batteries with half their life in them, but there is no other way to get the job done. I don't understand why they don't make them a higher voltage. I believe the individual cells put out 1.2V and they put together 6 to make the 7.2V rechargeables. They should put together 8 of them to make 9.6V as that is only about .4V over a new alkaline.

Some devices claim to be compatible with rechargeable batteries so they probably mean they can tolerate the lower voltage. I wish manufacturers would get together with the battery companies to solve this problem.

EDIT

I searched around and found 8.4V rechargeable "9V" batteries. These might work for many situations if they are a high amp-hour rating as they will hold that voltage for longer than a low-capacity battery. Regardless, I don't use rechargeables in critical situations due to lack of reliablity. It's too difficult to know if they really have a good charge or not. I also don't use cheap generic batteries as I have had them leak more than once inside a device. I will never put a cheap alkaline in my Lectrosonics and would only use rechargeable at the reception. Since an alkaline lasts so long in my wireless, that is not an issue. I buy 8-packs at Costco so the price is not an issue. I believe the Costco price is less than half the price at other stores and a quarter the price of batteries bought at convience stores.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 08:49 PM   #17
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I don't understand why they don't make them a higher voltage.
They do. You just have to order the right ones:

http://www.codespro-online.com/Maha_...HARGEABLE.html

Here's a US distributer:

http://www.thomas-distributing.com/mh-96v230.htm
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Old August 16th, 2007, 09:03 PM   #18
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Microphone Strategies

Ethan,

In the years that I have been videotaping weddings professionally, a few things I have found to be universally true:

1. Wireless mics will fail you eventually. Having owned Lectrosonics, Sony, Azden, Sampson, etc., I have encountered many problems that have led to audio dropouts- bad batteries, jammed frequencies, stressed mic wires, and even a groom that chose to turn his wireless mic off right before the vows! The audio gremlins that sometimes live in poorly designed Church systems are no guarantee for a great audio feed either.

so,

2. Backup, backup, backup. You MUST be prepared to record at least 2 audio sources close to the altar area. If I read your post correctly, it sounds as if you usually have backup- a wireless on the groom and a direct church feed. I think that's great. However, you should have known that the church had no direct feed for your MD before the wedding day and brought a second wireless for the priest.

It has been said that the mark of a true professional is how you react when things go wrong. Therefore, most important:

3. Honesty is always the best policy. Be honest with your bride. The sooner you resolve this problem with the bride the better- and you will sleep much easier:) I have re-recorded vows and produced short-form video to help negate major audio & video issues, but ALWAYS with the bride's knowledge and encouragement. And in 800+ weddings I have never, ever had to use my contract to settle a dispute.

I hope this helps. I wish you well,

Mike Jensen
Jensen Wedding Films
Sacramento, CA
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Old August 16th, 2007, 09:40 PM   #19
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3. Honesty is always the best policy. Be honest with your bride. The sooner you resolve this problem with the bride the better- and you will sleep much easier:) I have re-recorded vows and produced short-form video to help negate major audio & video issues, but ALWAYS with the bride's knowledge and encouragement. And in 800+ weddings I have never, ever had to use my contract to settle a dispute.
Can't argue with that. He's right.
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Old August 16th, 2007, 09:46 PM   #20
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Why even tell the bride? Bust out the microphone and do the groom's voice-over yourself. Nobody will notice.


(just kidding, obviously!)
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Old August 16th, 2007, 11:58 PM   #21
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Dont Worry

Hey mate, calm down. Dont worry. I have had this happen before (once)
There is not much you can do about it but move on. What we did was edit music underneathe the footage. In essence the raw footage became one big massive highlights clip. We took the time and edited out the crap shots etc and used 40 minutes of music.
We were prepared to take in on the chin. Refunds , apologise etc. Didnt need to however. The bride thought that this was part of the package and has since been responsible for 40% of our work via word of mouth.
Look at what you have and work it to your advantage. You may have to work a bit more to pull out of the hole your in, but dont slash your wrists yet.
This could be a positive.
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Old August 17th, 2007, 12:54 AM   #22
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I think you shoud rent a Neuman Condenser microphone and record the B&G saying their vows with dramatic cadence. Mix that with some syrupy music and make it the opening sequence. Big fat lush vocal over dub, really over the top. The best damn vow that has ever been recorded.

Just spit-ballin' late at night. Good Luck.
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Old August 17th, 2007, 04:29 AM   #23
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My first wedding ever required re-dubbing the vows. I think that wedding also had my happiest "customers" ever. They were friends and got the video for free, but the bride's mother wrote me a rave review thank-you note talking about how she and her friends loved the video.

Vito, thanks for that find on the 9.6V rechargeables. Do you use these in your wireless systems?

I just read a customer review on that site and they have the 10-bank charger and use Sennheiser wireless systems at their church. They said that the batteries last at least 3 hours over two of their services and that they haven't tested them longer. I'm guessing that they should last quite a while, but I think I still might use a fresh alkaline in the transmitter. A good rechargeable in the receiver might be a good compromise between peace of mind and environmental friendliness. Actually, I do some really quick outdoor weddings where a good rechargeable might be acceptable. I'm usually close enough to get audio with my on-camera mic so I wouldn't stress so much.
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Old August 17th, 2007, 06:27 AM   #24
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Vito, thanks for that find on the 9.6V rechargeables. Do you use these in your wireless systems?
My system takes AAs, but I do indeed use their batteries. They work great.
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Old August 17th, 2007, 09:23 AM   #25
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I've only done one wedding so far (I've done several other church events) and I had the groom wired like Ryan Seacrest on American Idol. 2 lavs: 1)GS+Iriver in his pocket and 1 Samson UHF 32 with the audio feed going into my camcorder.

Before the ceremony started I did a test with the church audio guy to make sure my UHF system would not interfere with their Shure system.

Always monitor audio and I use V6s. I was able to easily dial down the audio volume when I switched from Videomic and plugged in the UHF receiver for the groom lav.

Audio came out awesome. Both tracks.
The GS is amazing with it's pickup. There was a poem reading done from the 4th row and the audio was really low but once I took the file in Audacity I was able to nicely raise the volume on the poem reader (and remove the noise).

Quite honestly I don't think I would trust to get the audio feed from the PA system. At least no as my main source. It would have to be my 3rd backup after the Samson UHF and GS+Iriver.
Getting the PA system does have a good value when there is someone at the ceremony reading a poem (someone who is not close to the BG+priest) like it happened in my case. I did have 2 camcorders so I had audio on the other one as well (which was next to the poem reader).
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Old August 17th, 2007, 08:44 PM   #26
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"Before the ceremony started I did a test with the church audio guy to make sure my UHF system would not interfere with their Shure system."

There is usually no such thing as an audio guy here. To top it off, if there is a problem with the house system it will probably be me that gets to diagnose the infernal contraption. Sometimes the location will set up a mic for people to speak into, but that is rare. Regardless, almost nobody knows how to use a microphone so I would never use audio from a handheld mic anyway. It would have audio levels all over the place and a bunch of loud pops from people spitting in it. On the contrary, I shot a karaoke contest here once for a hotel employee Christmas party and I swear they were all professional singers.

My concern with using two wireless systems on one person would be possible interference with each other over harmonic frequencies. I guess if they were in different pockets it should be okay? I think I need an Iriver...
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Old August 18th, 2007, 02:16 PM   #27
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You could always present it to them as a cool and different way to edit their ceremony. Call them up and tell them you are trying a new short-form ceremony montage with music and voice over, and you would like to use THEIR wedding, yes, THEM, for your new short-form ceremony demo. You are sure that this style will be the new rage....

Why call them up to say you screwed up, and could they please help you out?

Of course, if they say no, you are back to square one.

As well, you don't need to present it as a disaster they will be angry over, ask you for discounts, etc.

If you want to be straight with them, just say the ceremony audio didn't work out as you hoped, and you would like them to do some ADR. There is no additional charge, of course, because you want them to have the best possible video.

Never tell them you screwed up and need to have your bacon pulled out of the fire. You're begging for them to badmouth you for years. There is always a positive solution for everyone if you look for it.
I think it's a bad idea to call them and say you want to try out a new format, because IF they say no, then you're going to have to tell them the truth about the audio . . and it's going to look like you were trying to keep them in the dark. That would be a great reason to bad-mouth your company.
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Old August 19th, 2007, 05:34 PM   #28
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I think it's a bad idea to call them and say you want to try out a new format, because IF they say no, then you're going to have to tell them the truth about the audio . . and it's going to look like you were trying to keep them in the dark. That would be a great reason to bad-mouth your company.

Pretty much what I said with "Of course, if they say no, you are back to square one."

And why I suggested the alternative of:

"If you want to be straight with them...etc"
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Old August 19th, 2007, 06:37 PM   #29
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Pretty much what I said with "Of course, if they say no, you are back to square one."

And why I suggested the alternative of:

"If you want to be straight with them...etc"
I know. I was just posting my opinion of which of your suggestions I personally wouldn't do. No harm meant.
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Old August 19th, 2007, 07:44 PM   #30
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No harm meant.
No offense taken.

Cheers,
Vito
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