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


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Old August 26th, 2008, 04:48 PM   #1
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Entering the HD world...

If anyone can offer some suggestions on the following question(s), that'd be great. I use love DVinfo.net and have read a lot of excellent material here and seen some astounding wedding videos posted via Vimeo recently.

I'm a low-budget wedding videographer. I take videos and make DVDs of friends' weddings for pretty much just the cost of materials. I've done well enough to get repeat business (other siblings) and referrals. Essentially the customers get what they pay for, a recording of the event and DVDs with menus (thanks to Premier Elements). Nothing fancy. I typically have used a Canon GL2 (belonging to my church) and a Sony Digital 8 camera (don't laugh too hard).

On the good old, SD analog TVs, my DVDs looked good enough -- not bad really. But on my nice new 42" Toshiba 1080p, 120Hz LCD they look horrid. I'm sooooo embarrassed to charge anyone anything for these videos. The graininess is overwhelming. Whatever sharpness the DVD had on the old technology has vanished. I'm at a complete loss as to how to proceed. I'm thinking about just getting out of the wedding video business, though I love it. Since I've not made any money on these weddings, I can't afford to do the significant camera upgrade that is needed.

I've got one more wedding to do. Low light is the biggest problem. Turning down the gain on GL2 will help with getting rid of some of the graininess. I've borrowed a Sony SR11 to replace my Digital 8 (the auto focus has died on it anyway). But I don't know how to put out a product that looks decent on the new TVs using standard DVDs (most people I know don't currently have BluRay yet). Commercial, Hollywood DVDs look pretty decent, even with my non-upconverting DVD player. Not so with my DVDs, even though I use the highest quality encoding rate that Premier Elements has. My video formatted for the computer doesn't look too bad, but for TVs.... ugggh.

What can I do to maximize the quality of my product? Any suggestions, hints or "read this thread" would be of help. Right now I'm thinking I'm hosed.

Thanks in advance to anyone who wishes to offer advice.

-- Will
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Old August 26th, 2008, 05:31 PM   #2
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Well, up until a few months ago I used 3 GL2's to film all of my weddings, and they looked fine on my 32" HDTV - not as crisp as a commercial DVD like a movie, but good.

I would say it's all in the camera and in post. If you're getting lots of grain in the original video, then the DVD compression will just make that even worse. So you have to learn your camera's manual settings and figure out what will get you the best look in certain lighting situations. You can also increase contrast in post to help define the video image better.

HD cameras typically have a lower sensitivity to light than SD cameras, so switching to HD isn't the one-stop solution you might think it is. If anything the extra resolution actually means you have to be more on your game or else it shows on those nice 42" HDTV's. Things you could get away with in SD don't necessarily work in the HD world.

If you aren't shooting in manual on your GL2, that's more than half of your problem probably.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 05:53 PM   #3
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I think you're right....

Travis,

Well said. You've probably identified a large portion of the problem. As you indicated, SD allowed me to get away with not knowing the camera well enough and the DVD compression, combined with the HDTV resolution just highlighted my lack of knowledge. I'll dive into the manual! Thanks.

-- Will
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Old August 26th, 2008, 05:56 PM   #4
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No problem. Good luck! It's not as scary as you might think. d;-)
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