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


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Old November 20th, 2008, 12:46 PM   #1
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Canon XH-A1 and weddings

For anyone who shoots weddings with a Canon XH-A1, I have a question to ask.

Say you are going to shoot a wedding in a ballroom in the afternoon, and you have to get there NOW...what settings would you put on your XH-A1 to ensure you get good quality. Or in other words, if you to buy a brand new XH-A1, what would you change the settings to for a indoor ballroom ceremony? 24F, 30F, 60i? Shutter Level? Custom Presets (Vision03? VividRGB?)

I know this is not practical, and you would adjust them when you get to the ballroom and see the atmosphere, but I feel this question will give a newcomer like me more valuable information.

I'm sorry for such a vague question, but it will truly be appreciated.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 01:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Arif Syed View Post
For anyone who shoots weddings with a Canon XH-A1, I have a question to ask.

Say you are going to shoot a wedding in a ballroom in the afternoon, and you have to get there NOW...what settings would you put on your XH-A1 to ensure you get good quality. Or in other words, if you to buy a brand new XH-A1, what would you change the settings to for a indoor ballroom ceremony? 24F, 30F, 60i? Shutter Level? Custom Presets (Vision03? VividRGB?)

I know this is not practical, and you would adjust them when you get to the ballroom and see the atmosphere, but I feel this question will give a newcomer like me more valuable information.

I'm sorry for such a vague question, but it will truly be appreciated.

That's tough to say....too many variables. Best to get there and try different pre sets to see what looks best. Just never know how they are going to light it, ambient light, etc. 24F is going to probably give you better performance in low light.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 02:24 PM   #3
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I use:

-30F or 24F (ask the couple if they have a preference, if they say "what?" pick 24F)
-VividRGB Preset
-HDV
-shutter 1/60 or 1/48 (1/30 or 1/24 if you REALLY need it)
-Gain presets at -3db, 0db and 3db. No higher than 6db.
-zoom rocker on handle set to speed 1, zoom on body variable.

seems to work :)
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Old November 20th, 2008, 03:17 PM   #4
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Like nate said, but without using any preset unless I exactly knew what results it would give, otherwise your safer using no preset and colour correct in post.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 04:19 PM   #5
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What i do:
-HDV 25F shutter 1/50th or 1/25th (low light) PAL
For NTSC i'd say 30F with 1/60th or 1/30th (i never shot with NTSC...)
-a mild preset, -3db, Panalook 2 or Reality
-Gain presets -3db/+6db(a lot will say it is the max)/+12db. Some people hate it, but if you have to deal with low light (=typical wedding) i think you need too. If you don't dare to go that high, i suggest -3/+3/+6
-Like Nate, the slow zoom on the handle (love that one), and the big rocker on variable.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 05:31 PM   #6
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-Gain presets -3db/+6db(a lot will say it is the max)/+12db. Some people hate it, but if you have to deal with low light (=typical wedding) i think you need too.
Hey Huub :) I tested 12db + at the last wedding were it was really dark and it looked awfull, like an army of ants was on my viewfinder.
+6db, 25f and 1/25 shutter is as far as I go and then my swit light has to fill in the blanks.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 08:18 PM   #7
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I would stay away from vividrgb for weddings. I personally don't like the way skintones look using it, I've found it to look very artificial, especially inside, although outside for establishing shots it can be very nice if your going for that very saturated look. I've experimented with different pre-sets but have pretty much settled on the stock setting with the color gain cranked to about 18 with cine2 gamma setting for a bit more contrast. If it is very dark at the reception I'll take off the cine2 for just the normal gamma setting. I also never go above 6db gain.. Panalook is not bad imo either though...
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Old November 21st, 2008, 05:13 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
Hey Huub :) I tested 12db + at the last wedding were it was really dark and it looked awfull, like an army of ants was on my viewfinder.
+6db, 25f and 1/25 shutter is as far as I go and then my swit light has to fill in the blanks.
You're right. At 12db the gain is getting visible, but at least i have some proper exposed footage. After downconverting to SD-DVD it isn't really that bad IMO.
I try to avoid 12db if possible, but sometimes there's no choice. A light will not work on anything further then a few meters.
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Old June 19th, 2009, 08:09 PM   #9
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I shoot weddings on a Canon XH-A1 for Elysium Productions (Elysium Productions - HOMEPAGE). We were ranked in the top 25 most influential wedding production companies by Event DV magazine. We almost never shoot at 24F since we do so much slow motion work in post. Most, if not all of the footage is logged at 60i with a shutter of 1/60 or 1/48 depending on the lighting. Like you stated, sometimes ballrooms can be a nightmare for lighting but generally we combat that by having on-camera lights.

I use VividRGB so I don't have to spend as much time in post getting colors to pop. And clients generally like very vibrant colors, even if skin tones look a little unnatural. One thing I've learned while working for a big wedding videography company is that clients care very little about the technical aspects of shooting. Instead they're more interested in whether or not it feels cinematic (even though most cinematographers and editors know its not). For instance, since Elysium does a lot of slow-motion work, we shoot at a higher frame-rate. Essentially, we achieve a cinematic feeling through gratuitous slow-motion work, color correction, and transition work as opposed to using the actual cinema standards of film (like 24F).
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Old June 19th, 2009, 11:20 PM   #10
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Sean I'm with you on this topic. I would never go 24F as slow motion is unwatchable. VividRGB is also my taste outdoor. Indoor is tough to shoot with VividRGB but I'm still using.

I also shoot with both Xh-A1 and XH-A1s so I have multiple angle. On-camera light is very important especially shooting indoor. I came across many situation there isn't any additional light in the ballroom except some uplight to the wall. Luckily I have my own on-camera light. I mounted two Comer LED lights in one and mount a third Comer light on the second XH-A1. The result is very good.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 02:11 AM   #11
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The main reason why I use 25f now for weddings is that it gives me the best results on dvd (esp when viewed on a hd lcd screen) and the web and since I never use slowmotion it is not such a problem. On the other hand I don't seem to get 50i right in Premiere pro cs3, I"m not satisfied with the quality on dvd when viewed on a hd lcd screen. The interlacing then shows to much.
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