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


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Old February 6th, 2009, 11:32 PM   #1
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With much fear and trepidation...

...here's my first attempt at a wedding highlights reel. This was shot with one XHA1 spur of the moment for a friend without having all my gear. I'm just learning but would love some feedback. There are a couple spots where I think the color doesn't work quite right, but I would really like to improve my skills so if you have the time I'd much appreciate any tips or identifying of trouble spots and what I did wrong. Thanks!!
Andy

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Old February 7th, 2009, 12:18 AM   #2
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Andrew- I am sure you are going to get quite a few technical reviews on here by better eyes then mine. With that said, I think overall this was a great clip. There was a few times that the handheld was a little shaky but it gave it a real feel to me. The cut between the wine bottle to the grapes was a little rough to my eyes, I don't know if it was the fast fade going into a zoom or the length of the grape clip but to me it seemed a little harsh. The exposure in the yard while you were panning the reception that revealed the mountains in the background, I thought this was really nice gave some real depth to the location and intensified the majesty of the location to my eyes. The red on the B&G during the dance was a little rough but it was real to the location, next time you might set up a spotlight or bright on camera light if you can to tame down this type of effect on the bride's dress. Overall I think this is a great clip and I am sure your client will treasure it.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 12:27 AM   #3
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Thanks!!

Great feedback...very much appreciated. The wine bottle to grapes was kind of an accident when editing...I thought it looked odd and I liked it...but it is harsh. So far though I think I am the only person that has liked it...so maybe it will have to go next time. Again, many thanks for taking the time to watch and reply!! I am really enjoying this board...
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Old February 7th, 2009, 01:16 AM   #4
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Not that I qualify as one of the "experienced users" (despite my high post count... that just means I'm chatty and should spend more time editing)........ I'll just give you a run of the mind impressions as they happen....

a 0:53 the fade transition didn't have enough difference between the scenes. The women are on the left and then fade to women on the right. I'd allow more time to pass between those two shots so the fade isn't so close in time.

Good job on an all hand held shoot. I've never done one, and I don't know if I would even be brave enough to try one (though I suppose if it was on a lark and for a non-paying friend I might).

You focus and shot composure are great. The ring section was so sharp-as-a-tack it made me want to whip out the Visa and get an HD cam.... ANY HD cam so I can get that much detail in a shot!

Your edit sure made it look like you could have had two cams. Good job on the shooting & editing! Must have you fast zooms to get the kiss as a wide angle shot, and close up (or else the couple really went for it!)

The shot at 2:13 was a bit hazy. try lowering the lows to right at black (if they aren't already) and raising the whites to blow out the sky a little. That is what I always seem to need to do on my GL2s (and on XL1/XL1s) footage to get rid of the gray haze. That shot is going to be hard no matter what since everything is in profile against a very bright background.

The shot at 2:40 is just gorgeous!

The ending shot was well done, despite obviously being very dark & overly red. You probably got it the best possible!

Overall, I'm sure the couple will love the production (can't beat the price!).Now charge for this from now on!
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Old February 7th, 2009, 01:39 AM   #5
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Hey Andrew!

No fear necessary. Peeps here are always welcome to help and critique for the better.

The video is pretty decent for somebody starting out. If you want to improve on things I'd say vary shot selection. Shoot stuff in various angles and focal lengths so you have more options in the editing. You can now string together a variety of shots to tell a more visually rich story.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old February 7th, 2009, 07:23 AM   #6
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Andrew,

For a first highlights, I think your video is great. I'm sure they'll love it.

A few suggestions:

I would get away from using zooms. The slow zooms in or out look a bit old style and amateur.

Don't use auto iris. You can see how it ruins a shot when you pan across a different light and the iris shuts down.

It could be me, but I avoid shots of people talking (as in a speech) over music. Seems weird not to hear them.

You need a better tripod. You can see how your pans are 'sticky'.

Well done, though. Keep it up.
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Old February 7th, 2009, 11:07 AM   #7
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Andrew,
Vito beat me to the punch... I was going to echo his exact post. I would also add that the pace was good, not too slow, etc. I've always thought it was funny to use this song about a guy seeing this girl that is out of his league, but becuase he's high he thinks it's possible... :) Anyway, I thought the color looked fine, and great advice so far.
Very far beyond my first edit...good job
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Old February 7th, 2009, 11:49 AM   #8
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wow...this is great!!

Thanks guys!! I've enjoyed watching samples of most of your work and it is awesome to get some feed back from you guys. I am just now experimenting with a new home built glidecam for getting more angled/moving shots. About the zooms...in this situation I didn't have any stabilizer to use and I am too green to be able to get a good moving shot without one...so my question is...do you think its better to stick with static shots or should I paste some zooms together to make it more interesting? Obviously on this one I went with pasting some zooms together...but I was wishing I had some more interesting shots to use. Thanks for the tip about manual Iris. I struggled with the transition between shots at 2:24 in the video...this is where the bride and groom walk by me on their entrance and then I flip around and get them walking into the outdoor reception. The first shot is full of color and I really like it, when I flip around though and am shooting more into the sun the sky turns grey...instead of the blue it actually was. How do I avoid this? I tried to fix it with a color correcter but that didn't do it (at least not with my skills) Thanks again for your encouragement...its a real privilege to have you guys look at my work...
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Old February 7th, 2009, 12:04 PM   #9
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Andrew,
You are starting on a loooong journey my friend. My advise to you is watch movies and tv from a technical stanpoint. Zooms as a "rule" are generally frowned on. It's ok to break that rule on purpose, but not as a tool for interesting shots. What makes something interesting is a variety of shots. Even if you have a glidecam, master handheld moving shots, or have a $1200 tripod. You shouldn't just use one of anything. Shots should transition between different things. As an example, if you use Wide, Medium, Close-up, and Extreme Close up shots. Transition between this different shots, not close to close or medium to medium, but vary your shots be the framing. The other thing about zooms is it is ok to use a zoomed in shot, but not the zoom in the process. Personally I would rather see a collection of different focal lengths, all static than to see several zooms strung together. Here's a few suggestions for training DVDs that have helped me...

Advanced Broadast Camera techniques
Moving Camera Techniques - VonLankens
Supercharge your Raw Footage - Chris Watson

Practice practice practice. Shoot anything that moves... start seeing the world as a subject. Your eyes are a camera lens, use everything. DON't BUY A BUNCH OF UNNECESSARY EQUIPMENT. it will not make you better. Get better, make money, and then you'll have the money to experiemnt with different things. Tell the story first, then try to wow with the images. my 2cents
Bill
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Old February 7th, 2009, 12:18 PM   #10
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Bill-
Thanks for the resource ideas. I am working on practicing as much as possible...I'm even working on a few friends for a remake of their wedding :) I know you are saying to limit equipment purchases...but I was wondering what you thought about the utility of a wide angle adapter. I noticed on your webpage that it looks like you use an XHA1 as well and one of the shots had a WA lens on the cam...I think it did at least. I have been contemplating getting one...anyways, just thought I would see what your thoughts were.
Andy
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Old February 7th, 2009, 12:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Andrew Dryden View Post
Bill-
Thanks for the resource ideas. I am working on practicing as much as possible...I'm even working on a few friends for a remake of their wedding :) I know you are saying to limit equipment purchases...but I was wondering what you thought about the utility of a wide angle adapter. I noticed on your webpage that it looks like you use an XHA1 as well and one of the shots had a WA lens on the cam...I think it did at least. I have been contemplating getting one...anyways, just thought I would see what your thoughts were.
Andy

Many movies & TV shows are shot just fine with out fancy lenses and with out lots of hand held shots. Granted everythign is staged, but for them, shot composition and content are king, not gliding all over, or big fish-eye spin around sequences.

I would skip any fancy lens purchases until you have a good tripod. I did not follow that advice, and now I have great audio, two different lenses to play with (.7 and .3) and I have a mediocre tripod.... The tripod will make the most difference in your shooting. Tripod and practice first. Good audio second. Then a SECOND camera and tripod, and THEN .7 lens adapters (they sure help for crowded receptions so you don't have to stand too far back) / multirigs or figrigs (stable mobility is priceless for receptions) / glidecams (lets face it... they get money shots) / lighting (tired of bumping the gain in cam or in post for receptions? I am) / DOF adapters (want to get teh Stillmotion look?) / jibs (now you are practically a 1 man studio), etc (listed in the order I think they add value with the necessary experience to operate them).
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Old February 7th, 2009, 01:08 PM   #12
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Jason-
Thanks for the advice. Right now I am have one XHA1 and a HF10 for fun. I have a nice set of wireless mics and just got a good olympus digital voice recorder after researching them here. I have a good Satchler tripod on loan...unfortunately the bride in this wedding didn't let us know we would actually be taping until we were there (four hours from home) and I had to borrow what I could. I think it was a manfrotto with a decent head on it...but I probably don't know how to use it well enough. I actually just booked a new gig for June and will be renting a second XHA1 for that one. Thanks for the tips. I am thinking of getting an on camera light as well for the reception...I hate to do it as I find camera lights annoying at weddings...but you are right on about the gain....
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Old February 8th, 2009, 12:11 AM   #13
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Andrew,
I have had a Canon WD-72 wide angle, but found it to be way too heavy and it really didn't make enough difference. The A1 is very wide naturally, so I stopped using it. Here is what I find "necessary" equipment wise.
I have 2 main cameras, and I would make this a priority because what if the A1 goes down, and you have to shoot the reception with the HF10? Nigthmare... this happened to me when I was using the VX2100. I dropped it as the couple was getting into the limo to go to the reception and I had to shoot the whole reception with a GL1. So, I went from a great low-light camera to a horrible one. IT was terrible.
MAtching decent tripods. Make sure they have the same head so everything is interchangeable. I use the Bogen 3021 legs with the 3063 head and I love it.
RECEPTION LIGHT. Don't ever ever ever ever ever ever go into a reception without a light. I don't care if you use it, just have it. Believe me, if a couple is hiring you they value image quality over unobtrusiveness. I use the Canon VL-10i it is a 10 watt light and really does the trick for me.
This is all the equipment I find neccessary (other than audio stuff which you mentioned)
I also use a bogen monopod with the same head as my tripods...
Learn composition... very important. Research presets, find some you like. Practice. Good luck
Bill
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Old February 8th, 2009, 12:57 AM   #14
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RECEPTION LIGHT. Don't ever ever ever ever ever ever go into a reception without a light. I don't care if you use it, just have it. Believe me, if a couple is hiring you they value image quality over unobtrusiveness. I use the Canon VL-10i it is a 10 watt light and really does the trick for me.
This is all the equipment I find neccessary (other than audio stuff which you mentioned)
I also use a bogen monopod with the same head as my tripods...
Learn composition... very important. Research presets, find some you like. Practice. Good luck
Bill
Bill got a good point about a light. I have the same Canon light, but I had a friend retrofit it with a 6 LED array and a nice current control circuit to give a completely linear burn down for over 6 hours of continuous use at +400lux. So instead of ~200 lumens, I now get 600 and can literally light up a room a few lux (which makes the world of difference when shooting with a GL2) by bouncing it off a low ceiling (which I did for a lot of the reception footage here.

Even the stock canon light is very very valuable... and very handy that it uses the same batteries as the camera get a dual recharger and always keep two extra 6hr batteries charged so you can go completely on battery for a whole day if need be.

A more expensive, but better solution is one of those fancy battery powered remote controlled "Reception lights" or anythign that is dimable with a softbox.
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Old February 8th, 2009, 12:36 PM   #15
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Thanks again for the continued guidance. I have a couple more weddings coming up and for one of them will likely have one camera on a tripod at the back with an operator and one camera up front with an operator as well. My question is...how do you work out who does what in a two camera set up? Do you try and communicate or do you just keep the back camera fairly wide the entire time and leave the front camera to get close ups? These weddings will be my first two camera shoots...for which I will rent another XHA1. Also besides a light I was thinking of picking up a LANC controller to make things smoother on the tripod...but it sounds like you guys suggest not zooming at all...so is this a silly purchase? Finally, I have spent a bunch of time looking at highlights reels etc online...but really want to get a look at a full length DVD so I can see how the ceremony, speeches etc all get edited together. Do you know anyone who is willing to pass along completed DVD's or sell them? I'd be happy to purchase one from either of you if you are interested...
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