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


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Old October 21st, 2003, 06:42 PM   #1
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My first weddings with GS 100 :(

Hi,
I'm going to give my comments from perspective of someone who gets paid to do a job and please the customer.
For the past 7 years I've used Sony VX 1000 which took me through weddings, corporate videos and my first feature with one problem only. I wish I could say it's over for Sony but...

Here are loose comments of 2 weddings I did.
I hope that somebody with better knowledge of this camera can comment.

People who buy this camera as a hobby should not complain at all because of the price of this fine piece of machinery.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Wedding 1 - Oct 11, 2003
Rating out of 5
Ceremony 3
Park 5 plus
Reception 2

This wedding supposed to be no editing documentary style.
I got camera 4 weeks before wedding
First wide angle Raynox 6600 return since it's not full zoom and I can see small grain on faces in low light.
I changed it to Ryanox 4500 super wide full zoom (second wedding I took it of)
I walked to the church switched to AE mode to see what camera see - exposure it was 9db to 12db. I look at the LCD monitor everything looks OK.
I set monitor setting in menu to normal so I can get as close to true picture as possible.
Footage on TV looks darker so now I have to go through Adobe and put 15% bright filter.
I think LCD is brigther by half or one F stop then reality.
Any comments about using AE mode on the lens barrel switch as light meter, setting LCD in menu to get perfect picture and so on.

Park
Watching VHS copy of park is like watching my Sony playing directly from DV tape - it's great.
One problem is because there is no weight in this camera any Close up shakes badly.
Practice needed.

Reception
This is not low light camera. It was big hall for 400 guests.
I had 2000 wats and still picture was too dark. All speaches go to computer for brightness adjustment.
This camera needs constant fill light from on camera light in dark with lights on.
Where there is no light there is pure black. I can't even see faces far away.
Any comments on hacking internal gain for exposure like we could with Sony, how to change contrast setting so it's not that exteme.
No light =blackness


Wedding 2 - Oct.18, 2003
Rating out of 5
Ceremony 0
Park shot with Sony it was raining
Reception 4

Church was very dark, just few lights. I used AE switch exposure was 12db and the monitor dark too.
I decided to use Sony since I know that it can handle this kind of lighting.
Here is the choice
Use Sony with weak color reproduction but bright picture or
GS 100 for great colors but faces will be dark. This is what I see now as a big deal with new camera. Excellent color reproduction.

Park
It was raining I didn't have housing with me. I used sony.

Reception
I took wide angle off
I think it takes too much needed light from the lens.
Smaller room then last one.
From previous experience I took 1000wats light 10 meters away from speaker's podium - great image
All special dances - 2000 wats on the center of dance floor plus fill 20wats spot on camera - great images

There is no mercy with this camera on guests - you need light all the time.

My next wedding Oct 25 will be for editing so I will take shots with both cameras to see what is really going on in low light.

If we could find proper setting for low light, knew what is the maximum DB exposure setting before grain appears and practice holding this puppy it would be great.

I'm considering shooting feature with this camera (because of the price - get 2 more) but didn't experiment with Wide and Pro Cinema modes.
If there is an article somewhere about this camera please let me know.

That's all for know. No hate email please :)
I'm owner and looking to squeeze this camera for best performance.

Mike
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Old October 21st, 2003, 08:37 PM   #2
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None of the new consumer cams are good with low light. That's why I use the older, JVC GR-DVL9500U for weddings and funerals (1/3" CCD with BIG pixels). If I owned a VX2000, or an XL1s, I'd use one of them (1/3" CCDs). And even better would be the older JVC DV500. It has 1/2" CCDs. If I wanted to buy a new wedding right now, and I was short of cash, I'd pick up a used VX2000, or a new GL2 or a new Pana AG-DVC15 (puffed plastic). But the VX2000, in my opinion, would make the better wedding cam (because of its good low light ability). Sorry I had to tell you this. :)
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 01:59 AM   #3
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Great overview Mike!

Good to see what you've experienced in real world.

I'm considering doing some 'pro' work in the future but only family shooting in the moment.

Anyway I've come to many of your observations about this little beauty.

Gain without any noise would be set at 9 dB. The cam in auto (even in Manual when only shutter speed is set) hits 12 dB very quickly. The noise is already visible but it's not heavy and not distracting at all in my opinion. If you use low light mode the Gain hits 18 dB and it's coarse.

Best thing is that the color is very good although the brightness is low – that’s matter of preference. I guess you are used with the bright image Sony gives. In my eyes though the GS100 is closer to the reality (lower light actually is dark even looking with own eyes - VX2000 makes it brighter than the reality so you can see it better on screen)

About LCD - yes - not very real too. I'm using normal mode (disabled AI) and low brightness. Also tweaking a bit brightness and color settings is good thing. The downside is when you are outdoors at bright sun the screen is difficult to see. A LCD hood is handy at such situations I think.

Mike, how did you feel the zoom. The on camera one is pretty good, what I mean is didn't you need optional zoom controller if using tripod?

And about handling - again I would agree with you. Not so easy to tame it not only because of the small body. The OIS is less than perfect because of the small lens too. I find that it's difficult to handheld if you zoom past 5x. Not to speak if you are close to 10x - than bouncing is very likely to happen no matter how still you try to be. Recently I shot a sports day of my kid and had to zoom a lot so I know what I'm talking about. My wife also shot a little and usually she’s been pretty good with Sony TRV10 but this time I’ve got dizzy.

About the exposure and black level – I think that on contrary – you need to lower a bit the contrast and up the color – that might give what you need.

And finally about the exposure – the big miss of this cam is the lack of shutter speed of 1/30 – that would solve many of the problems with the low light you are talking about. Not the fast dances though…

Cheers, Bogdan
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 04:46 AM   #4
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Mike, thanks for sharing your GS wedding experiences, by the way.

Actually, the GS100 would make a great wedding cam if you used a tripod with a big light attached to it, for those low light situations. With my DVL9500 cams, I can just get away without using a light. I don't think they're that expensive, $300 maybe? They're good for up to about 15 feet, or there abouts.
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 10:09 AM   #5
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Using zoom on tripod is very strange, because if you can't switch the handle, when you place left hand on zoom you cover LCD screen.

I hope somebody will hack LANC to PANASonic connection or Pana will put LANC in their next models :)

This coming wedding I'm going to use stabilizer I've built for Sony, but I can't use remote control because I'm using wireless mic.

Mike
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Old October 23rd, 2003, 07:46 PM   #6
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I read that LANC protocol is owned by Sony. Only Canon was paying license, but they apparently stopped so their new cams are also without LANC connector. It’s very unlikely to see Pana adopting it in near future.

Yeas, GS100 is the perfect high end consumer cam, but it appears not so well suited for Pro orientated tasks. The decision to put the mic input together with remote is awful. The supplied remote doesn’t give you smooth control at all. Only way is to use a tripod with left pan handle and do the zoom on cam with right hand. I tried this on small still camera tripod I have and it works well.
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Old October 26th, 2003, 08:04 PM   #7
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Frank, any idea where can the DVL5000 be had today?
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Old October 26th, 2003, 08:30 PM   #8
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There's no such cam as the DVL5000. JVC does make a GR-DV5000 though. For the DVL9500, on the used market.
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Old October 27th, 2003, 03:54 AM   #9
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How is the auto focus on the 9500? Is it inclined to hunt in low light? I just picked up the Panny DV53. It is much less inclined to hunt than my Sony TR101 single chipper. It's quiet, too. Makes less head noise than a VX2000. Haven't messed with the Panny much yet. Not real intuitive initially to operate. This isn't a camera you'll just pick up and use; gonna have to read the manual. The mnual seems okay; the English is good, detail is only so-so. A number of the controls have more than one function. For example, the menu scroll wheel also controls the manual focus, if you can believe! And the zoom rocker also controls the speaker volume. Seems to rewind quick. Doesn't have an overly "cheap" feel to it. The included battery gets over two hours of straight recording (i.e. no zoom, screen closed). The viewfinder view seems smallish, but maybe that's normal for this class of cam. Powers off after 5 minutes without use. The on-camera light is bright and could come in handy. It shined about a 1 to 2 yard circle at 15 feet. It would not be comfortable for the viewer to look directly at it in the dark. The lens has a 43mm thread for attaching a wide angle. It's not a real small camera; it's
mid-sized but the zoom rocker would be a comfortable reach for even small hands. Someone with very large hands might or might not feel cramped while zooming; best for them to maybe take a look at the cam first. Default shutter speed with EIS off is 1/60th and 1/125th with it on. LCD screen has a good range of rotation. No hot shoe. No external mic plug in. On-board mic is mono. One of my concerns is how to attach any type of windscreen to the mic as it's a flattish surface. Don't know about the mic's sensitivity to wind as haven't tested it yet. Has 1394 Firewire. Just thought I'd pass along initial impressions of one of the least expensive miniDV cams available.
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Old October 27th, 2003, 04:07 AM   #10
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Quote:
How is the auto focus on the 9500? Is it inclined to hunt in low light?
Very good, but terrible in low light, as with most cams. I use manual controls with DIS off. This works best in low light. The DVL9500 controls are easy to use, but you do have to pop in the menu system. It's fast however. Thanks for the DV53 mini review.
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Old October 31st, 2003, 03:36 PM   #11
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Wow! I have really learned to appreciate my GL1/XL1 fleet. I shoot a lot of corporate "happy face" events which are often in dimly lit bars and restaurants, and have found that I only need to "tweak" my Frezzi on slightly (it's the model with the dimmer knob, fortunately.) That's all I need to light up the faces. It's even enough to make the autofocus work reasonably well.

But I'm still eager to try out one of the new Pana's.
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