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


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Old March 4th, 2004, 12:43 PM   #1
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Wedding Videography: DVX or PD170?

I've shot a few weddings (3) with the DVX100 and really began to think I'm using the wrong camera for my craft. I was seriously considering the PD170 for it's low light performance especially in regards to wedding receptions which tend to be quite dim. I originally got it to shoot 24p shorts but have yet to really make use of it in that way.

So what do you guys think? Is the PD170 a better choice for my particular field? In optimal lighting in 60i how do the two compare. Lastly is there a benefit to shooting DVCAM?
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Old March 4th, 2004, 01:16 PM   #2
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I don't shoot weddings at all, but what always seems to mystify me in these posts about weddings is that there always seems to be low light concerns. Is it not possible to do lighting for weddings? Even some minimal low watt diffused lighting? In the few weddings I've attended, it seems the still photo guys are using flash or am I mistaken?

If you can't light and your getting grainy footage, I think you had better look for an alternate, extreme low-light video camera.

-Rodger
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Old March 4th, 2004, 10:49 PM   #3
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I've shot quite a number of Weddings with both Sony PD-150 and JVC GY-DV301 (Streamcorder). From my experience, all 1/3" CCD cams provide about the same low-light quality.

Too dim, you are going to get flat and uninteresting footages. So, I carry along a 50W light and to prevent spoiling the atmosphere, I point the light upwards and have the ceiling/wall bounds it back.
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Old March 4th, 2004, 11:05 PM   #4
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You maybe right Yik, regarding all 1/3" cameras providing similar low-light quality...however, not all the same with gain applied. The 1lux rating of the PD-170 is most definitly measured WHILE using gain- just as the DVX100's 3lux rating is at a terribly grainy +18db.

Rodger, you make a good point but beings you never shot a wedding you probably wouldn't know that using external light is resort during recpetions. I always try to shoot without external light if possible. Plus on camera lights are very harsh and create contrasty subjects with harsh shadows. Granted they make on-camera softboxes but have yet to see them implimented with a camera the size of a DVX and/or PD170.
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Old March 4th, 2004, 11:38 PM   #5
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Im a DVX'er so am somewhat biased.

Lets pretend you get the other camera and then one day and wake up a say to yourself "I have today off from the shooting weddings, what i want to do is make some shorts"

hmmm..

If only you had the DVX.
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Old March 5th, 2004, 02:47 AM   #6
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You are right Glenn.

Sony cams do provide cleaner images at max gain (+18dB), but, to me, all cams' max gain to me are not useable at all.
The grains are simply distracting and makes lousy MPEG compression. They tend to make my work look 'consumerish'.

Usually, I'll go up to +9dB only at max, no more than that.

I'll be getting a DVX100A next month and I believe I'll limit the gain up to +9dB too.

I really appreciate the JVC DV300's 12-bit A/D which helps to deliver less contrasty footages, especially bright/highlights subject(wedding gowns) over a shadowy dim background.

The new DVX100A with 12-bit A/D could deliver the same result, I guess.
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Old March 5th, 2004, 03:05 AM   #7
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I actually find it better to not use on camera gain at all. It is much easier to fix lowlight footage in post than if you have already added gain to it. When you use your NLE you can decide how bright (exactly) you want to go before you see too much gain. You can then adjust the brightness/contrast and levels to darken the darks, lighten the lights and get rid of grain all together. If you record with gain on, now you have to get rid of the grainy footage before you can adjust anything. The only time I use gain is when i need to set my white balance and the lights are too dim to do that.
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Old March 5th, 2004, 04:48 AM   #8
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a 20w on cam light is all you need to have optimal footage with ANY 1/3 ccd cam...

without light there is no colour. simple.

for those thinking they can film a reception lit only with fairy lights and small candles, let me just say that if i was the client, and my footage was dark wnad you had the opportunity to use light, i wouldnt be happy...

if you explain to the client that lights are a necessity, theres no issue.
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Old March 5th, 2004, 04:49 AM   #9
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less contrasty footages, especially bright/highlights subject(wedding gowns) over a shadowy dim background.


err.. dude, thats what the scene files are for :)
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Old March 5th, 2004, 05:54 AM   #10
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Err, what I mean is, wider dynamic range. That's what the 12-bit A/Ds are for.

That's also one of the reason I choose the Streamcorder and DVX100A over 100.

Scene files only let us have preset Black Compress/Stretch, matrix etc, but not improving on providing more color depth for the DSP to work with.

PD-150/170, and VX have 8-bit A/D
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Old March 5th, 2004, 12:35 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Yik Kuen : Too dim, you are going to get flat and uninteresting footages. So, I carry along a 50W light and to prevent spoiling the atmosphere, I point the light upwards and have the ceiling/wall bounds it back. -->>>

Funny you should mention your technique for lighting. As I was typing my initial reply to Glen, I was thinking of a low light system made by DVTec, the people who make the DVRig Pro I just bought from Rush over at EVSOnline.com. It just seems to me this would in no way interfere with any part of the wedding/reception if used tastefully. No cords to get in the way, battery is a counter-balance on the DVRig Pro and is designed to fit right on the DVRig Pro -- Which by the way all of you wedding videographers should be using.

Here's a link http://www.dvtec.tv/_wsn/page9.html and make sure to look at the DVRig Pro shoulder mount while your there. This thing is really the HOT! setup.

-Rodger
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Old March 5th, 2004, 12:41 PM   #12
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rad, you got the dv rig pro
I wish I could get that, but I just bought my dvx a month ago and my wife is still trying to get over that. Want to buy one for me too?
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Old March 5th, 2004, 02:49 PM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Stefan Scherperel : rad, you got the dv rig pro
I wish I could get that, but I just bought my dvx a month ago and my wife is still trying to get over that. Want to buy one for me too? -->>>

Sorry, too much stuff to buy yet.

BTW your wife will never get over it. It will always pop up in a conversation now and then. But, if it brings in some money here and there and some of that money goes into something nice, say for the house or for her, she slowly begin to hold it less and less over your head.

So far, I'm hooked into a new living room set. Before I'm done buying what I need, I could very well be refurnishing the whole house.

-Rodger
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Old March 5th, 2004, 03:08 PM   #14
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Glen, many cams are good for shooting weddings, but if you want a good low light cam, how about a used DV500 or DVC200?
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Old March 7th, 2004, 06:25 PM   #15
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The DV500 would be great but isn't it quite a lot more expen$ive?
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