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


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Old April 9th, 2004, 07:39 AM   #46
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Bill wrote:
"I use my own lighting at the ceremony; this is a must, even if I have to buy some stand alone lights from the Home Depot. "

Home Depot lights at a wedding ceremony??? I've got to say that I'm baffled why you have to go to such extremes. We use two GL2s at all ceremonies and would never consider ruining the ambiance with lights. I can't believe you even find couples or churches that would allow that practice.

Other readers on this forum new to the wedding industry should'nt think they have to run to Home Depot before their next wedding.

Also, you should place a higher regard on your audio than you currently do. People can watch a low quality video but try listening to poor audio. It sounds like you don't even use a wireless mic. If so, do your paying customers a favor and invest in a good audio system.
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Old April 9th, 2004, 10:36 AM   #47
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Ambiance lasts an hour in the ceremony; the DVD video should last a lifetime. I am only offering an el cheapo solution as an alternative to bad lighting. I have been in churches where ambiance isn't the word; the lighting is so bad you might have trouble reading your bible. Best to be prepared with a Home Depot backup than have no light at all.

Again, a wired electret mike is a really cheap $20 solution if you cannot afford a wireless. It just plain works and gives very reasonable audio.

And I have used additional lighting in all of my weddings. The bride and groom have never complained during the ceremony and have been well pleased with the video. My only regret is that sometimes I do not use enough aditional lighting....
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Old April 9th, 2004, 10:55 AM   #48
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Bill,

I'm curious to know what you're shooting with.
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Old April 9th, 2004, 11:40 AM   #49
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I'm with Bob. I'm shocked that you would bring lighting to a wedding, especially "Home Depot construction lighting". I'm assuming you're on a GL2 since you're posting in this forum. If so, I can't imagine a church so dark that you'd HAVE to have lighting in order to get good video. There are plenty of ways to get more light into your GL2 without resorting to shining lights at a ceremony.

Also, I know you think you have the best interest of the bride and groom in mind, but you seem to have a casual attitude about the ambiance of the most important day of their life. The object of a videographer is to captures those moments in the least obtrusive way possible. Remember, this is THEIR wedding day, not YOUR wedding shoot. I'd be interested to know how many of those couples were happy with having construction lights beaming during their ceremony. Most of the couples I work with would simply pass out if they thought I was going to set up lights during their ceremony.

Also, Bob may have misunderstood you on the audio topic. I'm assuming you aren't as concerned about audio because you generally tape weddings were the audio is carried through a PA system. I hope that's correct, because audio is definately very important. Some of the worst wedding videos I've seen were bad just because the audio sucked so bad.
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Old April 9th, 2004, 11:42 AM   #50
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I have a single chip JVC F-11, a JVC F-10 and a GL2 as the main cam with a wide angle lens. During the ceremony processional I have been known to go mobile with the main cam. Keeping it on the tripod with the legs shortened but distended and grabbing the tripod at the extended neck with the cam attached provides excellent stability with the added built in optical stability of the GL2 operating. I usually station myself at the end of the main aisle and go from there. Since most of us know the photographer gets away with in your face shots even when its time for the bride and father enter. Many times he even stops them to get a shot, standing directly before them before they begin. Everyone approves of this at least in the baptist churches where I have done weddings. I try to be as descreet as possible but believe you me I will get the shot. I may even walk backward ahead of the father and bride as they proceed down the aile in my upcomming rehearsal. Naturally all of these things must be discussed before the wedding. The bride and groom must decide which is more important to them; broadcast quality from good lighting or a half hour of ambiance. My customers choose the lighting 10 out of 10. The result is a TV quality DVD instead of a muddy colored home movie. I can't see how anyone could disagree with the logic in my lighting ideas unless they are just not bold to make waves for a good wedding video.
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Old April 9th, 2004, 11:52 AM   #51
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Well, I can't speak for the JVC cameras, but I guarantee that the GL2 (unless your wedding is in a cave) can produce great video quality without a bunch of Home Depot lighting. Still, if your clients are happy, more power to you.

I film only high-end weddings (full-day shoots, 3 cameras, the works), and my clients are all very particular. They want the best video possible while retaining the sanctity and mood of the event. So, I delve into the manual features of my GL2's and leave the lighting at the office.
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Old April 9th, 2004, 11:54 AM   #52
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Nevertheless I can and will post some video frames of some of the weddings I have done as soon as my Powerbook returns from the service center, which should be today or tomorrow. I am stunned to hear everyone is afraid to talk it over with the Bride and groom about lighting. In my opinion lightin ALWAYS helps and I NEVER leave for a wedding without it. I am really surprised no one thinks the same way. My pro Smith Victor light with stands have a halogen bulb; same as the Home Depot jobs. My opinion there is no difference with light quality there. UNBELIEVABLE...
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Old April 9th, 2004, 12:13 PM   #53
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Bill,

My experience hasn't been that I'm "afraid" to talk to the client about lights, but instead I strive to capture the the setting as they define it, not as I could light it. I'm sure in years past when low light performance was significantly worse, lights may have been a worthy discussion point but with todays gear, I can't see it (bad pun).

Additionally, setting up and tearing down what I'm guessing is mulitple lights would take valuable time away from shooting following the ceremony. If the reception follows shortly after, I'm usually working hard to to stay one step ahead of the crowds.

I'm anxious to see your frame grabs. Any chance you could post one with and without the additional lights so we can see what your working against?
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Old April 9th, 2004, 12:46 PM   #54
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I'm with Rob. If my couple wants to have their ceremony in a barn with candlelight, then I'm not even going to think about suggesting I bring light kits in to light up the place. It's about capturing the moments as they are. I'm not afraid to ask my couple about bringing lights. I just choose to make camera adjustments instead, and leave their ceremony as they planned it.

I'm not arguing that lights wouldn't make the video quality better, but there's a fine line between making sure you get the best video quality and making sure you preserve the mood of a couple's wedding day.
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Old April 9th, 2004, 01:28 PM   #55
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Bill,

I'ts not a matter of discussing it (ceremony lights) with the B&G...it's just out of the question in my neck of the woods. I was reminded once that it's a Wedding first and video second. They're not having a ceremony to shoot a movie.

With regard to the GL2, even if the church is dim, as long as you're close enough to the altar, you should get a good image with gain no more than 12dB. BTW, I assume you're going full manual with the GL2.

If you're just putting a mic on the PA system, are the B&G using church micophones for the vows? Maybe that's a regional thing that I'm not familiar with. However, a wireless on the groom will greatly enhance the quality of your audio.

Bob
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Old April 9th, 2004, 01:37 PM   #56
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I see the "afraid" word was a bad choice in your case, but still I cannot change my opinion. If your customers are happy with merely a good image then fine. Mine want the best. I let the couple know additional lighting usually always helps and in my experience it is VERY rare where the church is so well equipped. If they want ambiance then fine; although that choice has never happened. I will try to get those frame grabs up soon, but saturday I will be doing my couples video interviews (with plenty of added light). By a wired mike I mean a mike that looks like a lapel mike but can be clipped discreetly to the arch. The audio is good. It is not plugged into the PA system; just the GL2. I am getting off the job now early as I am anxious to see if Apple has repaired the 17" screen on my laptop to my satisfaction. Besides, I really miss using it. Talk to you guys later. Good weekend to you.
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Old April 9th, 2004, 02:27 PM   #57
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Wow, it's really amazing how different our situations are. Where are you located?
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Old April 9th, 2004, 03:35 PM   #58
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Located in Hollywood, Florida. But I think it is more than just location. My customers are mostly black pentacostal or baptist. They are quite liberal, unique and creative in many of the weddings I have attended. They don't mind trying things untraditional. I count myself very fortunate, as such people also are quick to grant me things even I would be a little bashful in asking. I have more than once suggested that just before the ceremony the groom should pretend to get cold feet and try to back out of the wedding. It was so funny to put the cold feet scene into the actual wedding footage. So you see usually I am free to do what I ask and have great fun editing the whole thing. I have no helpers. An unexperienced novice usually has a tendency to touch and disturb the cam or zoom when not necessary.

My laptop has returned and so far so good!
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Old April 9th, 2004, 03:41 PM   #59
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Well that makes more sense. In a dark setting, darker skin color is also more of a problem. And it helps that your clients are more liberal in what they want. My clients are generally more reserved and want a classic feel to their wedding AND video. But I still surprise them and do some fun stuff.
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Old April 9th, 2004, 04:25 PM   #60
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You are right about the darker skin tones, which I forgot to mention. Many of these churches have white walls which makes the situation much worse unless there is some additional lighting. Although I have not posted any wedding shots yet, here is my website incase you are interested. I have some shots of GL2 frames even at dawn here. My main video interest these days is parades. So much fun to do them.

http://homepage.mac.com/bhardy3/PhotoAlbum8.html
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