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


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Old July 4th, 2009, 08:22 AM   #16
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I'm a little embarrassed to share this clip, given how much better everyone else's looks. But I won't get any better if I don't share my work and receive criticism and advice. I especially need help figuring out how to properly clean up my footage, particularly the shots in the church and at the reception. It was just so dark, and all of my attempts to lighten the footage just wash it out. I'm using Vegas Movie Studio.

Mike and Amber Wedding Highlights
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Old July 4th, 2009, 04:48 PM   #17
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You got burned by a force from the evil empire called "auto". The backlight from the windows caused your camera to adjust the exposure for the windows instead of the subjects in front of the windows. Select manual mode and set your camera to 0db and 1/60th shutter speed. Adjust your iris as needed. If you don't have enough light, go to 1/30th shutter speed. As a last resort, increase the gain but try to not go above 6 to 9db or you will get a lot of grain. A friend who is a wedding pro advised me to set the exposure for the faces. If a window or even the white wedding gown is overexposed; so be it - get the faces right.

In your footage, the lighting in the ceremony was good enough for 0db and 1/60th sec. shutter speed. The reception bit you with the gain on your camera. You have quite a bit of grain in those shots. The auto mode caused the gain on your camera to go up too high - +12db or perhaps more.

Fortunately your footage is quite fixable. As for adjusting the underexposed foorage, when you increase brightness, the contrast washes out. You usually have to adjust contrast when you adjust brightness. You will find Mike Crash's Auto Levels very useful Mike Crash Homepage - Downloads although I don't know if it will work with Vegas Movie Studio. If you like Vegas, I encourage you to move up to Vegas Pro. It has many more tools plus multicam editing.

You can remove almost all of the grain in your reception shots with Neat Video Neat Video - best noise reduction for digital video It isn't free but it does a great job.

If you want to reduce the shaking in your handheld and tripod shots, you can use Mercalli proDAD - Mercalli -- Video Stabilizer It also is not free but is a very useful tool. It will help you a lot to invest in a good tripod with a smooth fluid head.

Both Neat Video and Mercalli will substantially increase your rendering time but the ability to rescue footage can make it a worthwhile price to pay.
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Old July 4th, 2009, 08:22 PM   #18
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Thanks for the info Jim. I had spent some time prior to the wedding figuring out what settings I should probably use. But to be honest, I was so busy trying to make sure I didn't miss any shots, I decided to just let the camera choose the settings. But now I'm learning that maybe the camera settings should take precedence. Hopefully some of the filters from the site you directed me to will help.

I'd love to upgrade to Vegas Pro, but that's a little above my budget for this hobby. However, Neat Video sounds like it may be worth the expense. I already use Neat Image for my still photography, and it's worth every penny. And I've got a good tripod on the top of my list of future purchases (probably the next thing I buy). I'm tired of trying to pan and having it stutter.
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Old July 4th, 2009, 08:39 PM   #19
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Number of things to have in mind when shooting/editing:

1. Get peoples reaction also
2. Mix closeups between wideangle shoots, faces, hands, rings
3. Rather zoom out than in
4. Plan the cameramovement

I think your video was rather good since it was your first wedding video. But there was too many clips from a similar angle in the church that needed closeup between them.
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Old July 4th, 2009, 09:19 PM   #20
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Thanks for the pointers, Asvaldur. It was for all intents and purposes a single camera shoot from a stationary position, with a secondary, unmanned SD camera that produced barely-usable filler footage (none of which I included in the highlights). Hopefully if I do another wedding, I won't be so restricted on where I shoot from and will be able to move around.
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Old July 5th, 2009, 10:50 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Snow View Post
You will find Mike Crash's Auto Levels very useful Mike Crash Homepage - Downloads although I don't know if it will work with Vegas Movie Studio.
I just downloaded and tried out these filters, and I learned something very important. I suck at levels and color correction. Auto Levels did so much better, and with almost no effort on my part. And the smooth filter also helped a lot with the noise. I use a similar technique with median applied to a mask in still image processing.

Thank you for directing me to these filters. I'm re-rendering the highlights video now with all my attempts replaced with auto levels. The vimeo video should be updated within the hour.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 07:21 PM   #22
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Hey Kevin, not bad at all. You got some nice creative pan shots. It's too bad your wife couldn't have moved the back camera up to one of the sides of the pews and zoomed in a bit to give you a 2nd angle. That's probably the hardest thing for single person shoots.. a 2nd video person would give much better flexibility in the footage to transition to.

I liked the other guys comments about zoom out and not in, and putting wide shots, then close ups in between each other.. I'll have to practice that myself as I am learning still..haven't done an official first wedding yet.

I noticed the color shift on the zoom out as well when they were walking up the pew. I read a while ago to turn all auto settings off on video cameras and it's worked out ok for me just farting around with stuff.. although to be fair I haven't learned how to white balance a camera and how often I should. I think that may hurt my cheap JVC DV cam (got a little Everio 30GB model).

I also notice that you do a number of pans of the whole wedding party. I am curious what others say about this.. I have done something like this (at my brothers wedding.. wasn't an official shoot.. I was part of the party but did some shooting anyway) and most videos I see don't ever have wide panning shots like this. I should say.. not wide.. zoomed in a bit but panning around several people to get them in. I've mostly seen it where the pans are subtle and are wide..zoomed out. Anyone care to comment on that? Is that a "dont do this" rule of thumb?

I liked the end where you shifted the color to b/w a bit and faded the outer in. Nice. Depending on the software you are using, I think you could have added a slow mo or two in there to add a little more dramatic effect.. but I say that with a grain of salt.. I like how that looks if it doesn't mess up the video. I find the Adobe CS4 AE with Pixel Motion does an incredible job. Not sure about other software.

Did you get any footage of them preparing, shots of the rings before hand, her dress, the grooms hanging out, people coming in and sitting, etc? I know this is a highlight so you probably did, but I find some of those shots to be really nice in a highlight as well.

Great stuff. What cameras did you use btw? What audio gear?
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Old July 10th, 2009, 09:26 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
I noticed the color shift on the zoom out as well when they were walking up the pew. I read a while ago to turn all auto settings off on video cameras and it's worked out ok for me just farting around with stuff.. although to be fair I haven't learned how to white balance a camera and how often I should. I think that may hurt my cheap JVC DV cam (got a little Everio 30GB model).
I'm not sure it's possible to maintain proper white balance straight out of the camera all the time unless it's completely stationary or the venue has really good, consistent lighting. This church most definitely did not. The back half was illuminated by both yellow-tinted hanging lights and stained glass windows, while the front half was lit by various types of flood lights and windows. Perhaps it would have been easier to color correct my footage had I locked in a particular white balance rather than letting the camera try to adjust, especially since the camera didn't do a very good job. The auto levels filter Jim Snow suggested did an excellent job of fixing the white balance in most cases, but I think I need to turn it off for the part where the B&G walk to the very front of the church. As they pass the stained glass windows, the colors bounce all over the place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
I liked the end where you shifted the color to b/w a bit and faded the outer in. Nice. Depending on the software you are using, I think you could have added a slow mo or two in there to add a little more dramatic effect.. but I say that with a grain of salt.. I like how that looks if it doesn't mess up the video. I find the Adobe CS4 AE with Pixel Motion does an incredible job. Not sure about other software.
Unfortunately, the best I have is Vegas Movie Studio. There is actually some "slow motion" in there though. Some of the pans of the bride at the beginning are slowed down some, mainly because I was using a monopod and didn't keep it steady enough. So I took the usable parts of my clips and stretched them out a bit. But I know what you mean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
Did you get any footage of them preparing, shots of the rings before hand, her dress, the grooms hanging out, people coming in and sitting, etc? I know this is a highlight so you probably did, but I find some of those shots to be really nice in a highlight as well.
I actually didn't get much of that stuff. I did get a lot of shots of the bridesmaids and groomsmen during their individual photo sessions with the photographer, but I wanted the highlight clip to really focus on the B&G. Maybe I'll throw together a "Meet the Wedding Party" feature or something for the DVD. I do have complete coverage of the ceremony, including guests entering and exiting, but my vantage point wasn't the best due to the layout of the church.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Duffey View Post
Great stuff. What cameras did you use btw? What audio gear?
The camera used for all shots in the highlight clip is a Canon Vixia HF10 with a Raynox 6600 WA adapter and a BM-100 shotgun mic (set to 90 degree stereo). The other, stationary camera is an old Sony DCR-TRV520 Digital8 SD camera (in 16:9 mode). The difference in IQ between the two is night and day. It's hard to believe I used to be so impressed with the Sony's quality! I didn't have a dedicated audio feed. The best I could come up with was a voice recorder with external, unidirectional mic, which I placed in the choir area right near where the B&G stood. But the voice recorder's quality was terrible; not designed for this sort of thing, so I didn't use the audio at all. I did, however, mix in a bit of the Sony's audio in a few places.

Thanks for the all the feedback.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 10:21 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Zibart View Post
The auto levels filter Jim Snow suggested did an excellent job of fixing the white balance in most cases, but I think I need to turn it off for the part where the B&G walk to the very front of the church. As they pass the stained glass windows, the colors bounce all over the place.
It's a good idea to cut your video so that you can apply filters as needed to each segment. Place your cuts so that each segment is appropriate for the filters that you use. It's not a good idea to apply a filter to the whole track if there are scene differences that need different correction.

I admire the way you have approached this. Your open mind will serve you well. You will be producing some class results if you keep it up.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 08:42 AM   #25
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Thanks Jim.

By the way, after reading of J.J. Kim's music licensing troubles, I've decided to password protect this video, just in case. I'm glad I was able to share it and get some valuable feedback, but now I'm afraid only the B&G will have access to it.
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