If you could do it all over again... what would you get? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old August 14th, 2009, 04:15 PM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 253
If you could do it all over again... what would you get?

Hi all,

This is my inaugural post to the forum. I'm just starting out doing events/weddings, although I've been shooting corporate and broadcast stuff as an employee for years. My question is simple - if you could start all over and buy whatever you wanted (assuming you were trying to be efficient and keep costs reasonable), what would you buy, and how many? What equipment has proven to be the most important in terms of quality of service to your clients?

Thanks in advance for your feedback - I'm at the place right now where I really can soak up your advice and learn from others before spending and making that "no turning back" investment.

Bill
Bill Vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2009, 08:49 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Hi Bill

I really don't think I would change anything!! Getting the right gear is a matter of purely studying what market suits your expertise and getting the right gear to suit your market. I do mainly outdoor weddings with a two camera setup (but just one operator..me!!)

Probably the most important thing is to realise that you are running a business and not a video production house as an employee where they have unlimited budgets. Take a look at your estimated income carefully!! If you will be making $40,000 a year then you don't want to go out and buy 3 x Sony EX3's !! If you are intending to hit the high end market with $5K packages then EX3's will be essential!!

For me, comfort is an essential and I have always used shoulder mount cameras and I feel comfortable with them!! Bear in mind that for weddings you need duplicates of everything ..there are no re-takes and you only have one chance to get it. Even if you are doing single camera shoots you still need a backup camera!!

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2009, 09:07 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 253
Hi Chris,

Very good advice - and you are absolutely right, I am responsible for my own budget now. I'm very cost-conscious at this point - so I'm looking to get the best quality I can out of every single piece I get, while making sure I get high enough quality gear to begin with.

My first purchase so far has been Sennheiser handheld and wireless lav mics. I bought one set new and am getting another set of Sennheisers (lav and handheld) used from a friend. I also picked up an M-Audio Microtrack II, which has balanced mic inputs and phantom power, but I haven't decided exactly how I'm going to use that unit yet - maybe as a backup during the ceremony by the Officiant.

I've got one camera so far - but it's only a third cam backup - a Canon HF20. I bought it a while ago as my entry into HD, but I'm now in the market for two cams at the $3K - 5K range as my main cams. I'm still getting advice and doing research - that's why I hope others will chime in here as well.

Thanks for the post, and for the advice. This is a joint venture with my wife and I, and I'm excited but also cautious - the most important thing to me is providing a great product, one that a couple will actually treasure for years.

bv
Bill Vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2009, 09:30 PM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 224
If I could do it all over again, I would have gotten Premiere instead of Final Cut Pro, but - at the time - FCP was the only thing that could handle footage from the XH-A1.

Other than that, I'm happy with everything else I've gotten.

Although, I did sell my Flowpod shortly after I got it.
Bryan Gilchrist is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2009, 09:31 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 910
Hi Bill,

When I was first starting out, 1996, I had a very limited budget, which caused my to make some poor equipment purchases, cheap wireless systems, cheap on camera video lights, etc. When considering non camera gear, remember this. A good wireless or auxilary recorder or for that matter, tripods and lighting will last much longer than your next 2-3 cameras, so it makes sense to invest in quality gear.

For an example, a $500-600 wireless mic system like the Sennheiser G2 makes good financial sense. It sounds much better and will last a lot longer than a cheap $200-300 wireless system. You could step up to an Electrosonics wireless system, but for the price, depending on the model, you could buy 2-3 G2s. I use the same reasoning with tripods. While the Bogen 503 is not the best tripod head, it is much better than the 501, and it will last a long time.

Back to the audio subject. Some people prefer wireless, others prefer auxilary recorders like the Zoom H2, H4, etc. Whatever route you choose, make sure you have enough to cover the minister, groom, podium, strings, etc. I currently have 4 wireless systems and 8 aux records. To get started, I would recommend a minimum of 4 audio devices.

Chris gave you good advice, but this is where I will offer something else to consider when it comes to camera selection, and perhaps the Australian market is different, but here in the states, I personally have sold several $6000-7000 weddings with PD170s. I have personal friends who have sold $10,000-20,000 weddings with PD170s, so you don't have to shoot with $6000-10,000 cameras in order to charge $5000.

Sure, there is a certain level of quality that must be in your productions, but the skill behind the camera is much more important than the camera itself.

On the other hand, I totally agree with Chris on backup gear. Always have one more camera than is included in the package, and don't have it in the car. Keep it with your gear. If a camera goes down, many times there is not time to go get the back up gear from the car. Same goes with lighting, audio, etc.

A great place to get hands on experience with video gear is at the WEVA Expo in Orlando, September 14-17. They have a great two day trade show and three days of education. Here's the link.
Wedding & Event Video EXPO 2009
__________________
Mark Von Lanken
www.VonWeddingFilms.com
Mark Von Lanken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2009, 09:39 PM   #6
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Vincent View Post

...I've got one camera so far - but it's only a third cam backup - a Canon HF20. I bought it a while ago as my entry into HD, but I'm now in the market for two cams at the $3K - 5K range as my main cams. I'm still getting advice and doing research - that's why I hope others will chime in here as well...
Hi Bill,

You replied while I was replying to your initial post. I would check out these forums.
Panasonic AVCCAM Camcorders - The Digital Video Information Network
Sony HVR-Z5 / HDR-FX1000 - The Digital Video Information Network
Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders - The Digital Video Information Network

My personal preference is the Panasonic HMC150. You can do a lot of research, but you really need to get the cameras in your hands and actually feel and touch them and see what feels best to you. I could go on and on about why I like the HMC150 better than the Z5 or XH-A1, but it is well documented on the above forums.
__________________
Mark Von Lanken
www.VonWeddingFilms.com
Mark Von Lanken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2009, 10:29 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 253
Hi Mark,

First of all, in doing my research I just red Ron Dawson's book "Refocused" - which might as well have been written just for me (and I wrote Ron and told him that, btw!) - you and your wife's reputation precedes you and I am thrilled to get your advice!

Your equipment recommendations are sincerely appreciated, and I would absolutely love to get to attend the WEVA expo. Hopefully I can at least come down for the tradeshow portion if not the whole conference. I've also considered just flying up to NY to B&H to check out some of the equipment and make some decisions based on that. Either way, I do agree about actually holding them and checking them out personally.

Thanks again for your help and advice. I really do look forward to meeting you and Trisha sometime. You two are an inspiration to my wife and I as we begin this venture together!

bv
Bill Vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2009, 10:40 PM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Hi Mark

I have HMC72's as I couldn't afford the HMC150 and also I have a passion for shoulder-mount cameras. Very impressed for far with the HMC72's (same as the HMC70 but are PAL)

One thing I did omit Bill, is you also need to look at your DVD vs BD market!!! With my cams I actually transcode down to DV-AVI and supply a DVD not BD!!!! My clients here all seem to own 42" - 54" HD TV's but BluRay players are unpopular. Last season not one asked me about BluRay and I would suspect that 99% don't even know what it is!!!!
If you are in an area where BD sales will be an issue then you will have to look at supplying that option. For now, I just store their HD footage on a drive in case they come to me at a later date for HD. Also remember that to edit HD you will need a decent QuadCore computer, an issue plenty people forget to budget for!!.

My friend on the East Coast has just bought an HMC152 and is delighted with it. However if you are going to stay SD then make VERY sure that it shoots genuine 16:9 as you will need it. There are a lot of used pro cameras out there that are selling very cheap because they are only 4:3!!

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2009, 11:14 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 253
Hey Bryan,

Thanks for your post. I have been using FCP for years, plus just re-invested in Final Cut Pro Studio 2 recently - so I'm probably stuck with FCP for at least a couple more years. That's okay - I'm very much used to it. I'm looking for options for initial digitizing that will help speed up and compliment my FCP system - it seems like Cineform HD might be a possibility in that regard.

I will say I'm unhappy about the fact that I used to be able to at least digitize tape in real time. I did a test on FCP using either the AIC or the ProRes codec for ingest. It took over 54 minutes for a 40 minute clip. Very frustrating that I'm not even getting real time performance for AVCHD transfer/encode. I would be interested to find out if Cineform would be faster.

bv
Bill Vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2009, 11:14 PM   #10
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Vincent View Post



...Your equipment recommendations are sincerely appreciated, and I would absolutely love to get to attend the WEVA expo. Hopefully I can at least come down for the tradeshow portion if not the whole conference. I've also considered just flying up to NY to B&H to check out some of the equipment and make some decisions based on that. Either way, I do agree about actually holding them and checking them out personally.

Thanks again for your help and advice. I really do look forward to meeting you and Trisha sometime. You two are an inspiration to my wife and I as we begin this venture together!

bv
Hi Bill,

I have been to B&H several times. It's a fun place to go and visit. The WEVA trade show offers several advantages over a trip to B&H.

At the WEVA trade show you can meet hundreds of wedding videographers and get their opinions on gear. While B&H is a busy place, you will not find hundreds of wedding videographers there. B&H will be a the WEVA trade show, and they always have show special pricing, so if you are in a position to buy, you can save money at the WEVA trade show. Besides cameras, you will find loads of other gear and if you have not chosen an NLE program, all of the major NLEs will be there and you can get hands on demos, not only from the manufacturers, but from companies that sell the gear.

Everything at the WEVA trade show is geared towards wedding and event videographers and if you come down to the trade show, you might as well stay around for the education. It would be a great kick start to your business for both of you. Thanks for your kind words and let me know if you make the trip down to WEVA. We will watch for you.
__________________
Mark Von Lanken
www.VonWeddingFilms.com
Mark Von Lanken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2009, 11:19 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 910
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Mark

I have HMC72's as I couldn't afford the HMC150 and also I have a passion for shoulder-mount cameras. Very impressed for far with the HMC72's (same as the HMC70 but are PAL)

Chris
Hi Chris,

I understand about a passion for shoulder mount cameras. I shot with the XL1 for five years and a Sony DSR-250 for three years. It was a transition when I switched over to handheld HD cameras. I'm glad you like your HMC72.
__________________
Mark Von Lanken
www.VonWeddingFilms.com
Mark Von Lanken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2009, 11:40 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 253
Wow... looked over the expo schedule... looks excellent.
Bill Vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 23rd, 2009, 07:27 PM   #13
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Lakeland Florida
Posts: 619
Hey Bill,

I'm just starting out too, sort of! It's been an expensive hobby for 20+ years. I recently retired after 30 years in Medical Laboratories. I joined an active group of videographers in Orlando a few months ago, PVCF, and am looking forward to WEVA. All the PVCF meetings have been great so far. There is an InFocus in Orlando Tuesday I will attend as well. Hoping some of the guys will make good on their offers for me to "tag along" on a few of their projects.

As for WEVA, I haven't decided whether or not to book the hotel yet or not, since my home is only about 45 minutes away on the rare occasions I-4 traffic isn't all jammed up. I also need more gear. The consumer stuff was okay while it was a hobby. But now it's BUSINESS. I retired from the lab because trying to startup the business in my spare time wasn't working. I have some good clients lined up, one with a potential for dozens of projects, and they've asked me to start work much sooner than expected. I needed to free up time.

Perhaps my pair of HV30s will do as B cams for a short while, but will need at least one Panny HMC 150. Also need several digital recorders. Interested in H2, H4N, or Sony D50s. I'm holding off on wireless mikes until I understand them better. Most of my locations have lighting and someone running it, but will need to look at lighting systems too. I've been using external 23inch LCDs as preview monitors where there is power available. Gotta have good focus. Learned to use the Zebra stripes to make sure exposure is good too. Have decent shotgun mikes on both HV30s. Have a mixer and a couple of decent mikes with 25' XLR cables, but want to switch to battery powered digital recorders.

Quality matters, but even the very best equipment can fail. In the lab, having just one of a crucial instrument was never enough. Even $200,000 analyzers go down at the wrong time. Not having backup is just asking for trouble. What Mark said about having spares handy is absolutely true.

I

Taking a risk is exciting. Hopefully, working with microscopes and scientific instruments through the years, and an eye for detail, and working with all kinds of people through the years will translate well into this new endeavor.

Good luck to you and your wife, Bill. (Mine's worrying up a storm!)
__________________
Roger
trueviewfilms.com
Roger Van Duyn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 23rd, 2009, 07:43 PM   #14
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Lakeland Florida
Posts: 619
Hello Mark,

I just wanted to thank you for your very thorough series on the HMC-150 and also for posting sample clips to try in the NLEs. Here's hoping your Tips and Tricks workshop at WEVA hasn't already filled up. I'll try to preregister for it tomorrow. At any rate, I've already learned a lot from all your posts online. Hope to see you at WEVA.
__________________
Roger
trueviewfilms.com
Roger Van Duyn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 23rd, 2009, 08:11 PM   #15
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 910
Hi Roger,

You are welcome. Only the pre convention workshops have limited seating and those are the only ones you can preregister for.

Since our session is the first one of the day, along with the fact that the night before is the WEVA After Dark party, you will certainly have a seat if you show up on time. It's typical for people to drag in a little late to the first session after staying up late the night before.

Please make a point to come up and introduce yourself. It will be easier for you to find me than for me to find you. I look forward to meeting you.
__________________
Mark Von Lanken
www.VonWeddingFilms.com
Mark Von Lanken is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:28 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network