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


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Old August 20th, 2009, 11:56 PM   #16
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We shoot entire weddings with Mark IIs all the time for few months now, using only one video camera as backup and for audio. The dynamic range, light sensitivity and full sensor are unbeatable.

Most of our latest SDEs don't contain any non-5D shots. We would normally run one regular video camera just for safety and sometimes for audio. However most of the time we record our audio to external recorders (zoom h4n). That solves the problem of the 12 min (in fact about 14 min) rec limit. Speeches generally don't run more than that anyway and for the ceremony we always restart before significant moments. Having 3 or 4 of the 5Ds also helps as you always can have the other ones running as you restart one.

Coming from shooting with 35mm adapters, the manual focus wasn't an issue for us at all. In fact, that was one of the biggest reasons why we could leave huge and heavy camera+adapter setups home.

Putting 5D on the steadicam isn't a problem either. Shooting with a lens like 24 f1.4 and setting it at say f8, makes everything from 12' to infinity in focus. For other type of shots we try to keep the same distance from the subject, like for example following somebody 3' away at f2.8. It's hard but the effect is well worth it.

You definitely need support for that camera and what we use all the time is the dslr rig from www.cinevate.com. We virtually never shoot handheld. Once the jello effect is in your footage, it's absolutely garbage. Dslr rig, tripod or steadicam.

There are few lenses there with IS, which you can get away shooting handheld with. We had some luck with 24-105 f4. There are situations where having a small 5D with no rig is preferable. One thing to keep in mind though is that the onboard mic will pick up the IS noise.

I don't really see the difference shooting all 5D vs. shooting all video cameras in terms of how much thought goes into technicalities and mechanical part of shooting (focus, aperture, switching cards...) The only difference I see is that the creative part of shooting (thinking about the shot, composing, storytelling) is now much easier executed with the new tool made available to us. And it doesn't hurt that it's so small and light.

I hope that helps
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Old August 21st, 2009, 12:12 AM   #17
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Konrad,

Thanks for joining the conversation. It's good to hear from the experts!

I would agree that coming from a Brevis or other 35mm adapter to a 5d2 would be a relief (smaller, lighter) never mind the light sensitivity. Going from a camcorder to the 5d2 takes some getting used to. Of course if you have multiple 5d2 and operators, this helps in many ways.

It is difficult to watch the footage from the other cameras after watching the footage from the 5d2.
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Old August 21st, 2009, 03:24 AM   #18
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Its great to see so much inputs! However my problem of going to an entire 5D2 workflow is still a little hazy. That is, how do we ensure the documentation is captured? I'm concerned due to the shallow DOF (seems like 24mm@F8 is a possible solution) and the 12min limitation.

From some of the inputs here (Thanks Konrad!), it would be good to run a traditional camera for safety purposes. However, should that camera be manned? Or should it be auto?

Cost is still an issue, so we keep to having a 2 men workflow here.

I am thinking the 2 men should focus on the creative shots with the 5D2s. Perhaps one with a handheld 5d rig, switching bet a glider/mini jib sometimes. The other with a stabilizer etc.
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Old August 21st, 2009, 10:27 AM   #19
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Its great to see so much inputs! However my problem of going to an entire 5D2 workflow is still a little hazy. That is, how do we ensure the documentation is captured? I'm concerned due to the shallow DOF (seems like 24mm@F8 is a possible solution) and the 12min limitation.

From some of the inputs here (Thanks Konrad!), it would be good to run a traditional camera for safety purposes. However, should that camera be manned? Or should it be auto?

Cost is still an issue, so we keep to having a 2 men workflow here.

I am thinking the 2 men should focus on the creative shots with the 5D2s. Perhaps one with a handheld 5d rig, switching bet a glider/mini jib sometimes. The other with a stabilizer etc.
Sean,

Personally, I don't shoot SDE - but I shoot solo (right now). For the Ceremony - I have 2 cams on tripods, with a Senn G2 wireless running to an XLH1, and an HV30 covering a wide angle. Niether of these cameras are manned, so I have to make framing adjustments sometimes. And i try to wander about with the 5d2. I've only done it this way for two weddings, and am still learning the work flow, as well as the 5d2. If I have another operator, I would have them watch one of the tripods to make sure of good coverage (framing). If I had an operator that I trusted and another 5d2, then I would leave the tripod un-manned with audio and shoot more 5d2. Well shot footage from the 5d2 is just so much richer in aesthetic value.

Before and After the Ceremony (except speeches) I pretty much shoot only 5d2. At times of high flash use (cake-cutting, first dance etc.,) it is a problem that you will see, as the 5d2 shutter does not like flashes

If you have 2 camera ops (and 2 5d2's), then you should be able to run audio to your tripod mounted camcorder, and shoot with your jib, rig etc., using 2 5d2's (also backup audio). Of course there is more pressure then, but if you become really good with the 5d2 - it is sensational footage, that distinguishes your work from the rest. Especially if you have multi 5d2 at a wedding. wow.
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Old August 21st, 2009, 10:40 AM   #20
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Wow Ken, 3 cameras are a lot of work in post for a one man ops! I salute u for the effort. So far I have been pretty comfortable with a 5D2 + EX1 for a one man op. They work pretty well. Just that the desire to push the limits further got me thinking about converting to a full 5D2 setup, especially for the evening where we have pretty dark ballrooms with funky coloured WB unfriendly spot lights.

Many folks like Stillmotion has alr pushed the limits to have a fully 5D2 workflow. I guess I will be making some attempts to have 2x5D2s in action with the safety net of the EX1. Anyway, its great to be in a community like tis!
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Old August 21st, 2009, 10:54 AM   #21
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Sean, we shoot most of our weddings with 2 people which means that at least 2 cameras are unmanned at any given time. It's still pretty safe as you can set one camera, leave it, go get few creative shots and be back in five minutes to reframe or reposition the first one.
We've shot 5+ cameras with 2 people and never had a problem.
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Old August 21st, 2009, 11:13 AM   #22
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Yikes.. I would need quite a bit more funding to get to a setup like dat. Thks for sharing, I'm enlightened tonight. New objectives to work towards.
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Old August 21st, 2009, 11:29 AM   #23
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Hi Konrad, now I know why they call you Krazy. I saw your first SDE on vimeo and you have to be insane to attempt something like that with just one shooter plus one assistant. So having 2 shooters, 5 cameras and more than one battery each must be easy as pie for you.

Sean - I wouldn't worry too much about the DOF issue. As you shoot more with the mkii, you'll start to realize that it's a non-issue. With close-up shots, you'll want the bokeh to highlight the subject. When the subject is farther away, the DOF, even at 2.8, is very forgiving.

I recently shot a wedding with no lighting except a tiny canon bulb. We were shooting at 3000 - 4000 ISO at that point with 2.8 lenses and our footage looked incredible straight out of camera.
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Old August 21st, 2009, 11:47 AM   #24
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With the 5D making such amazing footage, can any of you talk about your experience cutting with your other cams? Are you having any trouble intercutting between the 5D and other cam footage? I'm trying right now to decide what my other main cam will be (besides the 5D) and am looking for something that will at least stand up to the 5D when cut together. Any suggestions?

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Old August 21st, 2009, 12:54 PM   #25
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Unfortunately I can't speak to intercutting the 5D2 :-( Still waiting for an Alpha DSLR-V...

If your color is close and you intercut between wide and tight shots, I doubt anyone will notice most of the time. Main thing I'd see would be color matching and perhaps overall lattitude, as every camera has it's own "signature".

Shooting multicam is neither that difficult or that expensive - If your main cam is a "big" cam (or a 5D2!) the additional angle cams dont' HAVE to be big (actually small is better and less distracting), just have good image quality. With small secondhand HD cameras (both tape and tapeless) being very inexpensive, all you need is a stout, stable tripod or other mount depending on the venue, and adding an extra "angle" is no big deal.

Shooting multicam can give crucial cutaways (like getting good angles on BOTH bride and groom when saying vows/exchanging rings), and if you think through your framing in advance, hitting record and passing by the cam once or twice while shooting is not hard to do. I usually frame wide for the beginning of the ceremony, with the camera carefully framed for a zoom in once the wedding party is up front (and a zoom out on the rear safety camera at the end). One quick visit, and I'm about 99% SURE I'll have the footage I want when it comes to post/edit.

The key is thinking through things like battery changes (get bigger batteries!), tape changes (go tapeless, with bigger media if you shoot a lot of long ceremonies), and framing so that the "unmanned" cameras are rolling on the same thing as they would be if they were manned! With the short clip length of the DSLR-V's, you also have to plan your start/stop timing (I'm experimenting shooting a small superzoom with video, and you have to watch that clip length!). Then you can shoot the "main cam" more artistically and be more agressive going for your shots as you have the peace of mind that there "should" be a viable cutaway if you botch something.

This is why I don't see a DSLR-V as the "only" camera - I see it as a very effective artistic tool, and a thoughtful augmentation of your "camera package" along with a traditional camera or three...
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Old August 21st, 2009, 07:57 PM   #26
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Thanks Dave - I'll be interested to find out when I get my cameras! Can anyone speak to battery life and memory cards on a wedding shoot for the 5D? How much are you packing, and is it enough?
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Old August 21st, 2009, 10:58 PM   #27
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Thanks Dave - I'll be interested to find out when I get my cameras! Can anyone speak to battery life and memory cards on a wedding shoot for the 5D? How much are you packing, and is it enough?
Bill,

Using a single 5d2, I rotate 2 batteries at a wedding. Using live view does draw on the batteries. I haven't had a problem yet with the next battery not being ready. If you were in a more remote area, you may need a 3rd or 4th, just in case.

I use two 8 gb Extreme III, and one 4gb - so 20 gb total. The last wedding I shot - I filled them all up. Shooting to CF, and indeed shooting on the 5d2 reminds me of filming on 16mm film, back in the day - more thought into the shot before shooting, 10-minute magazine. One huge advantage is the ability to instantly check the shot. This allows you to trash a bad shot right away. Or when you have a break in the action, you can review some shots and turf what you don't like. How this helps is later when you're transferring and editing, you've done some cutting already. Bear in mind that a 3" lcd is not a 37" lcd. Generally speaking, if it looks bad at 3", it's not going to look good at 37". And using the 5x and 10x zoom to set focus is a huge help. So far I've been using the 50mm at f1.4 a lot, which is pretty shallow dof, so unless camera and subject are static it's easy to go soft.

I inter-cut the footage with an XLH1 and an HV30. So far I haven't had any issues, my ratio of 5d to HDV is growing more each time I use it.

The more you shoot with this camera, the more you want to shoot with it.
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Old August 22nd, 2009, 02:43 AM   #28
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Thanks Dave - I'll be interested to find out when I get my cameras! Can anyone speak to battery life and memory cards on a wedding shoot for the 5D? How much are you packing, and is it enough?
Again, can't speak to the 5D2, BUT having shot tapeless for a while, I'd use the rule of thumb that you should have 2-3x the amount of memory you'd anticipate worst case OR a laptop to dump cards to. BTW, don't buy cheap memory cards from unknown sources - the money you save is not worth it if you get a knockoff card and lose data, and knockoff memory is a HUGE problem out there, it's easy and cheap to counterfeit - stick to known sources/dealers.

I'd go the same on batteries, again no less than 2x the estimated time, 3x is preferable just in case.

Since it sounds like you're going to be using more than one camera, you can probably sneak in with 2x for each, as each kit backs up the other, but 2.5x wouldn't hurt - again allowing for a bad battery, or more shooting opportunities than you anticipated.

I always pack a compact wall charger, but I don't like having to hunt for an outlet and remember to pick up the charger/battery... I'd rather just reach into my pack or pocket and grab a replacement, stick the "used" one in another pocket, and keep going.
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Old August 22nd, 2009, 02:46 AM   #29
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We're shooting with 2 mkiis, 5 batteries, 96GB of memory - a mix of 8 and 16GB cf cards. It's just enough to shoot a full day without having to format cf cards or recharge more than 2 batteries throughout the day. I may add a 3rd mkii in the near future.

I find that we're shooting less and less as we get better at 'hitting' the shots.
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Old August 22nd, 2009, 02:55 AM   #30
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As Dave said, have backups! We have an emergency bag containing extra batts, cables, cf and chargers. All in addition to a backup camera. Hopefully we'll never need to touch it.
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