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


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Old August 24th, 2009, 08:11 AM   #1
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Must Have?

I've got about $400 I can put towards upgrades to my current set up, but have no idea what would be the best items to get. This is obviously not much money, so I want to get one or two quality items that will last. Having trouble narrowing it down.

Right now I have a Canon GL2, XH A1, and HV30, as well as a Panasonic GS500. I've got two Audio-Technica PRO 88W wireless mics and a Azden SGM-2X shotgun mic. I'm happy with my tripods, at least for now. My next wedding is outdoors, with an inside/outside evening reception. Things I'm considering: dimmable light such as the Litepanels LPMICRO Micro LED, a Glidecam 2000 pro or similarly priced stabilization system (possibly with wrist guard), or a Glidetrack. The Glidetrack looks great but might not be the best bang for my buck. Any thoughts or other suggestions in this tight price range?

Last edited by Michael Clark; August 24th, 2009 at 10:02 AM.
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Old August 24th, 2009, 08:32 AM   #2
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If you don't have any lighting I would definitely recommend either an on-camera light, or a Lowel Tota for reception lighting. I would go with the Tota because on-camera lighting can make you public enemy number, and the Tota can raise the light of the entire room as opposed to the deer-in-headlights look. You just need to keep it on for the important dances, speeches, and about ten minutes later in the night to get your general dancing shots.
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Old August 24th, 2009, 08:40 AM   #3
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Hi Michael

I cannot live without my LED light!! Especially when they turn down the lights for the first dance. I find that an on-camera light is a true asset when you have to move around and film dancing etc etc. For speeches I just use a softbox on a stand modified to take 3 x 28w CFL lights and that does a good job. I can't really comment on what on-cam light to buy as mine are self-made with 48 x 10mm half watt warm white LED's powered by an 1800ma Li-Ion battery and I can switch them to one bank or two.

Chris
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Old August 24th, 2009, 08:41 AM   #4
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Hey Matthew.....
Any combo or part no. suggestions???
I've been toying with the idea of using a Tota...Some of the reception halls in my area have been dimming right down to black lately, and my on camera lighting is getting pushed to the limit.....
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Old August 24th, 2009, 08:56 AM   #5
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Lowel | Tota-Light Tungsten Flood Light (120-240VAC) | T1-10

I actually have to pick up one or two on my own because I have been borrowing them, but these are the ones I've used.

The best part about them is that you can bounce them off the ceiling, which is not only great for the because it diffuses the light, but also because you won't have people in the audience complaining about having a bright light blinding them during the dancing.

Plus, if you decide to do any corporate work, you can stick an umbrella on it and use it for talking head shots.
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Old August 24th, 2009, 09:35 AM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback. Couple questions about the Lowel Tota. I see a 2 light/stand/umbrella 1500w Lowel Tota kit on bhphotovideo for $314. Is this overkill for most reception halls or would 1 be enough? Is the umbrella needed for this, or could I just point the light at the ceiling for desired results?

Also, I do a little photography for personal use only. Could this lighting be used for that even though my flash is a slave (canon ex 430II) and not a master?

Final question is an opinion. I saw what is called "the poor man's steadicam" for $39 at steadicam.org. It's homemade/diy. Has anyone used this? It definitely looks cheaper than the Glidepro 2000, but I wondered if it would be worth the savings.
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Old August 24th, 2009, 09:59 AM   #7
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Hi Michael,

In my opinion 2 Tota lights is perfect for receptions, I bought that same package years ago, it comes with an umbrella, perfect for Bride prep shoot. It also comes with a blue gel & diffuser. I know some of the guys here have concerns about people complaining about the lights but in my experience, I never had one complaint.

If you google U-Flycam, they are selling a stabilizer for $ 100, I don't own one but you might want to look into it.

my 2 cents
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Old August 24th, 2009, 10:15 AM   #8
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Hi Michael,

Lighting for reception halls is essential, but I prefer off-camera lighting. On-camera lighting isn't as flattering and also draws attention to you, the shooter. Its also my preference not to go with a flood as it seems to overpower the ambiance the couple has created. I have two lower-wattage (75 watts) lamps with barn doors on 13' foot stands that bracket the dance floor that go on with a remote. For as little as $150 you can put together a single remote light with a controller, AC light and stand. Battery powered lights are more expensive but much more versatile - The Wireless Wedding Reception Video Light - HOME is one source though you can source the parts and put one together yourself.

For your cameras you'd be best off selling the sd cameras and getting a second hv30.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Clark View Post
I've got about $400 I can put towards upgrades to my current set up, but have no idea what would be the best items to get. This is obviously not much money, so I want to get one or two quality items that will last. Having trouble narrowing it down.

Right now I have a Canon GL2, XH A1, and HV30, as well as a Panasonic GS500. I've got two Audio-Technica PRO 88W wireless mics and a Azden SGM-2X shotgun mic. I'm happy with my tripods, at least for now. My next wedding is outdoors, with an inside/outside evening reception. Things I'm considering: dimmable light such as the Litepanels LPMICRO Micro LED, a GlidePro 2000 pro or similarly priced stabilization system (possibly with wrist guard), or a Glidetrack. The Glidetrack looks great but might not be the best bang for my buck. Any thoughts or other suggestions in this tight price range?
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Old August 24th, 2009, 01:13 PM   #9
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GL2 vs. HV30?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Peregrine View Post
For your cameras you'd be best off selling the sd cameras and getting a second hv30.
So your opinion is that an XH A1 and two HV30s would look better using an XH A1, HV30, and a GL2? I am somewhat new to HD and have obviously not made the full transition yet. The second HV30 would have to be a rental, for now. I just wasn't sure how the HD vs. SD loss would compare vs. the image quality loss of moving from 3CCD to CMOS. In other words, in your opinion, does the image sensor or definition (HD or SD) gives more bang for the buck?
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Old August 24th, 2009, 01:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Peregrine View Post
The Wireless Wedding Reception Video Light - HOME is one source though you can source the parts and put one together yourself.
The setup mentioned above works best for me. I pieced everything together and made it my self for far less. I use two light-stands with a 50W on top of each. Each connected to two 12V 7.5amp hour batteries hooked in parallel. The remote relay only costs 12$ on ebay. Everything fits inside an aluminum case powder coated in blue. This slides right over the light stands and looks great IMO.
If anyone is interested in my parts list and pictures let me know. I'm happy with the results of the two units I put together.
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Old August 24th, 2009, 03:50 PM   #11
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better choice

Barbertech Video Products

I would go with this I just bought used it and its great.

Better then a glide cam.

Last edited by Walt Paluch; August 24th, 2009 at 03:51 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old August 24th, 2009, 04:50 PM   #12
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I concur, selling those SD cams while they still have some resale value, and getting another HD camera would be a good plan, and help you budget wise. HV's aren't that expensive... and you're already familiar with them. Might even end up with some extra cash!

I myself like on camera lighting for mobility, but you have to diffuse whatever you use so it's not too painful - for lo budget, check out the Sima SL-20 lights (Forum Sponsor Video Guys sells a 3 pack for about $100), they are stackable, 2 seems to work pretty well for most situations, and I have cobbled up some diffusion that seems to do the trick for around a buck from the craft store... Personally I'd rather not lug around a "light kit", but that's me, I can see the advantages...

There are a LOT of options for stabilization/mobility, and a HUGE budget range - you need to ask youself how important it is and how much you'll use it. Personally I've found the added complexity of balancing a gimballed rig "live" is too much if shooting solo. I finally have settled on a shoulder/belt pod rig I cobbled up, basically a homebrew DVMultiRig. For a solo shooter (with multicam on tripods), it adds mobility and stability - it won't quite achive the "flying" effect, but you can get pretty close with practice and it also won't kill your back or require the "can of Spinach" accessory package if you don't go full vest.

The "poor mans' steadycam" or plumbing fixture stabilizers will "work" to some degree, but you don't really want to look like you just stopped by the Home Depot plumbing department on your way to a paid gig... not to say you can't achieve the desired results, with practice - but you can just use a monopod and achive almost the same effect if you know how to do it... and practice a bit. Marketing and engineering aside, it's all about physics.
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Old August 24th, 2009, 07:03 PM   #13
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Hi Michael

On the stabilizer issue you would be way better with something like a shoulder-mount so you can use your cams on your shoulder.

Seriously, don't waste your time with any "stedicam" that doesn't have a gimbal!! I fly a full vested rig at weddings but that's way out of your budget of $400.

A nice simple rig that "converts" your camera to shoulder-mount will be a lot more practical and you can then get some great handheld shots too!! If you do want a stedicam then stick to your lightest camera as well. Holding a 4lb camera on a rig will slaughter your arm after 10 minutes. The Indian "u" cam works great but make sure that you just use a camera like the HV30 on it NOT the GL2!!!

Chris
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Old August 25th, 2009, 10:56 AM   #14
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Hi Michael,

In my opinion two HV30's and an A1 is a much better combination than having anything SD in the mix. I'm constantly astounded at the clarity and quality of the HV. I shoot two A1's and three HV30's and in decent light its hard to tell them apart. In many cases the HV is sharper, but that can be adjusted to match in the A1's menus. Of course the biggest disadvantage of the 30 is the consumer look and meager manual controls, but with practice you can learn the workarounds that allow decent in-camera exposure, focus and sound. I shoot all my family stuff on the HV so I'm familiar enough with it. In a pinch I could shoot at a gig with it if I had to. That's really only a concern because you don't have a back-up A1 should it go down at a shoot.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Clark View Post
So your opinion is that an XH A1 and two HV30s would look better using an XH A1, HV30, and a GL2? I am somewhat new to HD and have obviously not made the full transition yet. The second HV30 would have to be a rental, for now. I just wasn't sure how the HD vs. SD loss would compare vs. the image quality loss of moving from 3CCD to CMOS. In other words, in your opinion, does the image sensor or definition (HD or SD) gives more bang for the buck?
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Old August 25th, 2009, 12:05 PM   #15
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I'd go with the glidecam 2000.


Or get a Zoom recorder
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