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


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Old December 26th, 2004, 01:01 PM   #1
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17 year old needs wireless lavs, mixer, tripods

I hope to start doing local wedding videos with a friend using my Sony Digital 8 and his mini DV to begin with. My intentions are to start small and see how it goes and what business is like here.

Before we can begin, I need to find a couple of tripods, about 3 wireless lavs, and a 3-4 channel mixer. The tripods would ideally be fluid head, or at least something usable. All I have now is a cheap freebie that jumps around when I try to pan, so anything would be an upgrade. I think that a wireless mic on the groom, the pastor, and on the singer (or some other type of wireless mic for capturing instrumental-only performances) should be good for starters.

What is the least I could spend for a reasonably adequate system to begin on?
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Old December 26th, 2004, 02:59 PM   #2
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How about starting out as an assistant for someone who's already established. Learn the gear and gain a personal knowledge of what is going to work and why and go from there. It will also give you an idea of wheather or not you really enjoy that line of work without committing both time and money in something that you may not want to do for the next 10 years.

Ben Lynn
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Old December 26th, 2004, 04:30 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. Well, this is what I want to do. It's the next step from what I've done in the past, which was work at two different video and post production houses. At those businesses I filmed a few weddings, recorded quite a few depositions for court use, and edited together parts of commercials and promotional videos. I've also been doing all I can for weddings and special projects on my own, once even operating two cameras by myself while running between the two to get different shots.

Now I want to include a partner, a friend who would more than likely be interested (haven't asked him yet) and owns his own camera. I've been editing with FCP for a few years, so I just need a partner and some more equipment for the filming side of things.

With that said, any tripods, mixer, and wireless lavs you suggest to begin with?
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Old December 26th, 2004, 05:43 PM   #4
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That good that you have some experience then before investing in it.

I think to start off with a Bogen 501 will be adequate for the cams your working with. It's fluid and doesn't break the bank. The part you want to be careful about is getting some good legs with it. I prefer a ball leveler but regardless if you get a ball leveler or a telescoping set of sticks get some nice ones because you'll want them to last for several years and be usable quickly.

Wireless lavs, if it's low end weddings (and that's fine to target at first) the low cost systems will all work about the same. If you think you want to really target the mid level weddings then you'll need to invest $500 (new, about $350 used if you can find one) in a solid wireless system. I think that anything in that price range is comparable with none of them standing out.

Audio, go with at least a 6 input board. I know that you may not need all the inputs for the first couple years but you'll need them at some point and you need to be ready. Again, I don't think that any brand is super fabulous but look to spend around $200 for a solid 6-8 input board that's going to give you the quality that you need.

Ben Lynn
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 11:30 PM   #5
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BUMP

I now have the tripod situation under control. Next step: audio.

Looking through the posts in the audio section I am slowly drawing some conclusions.

1.UHF is better than VHF, though more expensive. Nady offers popular, inexpensive VHF solutions. Gemini's UF2064L dual wireless lav system may be just what I'm looking for if I went with UHF.

2. Instead of wireless systems, some people go with a used MD player/recorder and a wired lav. This seems like a quick fix more than anything, but somebody might sway me to think otherwise. How cheap can one go using an MD and lav?

If I went with a wireless system, would I want to get a dual system (one receiver) or two separate single systems? Would a dual system allow me to adjust the levels on the receiver itself? That might be cheaper/easier than using two single systems into a mixer to adjust levels.

Also, what kind of output would work to get audio into a low-end MiniDV camera? My Sony Digital 8 doesn't have any audio inputs, so I'll have to see what my friend's camera has. It's probably 1/8", but would a dual UHF system's receiver plug directly into it?

One last thing, for the podium/instrumental mic, what should I look for? It would need to be wireless, and omnidirectional I would think. Would a typical wireless handheld work?

Sorry for the barrage of questions.
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Old April 24th, 2005, 06:33 AM   #6
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Skye,

Hi to you! I have brothers and sisters n South Dakota, and I was born there. So glad you got rid of Tom Dashal. UHF is best for wireless, but not necessary, if you don't have other people competing for your air space. Most VHF will work fine, and many good used Wireless systems can be found on ebay for a good price. I have two Sony UHFs, but they are $550.00 each and you don't need that to start. Check ebay for "Azden", or their web site and you will find what you need. Two transmitters and one receiver would be fine. You want stereo wedding couples?

As far as tripods and heads go, just shop around you local camera stores. I just replaced a Bogan #3047 with a #503. But in all honesty, another cheap plastic tripod head I have is better than the #3047 ever was. To start out, go for functional rather than name. Upgrade as your business grows.

Your enthusiasum is great, keep it going!

Mike
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Old April 24th, 2005, 09:37 AM   #7
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1. The biggest difference between VHF/UHF is traffic. VHF systems have been around a lot longer so it is difficult to find an unused channel. VHF wavelengths are longer and can therefore travel greater distances and pass through more solid objects. Thjey tend to have the performance edge outside. The shorter, tighter wavelength of UHF systems tend to reflect off of solid surfaces, making them the indoor leader in performance. Still, these statements really are addressing minute details for the sake of arguement. Unless you purchase a really expensive system, stay away from single diversity wireless mics. There is more reliability in dual diversity systems, but insure it is a TRUE DIVERSITY system.
My advice would be to purchase a multi-channel UHF system that allows the recerver to be mounted on your camera. Then purchase some iRivers to fill out your audio needs. This is a cost effective way to have a lot of audio sources.

If your camera won't accept external mic inputs you must use independent recording devices, like the iRiver 700 or 800 series models. If you do decide to do the dual channel UHF system, it should come with a variety of cables for stereo and mono configurations. The inexpensive systems will probably use 1/8", the more expensive will offer more variety, or just XLR.

An omni mic will probably work fine for your needs. But do exercise caution if you discover your mic will be part of a PA system as well. Omnis will record more ambient sounds than a directional, which could include reflections of the original sounds. These time delayed "echoes" are a real annoyance in post.
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