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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old February 3rd, 2005, 04:07 AM   #1
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Wedding shoot: Shoulder mount or small format camera with a stabilizer?

I didn't realize there was a wedding/event section of this BB!

I am looking at shooting a few weddings in the coming months for friends and relatives and I am thinking that it could be a nice way to earn a supplemental income. So, for those of you experienced in this business, which do you prefer...a shoulder mounted camera like the Pany DVC60 or a standard shaped miniDV camera?

Also, what parts of a wedding shoot do you typically use a tripod?

Thanks for any assistance you can offer!

Cheers,
Scott
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 01:09 PM   #2
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Scott

I've been shooting weddings since 97. My favorite camera for ease of use was the XL-1. It was bad in low light and tough to focus manually, but I love the size. It was small enough to get shots in those cramped areas and large enough to place on your shoulder.

I have never used the DVC60, so I really can't comment on that camera.

We currently use a PD-150 and DSR-250. The 250 is great for rock solid shoulder shooting and is great at the reception during those long toasts or especially the 1st dance and parents dances which can be 10 minutes or more of continuous shooting. On the other hand, the 150 is great for those small rooms during prepartions, or putting it up high on a monopod for a cool perspective and not to mention Glidecam shots.

We use tripods for the ceremony and sometimes for the wide shot of the 1st dance. More often we use a monopod than a tripod at the reception with the 150.

All My Best,
Mark Von Lanken
Picture This Productions
www.TulsaWeddingVideos.com
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 02:06 PM   #3
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Mark,

Thanks for the repy! I have been thinking that the shoulder mount will be easier to manage during the reception and for and running around shots.

So you don't move during the ceremony? Just pans and zooms? I am assuming pretty sparse on the zooms...

Where do you set up in relation to the B & G? Are you typically up front with them or at the back and then zoomed in? Or what position would you consider ideal?

Thanks,
Scott
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 02:50 PM   #4
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Scott

We shoot all of our weddings with a minimum or 2 cameras, preferably with 3 or more, depending on the circumstances.

I'm typically at the front behind the guys. This way as the bride turns to face the groom during their vows I see her face. The second camera is at the back.

If they pay for a 3rd operator, that camera is usually at the front and behind the girls to get various cutaways and especially the grooms face as he says his vows. If they don't pay for a 3rd operator we will place a unmanned camera at the back and as high as possible. It adds a nice perspective, especially if there is a balcony.

With this type of coverage we move very little, especially in a church that limits your movement. When shooting an outdoor wedding, we will move a little more, but not really that much.

Have you seen weddings that have been shot with the multiple angles I'm describing?

All My Best,
Mark Von Lanken
Picture This Productions
www.TulsaWeddingVideos.com
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 04:34 PM   #5
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"Have you seen weddings that have been shot with the multiple angles I'm describing?"

No, I haven't seen any except on TV I guess. I am pretty much a one man show at this point so I guess I will need to get another camera to mount at the back on a tripod. It would sure be great to be able to control the zoom from the position up front...I'll have to look into that a little more. Maybe I need a DVC30 AND a DVC60...:( My wife will love to hear that...

I think I'll just have to start out small, the pany 30 or 60 and maybe a gs200 for tripod shots and just color correct and "treat" in post to make them look similar. Or I could rent a decent camera and tripod for the actual wedding. l Gotta start somewhere I guess.

Thanks,
Scott
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 07:37 PM   #6
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I haven't had an opportunity to shoot with a true shoulder-mounted camera, but I can tell you that even with a shoulder rest the smaller cameras are impossible to hold steady for any extended period of time. So I now do essentially all of my shooting using either tripods or monopods, with the latter being used for any camera that needs to be mobile. Plus a handy thing about using a monopod is that if you need to shoot over people's heads you just lift it up a couple feet, thus solving a second common problem.

At the ceremony I almost always have one camera at the back of the venue getting a standard view toward the front from that angle, and then a second camera on the groom's side as described in other posts. One trick though is that at the end of the ceremony you need to be in a position to man a camera shooting up the aisle as the couple walks out, so you either have to move to the rear camera or bring your front camera back.

And don't forget to figure out what you're going to do about audio. You'll need a good wireless microphone for the ceremony.

Receptions are usually fairly straightforward. Bring a low-watt on-camera light if you have one.

Good luck!
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Old February 3rd, 2005, 10:37 PM   #7
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Scott

I have a couple of samples on my site. The Cinematic Highlight is 4 cameras outside. The Wedding Day Edit is 2+ cameras in a church. Feel free to check them out.

Do you already have a DVC 60? If not, I would check it's low light performance. A used Sony PD-150 or VX-2000 may be a better choice.

Is there any chance your wife would shoot with you? When I first started I dragged my wife along with me. Now we are both employed by our company and loving it.

All My Best,
Mark Von Lanken
Picture This Productions
www.TulsaWeddingVideos.com
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Old February 4th, 2005, 01:24 AM   #8
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Mark,
Thanks, I'll check out your samples. My wife is actually working on setting up a wedding coordinator business. She's done 3 or 4 weddings so far. Her background is fashion design. She might go out on the first couple with me which wouldn't be bad since her minor in college was photography. I guess I'll have to ask her.
Nice samples! I sent you an email through your website 'cause I have a quick question. :)

I don't have the dvc60 yet, I am still trying to decide. However, the low light spec says 4 lux which was just about the best aside from the sony vx2100's 1 lux rating that you mentioned. I also want to shoot other non wedding projects and the 30p option and 16x zoom are more apealing to me at the moment.

Kevin,
I am mainly looking to utilize the shoulder mount in the situations you are probably using the monopod, reception and the like. I plan on being on a tripod during the ceremony. You mentioned a "shoulder rest"...do you have one? If so what kind?

So how do you guys get from the alter to back at the end of the aisle so you can shoot the B & G walking out? After they are pronounced man and wife you just make a run for it? Surely someone does this with one camera and can offer advice...?

Thanks,
Scott
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Old February 4th, 2005, 09:48 AM   #9
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Scott

Your wife's background in photograpy is perfect. The fundamentals of exposure and composition will be a big asset to her. If she doesn't want to shoot with you, she could train someone for the back camera position.

What area of the country are you in? There are many local video associations around the country that my be a good resource for you.

All My Best,
Mark Von Lanken
Picture This Productions
www.TulsaWeddingVideos.com
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