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

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Old April 2nd, 2005, 06:38 AM   #1
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Opinions needed

I'm learning so much reading these boards. I'm not in the video wedding business but I've been thinking about it. I was asked to video a friends wedding after a pro who was going to charge them $2500 backed out at the last min. I was shocked when my friends asked me since I'd never done this before. I agreed to do it for $500 and made it real clear I was totally new at this. I used my one chip Sony DV camera and thats it. No tripod and no other equip. I just tried to capture as much as I could with one camera.
Anyway, I shot 3 hours worth of video and then loaded the footage onto my Mac. I used the entry level software IMovie to do the editing. Not haven't edited a wedding video before I started editing and finally produced a one hour wedding video which they loved. I then put together a short video overview of the day for them. Here is that clip. Keep in mind that I have no training at all.


After doing this project I put together more video's using the same camera and IMovie for editing. I even entered 2 short video's into a worldwide contest and won 3rd place with both movies. Here they are...



After all this I'm now considering upgrading all my equip and starting a business. Got my eye on the Sony VX2100 and have installed Final Cut express which I need to learn. The crazy thing is that I'm getting calls from people wanting me to video their weddings. I really prefer new equip before taking on jobs. I'm at a crossroard. Should I or should not go into the wedding video business? Am I fooling myself here ?

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Old April 2nd, 2005, 07:17 AM   #2
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The sony vx2100 is a very nice camera but the pd170 will give you pro features and is worth the upgrade. You will need at least the following to do weddings:

(2) 3 CCD Video Cameras(Sony does much better than Canon in low light
(1) Wireless Microphone
(2) Fluid Head Tripods

I started out with those items and it worked really well. I orginally used a Canon XL1S and GL2. We now use Sony's PD170's. We also use iRiver's to capture more audio sources. I usually use 3 cameras to capture the ceremony.

Good luck on starting your own business. It's a lot of work but very rewarding.

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Old April 2nd, 2005, 08:11 AM   #3
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Jon's advice is good. You might want to stagger your equipment acquisitions over time as that will avoid being forced to learn several processes at once. I would think you could find a use for your existing camera (B Roll capture, for example) as you shift to the new one for primary recording. I also think you need to take a close look at more microphones, and the iRiver approach is a flexible and inexpensive way to capture more audio sources.

One thing to think about with FCE. It's greatest weakness is the inability to batch capture video clips. Other than that it's operation is almost a mirror to FCP. I used to get around the batch capture problem by first importing all of my footage into iMovie. There, I would eliminate the junk. Then I would export rough assemblies of sequences as QuickTime dv streams. Once that entire process was complete I would dump the entire iMovie project and start over with FCE.

The whole point of this iMovie "rough cutting" was to reduce hard drive space of imported video. Another way to do this is to capture all of your video in FCE, then assemble a rough cut in the time line. Then dump everything except the project file. Then use the "capture project feature". FCE will then automatically recapture the data that was in your timeline.

Either method is a bit tedious.
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 09:37 AM   #4
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How does FCP capture video clips compared to FCE?
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 12:12 PM   #5
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If you are getting lots of job offers at $500, be careful.

If you are getting lots of job offers at $1500, then go for it !!

At $500, it is hard to make money and still put out a product you will be proud of. Editing time is the biggest difference.
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Old April 2nd, 2005, 02:40 PM   #6
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$500 is better than what I was paid to start. We did a bunch for free for friends and family. I know a few people who use 2 cameras and make $2000+ per wedding. I like to use a third camera, just in case. It's like a safety net for Murphy's Law!

If you can rent a camera, I might suggest that you do that. We can rent them for $150 per day in my area. I am sure someone rents them in your town. If you have one nice 3 ccd camera, rent the second until you have enough cash to buy another. I don't know if I would use a iRiver by itself, although it is a great alternative to wireless. It's easy to line up the audio tracks when you have a nice wireless system recording the audio to sync your iRiver audio when editing. You could also pick up a Sony MiniDisc for about $50 on ebay that would do the same thing as the iriver.
The only downside to Minidisc is that the only way to transfer the audio to the PC is in realtime. The iriver transfers it in minutes.

We jumped in right away and purchased everything instead of renting because we new it's what we wanted to do. I didn't see the point in throwing away $$$ on rental fees.

If you sit down and add up all of the gear you are going to need you will be amazed at the amount you need to spend. We paid it back in the first year. After that, it's the price of tape for your cameras. Although, every year they come out with better equipment. It's hard to stop from buying new equipment when you are a toy junkie.

Don't do them for $500 for ever, like the other guy said. It will get really old spending 20-40 hours editing and shooting the wedding for $500.

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