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


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Old April 4th, 2010, 05:15 PM   #46
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I have officially switched over to all DSLR, the quality difference, the ability to select lenses based on what effect I am looking for, low light ability, small form factor, and shallow depth of field and macro ability sold me. It is definitely more difficult to use, however I feel like the extra work is worth it in the end when the bride sees the quality of her video.
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Old April 4th, 2010, 10:48 PM   #47
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This is great thread! One thing I haven't seen mentioned here is that shooting weddings with all DSLRs is much more conducive to short-form/cinematic edits, than long-form documentary style or "traditional" wedding videos where everything is shown in its entirety.

For example, I get plenty of clients who have full-Mass Catholic ceremonies that last over an hour, and they want to see the entire thing with nothing cut out. Add to that 30 - 40 minutes of toasts at the reception... you know, when just about "everyone" wants to get up and say something.

I can't imagine the editing nightmare that would ensue, trying to constantly sync 12 minute chunks of video here and there.

So for those of you who now shoot DSLR only.... what do you tell your clients who want the long-form style of video? Do you simply say sorry we don't that... or do you still try to make it work?
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Old April 4th, 2010, 11:09 PM   #48
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Hi Jeff,

Pluraleyes (Singular Software) really takes the headache out of synching. Its available for Vegas and Final Cut Pro. Hopefully there will be more editing apps added. We will no doubt see more of this type of utility in the future. Its just too helpful for this not to be available to everyone. My main concern is not editing, but the logistics of keeping the cameras running while shooting alone. I've got some ideas for that.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 10:03 AM   #49
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This is a great thread and since it's wedding season - figured I would share my experience and thoughts.

I bought a T2I and a canon 50mm 1.4 lens to mess around with. In march I shot my first wedding with it. Being a little nervous with the bride prep I shot almost everything twice, once with the T2I and once with my trust XHA1. During the rest of the day I messed with the T2I but used my XHA1's for all the important stuff plus extra footage...good thing I did...the card crapped out on me.

I used recovery software and was able to get back about 75% of the missing files, but if you use DSLRs exclusively...what would you do if that was all you had and filmed with...now you need to tell the couple half of their video is missing...I don't think I want to deal with that...and to bring it home even closer...my photographer at my wedding this past november lost all our family and bridal party shots due to a crap card. He's a very well known, amazing photographer and I know it's not his fault and I know there is nothing he could do about it...so I was very understanding...but someone who doesn't know...forget it...that's a lawsuit waiting to happen. Now if these vDSLRs were to come out with dual card slots shooting to both simultaneously one as a backup I would definitely consider a full time switch.

I know tape still has issues, drop outs, breaking - in fact a few years ago one broke on me, snapped - I sent it out for repair and within a week I had a fully functional tape that was missing maybe 25 seconds from the snap point - but I was able to use b-roll and backup audio to make it seamless on the edit...

Anyways - back on track...so I bought new cards, san disk extreme class 10's and decided to give it another go last night. Luckily no errors on the cards, but looking back on the footage - it looks good, but the form factor just makes it so hard for steady shots. I use a z-finder and an l bracket and for short times I do real well with steadiness but for longer durations forget it...on top of that, we do a lot of big weddings where you have no choice but to shoot over head - very hard with a DSLR.

So I think my solution is...there isn't a single unimportant part of the day so I will continue to use my XHA1s as my main cameras. I will break out the DSLRs mainly for creative shots...rings, flowers, etc - I may capture a little of prep with them or portraits, but I will always have my xha1 there to capture as well just in case. I will DEFINITELY use my DSLR for staged shoots though - such as an E-shoot or Trash the dress or anything like that...those are not events...and can be redone and there is no worry about being obtrusive with a tripod or monopod or big shoulder rig...but a wedding...there is no do over and unobtrusiveness goes a long way.

My last thought on the whole DSLR situation...There is no doubt about it, DSLRS give an AMAZING look and feel to videos, but I think there are only a handful of people out there who truly know how to use them well (myself not being one of them!), so with that, I think a lot of videographers are trading in the quality of their shots, steadiness, composition, etc for a prettier look - and when all is said and done the people who are receiving their videos are NOT pros, most of them do not know too much about video and DSLR video - what they do know is when a shot looks pleasing to the eye, when a shot is steady, when you capture the right moment and edit it well - thats what they know. If you can do this with a DSLR more power to you, but I think (and I say I think because my mind can change) for me, I will not make a full dslr jump until canon makes a full bodied VIDEO camera based off their DSLR model - when that happens and it has all the proper tools we as event videographers need, then there would be no reason to switch, but until then, to continue to book clients and make clients happy I will focus on the quality of product, the shots and the edit, not just the way it looks.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 02:00 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Wallace View Post
So for those of you who now shoot DSLR only.... what do you tell your clients who want the long-form style of video? Do you simply say sorry we don't that... or do you still try to make it work?
We're using DSLR's only and we shoot both for a cinematic short-form and a documentary at the same time. It's quite the challenge, but it can be done.

I know a lot of people praise Plural Eyes, but we still do all of our sync manually. We're really fast at it so it's not a big deal. Also, a recent review of Plural Eyes in EventDV magazine seemed to suggest that you won't really save time using Plural Eyes on average, and it's more for people who just don't want the hassle of doing it themselves. It's great software from what I understand, but if you're already good and fast with manual sync and you don't mind doing the work yourself, you don't really need Plural Eyes.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 08:35 PM   #51
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So far I haven't used my GH1 at a wedding but I'm getting close to being ready to.

I think all-DSLR weddings would work magnificently for larger productions (eg 3 vid guys + sound op). With a crew like that you can afford to miss your focus pull once or twice. With a production like that you can get away with a 12 minute limit as long as the camera operators are staggering their recodings at pre-decided intervals. Plus the bigger budget of those companies means they could probably have a few spare bodies in case overheating pops up.

Where DLSR-only won't work so well is for one man weddings. In those situations you need to have your sound on your main camera rig (whether it's your onboard audio or an extra recorder mounted to your rails) so you can monitor audio. You need to have one camera that you can leave unnattended for up to an hour. You need one lens that can cover everything from the Bride walking past you down the Isle (sometimes only 1-2 feet away) to an extreme close up of the rings or the kiss from the back of the church. Plus you need a good form factor (I can't work without a top-handle) and the reliability of a smooth zoom rocker.

It will be interesting to see how the AF100, with all the additional bells and whistles of a video camera, changes how people use DSLR's/shallow DoF/interchangable lenses at weddings.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 08:45 PM   #52
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So far I haven't used my GH1 at a wedding but I'm getting close to being ready to.
The GH1 has a lot going for it for use at weddings. Some of the useful characteristics of it are:

- Usable viewfinder when shooting video.

- flip-out and tilt LCD display allows much easier positioning of the camera while maintaining a view of the LCD screen.

- No 12-minute clip length limit allows the camera to also be used unattended on a tripod.

- No overheating issue.

For this and other reasons, some believe the GH1 is an ideal wedding camera.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 12:03 AM   #53
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In the news section here, it appears that Sony will have a new camera releasing shortly (as in REALLY shortly), apparently compatible with the Alpha mount. If it's like the P&S Sonys w/1080p, it won't have a 12 minute limit (more like 30 minutes, which puts it into viable recording length for weddings). Tilt 3" screen, no VF, but with a nice screen like that... I think it would be doable. Probably won't be subject to overheating problems.

If it also has image stabilization on par with the XR/CX series, this could be an interesting little beast.

Sony's NEX cameras

EDIT - these are official, and even more interesting is a more video-camera like prototype/mockup linked on that thread.

Last edited by Dave Blackhurst; May 11th, 2010 at 04:24 AM.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 07:31 AM   #54
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I shoot 1-man all DSLR and haven't had any problems. 7D and T2i. The 12 minute clips are really not a bother. I've shot 14 weddings. I did use the XHA1 for the first 10, but I now leave that in the car.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 07:36 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Wallace View Post
This is great thread! One thing I haven't seen mentioned here is that shooting weddings with all DSLRs is much more conducive to short-form/cinematic edits, than long-form documentary style or "traditional" wedding videos where everything is shown in its entirety.

For example, I get plenty of clients who have full-Mass Catholic ceremonies that last over an hour, and they want to see the entire thing with nothing cut out. Add to that 30 - 40 minutes of toasts at the reception... you know, when just about "everyone" wants to get up and say something.

I can't imagine the editing nightmare that would ensue, trying to constantly sync 12 minute chunks of video here and there.

So for those of you who now shoot DSLR only.... what do you tell your clients who want the long-form style of video? Do you simply say sorry we don't that... or do you still try to make it work?
Jeff, I shoot for a 1-song Highlight, a 30 minute Highlight and the entire ceremony and reception on the 7D and T2i. During the ceremony, I just click the start/stop button every 12 minutes. It's really no big deal. There are plenty of moments throughout a Catholic ceremony to hit the start/stop. For the 45 minute toasts, (which I did just have in March). Again, before each person does their toast, just hit start/stop.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 05:05 PM   #56
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How do you guys workaround the overheating factor? Do you just turn it off, if so, how long?
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Old May 11th, 2010, 05:25 PM   #57
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We haven't hit the really hot days yet, but right now we've found that just shutting the camera down for a minute seems to solve the issue. For any outdoor ceremonies we will have small white cloths on the cameras. A tiny, mini-umbrella or flat shade would be awesome though. I've been thinking about making up a flat shade on an adjustable arm. I just need it to be inconspicuous.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 03:14 PM   #58
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We are almost at the point where we are doing all DSLR shoots. Once we got a taste of DSLR there was no going back.
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Old May 13th, 2010, 12:30 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
We haven't hit the really hot days yet, but right now we've found that just shutting the camera down for a minute seems to solve the issue. For any outdoor ceremonies we will have small white cloths on the cameras. A tiny, mini-umbrella or flat shade would be awesome though. I've been thinking about making up a flat shade on an adjustable arm. I just need it to be inconspicuous.
Travis, do you think the outside temperature will affect these camera's for a half hour ceremony? I have my first outdoor rooftop ceremony tomorrow on the beach (I use the 7D and T2i) but it's still cool here in NJ.
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Old May 13th, 2010, 06:10 PM   #60
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Here's a bit of a different perspective on the DSLR issue. I think the camcorder manufacturers owe a big apology to the professional videographers of the world. Those who have the creative ability and passion to produce pieces that take advantage of the features that DSLR cameras provide have had to endure some hardship to do so. These cameras are very video "unfriendly" yet these admirable souls persevered and mastered their DSLR's in order to greatly improve the production value of their work. My hat is off to them.

But the future is bright. 2011 and 2012 should bring a new crop of large sensor VIDEO cameras that make the job much easier. It's great to see competition between the video camera manufacturers starting to show itself with large sensor video cameras.

Oh, and one other thing. After these new large sensor video cameras are established in the market, the market for used DSLR cameras should be very active. A number of videographers will sell at least part of their DSLR cameras when they buy large sensor video cameras. It makes me remember an old manual drill my dad had called a "brace and bit". Funny thing, after my dad got his power drill, he didn't use his brace and bit any more.
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