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

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Old February 5th, 2010, 03:17 PM   #1
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First Wedding Feedback 5D2

I posted this in vimeo a few months back, but have had no feedback, so I am posting here.

I was recently asked by a friend to shoot a wedding video... I was very hesitant for a few of reasons.

1. I'm a geek with a 5D Mark 2, not a video professional (more of a copycat at this point)
2. I was only doing it by myself, no second cameras or someone to assist
3. I had no stabilization rig, which the 5D2 needs

But, after much pleading, I caved... I thought, no better way to learn something new than to throw yourself in the mix. So, the agreement was that I would just try and get "something" - no pressure... and my compensation would be minimal - fair enough.

I literally went in with no plan... just thought, I'll get what I get.

So... things I learned:

- Focusing with the 5D2 can be a real pain in the rump (I did not have a Z-Finder or LCDVF)
- Stabilization was a big issue, you CANNOT hand hold this thing (which I was doing)
- My pans SUCK
- I need a lot of practice with grading
- Need a lot of practice with exposure control

Other than that, I think it turned out OK for my first crack... 1 Guy, 1 camera, 1 mic, 1 memory card, 1 battery, 1 lens (17-40), no plan...

What I did realize is that I had a lot of fun and I would enjoy doing more... It was fun trying to capture and edit a story. But I would like some constructive feedback... what parts (both technical and artistic) were really bad, or screamed NEWBIE!

I know there is a lot of room for improvement, and your feedback is appreciated!

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Old February 5th, 2010, 03:29 PM   #2
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My Bad...

I Missed the section this belongs in... can a mod move it? or delete so I can re-post.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 04:56 PM   #3
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Let me start off by saying that I know NOTHING about shooting with a DSLR. So my opinions might not be worth much.

Well the obvious is that there are some definite shakes throughout your video. I think investing in a cheap monopod or tripod would have done wonders for a lot of your shots.
When it came time for the vows it seemed like you were constantly trying to move to get a better view of the bride or groom. Thats the time when you really need to lock it down and take what you have.

Your opening shots were good. I would have taken out the gradient effect at 15''. That effect looks best on a static shot like the one clip before it.
One thing you can do to help out your pans is throw in a smoothcam filter if your using FCP.

2' 15'' I love the couple that posed for the still... This must be a pain for anyone using a DSLR

You had a few shots during the ceremony where the audio wasn't included. I normally try to stay away from shots where people are speaking and I don't plan on using the audio.

7' 46'' The sand shot was a little out of place IMO. The song was just gearing up but the images on the screen lacked the excitement. I think the group picture would have been better there.

The family photo shoot rarely looks exciting on video. I personally have stopped shooting it because I just don't get much out of it. Somethings that would have made it better if you were to shoot it at different angles. Maybe a couple CU or MU. There wasn't much contrast between each of your clips.

Hope some of this helps... My first wedding clip that I posted on here was torn to pieces. It was in much worse shape then yours. Use this place as your classroom and you'll be creating masterpieces in no time.

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Old February 5th, 2010, 10:43 PM   #4
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For the first time and all ones (battery, lens, card etc) it's great!
what's missing? all shots are wide, I know one lens and it's 17-40 :), you need close-ups;
except for the pans all shots are hand held, it only looks nice when you mix them with good fixed shots, me personally, I try to shoot 5D from the tripod or slider only;
4:20 - 4:24 - try not to do that anymore :), it's not even newbie, but it might look good in some music video :)
not sure about standing behind minister during ceremony, that would be my last choice;
so if you add close shots and eliminate camera shaking it's going to look much better and more pro, but again for the first time, and very limited set it just great!
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Old February 6th, 2010, 04:49 AM   #5
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The one thing that jumps out to me was when you used the zoom during a shot - DSLR's are hard to get a nice smooth zoom with and even the tiniest little zoom in or out stuck out like a sore thumb in your video.
Zooms during a shiot should be used sparingly at the best of times but with a DSLR you should avoid them all together. Either pause, reframe and start recording a new clip or cut around it in post.
You did have some nice shots in there though!
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Old February 6th, 2010, 08:22 AM   #6
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I love the feedback.. that's the stuff I need to be clued in on, and I agree with all of it.

If you are shooting DSLR, what lenses are you shooting?

The one thing that happened with this wedding, it was originally supposed to be outside. But it was misting all day so they brought it in... and I had very little time to plan. But I gotta be ready for that I guess.

I would have liked to have a zoom lens so I could have done the ceremony from a far. I felt like a tool running around behind everybody. I can only imagine what the guests thought.

That was the only thing I was really uncomfortable with, imposing, getting a close up and being up in their face. I didn't want to get in the way, but then I never got the shots I wanted. What's your approach on that? Do you make the client aware?
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Old February 6th, 2010, 12:06 PM   #7
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I shoot with a dSLR so I know the challenges. One trick I learned for shooting handheld (not that I advocate shooting handheld with one of these) is to put the strap around your neck and pull it tight so the camera is out in front of you. This will stabilize the camera much better. You have to shoot with the live view anyway so this works moderately well with a wide angle lens like the 17-40.

Remember because you have an HD image, you can zoom in in post a little to recompose the shot and to get a little closer.

While bigger zooms are good. I like the 70-200 2.8L, remember that camera movement is also magnified, so you absolutely 'can't' shoot handheld.

I realize they moved indoors on you which messed things up (those big windows certainly would have been brutal to shoot into) so you did the right thing by going behind. I would have (gently) tapped the best man on the shoulder and had him slide over a step and you would have had a much better angle (it might have got him to stop swaying also).

All in all, under the circumstances, you did a good job. Personally I'd tone down the magic bullet in post, but maybe that's just me.
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Old February 6th, 2010, 12:11 PM   #8
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A few points..

Like said above, for your first one with only one battery, 1 memory card, and 1 mic, its really quite impressive that it turned out as well as it did.

A few important notes..

1) Watch your exposure, in most of the shots something is over exposed mostly the bride. In some shots the black tux's are exposed perfectly but at the expense of not being able to see any of the detail on the brides dress or making her look pale. At weddings everybody expects the tux's to be black and boring so if in the video they are a little bit darker than perfect that is ok especially if you can see the detail in the brides dress and skin tones are correctly exposed.

2) Fixing exposure problems might actually help you on what number 2's issue is going to be. Focus. Watching it full screen I could tell some of your shots were a little softer than most would like. I would say that once you are able to stop down to get correct exposure the circle of confusion will be larger and therefore more of your shot will be in acceptable focus. I know the shallow DoF is one of the draws to the 5D but for now try to just focus on getting your subject in focus.

3) One rule I learned back in high school at my school's television program and again when I was in film school is that unless there is a reason to be handheld don't be. In most of your shots you could have been on a tripod and significantly increased production value and enjoyment factor of your video.

4) Get some more lenses. You should have a 24, 50, 85, and 70-200 if you are going to be really serious about it. 50 and 85 are my go to lenses but 24 is great for establishing shots and the 70-200 is great for ceremonies when you need to quickly reframe up a shot or get a longer telephoto with out changing up lenses.

5) This one you can actually apply to this wedding that you showed us. Editing. Try to cut out more stuff thats not all that important or make those shots shorter. Try to put more emotive shots at the builds of songs. You don't have to put every shot in the order that you took it or that it happened. You are building a story so put it together as you see fit.

I did however like your first few shots when they were on tripod and very slow. I thought you had some good ideas about the coverage in other places and I think in time you will have no problems putting out a good product. The best way to improve is to get back on the horse and try again. Post the next one.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 10:02 AM   #9
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Great stuff all... good news is I did get another job out of it, the wedding isn't until summer... so it will give me time to buy some more gear.

I'll be sure to post version 2, the less shaky version 2 ;)
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Old February 13th, 2010, 10:02 AM   #10
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Scott, You will start having bad dreams about your equipment. You'll dream the bride is coming down the aisle and your camera is in the corner and you can't get to it. Don't worry, these dreams are normal. I've been in the business 15 years and still have bad dreams. I think these dreams are what keep you on your toes. They make it so you don't get too comfortable because once you get too comfortable, mistakes will happen.
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