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


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Old February 8th, 2010, 09:48 PM   #1
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What are the basic equipments needed in using DSLR for wedding video?

G'day gents,

I recently bought a 7D to use mainly for a wedding & pre-wedding video. However, I have some burning questions that I've been needing to ask.

Apart from the lens, tripod/steadies, recording & lighting kit - what are the stuff needed to compliment the DSLR? Things that I can think of are:

1. Filters - What type of filters is essential? I can only think of the ND filters.

2. CF card - Would 16GB or 32GB be enough? what about the speed, I heard most people are happy with 30MB/s write speed to avoid buffering during recording (eg Sandisk Extreme III)

3. Memory Card reader - if you're planning on doing SDE, does it have to be a very good reader or some generic in ebay would do?

4. Extra battery - would 1 spare be enough?

It's obvious that I'm not that familiar with a DSLR yet.. :( so if you dont mind please share your experience to help me purchase the right gear needed.

Many thanks in advance for the help :)

Cheers,


John
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Old February 8th, 2010, 10:27 PM   #2
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Hi Johannes,

1. I only use UV filters as I feel the protection over my lenses is worth whatever hit in image quality I get. ND filters aren't needed unless you have to shoot wide open in outdoor situations. If you're looking for nd filters, the Fader NDs are a great value.

2. 16gb would get you roughly 45mins of recording time, 32gb double that. For 3 7Ds and a full days worth of shooting and a long catholic ceremony, I need roughly 176GBs of cards to effectively cover the whole day and NOT reuse cards.

3. I use the lexar FW800 CF reader. I feel it's worth the cost especially when I'm doing an SDE and am crunching time.

4. 1 battery is worth 1.25-1.5 hours worth of power. Depends on how much you plan on shooting but I have about 7 batteries total for all my cameras with charging once during the day.

I would not skimp on cards and batteries. Spend them money once and you will be less stressed during the wedding :).

Hope this helps.

Randy
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Old February 8th, 2010, 11:25 PM   #3
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Check for overheating

I would add a monopod, a small external microphone, a wireless microphone and a focusing viewer to attach to the back of the camera. The DSLRs are not designed as video cameras. You will need to work around the many issues of using this tool. It's perfect as a "B" roll camera to get a different look. People will be disappointed if you have poor audio and shaky videos. The standards have been set for traditional wedding coverage and it's difficult to duplicate the results with such an awkward-to-use camera.
Before you go out and shoot a wedding, check to see when you get the overheating message. Press record and the camera will stop at 15 minutes. Pretend that it's a long wedding and press record again and again. I've had the camera give me a warning at about the 45 minute mark in a reception hall. It may come up earlier if it's hot outside but you need to do a test. There are 2 CPUs in the 7D. I don't know what happens to the footage or camera if you continue shooting but I would guess that the camera would turn off. Test and be prepared with a regular backup video camera or another 7D.
Practise by shooting anything that moves to develop a smooth pan and the ability to keep things in focus. It's more difficult than a traditional video camcorder but the results are really awesome and different.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 11:31 PM   #4
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@Randy:

Wow that amount of memory use shocks me! I see you are shooting exclusively using a 7D so I suppose I shouldn't use as much if I'm still using a DV cam for another camera.

But what budget CF you would recommend? Sandisk is okay but I saw Photofast have been on sale at half the price. You reckon it's a safe bet or it's better investing money on a reliable brand?

@Peter:

Yeah I heard some issue with overheating. I will surely do some practice and testing before actually using it for wedding. As mentioned, I will still depend on a reliable DV cam for most of the day.

Is that focusing viewer the one you can attach to the lens viewer on the camera's back?


Cheers,


John
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Old February 8th, 2010, 11:34 PM   #5
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I would seriously invest in some sandisk memory cards. That is what I am comfortable in and trust. Sure, some sandisk cards have gone bad for some people, but they have a great track record.

If you're not looking for speed, the Extreme IIIs should be fine. :) Anything else, just ask.

Randy
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Old February 8th, 2010, 11:49 PM   #6
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Thanks Randy. I saw one of the wedding in Hawaii, amazing video!!

This is a bit out of topic but may I ask what are the lenses you are using? I saw you opted for Tokina 11-16. I purchased my 7D with a Tamron 17-50 VC hopefully I made the right choice.

Cheers,


John
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Old February 8th, 2010, 11:58 PM   #7
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Thanks for watching :). I just posted one from san diego I did that was another same day edit with only 2 cinematographers.

I use a canon 17-55 2.8 is in that focal length. I can't comment on the tamron as I've never used it so I couldn't say either way how it's sharpness, contrast, and color rendition look on the 7D. I rarely use it now as I've moved to shooting with primes for preps and only use the zooms during "event style coverage" portions of the day. I only use the 11-16 for wide grand shots and steadicam. The exaggeration of the distortion is not flattering for people most of the time, although it is a bit less than the 17-40 or the 16-35 in my limited usage of those lenses.

Randy
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Old February 10th, 2010, 12:10 PM   #8
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John,

I recently picked up a couple of Fader ND filters - a 58mm to fit my 50mm lens, and a 77mm to fit my 17-40mm and my 70-200mm. These are for wedding work, because I tend to like to shoot a little more wide open than some to get the shallow DOF. Especially when you are shooting a white dress at midday in the summer - yikes!

I use the 5d as a b-roll camera and currently only use 3-8gb Sandisk extreme III cards. And 2 batteries that I swap out. I will probably pick up another battery and an extra card or two this season, as I have had to review and delete some shots to make room for more.

Generally I don't use the dslr much during the ceremony - but use it almost exclusively, before and after (except for speeches), so your mileage may vary.
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Old February 10th, 2010, 06:15 PM   #9
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you haven't mentioned audio. do you already have all the videography equip from shooting tape DV / HDV, etc and this is just a lateral move to HD-DSLRs?
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Old February 24th, 2010, 05:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Panado View Post
4. 1 battery is worth 1.25-1.5 hours worth of power. Depends on how much you plan on shooting but I have about 7 batteries total for all my cameras with charging once during the day.

I would not skimp on cards and batteries. Spend them money once and you will be less stressed during the wedding :).
Randy, great talking to you today. The advice was exactly what I needed to hear. In regards to power, there are so many generic battery packs for the LP-E6 available, and I wondered if there was any danger in using those with the 7D. I know Canon's batteries have a chip in them that report charge (so you know exactly how much juice you have left). Is there any other reason not to go with a few of those as backups, mainly to save $40 per battery?

Also, the speed of the Extreme III cards pertains mainly to upload speeds onto your computer, right? They would handle wedding shoots just fine, am I right? I've heard some people raving over the Kingston Elite Pro cards, too. Anybody here use those?
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Old February 24th, 2010, 07:26 PM   #11
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The write / read speed may also come into account if you are shooting Full size HD video. REmember that Canon still thinks these cameras are for photos. So if you are shooting on a DSLR (7d / 5d, etc) the camera might be fine with cheaper (slower) cards shooting stills because stills don't involve as much sustained data transfer as video does.
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Old February 25th, 2010, 05:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Michael Winget View Post
Randy, great talking to you today. The advice was exactly what I needed to hear. In regards to power, there are so many generic battery packs for the LP-E6 available, and I wondered if there was any danger in using those with the 7D. I know Canon's batteries have a chip in them that report charge (so you know exactly how much juice you have left). Is there any other reason not to go with a few of those as backups, mainly to save $40 per battery?

Also, the speed of the Extreme III cards pertains mainly to upload speeds onto your computer, right? They would handle wedding shoots just fine, am I right? I've heard some people raving over the Kingston Elite Pro cards, too. Anybody here use those?
No prob Mike, glad to help.

I would NOT skimp on the battery. Saving $40 is not worth missing a shot due to not knowing how much real time you have left. Sure, you could change them out every 45 minutes, but that is such a hassle. One area I try not to skimp on is things that make your camera work, ie. power and storage.

My sister studio has used kingston elites, worked fine for a bit then one gave them an error. He switched to all sandisk extreme IIIs after now with no problems (knock on wood). I only shoot with sandisk CF cards. I have a bunch of extreme IIIs, extreme IVs, and one new extreme (60 mb/s). The extreme IIIs should serve you fine if you're not worried about offload speed.

Cheers.
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