Some questions for starting up (on-board lighting, stabilizer, tripod) at

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

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Old March 10th, 2010, 11:06 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Maryland
Posts: 11
Some questions for starting up (on-board lighting, stabilizer, tripod)

Hey everyone,

I love all of the information that I have read on the boards, and I have done searches regarding the advice I am seeking. However, the info I have found isn't always the best for weddings and whatnot (If there is another thread directly answering what I ask, just point me to it, thanks).

For the most part, I am looking for budget solutions, as I would like to build my way up to more expensive pieces.

I will be using 2 XH-A1 cameras, and was wondering what some of you who have this camera use for on-board lighting? I plan to use the wireless wedding reception light (most likely the DIY version) for additional lighting in the wedding halls.

Also, it seems that many of you advise against using vests for stabilization. I found the Anton Bauer EgripZ which has lots of favorable reviews on BH. Has anyone used this for stabilizing their roaming camera?

My last question is one that has many posts already, but I wanted to ask the wedding videographers on which budget tripods you would recommend? One of my cameras will pretty much be on a tripod the whole time.

Thanks in advance for the input!

Last edited by Vishal Gupta; March 11th, 2010 at 10:53 AM.
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Old March 11th, 2010, 08:21 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Lakeland Florida
Posts: 622
I've just been using my XH-A1 for a few months. I haven't used any on camera lighting yet. I have spent the time to learn the manual settings, and the previous owner left presets stored in the memory of the camera. So far, one of those presets has always been right for the job at hand if just adjusting the iris, ND filters, and watching the zebra's for exposure hasn't been enough.

Mostly, I just concentrate on framing the shot and getting it in focus. I prefer to use a tripod 90% of the time. I have a shoulder rig for the A1, but prefer to use one of my HV-30s on a good monopod for the hand held work. The weight of the monopod moves the center of gravity down when doing hand held, and helps stabilize the shot.

Of course, at times I have to tweak a little in post. I'm not an expert by any means, and try to follow the strategy of learning one new setting or feature of my equipment at a time. The big things are framing, focus, exposure, and a steady shot. I also try to not focus so intently on manning the camera that I don't notice what's going on around. I try to pay attention and anticipate those good shots just before they happen.
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Old March 12th, 2010, 07:34 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 72
If there's one thing I've learned from shooting weddings over 200 weddings in 8 years is that no two videographers use the same exact gear. Everyone has the personal preferences.

My Camera Light of Choice
Sony HVL-20DW2 20-watt Video Light - for use with L Series Batteries
$79.00 aat B&H Photo Video

For 95% of the situations you're in, this 20-watt light that uses Sony Camcorder batteries is perfect. I'm amazed at how many videographers use the heaviest gear to shoot. Wedding shoots are about 10 hours long and I believe Light & Comfortable is important. This is the lightest lighting unit you'll find that doesn't require any additional power supply. *One drawback to this light. Sony in their infinite wisdom made the hot shoe portion of the light very weak. So one time, i placed my camera down, and someone gently kicked it and it fell on it's side and the light shoe broke off. I wasn't very happy to say the least.

My Camera Stabilization of Choice
Manfrotto 560B-1 Fluid Video Monopod with Head and Quick Release
$139.95 at B&H Photo Video

I hate tripods at weddings, I personally think it's ugly, especially during the reception. It's a wedding, not a news event.

So the monopod with the quick release is great. I use it all during the ceremony and during speeches in the reception. It allows stability and the ability to move around. I love it, it's great. One of my favorite tools.
Chris Fig Productions
Wedding Videographer
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Old March 15th, 2010, 09:53 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 1,414
I've shot couple weddings too, and I hate tripods, but even more than that I hate shaky footage, so one of my cameras is always on the tripod/slider, always. For houses, ceremony and park I use light ones, for the reception manfrotto fluid head on manfrotto tripod dolly;
I was using Sony HVL-20DW2 as well as an on camera light, great piece, but also was looking for LED replacement, look at this thread Pro 126-LED / 160-LED Light Offered by L.A. Color Shop great piece, worth every penny.
Even if some "advise against using vests for stabilization", if you want to move your production to the next level, sooner or later you will add steadicam to your set of tools. My choice is Pilot, great piece of equipment, probably my favorite; but if you looking for something like EgripZ i would better go with "El cheapo" Superb new shoulder mount for EX1 type cameras | Philip Bloom, without shoulder support it is not as steady and gets heavy after a few minutes.

I love this place!
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Old March 15th, 2010, 10:49 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 2,933
Vishal, a good solid tripod is worth the investment. I would look at Manfrotto/Bogen tripods as they are great quality for the price. Still, everything comes down to budget. When we first started up we purchased several tripods that were not quite as nice as the MB tripods but they were half as much money. They did the job for us for a few years while we got going. So if you have the money, invest in nice tripods, but if you don't you can always upgrade later. It sounds like right now you have a smallish budget so I would go with a cheaper brand, but one that has been around. Check into Davis Sanford sticks.

For on-camera lighting we have a Bescor 50watt light and a LitePanels Micro. We rarely use either of them as we use mostly off-camera lighting, but we prefer the Litepanels when we have to use one. It's nice because the light is softer and also dimmable and doesn't require us to wear a battery pack on our belt. Still, the Bescor does the job and costs a lot less.

I know you're already aware that we're going to be selling our A1's, but we're actually going to be selling more than just that. We'll probably also be selling our Bescor on-camera light, a number of other A1 accessories, and our HV30. Essentially, we're replacing 80% of our gear in the switch to DSLR. If you're still interested, let me know.
Black Label Films
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