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


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Old March 29th, 2010, 05:59 PM   #16
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Hi John

I must admit that I do skim thru my footage after the bride has made her grand entrance at the reception as there is a gap while everyone eats. Of course, it's a totally worthless exercise cos IF you found a problem with the footage at the ceremony, there is precious little you can do about it!! I guess one could also feed video out to a laptop or Firestor drive and have secondary audio but that's probably going overboard!!

Guess it's nice to know that everything is on track!! The only sane thing to do before a wedding is to make sure that you have double of everything so if there is any failure then you can replace the offending item.


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Old March 31st, 2010, 02:55 AM   #17
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What you do about messed up footage depends a lot on whether you had just one camera running at the time. If you had another camera or two (or three) you may be able to patch around the problem area.

Is there usable audio with the pixellated footage or is the audio garbled as well?

I've had several instances of pixelated, messed up footage over the years I've been shooting weddings. If I got usable audio, a head cleaning seemed to fix the problem. Sometimes it was just time for repair work. Fortunately, I've almost always had something else to cut to or been able to cut around the damaged footage.

Some years ago, a Sony TRV900 started pixelating intermittently. The audio was also very glitchy. The problem turned out to be worn and somewhat misaligned heads. I was using it as a B-roll cam, so I had my main cam and a couple of others to cut to.

When I had a similar problem with a Sony VX2000, the audio was not too bad and a cleaning tape seemed to fix the issue. At least it never recurred after I ran the cleaning tape.

Were you shooting in HD or SD when you got the pixellation with your XH-A1? I had some pixelation with an XH-A1 the last time I shot a wedding in standard definition. It was a ceremony we had hurriedly moved indoors as a thunderstorm spilled over the mountains. The pixellation occurred during the early part of the ceremony. I had stepped away to re-aim one of the other cameras so I don't know if the pixellation would have been visible on the screen. I only found it later during editing. I ran a cleaning tape, and the problem has not recurred. I later re-usued the tape when just shooting random stuff and didn't have any problems with it.

If you've got other footage, you may be able to do some creative editing. There have been several times when I resorted to tricks like slow motion footage during processions and slowing down some of the zooms from my main camera.

Losing footage is the stuff of paranoia and nightmares, but it happena to everybody. One time, during a processional for a large outdoor wedding, one of the photographers knocked my B cam into a bush, and I didn't see it pointing skyward until several minutes later. I've also done a couple of large weddings where guests had put up their own cams on tripods and tried to run them with hand-held remote controls, and thereby managed to shut off some of my cameras. And, there was the time where a Sony battery just seemed to quit during a ceremony. On charging the battery later, it reported being fully charged but would only run a camera for about 15 minutes.

And then there was the time that the little ring bearer decided to explore my kit when I was shooting the cake cutting. He walked off with two of the mini-DV tapes from the ceremony. I didn't find out for a couple of days. All I knew was that the tapes weren't where I thought I'd locked them up. Since I'd shot that ceremony with five cams, I had enough to other footage to make a rough cut for the bride and groom to look it. But I was very, very very relieved when the couple called about finding the tapes.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 05:22 AM   #18
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Let me clarify something I said earlier. I said I never had a problem with footage. That's not true. I've never had a problem with footage that I couldn't cut around. IOW, I could either go to my B cam or was just simply able to cut the footage completely.
It does to everyone at some point. Someone once said that there are only 2 kind of video camerpeople. Those that it's happened to and those that it will happen to. What it is...heh, something that we din't need or want to happen when it happens since it always happens at the wrong time.

Hey Jay, forgive me for asking but why do you keep used tapes in your bag. Man that's asking for trouble. Bags get stolen all the time. East coast is big on that but it happens everywhere. Hotel, venue staff or "friends" uninvited "guests"-little kids.

I have never left my tapes anywhere but on me especially since I switched to mini tapes anout 12 years or so ago. That way if someone steals my gear, well I'd hate it but it's insured. My tapes are what I get paid for. Without them I give refunds, so they can have the tapes when they pry them out of my cold dead hands.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 01:59 PM   #19
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Don --

I didn't mean to suggest that you had problems cutting around anything. I only meant to describe how lucky I had been on the occasions when I had a camera glitch.

As for stashing things in my case, it depends on where the gig is.

Where I live and mostly work is in rural Montana. You just don't need to worry about theft. It really is a different environment here. I mean there are people in my town who haven't locked a door in 20 years, even when they left town for a couple of weeks. Some people here wouldn't be able to find their car keys if they didn't leave the keys in the ignition. (Leaving keys in the ignition is against state law, but there's so little auto theft here that people keep doing it, anyway.)

My "kit" is a wheeled hard case that I can lock when I need to. I just had not done so. The reason I put "used" tapes in the case is to keep them separate from the fresh tapes I carry with me. That keeps me from accidentally inserting one in place of a fresh tape thereby avoiding another occasion for losing footage.

On the other hand, when I do gigs in one of our large cities like Billings or Great Falls --- don't laugh too hard, they are large cities by our standards --- I am considerably more protective of my stuff.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 01:05 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Figueroa View Post
When I saw the title "Losing Footage", I cringed. I have two recurring nightmares, 1) Being hit by a train, 2) Forgetting to show up at a wedding. And if there was to be a third nightmare it would be losing the footage. Thankfully, that's never happened to me. But what a scary thought.
Mine include forgetting to bring cameras and lenses to the wedding...


I have lost wedding footage before, but I have never had a critical failure, I always have other cameras that are recording so if anything ever happens I can go back....

Although I have lost footage from repeatable shoots before.
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Old April 1st, 2010, 02:02 AM   #21
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Hi Louis

I must admit I don't have the train bit, but, not showing up must be awful!! I always plan to get to the venue at least an hour earlier (so I sit around twiddling my thumbs a lot of the time) The early arrival is to make sure that I cover issues like heavy traffic, a flat tyre etc etc but I must admit I have often thought about being pulled over and refused to be allowed to continue by law enforcement!! Some can be pretty stubborn!! It's never happened, of course, but if it did, one could be in quite a predicament!!!!

The way I look at things now is that I make sure I have backups for everything, check the vehicle, leave early and do my best to cover all bases. If something out of my hands happens then there would have been nothing I could have done about it anyway!!

I used to stress big time during the ceremony but soon learnt that it doesn't help!!! If you gear is going to die then there is precious little you can do!!

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Old April 1st, 2010, 05:22 AM   #22
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Heh, Chris....we are made from the same mould.
If the ceremony starts starts at 3 and I'm not doing prep, then I know I should be at the church by 2---but I'm always there by 1:30-ah just like the army. Hurry up and wait but for me if I'm not 30 minutes early, then I'm late.

I once got a police escort to a wedding. Lights and siren! I had done this cops wedding about 6 months earlier. He used to patrol my area. One saturday he saw me leaving in my car, stopped me, we talked a minute then I told him I had to go. He asked where, I told him, he said "follow me"-the church was only a few minutes away very close to my house but he fired up the lights and siren ahd escorted me there. It was very cool and we laughed about it when we got to the church and the florist was there with a very puzzled look on her face.
Anyway, I got a corp job friday so I'd better start getting ready now, don't want to be late ;-)
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Old April 1st, 2010, 08:59 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Louis

I must admit I don't have the train bit, but, not showing up must be awful!! I always plan to get to the venue at least an hour earlier (so I sit around twiddling my thumbs a lot of the time) The early arrival is to make sure that I cover issues like heavy traffic, a flat tyre etc etc but I must admit I have often thought about being pulled over and refused to be allowed to continue by law enforcement!! Some can be pretty stubborn!! It's never happened, of course, but if it did, one could be in quite a predicament!!!!

The way I look at things now is that I make sure I have backups for everything, check the vehicle, leave early and do my best to cover all bases. If something out of my hands happens then there would have been nothing I could have done about it anyway!!

I used to stress big time during the ceremony but soon learnt that it doesn't help!!! If you gear is going to die then there is precious little you can do!!

Chris

I'm the same way.. I always make sure I have a back up to a back up and bring enough lenses with me to shoot a feature film (the one I have coming up i'm bringing 3 bodies but 17 lenses some of which are back-up like if I have a 50 1.2 L I also have the 50 1.4 just incase. ) but the dream still remains that I am there and have nothing to shoot with.
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Old April 8th, 2010, 10:20 PM   #24
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I haven't lost photage, but last year I forgot to turn on the external mic and I was solo and no second camera (bad bad bad!).... I realized 4 minutes later.... It was during a traditional dance thata group of groom's friends had organised right after dinner... luckily, they had played a tarck rather than dancing to live music.....
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Old April 9th, 2010, 01:32 AM   #25
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I've done the same thing. Got caught unawares as the dance started, so I didn't get the earphones on right away, and thus didn't realize I had knocked down the audio level on my XLR adapter. I've also muted the audio by tipping the line-mike switch to "line" level, but fortunately I was running two cameras and could pull acceptable audio off the other one.

That said, I've found getting a "track" is often a good thing even if you don't need it to fill gaps. You lay the track beneath your camera audio (to be sure it syncs correctly). You fade it up and fade down the room audio to limit room noise through the most of the dance. As you get to the end of the dance (or dance sequence), you fade up room audio again. Room noise can be very distracting and doing this makes for pleasanter viewing by the couple.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 01:10 AM   #26
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I'm sorry to sound so harsh but to me it's inexcuseable. First make sure all the gear that's going to be used is properly and fully charged, has fresh battery's in audio gear, etc etc.
It's just hard for me to be forgiving in cases like this.
I don't know Don, I've had a battery read out that it was fully charged only to die about 10 minutes in and had a set of rechargeable AA's die prematurely in a wireless mic before the vows. In both cases they were batteries that seemed to be fully charged. Technical problems happen.

1) just buy fresh AA's for every shoot.
2) always keep a spare battery in your pocket during a ceremony.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 01:19 AM   #27
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Speaking of being on time, I have a good one for you that happened to me today.

I had a 6:00 wedding in the French Quarter, planned on being there by 5 but knew there was a festival going on down there today so I left early. Pulled into the Quarter about 4:10 and didn't find a parking spot till 5:15. I wish I was kidding. To say I was freaking out just a little would be an understatement. I was about to the point of parking it next to a cop, getting out with my gear and tossing him the keys.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 06:00 AM   #28
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Eathan,
I have also had batterys lose a cell and while it shows fully charged it is only good for a few minutes and yeah, I've had dry cells for audio gear blow up too, but the way I read the OP this person was not at all prepared to do the job and frankly I've read too many things by people who were not prepared to do whatever the job is and honestly THAT hurts all of us in one way or another and that's why I got a bit harsh with my response.

We've all suffered equipment malfunctions at one time or another but this one sounded to me like operatot malfunction.
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Old April 12th, 2010, 11:23 PM   #29
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I think Don is talking about the third posting rather than the OP, but it is all the stuff of nightmares.

The OP was about a section of tape that was pixellated and unusable. That kind of scare is why we haul around all that equipment.

The third posting was about somebody who was helping with another camera and simply never noticed his camera was not running. I mean, its bad enough when when we mess up on our own, but it gets really scary when you are hiring somebody to take a load off your own shoulders and then they turn out to be a whole additional set of worries. Gets to be too much to keep track of.

As for Ethan's comments:

About Batteries: Everybody is going to have that problem at some point. Over sixteen years, I've had two of them. One with a relatively new Sony NPF750 and once before that with an not-so-new but always reliable NPF550. I think that kind of thing is one of the reasons to use muti-camera set-ups and why we always shoot as if the camera to hand was the only one running.

About arriving late to gigs: there's no protection. Last summer, I left extra early for a gig knowing that the main roadway was blocked by construction. Then the detour route was blocked by a broken water main. Another route was blocked because an excavation contractor punched into a natural gas main. It took some creative wandering to get through in time to set-up and look calm.
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Old April 13th, 2010, 07:13 AM   #30
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try Sony Media Services these guys solved a single camera father/daughter dance issue for me a few years ago. Amazing, and it only cost like $45... Good luck.
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