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


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Old March 30th, 2010, 03:33 PM   #1
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Equipment advice, please help.

I have a Panasonic DVX100A.

My budget is 500.00.

I am ready to buy a tripod, wireless mic and light. I will be shooting mainly wedding's. I think I'd also like to get a monopod. A monopod with a fluid head that tilts up and down.

I will be shooting solo so I would like input on whether the monopod would be enough? Or just a tripod or both mono and tri.

Thanks in advance. Everyone always gives such great advice.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 05:33 PM   #2
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Rob,
I wish I could give you better news but I can't see $500 getting you a decent tripod, monopod with fluid head and a wireless system considering that a decent wireless system is around $500. Even buying used it's stretching it beyond what is actually reasonable.

I can't speak for the weddings in your area but here in the greater Chicagoland area a Catholic mass ceremony (which is mostly what I shoot and have for almost 27 years) run very close to an hour and while the mobility of a monopod is nice believe me, you would get very tired of holding it and trying to stay steady for that long. For me it's a tripod especially since just about every church I've shot in of all faiths pretty much restrict movement once the ceremony starts so a tripod makes sense. Non secular weddings are different but I'm oly talking about chuch settings.

There's a thread here all about shooting 1 camera weddings you might want to read it.

Anyway a $500 budget isn't going to get you too far unless you get 2nd rate stuff and that my friend will only cost you more in the long run cause you've got to buy it again and maybe again.

I'm not trying to be negative but you might need to come up with some way to maybe double your budget to have a fighting chance of getting the basic minimal gear you'll need.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 05:56 PM   #3
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Hi Rob
Don has shot many, many weddings so his advice is gold!!!
If you are doing one cam weddings then you have to bear in mind that you still need to have a backup camera! You are considering filming events that cannot be repeated so a second camera needs to be available just in case!!!
Also bear in mind that the ceremony will normally need a wireless mic on the groom and at the lectern where the readings are done. You mind find it cheaper to grab a couple of voice recorders with lav mics and pop one in the groom's pocket and the other where the readings are done!!
You will most definately need a tripod for the ceremony and speeches at the reception where steady shots are essential so make that a priority.

Unforunately weddings are somewhat more complicated than just a camera and tripod and you will also need to look at lighting (static and on-camera) at the reception and also the fact that everything you use will need a backup!! Things don't stop at weddings while the videographer tries to repair his only light or needs to re-charge batteries so bear that in mind too with your budget!!

Chris
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Old March 30th, 2010, 07:17 PM   #4
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Thanks Don and Chris.

I have a backup camera but hope to not use the footage. But it I do have one just in case. I have a cheap tripod for that too.

I've shot about seven wedding's as a one man camera man so I've at least done it. Also, my prices reflect my equipment as I am lower on the scale in my area.

I realize I can't get the quality equipment for 500.00 but if anyone has any suggestions in that budget range please let me know.


500.00 is low but it will still buy me upgraded equipment relative to what I have now.

And Don, thanks for reminding me about the need for a tripod in the ceremony and during longer static parts. I have only shot using my tripod and have just considered a monopod because I've read good things on here.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 07:19 PM   #5
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And my budget might be able to stretch to 700.00. But that's it for now.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 08:18 PM   #6
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Hi Rob

If it helps I use two Weifeng 75mm bowl tripods and for the price they are outstanding (They are essentially "knockoffs" of the Bogen and are made in Korea!! Under $200 ..a bit heavy to carry (about 10lbs) but support my 8lb cameras beautifully. Just do a search for "E717 tripods" and you will find them.

For other gear, I do have a DIY tutorial site where you can make your own LED on-camera light panels, cfl lights etc etc so that also might help you. (We are not allowed to advertise here but I'll gladly send you the link to my DIY page if you send me an email) It might help the budget a bit!!!

Chris
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Old March 30th, 2010, 08:26 PM   #7
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Monopods are great I have one and used it for years even with my full sized cams for a while to relive the weight of a 25 pound load on my shoulder but I rarely use it now except when it's needed. I prefer my DVMultirig for small form factor cameras when not on a tripod. Mobility, steadiness and a place to hang my wireless receiver. So what I'm getting at is get the basic stuff you need to have to be able to do the job properly then as money comes in get the other stuff. So in no particular order I would get; tripod, audio (whether its wireless or stand alone recorders) and cam light. At least with that you can say you've got what you need to shoot the job.
I'll assume (although I hate to assume anything) that you have enough camera batteries to get you through the job, if not, get more.
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Old March 30th, 2010, 08:42 PM   #8
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Manfrotto 560B-1 Fluid Video Monopod with Head and Quick Release - $132.95
Manfrotto | 560B-1 Fluid Video Monopod with Head and | 560B-1

This monopod is a must have for event/wedding videography. I don't use a tripod because I don't like be restricted to one location. The monopod allows the flexibility to move but the stability to be rock steady when it matters. This monopod is a must.
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Old March 31st, 2010, 07:56 AM   #9
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Instead of wireless kit, go get an Iriver F700/800 series, you can get one for $ 25 nowadays, just search craigslist. Get squid mic for $ 15. You will need to synch in post but it is worth it in the absence of a wireless kit.

That leaves you with $ 400 plus to play with. A tota light with stand will cost you around $ 250. Go do Craiglist search as well, sometimes you can find reasonably priced items.

Good luck
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