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


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Old June 2nd, 2010, 07:45 PM   #16
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We use a 5D and 7D to video weddings. In fact we have no experience what so ever with a real video cameras. Because of this, we have gotten extremely good at focusing and knowing to take breaks every 10 minutes. It works out well but there is no room for error which makes it fun imho. Because you have so many variables that could screw things up, you must plan a head and know where you have to be which really is the daunting task.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 08:58 PM   #17
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But Michael, that's a fashion show, not a wedding. I videotape Police graduations and the ceremony is over an hour. There are really no stop/start points like there is at an hour long wedding ceremony,so I use my Canon A1 for the graduation.
Some bride and groom demand a documentary style wedding meaning the whole ceremony or the whole speeches at the reception which might run for more than 12 minutes without interruption, so the old video camera still pretty handy when it comes to those kind of events more than the DSLR.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 09:57 PM   #18
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Please QUIT with these threads. How many times do we have to rehash the same thing over and over? You can documentary style with dslr's as long as you stagger the cameras and have a good solid audio recording. case closed. If you need more of the picture in focus, stop it down and you're good. I'm still a rookie when it comes to a dslr and that is simple enough for me to get. Please stop making these cameras harder than they have to be.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:08 PM   #19
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Please QUIT with these threads. How many times do we have to rehash the same thing over and over? You can documentary style with dslr's as long as you stagger the cameras and have a good solid audio recording. case closed. If you need more of the picture in focus, stop it down and you're good. I'm still a rookie when it comes to a dslr and that is simple enough for me to get. Please stop making these cameras harder than they have to be.
Shaun, the great thing is you don't have to read these threads if you don't want to. Things change all the time and its nice to see what people are finding works or does not work. Some things work great, some things you realize were better off before.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:13 PM   #20
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Shaun, the great thing is you don't have to read these threads if you don't want to. Things change all the time and its nice to see what people are finding works or does not work. Some things work great, some things you realize were better off before.
Denny that's fine and dandy, but I think this thread does more to bash the dslr than help to create solutions on using the camera. There are ways to use these cameras in pretty much 95% of the applications we use regular cameras. I'm just tired of the bashing and excuses. If we want to have a real discussion on how to use the cams I'm all for it, but if every other word is why this cam is not like that cam then why are you using it in the first place. You can achieve dof with a regular cam and don't need a dslr for that.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:23 PM   #21
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Denny that's fine and dandy, but I think this thread does more to bash the dslr than help to create solutions on using the camera. There are ways to use these cameras in pretty much 95% of the applications we use regular cameras. I'm just tired of the bashing and excuses. If we want to have a real discussion on how to use the cams I'm all for it, but if every other word is why this cam is not like that cam then why are you using it in the first place. You can achieve dof with a regular cam and don't need a dslr for that.
I was not bashing at all, I was only saying for me, they are great for certain things, but if your often doing weddings where you are on the fly, that there may be better options.

I have seen some amazing footage with DSLR's but for me, there have been times the footage would have been better with a good quality video camera over what I got with the DSLR.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 10:42 PM   #22
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There will come a time when there will be DSLR cameras without a 12 minute limitation (I have small Sony P&S cams, they shoot for 30 minutes), but how much work is it to bring along a small "safety" camera or two... or three (Panasonic TM700's were around $800 at B&H, comparable Sonys and Canons are available for under $1K...) - stick 'em on tripods and let 'em run... you'll always have a cutaway.

I personally don't want the added stress of ANY camera malfunctions that are a "feature" (overheating and aliasing are the things that hold me back FOR NOW, I don't think they will be problems forever). I've got no doubt that the "glamour shot" benefits from a DSLR, if your market demands it, you'd better be able to offer it. Or if it fits your "style"... not every market has the same expectations.

I'm perfectly fine with manual focus and the challenges it presents - to me that's a "feature" that's worth the added work/skills required, and it's why I'm keeping an eye on Sony to see what if anything they ultimately come up with that mates with the vintage Minolta glass I've got, which has a certain magic...

It would be silly to ignore the DSLR-V as a viable tool, but it may not be the "right" hammer for everyone.

No need to get heated about it, it can do what it can do, it offers possibilities AND some challenges - reading various viewpoints will help someone make the choice for themselves, and see where it would "fit" in their kit and workflow.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 11:43 PM   #23
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Please QUIT with these threads. How many times do we have to rehash the same thing over and over? You can documentary style with dslr's as long as you stagger the cameras and have a good solid audio recording. case closed. .
Shaun, pointing out the negative part of the DSLR does not mean bashing them, I have one and I use it and I love it, but it does not mean I should sell my video cameras, What might work for you does not mean it works for others.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 06:35 AM   #24
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I think you guys totally missed my point. You guys keep saying what may work for some may not work for others. There are tools and other equipment out there to help put these cameras on par with a regular video cam. Someone mentioned how do you do a Documentary edit with these cams, like apple, we have a solution for that. Someone said they have focusing issues, we have a solution for that too. What about syncing in post, we have a solution for that too. My point being there is nothing wrong with pointing out flaws with a camera, but no one in this thread was discussing possible workarounds and ways to improve the usage of the camera applicable to regular everyday situations. As I stated before, if we are just going to post the negatives without discussing possible solutions to fix what doesn't work with cam compared to the regular cam then why did you buy it? The purpose of buying any camera is to use it as a tool and use it to its full potential, so writing this camera off as strictly a b cam is totally pointless imo. Just my thoughts. You can agree or disagree with me.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 07:06 AM   #25
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Shaun, since you're all about talking solutions, I'm interested to hear about your solutions for focusing on the fly during a wedding - since I've looked at just about any and every option that I can find and still come up wanting. I've used a Z-Finder, which helps, but is not always practical for all angles of shooting, and also can have fogging issues. I have an LCD monitor, but using that with a DSLR rig in a run/gun wedding is not very practical (not to mention heavy) and also is rather annoying/disruptive in an intimate wedding scenario. So what's your solution? Don't tell me "practice"- - even the world's best shooters are having focus issues with these cams.

Your posts show a general frustration at any discussion of DSLRs that point out their limitations - and they DO have limitations - they are not perfect for every shooting scenario. Even that House episode which used 5D's had to have remote follow-focus rigs to be able to do what they needed to do, which I have a feeling is impractical and out of reach financially for the vast majority of wedding shooters. Even then the director talked about how focus was a continual issue. No disrespect to you here, but I think he knows what he is talking about.

I LOVE these cams - I think the DSLR revolution is great - but I don't swing to either extreme here. They are great for what they can do, and not great for what they don't do very well. I'm open to new solutions for their liabilities - but if it involves a rig that triples or more the price of the camera and a focus puller to do what needs to be done, that's not very practical or realistic for those of us who are mere event videographers.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 07:22 AM   #26
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Bill Once again you totally missed my point. My frustration is not with a discussion of limitations, its a discussion with no solutions. Now you speak about run and gun situations and focusing issues. Explain exactly what you mean cause not all weddings and events is the cinematographer running around like a camera guy from cops so explain fully and I will offer up a solution. Also, it seems that you have a tool (the LCD monitor) and choose not to use it because of your personal preference which should have no bearing on what can be done with the camera. You could use the monitor and have perfect focus if YOU CHOOSE TO. You don't like the weight of it so you dont use it. I could tell you that you get better gas mileage out of your car if you change your oil, but if you choose not to take advantage of that advice then don't come back bash the quality of the car. As stated there are enough tools and real world workarounds to make the camera work that were not being discussed in this thread. Also the whole point that you concluded about the House episode was wrong. Please revisit Phillip Bloom's interview with the Director. They had 3 cams going at all times and at least 1 of the cameras at all times didn't use remote follow focus and the focus was pulled by the camera operator. The Director also admitted that the camera often had better shots than that of the cameras with the wireless follow focus. I said it twice already, so I guess it wont hurt to say it a 3rd time. I'm all for discussions of a cameras weakness to improve how we use it, but all negatives posted with no workarounds is unacceptable and not what this board was intended for. Use the solutions given to you and if you choose not to then don't complain. Simple. Its nothing hard about what I'm saying. As I stated before, you can agree or disagree with me. Just like you have your opinion I have mine. Simple.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 08:32 AM   #27
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I do see your point, Shaun. Are you using an LCD monitor outdoors at weddings? Do you have a portable monitoring rig? How did you attach it so that you are still really portable? What ARE your solutions? Please expound. I want to hear your experiences, cause I can certainly give you mine, first-hand, and they are far from "perfect", and I'm still actively looking for the best approaches. I'm not trying to just talk about limitations - I love my 5D and want to use it as much as possible. So please, share with us all, and I'm not being sarcastic here - I really, really want to know!
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 08:49 AM   #28
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Ok. I've used gear from one of my friends for my 7d and used it for a wedding. I haven't used it for an outside wedding but I'm pretty sure we could pull off the same effects with the same gear outside. He's using an Ikan monitor with the dslr rig from cinevate. The monitor is attached to the top of the rig and you can move the monitor in different directions to get focus while standing in different positions. In run and gun situations i always think about camera placement and how certain shots will look and try to compose for that. Now after saying that, before I begin shooting I know which shots I'm looking for before I begin shooting. Using these cameras takes a lot preparation and that time is invaluable when shooting a wedding. I have been able to pull focus on a monitor and just by eye with great results. In a situation where there will be a lot of movement I try to stop down to get as much of the picture in focus as I can, but you can't plan for everything. No different than when i use my XH-A1. There are times where i miss shots, but never important moments but the key is always back ups. Btw Bill, I have a wedding next weekend and it will be an outside wedding. I'll come back and post my results, with and without the rig. Cool?
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 10:27 AM   #29
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In regards of focusing, my advice is (like it or not) practise and experience

1. practise makes perfect. you just need to shoot more and more and focus more and more. you will get better

2. experience means that you know which situation demands certain settings on your camera.

for example, if I'm shooting the bride walking down the isle, i wouldn't shoot her on f1.4 I would probably shoot her on f2.8 maximum

when I'm shooting bride having her make-up done, I'd shoot her on f1.2-f1.8 cause I want the beauty shots and she's not moving much.

When there is anything important happening, I would stick to f2.8 maximum and mid shot until I'm comfortable with the scenario.

when the environment is low light, I will most like by on wider shot since it will give me greater depth of field and I can stop down more to get more light.

these kind of stuff really helps in making your decision while shooting so that you can minimise your chances of screwing the focus.

Its not wrong to crank your ISO up even though you can still stop down your aperture because you just want to be safe with your depth of field. shallow depth of field is not always good. but what is great, you can customise your depth of field however you want.

hope that helps

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Old June 3rd, 2010, 01:30 PM   #30
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Practice is what ultimately will improve your cinematography skills no matter what the medium is. Learning to use a DSLR is like learning to use a steadicam/glidecam... lots of patience and practice. If you don't want to master focus pulling and the other challenges that a DSLR present, buy a regular video camera. Shooting with a regular video camera is like shooting with a zoom lens on a DSLR that has a constant aperture of F16 (estimate). You don't have to be good at pulling focus or know how to creatively use DOF because it isn't that present.

I recommend people who want to use DSLR's to go shoot photos with one, take a photography class, or intern with a photographer. Learning to be a photographer as well will put you ahead of the other guys out there. If you know someone shooting a narrative or some other film with a DSLR or 35mm adapter, get on board as the AC. I started shooting with 35mm adapters over 5 years ago so the transition to DSLR's was more of a blessing than anything. There are downfalls to using DSLR's, but you learn the limitations and work around them. It becomes a snap with practice. You can also find all your "solutions" on other message boards like the one that starts with cinema and ends with 5d. A good comprehensive knowledge base on DSLR's for video.

Anyone can use a DSLR or video camera, but that doesn't mean that they can produce amazing visuals just by owning them. I have seen photos from professional photogs that prove that anyone who can afford a camera can be deemed as a "professional".

I encourage everyone to push themselves to be more creative and fine tune their craft and never stop learning. The day you stop learning you might as well quit and do something else.
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