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


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Old May 30th, 2010, 11:16 AM   #1
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DSLR's for wedding video?

Now that they have been around a while wondering how they are working out for weddings.
I use them, but as a B and C cam to the EX1r but not sure I am sold on them.

I think they can be great for certain things but not sure for the every day wedding with things happening so fast its a great choice.

Could be me, but I am getting better results with my 1D IV than my 5D II. I am so glad I was not relying on the 5D II yesterday, after a few minutes of the ceremony, and it turning off and every time I turned it on having to reset the live view options. I finally just turned it off and put it up.

It is a new 5dII with firmware updated.

I am not saying I am giving up, but also missing back up audio options. I know there are work arounds but I am wondering if by the time you do all the work arounds if you couldn't just have an HMC150

I do not do wedding videography every week, usually about 6-8 a year and considering getting rid of the 5d II, getting the HMC150. I have a new Mac Pro, so feel its powerful enough to edit the HMC150 files.

I would still have the 1D IV for some use, and the 1Ds III for the stills.

Wondering what others think, and I know if I ask in the 5DII thread will probably get that its the best thing since sliced bread, but could be coming from people who have never used stand alone video cameras.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 02:23 PM   #2
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DSLR's are great at CREATING specialty shots, provided you have the time to take and re-take them. However, if you're trying to CAPTURE the event as it unfolds, a video camera wins, especially if the event is fast paced or unpredictable.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 02:34 PM   #3
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DSLR's are great at CREATING specialty shots, provided you have the time to take and re-take them. However, if you're trying to CAPTURE the event as it unfolds, a video camera wins, especially if the event is fast paced or unpredictable.
That is exactly how I am feeling right now. I know there is no such thing in this business as set it and forget it, for me DSLR's are taking me a lot of setup time to get what I am getting. Sure the rack focus is a cool effect, very seldom to I have time to play with it, its hurry up and get set up.

I rarely use Autofocus on my EX1r, but used to have the B cam on auto for certain things and this is not an option with DSLR.

If I hear a good argument for the opposite, I will probably sell the 5dII and get another full time video camera, at least will have another decent audio source.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 04:52 PM   #4
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I use a Pentax K7, perhaps not the most common camera mentioned in these forums, but I love using 30 year old prime lenses.

I also shoot a modest number of weddings in the course of a year. I find the idea of capturing video in a camera body designed to still images wonderful when I find a need for not only capturing video, but having the ability to use lenses that inherently have a short depth of field. DSLR designs, however, aren't making the capture of good video quick and easy. That will change in time.

At this point in time, a video capturing DSLR is the handiest thing for capturing short clips. It is always hanging around my neck for a quick shot (provided I have remembered to pre-set a useful exposure) that my tripod mounted video cameras would not be able to capture. I find the DSLR very useful during ceremonies. I rarely use it for receptions.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 09:06 PM   #5
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Hi Denny

I also am still very reluctant to go to the expense of a 5DII just to shoot the odd "creative" clips!! Here a body only sets you back close to $4K !!
I often find that things happen as you say, pretty quickly and you cannot fiddle around with setup cos the event will be over by the time you are ready!!

Getting my head around having to follow focus with that miniscule margin of DOF, having to capture audio and the 12 second limit on clips makes me reluctant to go this route although the results are awesome!!

Dunno about over there, but here most weddings are rush, rush, we are running out of time, etc etc...I really and truly more often than not, need a camera I can grab and film. The only "peaceful" period is possibily during the speeches and the FOB's 34 minute epic tale certainly doesn't suit a DLSR shoot unless you are prepared to run two or three to cover the times you need to reset the camera after 12 minutes are up.

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Old May 30th, 2010, 09:50 PM   #6
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I think that DSLRs have their place in the wedding filmmaker toolkit, especially when it comes to specialty footage or capturing stills and video both in close proximity. However, there is, I believe, an elephant in the living room which seems to get glossed over in the DSLR fever conversations... and that is the issue of accurate focus. Focus is just a serious pain when you are under pressure. I have a Z-Finder that does help, but even with something like that it's not always easy to tell completely in the heat of the moment - and then you get back to your edit with the footage and find out you were 1 or 2 feet out of focus. VERY frustrating, because being almost in-focus is in some ways more annoying than being completely out!

Using a monitor big enough to ensure you are in focus is rather impractical in a run/gun scenario like a wedding where you are using a DSLR to get those closeup shots, IMHO. Shooting with a DSLR rig with a monitor attached is not exactly discreet! I think that could be somewhat disruptive. Yes, some shooters would say that getting the good shots is more important than being discreet. I guess that is up to each shooter to figure out based on their rig and the attention it draws.

A lot of the footage I see lately with DSLR stuff in it try to stylistically cover up the constant search for focus with quick cuts or cuts that go in or out of focus "on purpose". It may be a stylistic edit choice, but I believe in some work it's just a cover-up for the focus problems encountered with DSLR shooting. I've done it, and I'm sure lots of us have - but I think it's wearing quite thin stylistically now, and hopefully will not be tolerated as a style for too much longer. I think it's going to be looked upon in a few year's time as a very dated stylistic look, much like other faddish techniques.

Bottom line - DSLRs are not easy to keep in focus. They can still be used very effectively, but the focus thing is something that cannot be brushed under the rug - it's a serious problem at times.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 10:07 PM   #7
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Well I feel better about asking now. I use a DSLR every day, and I am VERY comfortable with its operation but like said before it takes longer to set up than a video camera and IMO so risky unless you have another camera going.

I sold my 5D II already and probably going with the HMC150, I will have the 1D Mark IV for the specialty shots, if I ever get the time to do them.
I cant help but wonder if those who use these DSLR's a lot are just doing it for fun, or if they are actually making a living with them.

For me, I look forward to going back to 2 video cameras and having a little more piece of mind. I can survive with less specialty stuff for now.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 06:14 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Denny Kyser View Post
Well I feel better about asking now. I use a DSLR every day, and I am VERY comfortable with its operation but like said before it takes longer to set up than a video camera and IMO so risky unless you have another camera going.

I sold my 5D II already and probably going with the HMC150, I will have the 1D Mark IV for the specialty shots, if I ever get the time to do them.
I cant help but wonder if those who use these DSLR's a lot are just doing it for fun, or if they are actually making a living with them.

For me, I look forward to going back to 2 video cameras and having a little more piece of mind. I can survive with less specialty stuff for now.
I make a living using my Canon 7D. I show potential brides 2 samples. The first, my conventional video cameras and then the DSLR. I charge more for the DSLR and every brides goes for it. Focus is not an issue neither are the 12 minute clips. I worry more about the overheating. It seems there are a few people on these boards that are making excuses for not going the DSLR route, but that is their choice. My Canon A1's image doesn't compare to the Canon 7D.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 07:39 PM   #9
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Michael, I'm not making excuses for not using a DSLR - I have one. But with all due respect, you cannot honestly say that "focus is not an issue". Maybe you are very good at focusing, which makes it not an issue for you, but it IS an issue - not having auto-focus is an issue. You can cut around problems in the edit, but I know you've had people step in or out of focus in your camera work with a DSLR - it's unavoidable. Yes, it can happen with regular videocams too, but many of them have a pretty good auto focus that works better than DSLRs for run and gun shooting.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 07:53 PM   #10
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I make a living using my Canon 7D. I show potential brides 2 samples. The first, my conventional video cameras and then the DSLR. I charge more for the DSLR and every brides goes for it. Focus is not an issue neither are the 12 minute clips. I worry more about the overheating. It seems there are a few people on these boards that are making excuses for not going the DSLR route, but that is their choice. My Canon A1's image doesn't compare to the Canon 7D.
Glad it works for you, but for me would take charging 3X the amount. Its just a lot more work for me. I also worry about the heat, its a lot, and the cards get hot also and I often wonder if we know the long term effect of this heat yet.

The ex1r is better than my 5d II, so quality is not an issue.
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Old June 1st, 2010, 03:54 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Denny Kyser View Post

The ex1r is better than my 5d II, so quality is not an issue.
???
i would immediately send mine for service in that case :)
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Old June 1st, 2010, 07:29 PM   #12
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???
i would immediately send mine for service in that case :)
I have owned 2 5DII's and when with the right PP the Sony ex1 and Canon 1D Mark IV both had better video IMO.

Are you saying your getting different results?
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Old June 1st, 2010, 08:54 PM   #13
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I also worry about the heat, its a lot, and the cards get hot also and I often wonder if we know the long term effect of this heat yet.
.
DSLR are great for selective shooting if the camera overheat you turn it off or wait a few minutes and you're back in business for a while. but if you are shooting an event you cannot gamble on the camera if it overheats or not and that is my fear with DSLR.
I just did a 3 cameras fashion show shoot and the show went for 2H 30min, yes we had to change tapes on the cameras three times, but I never once was sweating if my cameras was going to overheat, and also the 12 min limit would have made my editing much more difficult, I did shoot some prep work before the show with my T2i and that was great, but will never cross my mind to shoot all with DSLR.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 05:30 PM   #14
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DSLR are great for selective shooting if the camera overheat you turn it off or wait a few minutes and you're back in business for a while. but if you are shooting an event you cannot gamble on the camera if it overheats or not and that is my fear with DSLR.
I just did a 3 cameras fashion show shoot and the show went for 2H 30min, yes we had to change tapes on the cameras three times, but I never once was sweating if my cameras was going to overheat, and also the 12 min limit would have made my editing much more difficult, I did shoot some prep work before the show with my T2i and that was great, but will never cross my mind to shoot all with DSLR.
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.
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 07:00 PM   #15
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well said by michael simons

canon dslrs are not made for events. However, there are ways around it that people can do to make use of its power. So many wedding producers are using dslr full time now on their shoot. we even stopped bringing our canon a1 in the car anymore. There are certainly more work involved, but for us, its all worth it once we see the quality it brings to our production. To be honest, It has also allowed us to increase our price since our images really stand out and the couple really see the quality that they are getting.

Lastly, we got a job for producing a commercial video for well-known australian beer, James Boag last year because we shot the mock-up using the 5d. The ad agency were so impressed with the quality we produced. We were flown to tasmania and shot there in the bush for 3 nights. We never did anything like that with video before. Now our tools are comparable to those high-end commercial producers that are charging at least 50k for their jobs. How can it be better?

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