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

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Old August 5th, 2010, 09:24 PM   #1
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full manual all the time?

Do you shoot full manual (exposure, focus, WB, gain) all the time or resort to some auto control under certain conditions? I would never even think to use auto WB but the low light at the bridal shower I shot last weekend made me experiment with the low light preset on my XL2 as opposed to TV-shutter priority mode, which I've used for run-and-gun documentary work (I do shoot full manual for doc interviews). I'm guessing I could run into problems with unacceptable shutter and gain fluctuations in the low light preset, though???

Also, I just hate that focus-hunting in AF but I'm terrified that I won't get an important shot in focus on this upcoming one-cam wedding shoot this Saturday.

Does anyone have a rough guide or rule of thumb for switching from full manual to some auto control? I realize that some shoot full manual all the time and certainly, this is my goal. But as I'm just transitioning from interview and doc work to weddings (i.e. no second takes), I'm wondering if there is a role for some auto, some of the time?

Thanks for any comments. I've learned so much from this forum.

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Old August 5th, 2010, 09:35 PM   #2
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I would say that you've answered your own question, perhaps. Auto-focus can be a help in certain situations... so it's just one of many tools to help get the most out of the camera. Using it all the time is not appropriate, and of course you can shoot all manual if you choose - but I think there's room for using it in specific instances.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 11:50 PM   #3
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Depends entirely on the camera. I shoot with Sony Z7 and always full manual in the church where correct exposure on skin tones is essential. However, on the party dance floor where lighting is constantly changing and you really haven't got time to muck with settings - AUTO is the way to go. Makes a really nice job in darkened situations.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 11:56 PM   #4
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Keaton, I'm unfamiliar with your camera but on the Z1 (and I think similar Sony cameras - so may be on your brand too) there's an instant auto button which is a great way of keeping an otherwise idiosyncratic manual focus system correct.

Otherwise I concur with the other advice - except that at the dance we're all manual - auto in low light is the best way to get hunting. Practice at estimating distance - it's old fashioned but it's the reason the film business still has focus pullers.

Incidentally I would also recommend the New Blue FX Noise Remover for low light shots - superb filter.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 11:06 PM   #5
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full auto

I was shooting outside with large flood lights and a large group of people. The event shot off fireworks and turned off the lights. I had gone to full auto, and if I had not I would have missed the main event of the runner coming up the aisle. My XH A1 is much quicker than I am at changing all the settings. Glad I was in auto. When time is essential and you have to get the shot, go auto.

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Old August 7th, 2010, 04:07 PM   #6
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I have Sony FX1000 and I like it's AUTO mode but some things I keep in manual - like exposure. It's annoying during reception when DJ hits the lights and strobes and the camera is going berserk trying to set the exposure and focus is hunting because of lasers. I know my camera well enough that I can foresee when it'll need my assistance and when it'll do fine on its own.
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