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


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Old October 22nd, 2010, 07:03 AM   #1
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DSLR on camera light

Any suggestions for an On-Camera light for the Canon 7D? Thank you.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 07:31 AM   #2
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I've got 4 of these

Sima SL-20LXI Dual Powered Video Light with SL20LXI - B&H Photo
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 12:26 PM   #3
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I just got one of these. It's very bright when on full, can be dimmed to the level you require & is incredibly good value 126-LED Video Light for Camera DV Camcorder Lighting on eBay (end time 02-Sep-10 17:10:08 BST)
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 08:29 PM   #4
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Do any of those cause banding/flickering in the video when dimmed? I know this was an issue with some type of LED light. There was a video comparing this one to the original LitePanels, and the LitePanels one didn't band/flicker.

YouTube - LED light test

I'm also looking for a good inexpensive light
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 11:15 PM   #5
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Honestly I wouldn't do on camera lighting for any type of camera. It's flat pancake lighting and is potentially more obtrusive as you have the light source at guest eye level. My suggestion would be to invest in a good 3-point off-camera lighting system w/ dimmers.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 01:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Elliott View Post
Honestly I wouldn't do on camera lighting for any type of camera. It's flat pancake lighting and is potentially more obtrusive as you have the light source at guest eye level. My suggestion would be to invest in a good 3-point off-camera lighting system w/ dimmers.
That's great for interviews but is it really feasible for wedding & event videography? I was assuming that given that question was asked in this forum that the OP is looking at lighting suitable for run & gun hand held shooting.
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Old October 24th, 2010, 09:04 AM   #7
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That's great for interviews but is it really feasible for wedding & event videography? I was assuming that given that question was asked in this forum that the OP is looking at lighting suitable for run & gun hand held shooting.
Thanks Nigel. Exactly. Actually, I haven't been using a light at all! Just available light but I do need an on-camera light for some situations where the uplighting is pink or blue. If the bride pays money to have the reception set in pink lights, the videographer can't come in with 3-point lighting.
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Old October 24th, 2010, 10:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
That's great for interviews but is it really feasible for wedding & event videography? I was assuming that given that question was asked in this forum that the OP is looking at lighting suitable for run & gun hand held shooting.
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Originally Posted by Michael Simons View Post
Thanks Nigel. Exactly. Actually, I haven't been using a light at all! Just available light but I do need an on-camera light for some situations where the uplighting is pink or blue. If the bride pays money to have the reception set in pink lights, the videographer can't come in with 3-point lighting.
With all due respect you both are wrong. I've been using an off-camera 3-point set up a receptions at weddings for over 2 years now. I sort of chuckled when I read Nigel's response as I was literally reading it at one of my receptions over dinner (on my iPhone)- less than 50ft from the dance floor lit with.....none other than a 3-point off-camera setup.


Putting a light ON your camera is just about the worst place to put it. In fact you can put the light pretty much anywhere BUT "on" the camera and it will give you better light. The only thing beneficial about using an on-camera light is convenience....that's it. Otherwise it creates unflattering light and is more obtrusive to guests as it is glaring head-on at eye level.

A large majority of the receptions I shoot use colored lighting. This is even MORE of a reason to use your own- not to wash out the color that they are spilling on to the dance floor- but to bring back some of the skin tones. In order to do this you have to be mindful of your wattage. You do not need anything more than 100 watts per light. We use 250watt lights on dimmers and never, Never, NEVER run them at full blast.

The key is to not think about using light to achieve your exposure but to rather improve it. I still run at half shutter 1/24th and 12db (on DSLR 1/30 and 1600-3200 ISO). In other words, you shouldn't be using a wattage to allow you to gain a good exposure at 0db or 200ISO. Not only is that potentially obtrusive, with high wattage you'll get your subject exposed but cause the backgrounds to become under-exposed.

I don't mean to come off condescending in any way. I just wanted to express my point in more detail to explain that this method is indeed viable and, in my opinion, largely superior in both aesthetic results and visibility/obtrusiveness to the guests.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 07:04 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Glen Elliott View Post
With all due respect you both are wrong. I've been using an off-camera 3-point set up a receptions at weddings for over 2 years now. I sort of chuckled when I read Nigel's response as I was literally reading it at one of my receptions over dinner (on my iPhone)- less than 50ft from the dance floor lit with.....none other than a 3-point off-camera setup.


Putting a light ON your camera is just about the worst place to put it. In fact you can put the light pretty much anywhere BUT "on" the camera and it will give you better light. The only thing beneficial about using an on-camera light is convenience....that's it. Otherwise it creates unflattering light and is more obtrusive to guests as it is glaring head-on at eye level.

A large majority of the receptions I shoot use colored lighting. This is even MORE of a reason to use your own- not to wash out the color that they are spilling on to the dance floor- but to bring back some of the skin tones. In order to do this you have to be mindful of your wattage. You do not need anything more than 100 watts per light. We use 250watt lights on dimmers and never, Never, NEVER run them at full blast.

The key is to not think about using light to achieve your exposure but to rather improve it. I still run at half shutter 1/24th and 12db (on DSLR 1/30 and 1600-3200 ISO). In other words, you shouldn't be using a wattage to allow you to gain a good exposure at 0db or 200ISO. Not only is that potentially obtrusive, with high wattage you'll get your subject exposed but cause the backgrounds to become under-exposed.

I don't mean to come off condescending in any way. I just wanted to express my point in more detail to explain that this method is indeed viable and, in my opinion, largely superior in both aesthetic results and visibility/obtrusiveness to the guests.
Glen, do you set this all up yourself? I'm a one man show. If you're not a one man show, back to my original question. lol
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Old October 25th, 2010, 12:47 PM   #10
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Glen, do you set this all up yourself? I'm a one man show. If you're not a one man show, back to my original question. lol
No I shoot with at least one other person. However even if I was solo I'd take the 20 minutes or so to set up lighting as I mentioned above during cocktail hour. At the very least you can mount the light you were going to put on your camera on a light stand a few feet away from your camera. That way it's off-axis from your subject and up high above people's line of sight.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 01:43 PM   #11
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No I shoot with at least one other person. However even if I was solo I'd take the 20 minutes or so to set up lighting as I mentioned above during cocktail hour. At the very least you can mount the light you were going to put on your camera on a light stand a few feet away from your camera. That way it's off-axis from your subject and up high above people's line of sight.
Not only has every event I've done been a one-man crew (and this is the trend now, people don't want to pay for two), but few if ANY allowed for stationary shots. Everyone moves within a large, sometimes cavernous hall. I never bother to set up my tripod (unless it's a special occasion like a floor show), there's simply no time, I just use my monopod for support and keep moving to follow the action. Three-point lightning would be left behind the action as the focus moves from one minute to the next - I don;t have twenty minutes for anything, let alone move lights, cables, sand bags, etc.

A camera-mounted light is essential.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Elliott View Post
I don't mean to come off condescending in any way. I just wanted to express my point in more detail to explain that this method is indeed viable and, in my opinion, largely superior in both aesthetic results and visibility/obtrusiveness to the guests.
In an ideal world the bride and groom (and event organizer) would have an appreciation for aesthetics and would understand that the images they see on their TV screens were produced using entire crews, two cameras, wired sound, light kits, lengthy post-processing, etc. But the vast majority of people still think the camera craps out a finished movie at the end of the night, complete with visual FX, so it's impossible to convince them that we need to upset their carefully-choreographed ceremony to accommodate lights and stands (let alone pay for someone to do this).

I hate the look of an on-camera light too, but in 99% of cases it's that or nothing. People expect the photographer to get by with a camera-mounted flash, it's no different for the videographer.

There seems to be two vastly different universes in event videography: the handful few who get multi-thousand dollar shoots with complete crews and great production values, and the rest of us grunts who have to compete with camcorder jockeys and have to cut corners to get the gig. Heck, some of my colleagues get more and more requests to simply hand over the raw footage, no editing - people are happy to watch it on their computer, uncut, if it means saving a few hundred bucks more.

I really dislike what this biz has become. Used to be there was room for creativity, now it's just technician work.

J.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 02:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
I just got one of these. It's very bright when on full, can be dimmed to the level you require & is incredibly good value 126-LED Video Light for Camera DV Camcorder Lighting on eBay (end time 02-Sep-10 17:10:08 BST)
Merci Nigel, I've added this light to my watch list. Definitely a great addition.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 07:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Glen Elliott View Post
No I shoot with at least one other person. However even if I was solo I'd take the 20 minutes or so to set up lighting as I mentioned above during cocktail hour. At the very least you can mount the light you were going to put on your camera on a light stand a few feet away from your camera. That way it's off-axis from your subject and up high above people's line of sight.
Where do you find the 20 minutes?
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Old October 25th, 2010, 09:47 PM   #14
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Where do you find the 20 minutes?
Cocktail hour is 60 minutes. Unless that was rhetorical.

I'm just trying to help out whether or not you agree with me. If you aren't utilizing wall outlet power I like the Frezzi Mini dimmer w/ Bescor Battery pack. I dont' like LED's because- for one they are very expensive, don't have the same throw a good quality tungsten light (certainly not for the same cost), and they often have color temps that don't match the existing tungsten used in reception halls.

You could get one of these and put it on a light stand a few feet from your camera to give you off axis lighting and a very quick setup, even shooting solo.

Best of luck with your decision.
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Old October 25th, 2010, 10:53 PM   #15
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If you aren't utilizing wall outlet power I like the Frezzi Mini dimmer w/ Bescor Battery pack. I dont' like LED's because- for one they are very expensive, don't have the same throw a good quality tungsten light (certainly not for the same cost), and they often have color temps that don't match the existing tungsten used in reception halls.
A very nice light, to be sure, but a bit pricey (even the mounting bracket is extra). If I were going to spend in excess of 400 $, I'd go with a battery-powered redhead knockoff.


J.
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