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


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Old December 10th, 2010, 05:39 PM   #1
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Looking for tips/critique

I am the videographer for my church. I do the weekly sermons and church events. This weekend is our annual Christmas Alive program and I wanted to post up a clip and see if I could get some feedback. I'm having a hard time because the house lights are out and the only light is from spots on the stage so I have no control over them. So one part of the stage is low light, and the other side is too much light. Should I be shooting in auto? I want to keep the noise to a minimum so this clip was shot in manual on an XL2 with 2.0 aperture and 1/30 shutter with +6 gain. I recorded directly to a CitiDisk CFR and edit in FCP. Shot seems in focus up close but as I zoom out for wider shots, it doesn't seem as sharp.


Any help will be greatly appreciated

Thanks,
Rob
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Old December 10th, 2010, 07:39 PM   #2
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Hello, Rob. Stage shows are always tough and attending dress rehersals are a must. Bonus points if you can get a copy of the lighting schedule which is usually, on a production like this, scribbled on the script.

Any advice is subjective, so keep that in mind. You desperately need another camera for wide shot cutaways while you are moving your shot and riding the iris and focus. It will make a huge difference in the production value, I promise, and give you a little breathing room when shooting.

Even something like a Canon HV40 white balanced with the exposure pretested will give you more than adaquate results for a 5 second cutaway.

Just my 2 cents.

John
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Old December 10th, 2010, 07:43 PM   #3
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I almost forgot. Does your camera have back focus? If it does, maladjustment could explain your focus issue.
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Old December 11th, 2010, 10:44 PM   #4
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Howdy neighbor!

John's comment on having more than one camera is well taken - doing a stage show of any type with multiple "zones" is a beast with a single cam - I usually shoot 3-4 cams... My rig is a little crazy, but optimized for these sorts of shoots, with double duty for weddings, I developed the setup since I've got kids in things at church and school, and quickly learned one cam doesn't cover these things well! One guy, 4 cams, but I've got it down...

Overall your video looked fairly good for a single camera shoot. I'm going to suspect that the XL2 being an SD cam is probably going to look a bit soft as you pull out - the resolution simply isn't there compared to an HD camera.

Any live stage shoot is going to be "fun", if dramatic lighting is involved, moreso... if you're far enough back, you may want to just set the focus manually, but if you're zooming and panning, this will take nerves of steel. Auto probably won't work well, as most cameras will "hunt" if the light is difficult.

I'm just down the road a piece if you ever want to compare notes or need a second cam op on short notice!
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Old December 12th, 2010, 12:36 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback. I'd love to have another camera in my arsenal and have been trying to talk the church into spending the money for another setup but no luck so far. Giving is way down right now The rig I have now I put together on my own for shooting the sermons, testimonies and such and posting them on our website. Http://www.fbcbarstow.com

I waffled back and forth on whether or not to make the jump to HD but in the end I went with the XL.
I'll have to check on the back focus you asked about. Still learning all the functions of the XL. One good thing is that I'm shooting 3 out of 4 performances so I could combine all the best takes during editing.

Wow 4 cams and only one operator? I'd Iove to check out that setup.

Thanks again for the advice. Tomorrow (Sunday) is the last performance. I'll see what I can get and post up a sample of the finished product.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #6
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Hi Rob -
Shoot me a PM, and we'll hang out sometime - if I'd know about your shoot earlier, I might've been able to sneak out and bring my rig!

Good call on shooting multiple performances - that should give you coverage, without the multicam. Many times I wish I had multiple "takes"!

I know budgets are super tight all around, my rig was put together on the cheap, and might well have been less than the XL. I've shot these smaller cams long enough to know what they can do, so I get good results, but they don't look so impressive! I went HD long ago with the HC1, it's got its challenges, but I think it's worth it.
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