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


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Old December 12th, 2010, 08:35 AM   #1
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5D II Performance

I may be eating my words AGAIN.

I know there are many DSLR vs Video Camera threads but this is very specific to dark churches and reception venues.

I love my EX1r, used to have two but with only 4 or 5 of my 25 weddings a year including video I could not justify running two with all the L glass I have.

Last nights wedding reception was so dark and dance floor was huge and hard to light looks like the 5D II and 50 1.2 equipped with Zacuto follow focus and Z finder was far superior to the EX1r.

Will be able to tell more when I get into the editing more, downloading clips now.

With no more video weddings till summer of 2011, and weddings the only video I do, have to wonder if the work arounds for DSLR may be worth it.

I have been saying I would not convert to total DSLR video, but things like the Zacuto Z finder evens the playing field IMO.
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Old December 12th, 2010, 02:59 PM   #2
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Hi Denny,

I was in your same shoes. Except I had a Canon XH-A1. I was using a T2i and XH-A1 for my weddings, but found myself using mostly T2i footage in the edit. What it came down to for me was that I knew if I waited any longer the value in my XH-A1 was going to diminish. So I sold it on Ebay for $2000 bucks and invested in a 7D + Lenses & accessories. I don't regret going full DSLR one bit. It has totally improved my business.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 04:59 AM   #3
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I too have a xh-a1 and a 550d with some nikon primes but I'm not going to give up on my xh-a1 soon, first of all I shoot alone mostly and with events that only give one chance to do it right (like weddings) that's asking for trouble. A dslr requires much more attention to get it right, with my xh-a1 I at least have full controll over every aspect of my image in realtime and that also includes my wireless audio. Sure there are workarounds for dslr's but I would only do a full dslr wedding if there are at least 2 or preferably 3 dslr operators.

Now I just use my xh-a1 mainly in the church (and a small sony xr 520 which I point towards the priest) but once I get to the reception it's mainly the 550d.
Mixing the 550d footage with my xh-a1 doesn't work well so I try to shoot different parts of the day with the same camera, only during speeches my xh-a1 has to take over again but that has mainly to do with the audio.

I also do other type of events and there I switched to 80% 550d combined with a blackbird stabilizer but again if I have to record a wireless interview it's the xh-a1 that has to support me as I prefer to monitor and control my audio when it goes into the camera. Also because often there is less setup time I can quickly switch between camera's.

I think that my xh-a1 will at least be used for another year but after that I might go towards a panasonic af100 type of camera, one which has the characteristics of a dslr but with the control of a real videocamera. Then I would still keep the small 550d with the blackbird, just because I can work with it for several hours because it's so light. I think those 2 camera's would be easier to match.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 05:43 AM   #4
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I see your points, they are valid however I have shot all my videos from the back of the church for over a year. Most of my video add ons are for one camera, I do not offer the cinematic look, only basic video. I tell them quick that if they are looking for the cinematic look they need to go out of town and hire someone who offers this. Second 80% of the churches I shoot at do not allow a camera to be up front, obviously had some bad experiences in this area.

I used a rode videomic on the 5d II and the audio was usable, so at least there is a back up.

I have a SD 302 mixer that I mix my 2 wireless and shotgun mic to both the ex1r and a Sony PCM-D50. I also have a Zoom H4N as a back up audio.

I am a full time photographer and studio owner, and less than 5% of my income comes from video so will probably make the switch and add a second 5D II and a Zeiss 35mm lens.

I have 2 Canon 1D Mark IV's that also can do video so would have plenty of back up and have far less gear to carry to a wedding.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 06:06 AM   #5
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I read with interest the comments from the growing numbers who are using or switching to DSLRs and now the Panasonic AF101 for weddings. I have for many years use a variety of 'traditional' cameras and camcorders, mainly full size such as Panasonic DV200, Sony DSRs and currently JVC HM700. One thing I am curious about with fixed lens cameras that give beautiful artistic images is how you deal with spontaneity. For instance I may see a nice image of a bridesmaid singing during a hymn so I can zoom right in on her face but then move back to a wide shot of the bride and groom right in front of me. I do of course loose the zoom with a matched shot from another camera. As I understand it with a bright fast prime lens you are stuck with the fixed focal length and the zoom lenses for these cameras have a much smaller range and a less helpful iris aperture.
Do those of you who have changed from traditional camcorders change you shooting style to adapt to the limitations?
Do any of you shoot solo using only DSLRs?
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Old December 13th, 2010, 06:34 AM   #6
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You can still use Zooms with DSLR's to get the flexibility if needed.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 06:54 AM   #7
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George, I agree with you that going all primes can be a bit of a problem if you are used to being able to zoom in, grab a shot and zoom out again.

However, going all DSLR doesn't have to change things completely. For instance, when we do use DSLRs in the church (and it's by no means every event) at least one of them has the 70-200 f2.8 mounted so that zooms are still possible, though kept to a minimum.

Fast glass is almost a necessity with DSLRs though because @ f2.8 I still need to be at ISO 800 or above to match 0db on my video cameras, and the ISO climbs quite quickly if you want to match 6db & 12db. The only way around that is the use of fast primes leaving you with such shallow DOF that if some one moves even a little then you lost it. If you want decent DOF (i.e. both the couple and the vicar in focus) then you have to stop down significantly and that means jacking the ISO up quite a bit, and yes even DSLRs get noisy at higher ISOs on video.

So, yes, you have to change your shooting style a little (or a lot depending on what you do !) but that's no always a bad thing. Sometimes it changes the way you think and gives you new challenges. It's far too easy to fall in to a rut doing things the same old way.
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Old December 13th, 2010, 06:56 AM   #8
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I understand that but I read that the best is achieved from DSLRs is by using fast prime lenses. Am I wrong in thinking that the smaller aperture of a zoom lens negates a lot of the lowlight and shallow depth of field that a prime lens achieves, which appears to be one of the main reasons for shooting with DSLRs.
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Old December 16th, 2010, 10:19 AM   #9
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We shoot with only 5D's on all weddings. If you're a one man band, 1 DSLR and another camera that has longer record time for the ceremony is probably a good idea (I have done it solo with 2 DSLR's only, but it was a whip! Never again...). Practice with the DSLR's is key to getting good exposure, focus, and composition. PRACTICE!

When it comes to lenses... chances are your clients will not know the difference in quality... it becomes one of those technical things they just don't understand or care about. We use faster zooms for the cermony (2.8) and then switch from fast zooms to even faster prime lenses at the reception (down to F1.4). We try not to go above ISO 1250 (2000 in a pinch... but try to stay away from it as much as possible) I only have 2 Canon L series lenses out of all 13 lenses I own... the rest are a mix of old Nikon mount glass and Sigma. Each lens has its own characteristic that shines for certain circumstances.

For audio we use Rode video mics on camera and pocket recorders with/without giant squid mono omni mics.

Good luck! Have fun and keep trying to shoot stuff in a different way every shoot you're on!
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Old December 16th, 2010, 10:44 AM   #10
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Do those of you who have changed from traditional camcorders change you shooting style to adapt to the limitations?
Do any of you shoot solo using only DSLRs?[/QUOTE]

I shoot solo DSLR. I've totally changed my style of shooting. I wouldn't necessarily call them "limitations" bc my tradional camcorders also have limitations and there's a reason I don't use them anymore.
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Old December 17th, 2010, 02:48 AM   #11
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One of the limitation I was thinking of is the 12minute cut-off. How do you go about the speeches?
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Old December 17th, 2010, 12:09 PM   #12
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George,
The 12minute cutoff shouldn't be a problem unless you are leaving your camera alone by itself. During speeches, there is probably a pause or a period on each sentence. If you are manning the camera, then you can hit stop during that time, then record again. That resets your time limit. That is how I go around it and it works very well for me.
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Old December 17th, 2010, 12:49 PM   #13
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You don't get some of the 'presentations' that I get then. I often get speakers that talk for 30 minutes or more. Mind you some are only 3 minutes, the trouble is I never know until they get to there feet.
If it's approaching 12 mins do you have to keep an eye on the counter. How long do you loose between cut off and re-starting?
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Old December 17th, 2010, 01:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Kilroy View Post
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If it's approaching 12 mins do you have to keep an eye on the counter. How long do you loose between cut off and re-starting?
it is not exactly 12 min, it depends on many conditions and can be anywhere from 10 to 13min, that's what I know from my experience;
there is no counter, and there is no way to tell when it'll stop; from stop to record is about 4-5 seconds so i always have at least 2 and sometimes three cameras running at the speeches; it is safe and helps to make the most boring part of the event a little more entertaining
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Old December 17th, 2010, 01:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Buba Kastorski View Post
it is not exactly 12 min, it depends on many conditions and can be anywhere from 10 to 13min, that's what I know from my experience;
there is no counter, and there is no way to tell when it'll stop; from stop to record is about 4-5 seconds so i always have at least 2 and sometimes three cameras running at the speeches; it is safe and helps to make the most boring part of the event a little more entertaining
The 5D II has a timer, so you know how long its been recording, I was happy to see that.
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