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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old January 9th, 2011, 10:33 PM   #1
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Stills from 5d2/7d Video - Anyone doing it yet

I realize this is a provocative subject, but here goes...

I'm booked into a wedding show on Jan 16th with about 400 or so brides attending. Weddings aren't a huge part of my biz, but i do have a wedding brand at Love Stories On Film. I try to shoot at least a few a year to keep my hand in it. My son plays high level baseball and I help coach-so I try to book more off-season weddings when I can. Anyways, I've been experimenting with pulling stills from the 5d footage and using genuine fractals to upscale the images with pretty good results.

I realize that we use the photog as a director and we can silently film the formals etc., and it is a somewhat symbiotic relationship. However, the last photog I worked with was such an ass, that I've been thinking more and more about taking on the 'entire media'. When the last couple saw the stills I was able to pull, they wished that they had saved the 3k from the photog and spent more on the video and then they could pull whatever stills they liked from the video.

I plan on printing some 8x10's and having them on display at the show you to illustrate the possibilities...

Is anyone doing this yet?
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Old January 10th, 2011, 02:02 AM   #2
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As a matter of fact...

I shot a friends wedding for free and he did just that. He was a fan of my DSLR video work and wanted me to shoot his wedding, "video" style, then give him all the raw footage and he was going to pull stills from it. It worked surprisingly well. He got a ton of photos and saved a lot of money. The stills actually looked pretty good when viewed on a computer screen which was all he cared about.

I don't know if this would work for a more traditional wedding with more traditional photo expectations but for a couple looking to save money it's kind of a cool option.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 02:12 AM   #3
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Oh boy, the photogs will really LOVE you <wink> - be sure to hire an armed guard for your booth <wink, wink>!

I've pulled stills from HD video (just regular cams), with workable results when the photographer didn't have the angle and I did. The day is coming when I may shoot a SLR primarily (SLT actually) as a main cam, and strategically placed unmanned cams to cover. I've had it on the radar for some time, and since I usually shoot video and the wife shoots stills, it makes sense. I'm still looking for the camera that will REALLY offer both and do it well enough I don't feel there's compromise.

I don't think you've got anything to lose from promoting - put some nice full rez stills on the big screen display (just watch out for stuff flying across the room from the photog booths! Maybe put up some chicken wire?).

As a practical matter, there are now so many ways people are used to viewing their "photos", and the majority of them are NOT printed on paper, but rather displayed on a screen... I don't think you have anything to lose by offering a "digital imaging" package, with some "prints".
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Old January 10th, 2011, 06:18 AM   #4
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I've never printed any, but here are some stills taken from my 7D
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Old January 10th, 2011, 08:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Diewert View Post
I realize this is a provocative subject, but here goes...

I'm booked into a wedding show on Jan 16th with about 400 or so brides attending. Weddings aren't a huge part of my biz, but i do have a wedding brand at Love Stories On Film. I try to shoot at least a few a year to keep my hand in it. My son plays high level baseball and I help coach-so I try to book more off-season weddings when I can. Anyways, I've been experimenting with pulling stills from the 5d footage and using genuine fractals to upscale the images with pretty good results.

I realize that we use the photog as a director and we can silently film the formals etc., and it is a somewhat symbiotic relationship. However, the last photog I worked with was such an ass, that I've been thinking more and more about taking on the 'entire media'. When the last couple saw the stills I was able to pull, they wished that they had saved the 3k from the photog and spent more on the video and then they could pull whatever stills they liked from the video.

I plan on printing some 8x10's and having them on display at the show you to illustrate the possibilities...

Is anyone doing this yet?
Are you planning to light and pose the formals too? Just curious;)

FWIW: I have been considering a move from the opposite direction (photo into video+photo or video only). The biggest obstacle I'm seeing is being able to do the appropriate things at the appropriate times without a boatload of assistants. There are times of the day when I think video is more appropriate. Other times, I'd prefer to tell the story with stills. Either way, I think the stills could be mixed back into a video with good audio.

Either way, I see a merge coming. Hopefully, we can help each other out! (photographers and videographers)
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Old January 10th, 2011, 12:36 PM   #6
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I've never printed any, but here are some stills taken from my 7D
Michael,

That's nice work. Is it from frame grabs or shutter clicks? It looks like in the beach scenes that their eyes were looking at another camera, so I'm assuming that you were covering a photo shoot.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 01:02 PM   #7
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Are you planning to light and pose the formals too? Just curious;)

FWIW: I have been considering a move from the opposite direction (photo into video+photo or video only). The biggest obstacle I'm seeing is being able to do the appropriate things at the appropriate times without a boatload of assistants. There are times of the day when I think video is more appropriate. Other times, I'd prefer to tell the story with stills. Either way, I think the stills could be mixed back into a video with good audio.

Either way, I see a merge coming. Hopefully, we can help each other out! (photographers and videographers)
Jason,

I think that if I do it I'll have to evolve a workflow. I would for sure need an extra assistant to direct traffic and set up formals. I would probably just pack along the 430ex for lighting to shoot extra stills via the shutter when needed.

My original idea was to team up with a photog or 2 who you can work with on a regular basis, but most photogs still charge well north of 2k to shoot a wedding. I currently charge around 2k and that includes an assistant (2nd camera) for the ceremony, 20k worth of equipment, 10-12 hours of coverage, and 30 hours of editing.

I don't see this as a universal answer (pulling still frames), it would be challenging. But there may be times where it is an option for some couples.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 01:37 PM   #8
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Jason,

I think that if I do it I'll have to evolve a workflow. I would for sure need an extra assistant to direct traffic and set up formals. I would probably just pack along the 430ex for lighting to shoot extra stills via the shutter when needed.

My original idea was to team up with a photog or 2 who you can work with on a regular basis, but most photogs still charge well north of 2k to shoot a wedding. I currently charge around 2k and that includes an assistant (2nd camera) for the ceremony, 20k worth of equipment, 10-12 hours of coverage, and 30 hours of editing.

I don't see this as a universal answer (pulling still frames), it would be challenging. But there may be times where it is an option for some couples.
Ken, the problem for us videographers is that the bride usually meets with the photographer before us. The photog then uses up the brides budget and there isn't much left over. It's a good idea to start incorporating photography because the photogs are not only trying to take all the money, they are now also offering Fusion at 1/2 the price we charge for video.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 01:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ken Diewert View Post
could pull whatever stills they liked from the video...
Is anyone doing this yet?
today i wouldn’t print anything with resolution less than 8-10 MP, and if I were using stills in my videos, I would take as many as i need, especially if you film with DSLR, you may be surprised, but in addition to recording video DSLRs are capable of taking very nice stills :)
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Old January 10th, 2011, 02:07 PM   #10
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Ken, the problem for us videographers is that the bride usually meets with the photographer before us. The photog then uses up the brides budget and there isn't much left over. It's a good idea to start incorporating photography because the photogs are not only trying to take all the money, they are now also offering Fusion at 1/2 the price we charge for video.
Michael,

One benefit to attending Bridal shows is that you do get to the brides very early in the process, at least that's been my experience from 4 previous shows (2 each over the last 2 years).

Buba,

I agree that the 5d2 is not a bad stills camera... and I would blast off some extra clicks. However, with the video we have 30 frames per second to pick from. I'm using Perfect Photo Suite 5.5 - onOne Software Genuine Fractals, and while it's not going to replace raw data, it may work for some couples. As long as they are aware of the limitations - ie: enlargements, then they can decide.

I've pulled some stills and am having them printed 8x10 and will see how they look.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 02:16 PM   #11
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Keep in mind that if you grab frames from video, the highest resolution you will get for stills is 1920 x 1080. It doesn't matter how big the sensor is, the video is resized to the video resolution that you are using. Resizing actually introduces moire and artifacts as a byproduct of resizing that can look pretty bad depending on what you are shooting.

Be careful to not over represent what you are offering; clients don't understand the difference. In fact, the cameras may even the same for photos or video. It just depends on what mode you are 'shooting' in. The other problem is that the mindset is different for photos versus videos. Even if a person is able to do both, it's difficult to do both at the same time. I'm not shooting down your idea. I just feel that it's important to fully disclose that the 'photos' are video frame grabs that are not the same quality / resolution as true photos are.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 08:52 PM   #12
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I have to agree with Jim. The stills you pull from 5D/7D video are nothing like the stills that the 5D/7D shoots. There's a reason I use stills on our DVD packaging and not video grabs. You can see the difference in quality even at that small size. Try going larger and it can start looking real bad real fast.

So I would just be totally up front with your couples and let them know that the quality of a video grab is not the same as a still. If they're fine with that then cool.
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Old January 10th, 2011, 09:38 PM   #13
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Travis and Jim,

I used Genuine Fractals (a photoshop pluging), to double the file size on my stills and printed a few 8x12's. The results are pretty good and I will let the brides take a look. It is far and away better than a 1920x1080. I would hesitate to do this without using genuine fractals.

It's likely that I will evolve into this slowly and guage the response. I will take the enlargements to the bridal show this weekend and update you guys on the feedback.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 02:58 AM   #14
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There is at least one more major conflict about this whole thing (in addition to what Jim Snow just said)

Shooting smooth video will require that you shoot at 1/50 or 1/60 and stills at this shutter speed will often be blurry.

It could work with non moving subjects but for the times were motion is involved 1/100 and above will be a must but then your video is going to look weird

Also with stills you will need to have your subjects accurately in focus. In video it may be unoticeable when your subject is out of focus or jumps in and out of focus as it moves but frame grabs will be unuseable.

Firing off regular stills every now and then could also be an option but the problem is that the camera blacks out for some very long seconds when you do that and with stills timing is VERY important.

If your couple has very low expectations or very low budget then pulling stills off the video footage is a good option. Some stills are better than no stills at all.

Since video and stills are two completely different animals in some ways and two very similar ones in some other ways it's very usual that when a videographer tries to shoot stills or a photographer tries to shoot video you can easily tell were each one is coming from

In a nutshell I suggest that photographers don't try to sell video to brides that are willing to spend money on video and videographers don't try to sell photography to brides willing to spend money on photography.

You are a photographer and you find out that your bride next week has no video? offer her a video or fusion option. She might be interested and spend some more money on you for that option.

You are a videographer and you find out that your bride really likes to have a very well made cinematic video and pay upwards of $3000 for it?
Find out how much she is willing to spend on photography and if it's much less than $1000 then she could probably be your client. If she is willing to spend another $3000 or more on photography then don't even mention it unless you are looking for trouble.


P.S.

Resolution is fine for prints up to 8X12 as long as the shot is not blurry (either by motion of focus) and the ISO not too high.
Genuine fractals is really NOT necessary unless you print at home.
Fuji and Noritsu minilabs use very sophisticated interpolation software anyways. I bet you can't tell the difference between a 1920X1080 frame grab and a Genuine Fractals version printed on a minilab at 8X12.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 04:44 AM   #15
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Keep in mind that if you grab frames from video, the highest resolution you will get for stills is 1920 x 1080. It doesn't matter how big the sensor is, the video is resized to the video resolution that you are using. Resizing actually introduces moire and artifacts as a byproduct of resizing that can look pretty bad depending on what you are shooting.
However within that 1920x1080 frame size the actual camera or camcorder used will have a great on the quality. There is far more detail in a still taken from a a video shot with a Canon XF300 or Sony EX1 than there is in a still taken from a 5DII video.
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