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

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Old January 18th, 2011, 03:29 PM   #1
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What's In Your Gear Bag?


Few quick questions, that I'd appreciate your time on.

To those in the know, & with regards to sliders, would you consider a slider a 'luxury' piece of gear, or an 'essential' piece of kit, especially factoring in todays DSLR & cinematic trends?. I guess i'm really looking for feedback from solo shooters. Do you find it challenging operating a slider, in conjunction with 1-2 other static cameras, especially considering the 12 min recording constraint on some DSLR's?

To be more specific, i understand the need to remain flexible on a live event, so would the general recommendation be a 2 or 3 ft slider. With a 2ft slider, the need for a heavy duty tripod doesn't seem as essential. However, i'd have doubts as to whether a 2 foot slider gives you enough length to play with, outside of macro mode, so would be interested to see if people agree with me here, and if production value would be better increased by a 3 ft length slider.

A guy in the pub once said, to go for the best tripod that your budget can afford. Can i get an idea of what tripods are currently being used in the industry, & if anyone is using the new Vinten Vision Blue in conjunction with these sliders. It doesn't seem to have many limitations when compared against Manfrotto heads, but would be interested to hear if it's lightweight enough for live events, sturdy enough for mounting sliders, but if a heavy duty tripod is really needed for the DSLR weight when panning & tilting.

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Old January 18th, 2011, 04:41 PM   #2
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We don't shoot solo but I'll give you some thoughts on this if you still want them. I would say 'no', a slider is NOT an essential piece of gear. Essential gear would be cameras, tripods, mic's, audio recorders and secure cases to haul it all in. You might also put a monopod in there depending on how you shoot.

In my opinion steadicams and sliders are 'luxury' items that aren't critical to producing a great video. As for 2ft. vs. 3ft. version of the slider, it's a bit of personal preference. We just switched from a 3ft. slider to a 2ft. and I don't think we're going to miss that extra foot all that much. The extra portability is nice.
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Old January 18th, 2011, 04:50 PM   #3
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Hi Joe

I assume you are doing weddings and however sincere your intentions are to use lot's of fancy gear, sometimes you just don't have the time!!! As Travis already says, some gear are just luxuries. I bought my Stedicam with the intention of using it for stunning shots of the bride walking down the aisle, the photoshoot and the first dance and much much more!! I use it at the photoshoot now but that's about it!! I don't think you really have a lot of time at a wedding to "fiddle" with gear as things are hapenning fast and you do need to keep up. I actually built my own slider with the intention of using it a lot but sadly it's still in the cupboard. I really just don't have the time to set it up in the Church, make sure it level etc etc ....half the time I have the bride's arrival just seconds away and mostly my working space is so limited as well. Extra gear is great provided you have the time to set it up correctly and the space to use it correctly.

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Old January 18th, 2011, 11:27 PM   #4
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Let me kinda piggyback on what Chris said. The more gear you want to use, the more you have to haul in, set up and then tear it back down and haul back out, go on to the next location and do it all over again. The time factor to do this is one thing. The fact that all this hauling is just plain bull work is quite another!

So if we are voting, I vote for going ahead and getting the slider! I'd go for the bigger or even biggest one, but instead of it being a piece of your "every shoot" gear, just bring it along when you have plans to really benefit from it's effect.
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Old January 18th, 2011, 11:52 PM   #5
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I am a human slider, and a jib, and a crane!!!

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Old January 19th, 2011, 03:50 AM   #6
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Joe I'm not sure how the title of the thread links to the content which seems to be mainly about sliders, so I'll try and give you briefly my perspective on both.

We have a 1m and a 0.5m slider and use only the shorter. The fact is that all of them flex, the ones based on the solid track more than the others, those supported in the centre more than those supported at each end, and the heavier the camera the greater the flex so make up your own mind. We use ours very judiciously for the establishment shots and occasionally on one of the cameras at the front during the ceremony.

Our camera bags contain everything needed for the camera inside including stub screwdrivers, allen keys, gaffer tape, microphones (radio and boundary layer), rain slicker etc. At present the number of batteries our Z1/MRC1s need means a separate box but that's all changing with our new EX3/EX1 set up and they'll go in the camera bag. As Chip said, the less you have to haul the better - equally, the fewer pieces you have to haul the better. Our setup means the three of us can get in one trip, camera bag in one hand, tripod in the other, plus we'll use the car as a base for the slider, fig rig etc.
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Old January 19th, 2011, 09:05 AM   #7
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If I were a solo shooter, I'd still spend a few hundred bucks to buy a short 0.5 m slider for me to use during prep (which I always shoot alone now anyway and I always bring a slider with me).

I also will use it before ceremony starts if I have time, during location shoot and also before reception starts.

I'm sure it will be worth the while and the extra hauling.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what about motion picture?
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Old January 19th, 2011, 09:19 AM   #8
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Hi Joe,

welcome along, it's great to have another 'Paddy' here! I'm in the final stages of deciding which slider to purchase. I think I'm going for a 75cm one as I feel that this length will be plenty for me to get the shots I want. I also shoot solo a lot of the time, and so portability and ease of set up are important to me.

As far as the tripod head goes, I use the Vinten Pro 10 tripod system which I love, but I've looked at the Vision Blue and they do look nice too. The thing with buying tripod, is that after paying out a lot of cash for equipment, it's vital that you get a tripod that's able to support it easily. Also, you may start adding matte boxes, monitors and other accessories to your kit, so get the best tripod you can afford now, and try to anticipate what 'extras' you'll be adding in the future.

Hope that helps!

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Old January 19th, 2011, 04:46 PM   #9
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Thanks for friendly Irish welcome Mary, & cheers for your thoughts folks!

I'm no Hulk Hogan, & certainly don't intend on hauling a slider around for 10 hours. Breaking the event up into periods of time, i.e. preps, ceremony, reception, it's clear when it does make logistical sense to work the bicepts, and when not. Great to get reasurance though that sliders have a place, and also interesting to read that the vast majority of responses where in favour of shorter length sliders. Of course, if there is a fan club out there in support of the 3ft Cinevate or Kessler sliders, i'd still love to hear from you, specifically focusing on the advantage you feel it add to the production value over shorter lengths.

Balancing either length on a Vision Blue seems feasible, and the price point of the Vision Blue is attractive, considering it's counter balance can be adjusted to suit a naked or heavily rigged DSLR. I'm sensing the limitations of a Manfrotto head may be exposed, if I were to get the VISA digits out for a 3ft slider in time. Reviews tell me i'd get best results from discussed Vinten model, with & without sliders:

Review: Vinten Vision Blue at DVInfo.net
Vinten Vision Blue Tripod System Review « Tom Guilmette

Would love to hear from anyone who has started shooting with a Vision Blue, and how it compares against Manfrotto 501 / 504 heads especially?
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Old January 19th, 2011, 05:10 PM   #10
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Just to comment on sliders in general, longer lengths do have their place but I find that my 26" Atlas 10 has plenty of slide for me. As long as you use foreground objects to create the illusion of more movement, you should be fine with a shorter slider. Cinevate has the Atlas 10 FLT that is a lighter version and it's around 5lbs. I've been lugging that around and its much easier on the arms and shoulders :).
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Old January 19th, 2011, 05:58 PM   #11
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Thanks Randy,

Was looking at that very model. Seem like great company to deal with also.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 03:14 AM   #12
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Hey Joe,

I'm not a wedding person, but it's always nice to see "locals" on here!

I have both the 501HDV tripod and and the Vinten Vision Blue. Check out the posts in the tripods forum here on DVinfo.net.

The 501HDV is great if you are walking 20 miles with a tripod on your back. For anything else, the VB is simply amazing for its price, at 750 in the UK. I use it on a (small, 2kg) Panasonic HMC41, and it should be good up to around 5kg.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 04:06 AM   #13
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I love sliding motion.. but when I'm doing light videography or in certain situation.. I depended highly on my fluid monopod + 7D and with that I can do a slight 'sliding' motion or even a bit of gliding/crane movement. Those two are my fave combination.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 07:59 AM   #14
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Joe - I find the slider a cool but not "essential" tool. In fact, you might argue the effect is starting to be overused today if you watch a lot of samples. I do use a glidetrack but typically end up only using a few seconds of footage here and there. I agree also with the point that as a solo shooter you don't want to get too distracted with a particular tool and miss out on other "money shots". Like Chris, I too purchased purchased a stabilizer as well as a crane and slider with grand intentions but found I didn't have the time to use them as much as I hoped until I started working with a second shooter.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 12:51 AM   #15
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I usually only ever use my slider for macro work ... just buy a cheap one and/or build one yourself - for 150.00 its a solid investment. I to purchased a steadicam rig with intentions of using it ... but I find shooting solo I never get around to strapping it on ... I'm thinking about selling mine.

To answer the original question - whats in your gear bag?

5D Mk II
Tair 11a 135mm - 2.8
Tamron 90mm Macro 2.8
Pentax 50mm 1.4
Nikon 24mm 2.0
Tokina - 11-16 2.8
and some peripherals for my rig etc.
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