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


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Old February 8th, 2011, 09:54 AM   #1
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Dslr?

Hi everyone,

I'm considering upgrading my rig and am wondering if it's worth making the switch over to DSLR. I currently shoot with a Canon XHA1, but am very disappointed by its performance in low light... I do have a camera-mounted LED, but sometimes that is very intrusive during the reception. I'm just looking for general opinions about DSLR versus more "traditional" cameras, and am wondering what additional investment I might have to make to get the DSLR wedding-ready (build-outs, audio capability, etc).

Thanks for your input!
Erin
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Old February 8th, 2011, 10:58 AM   #2
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I was in the same boat. I myself shot with the XHA1 and felt like the image quality was holding me back a bit in dimly/poor lit rooms. I opted to go with the AF100, as it has the form factor I'm used to and will not need to be "kitted out" to make it usable outside of having it on a tripod. It's a bit more expensive but has MANY features that appealed to me, and was well worth the extra investment in my eyes.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 11:13 AM   #3
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Hi Erin,

The best advice I can give is to get a DSLR in your hands and shoot with it - if the experience and the results don't make you enthusiastic about using the camera the decision is made for you. If on the other hand you're inspired you can start to think about what it would take, technically, to switch and also how your methods and final product may have to adjust. Regardless if you buy, rent or borrow a camera make sure to give yourself enough time to learn how to handle it and for your brain to adjust to the different placement of the controls - a few days of experimentation at least. If after that you can't conceive of shooting a wedding with a DSLR then there are sure to be other large-sensor options in the near future.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 11:26 AM   #4
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I was playing around with my Panny GH and trying a couple of f1.7 lenses. This was at nighttime and across from my home is a church with a street light in front. The footage of the light shining on the building, covered a larger area of the building and was brighter than I saw with my own eyes. After viewing it I had to go back again and look to make sure what I remembered seeing was what really was.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 12:10 PM   #5
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Hi Erin,

You can 'add' DSLR to your existing set-up and use it in low light and beauty shot situations. I still use my XLH1 for the ceremony, with an HV30 for a wide cover and a 5d if I have a second shooter.

After the ceremony, I use the 5d almost exclusively, though I will run the audio from speeches into the H1. I will likely stop doing this though and just run audio on the speeches and shoot DSLR.

The HDV footage mixes pretty good, though tends to look slightly soft compared to the DSLR, but this allows to take advantage of DSLR without going 'all in'.

I've posted this before, but it shows just how effective DSLR can be in low light. Granted, this was shot with the 5d2, which is arguably one of the best in low light

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Old February 8th, 2011, 07:55 PM   #6
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Wow, Ken, that's AMAZING. I get the same type of quality in low-light with my XHA1: flat, greyed-out, with a very "video" look.

I like your idea of using the DSLR as an ancillary camera - my only reservation to using one flat-out has been the depth-of-field issue, and being able to capture all the unexpected moments without having to worry about autofocus constantly driving back and forth.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 09:13 PM   #7
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Erin,

The XHA1 is a good camera. You can stretch it's low light using Neat Video noise suppression to salvage video you otherwise couldn't use. You can't, however, match the low light of the new DSLR's. I'm a former A1 user and after switching to the 7D I find many things I miss from the A1 like to "forever zoom" range, built in ND, long record times, easy focus, and all the nice video features like zebra and good audio. On the other hand, the DSLR's are fantastic for film-like looks the A1 really can't touch. But then there are some real warts with the DSLR's too.

Both have their place. Maybe consider a lower priced t2i (or just announced t3i?) or GH2 to wet your feet a bit to augment the A1 and learn the differences. The right answer is probably "both".
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Old February 9th, 2011, 11:23 AM   #8
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Erin,

The DSLR are a double edge sword for sure. My experience has only been with the 5d2. My file counter just rolled over at 10,000, so I've shot a few clips. Though i only shoot a few weddings a year. Manual focus is probably the most difficult part of shooting at weddings (oh... and exposure, and WB, and audio). But other than that - it's easy : )

The new generation DSLR are apparently more user friendly for video. But I kind of like the challenge of shooting fully manual... It's sometimes a risk / reward thing.

And as far as some say about having to 'rig out' a DSLR. I shoot mostly with just a decent tripod - so you can shoot some very nice footage - 'right out of the box'. I've since added a Glidecam, a monitor, a Zoom H4, etc... But you really don't need them to start if you have a basic wedding set-up.

This is a clip from the very first time I used the camera. It was a family wedding so I wasn't concerned about 'wrecking' anything. I'd already covered the ceremony/photo shoot with my HV30 only. But the light got really ugly in this room - had a bank of windows, and tungstens inside - was dull and muddy looking.

I kind of went overboard opening up the 50mm f1.4 and blew out a few shots. And it was all shot handheld, but like I say, it was the first time that I had used it, and the results 'out of the box' were pretty decent.

Good Luck...

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Old February 11th, 2011, 11:27 AM   #9
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DSLR definitely has its place as a tool in the tool kit.
The last wedding we did I had my second shooter on the HMC40 for the safe, steady shot and audio feed.
I shot on my Pentax K-X for the prep footage and the reception. During the ceremony I used my old DVC60. The DVC60 will soon be replaced with either another hmc40 or a hmc80. I like having 2 traditional video cameras during the ceremony but the DLSR/hmc40 combo worked great for everything else and produced great results.
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Old February 11th, 2011, 11:43 AM   #10
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We've also just made the move to DSLR (60D's) after 5 years shooting with videocam... however im still planning to use a small VIXIA HF200 for the Ceremony just in case. It just gives me peace of mind in case something goes wrong. We have our 1st DSLR wedding in a month so hopefully the two footages can match decently...

Kren
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Old February 11th, 2011, 02:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kren Barnes View Post
We've also just made the move to DSLR (60D's) after 5 years shooting with videocam... however im still planning to use a small VIXIA HF200 for the Ceremony just in case. It just gives me peace of mind in case something goes wrong. We have our 1st DSLR wedding in a month so hopefully the two footages can match decently...

Kren
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Kren, this is how I started out. I used my A1 video camera rolling the entire time during the ceremony. I shot about 5 weddings this way and eventually moved the A1 to a box in my basement.
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