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


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Old February 16th, 2011, 12:12 PM   #1
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New Camera

I have been in the event video biz for over 15 years. I currently use two Sony DCR-VX2100 and a DSR-300.

It's time for new cameras. Here is what I want:

Light weight
Good in low light
All the standard features of a camcorder (versus a DSLR)
Around $3k
No rolling shutter
Decent HD image (does not need to be the very best/sharpest - my work is about storytelling)

As I research this there seems to be just one choice: HMC-150.

Am I missing any other possibilities?
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Old February 16th, 2011, 12:25 PM   #2
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I agree the choise.....the only limit that I don't like is the quality of the LCD screen...4:3 and low light and quality,....but for the camera ok.You can also put an external monitor if you want for the best viewing.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 12:34 PM   #3
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given your criteria HMC-150

But many story tellers use DSLR.

When you limit your criteria to video cam:
1. Your limiting your focal length. In every scene, the video looks the same.
2. You can't shoot super wide like photographer can.
3. Not nearly as good in low light. Visually your product is no match against average photographer.

I think dismissing visual artistry as an important element of story telling is rationalization. Great story tellers use every tool at their disposal to suck the audience in. My opinion.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 04:20 PM   #4
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Hi Craig,

I agree with you on the HMC150 being the best choice within Mickey's criteria and I also agree about the DSLRs are better in low light, with fast lenses. What I don't understand is what you meant by point 1&2.

Can you give me some examples of what you are talking about when you say that you limit your focal length...in every scene the video looks the same? I have not found that to be the case, but maybe I am missing something.

By adding a Century Optics .4 adapter I can get a very wide shot on the HMC150. I tried to get the same look on my 60D with a 16mm lens, but it was no match for the .4 adapter on the HMC150. I had to go down to the Tokina 11-16 to get that really wide look.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 07:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken View Post
Hi Craig,
Can you give me some examples of what you are talking about when you say that you limit your focal length...in every scene the video looks the same? I have not found that to be the case, but maybe I am missing something.
Perhaps the better term is 'depth of field' but sure, here's just one specific hypothetical example which relates to the concept of story telling in the original post. I could come up with 50.

We are both standing 25ft away from our Bride and her MOH, who are dancing just 2 feet apart from each other. The MOH is being a character and the bride is laughing uncontrollably. Your shot with the HMC150 conservatively shows the Bride and MOH in focus. The story teller in me, says that the most important candid emotion in my frame is the Bride laughing at the MOH's antics. In my shot with the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 (but you can take your pick of great lenses) I have aggressively forced the viewer to look at the bride's reaction and incidentally have a beautiful bokeh of DJ lights behind the bride that the HMC-150 could only dream about. Pure and simple, control with focus on the HMC150 video camera isn't nearly as thin and precise. It just isn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken View Post
Hi Craig,
in every scene the video looks the same?
This is an exaggeration of course, but my point is that video tends to look the same from scene to scene because it's all shot with the same lens. The HMC150 can only vary it's optics so much. It tends to look the same. With the DSLR, I could shoot 3 segments of video, first with the 70-200mm, then 10mm, and then with a 50mm f1.8. My 3 scenes will all look dramatically different. I argue, more dramatically different than can be achieved with video camera and attachments.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken View Post
By adding a Century Optics .4 adapter I can get a very wide shot on the HMC150. I tried to get the same look on my 60D with a 16mm lens, but it was no match for the .4 adapter on the HMC150. I had to go down to the Tokina 11-16 to get that really wide look.
I don't own a 150 but I do own a Sony EX1 with Sony's wide angle. Side by side, 7D w/ Tonika 11-16 and EX1 w/wide angle. I look at the both images. ...I see the EX1 image looses clarity as you look away from the center of the lens. The 7D image looks clean from edge to edge just like a photographer's photo if he is using a decent lens. Now let's get silly and put the Sigma 10mm on the Canon SLR. Try to match that image on a 150. With regard to clarity, it can't be done. :)

I could go on and on. I used to defend video cams, until I went all SLR. :)

Last edited by Craig Terott; February 16th, 2011 at 08:57 PM.
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Old February 16th, 2011, 11:10 PM   #6
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Hi Craig,

Thanks for your clarification on your terms. I find the shallow DoF to be a double edged sword. In the dancing shot you described I would like to see the MOH's antics that caused the Bride's reaction. Another example that I have is when the Bride is walking down the aisle. The MOG looked back at the groom, but she was so out of focus that I couldn't see her expression. However the Bride was in focus. I love the low light capabilities of DSLRs, but many times, I wish I had a little deeper DoF, not a lot but a little when shooting in low light.

Every scene does not have to look the same with a video camera. The first 14 years I was in business I shot solely with video cameras and I worked very hard at telling a great story with stunning visuals...things not looking the same from scene to scene.

I now use DSLRs more than video cameras. Each tool has it's advantages and disadvantages. I believe the most important tool we have is between our ears and when that tool is sharp, we can make the most of the tools in our hands.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 02:14 AM   #7
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Mickey, if you don't mind being bad-mouthed by the new-is-best police, I'd recommend the three very low houred (130, 80 and 50) Z1/MRC1 combinations I've just sold on eBay for about the price you quote.

As for DSLR's I think the comments and questions by some of the users say it all eg "Do I have to have a follow focus unit?" or "I find it difficult to focus when I'm following the couple around a dimly lit first dance sequence." DSLRs and EVILs (as I gather we must now differentiate between the flavours) have tremendous plusses in specific situations but are not the Holy Grail.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 08:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken View Post
I find the shallow DoF to be a double edged sword.
It's the same double edged sword the photographer uses. If they can succeed with it - we can too.

Of course wide shots with the 11-17 generally keep everything in focus and so it's not so much of a double edged sword because we shoot with multiple cams much of the time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Von Lanken View Post
The first 14 years I was in business I shot solely with video cameras and I worked very hard at telling a great story with stunning visuals...things not looking the same from scene to scene.
Your 'video camera' work has always been great, and yes great visuals. Everyone respects your work. But now it's time to move on and bridge the gap with the photographer. Dump the video cameras, grab that double edged sword and live by it! What's that line from the character Edna in the movie "The Incredibles?" FIGHT!! WIN!! lol :)

Blu-ray is another way to bridge the gap. I've got about 2 dozen clients out there with Blu-ray and most of the referrals from those clients have dedicated more $ to video than to photo, which fills me with optimism about the future. And lately, many of my Blu-ray clients have opted not to get any DVDs.
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Old February 17th, 2011, 11:04 AM   #9
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Mickey, I feel your pain. I shoot with two Sony V1U's I bought about six months before the HMC150 came out. I love my Sony's but when we use a stabilizer or crane we always have the issue of the CMOS / rolling shutter "jello" effect to deal with. I changed from shooting 24p to 30p and it helps a lot.

Like you I only see the HMC 150 as a reasonably priced CCD option to avoid the rolling shutter. However as others have pointed out it lacks a decent LCD and I wish it had two card slots. Other than that I think it is a great camera and with it selling for around $2800 now what a bargain. I am waiting to see if Panny brings out an updated version at NAB that maybe addresses the issues I mentioned.

If the many new stabilizer programs that have options for correcting rolling shutter really work our concern with looking for a CCD camera may be a moot point. I am waiting for some reviews.
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