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


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Old February 23rd, 2011, 06:47 PM   #31
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I do have a question for you folks; given that there is a much better chance of blowing focus with a DSLR during a one-time only event, does that ever come up as an issue? i.e. where something critical was missed and the bride later complains about it being out of focus etc?
Charles, thanks for gracing us with your presence. As a single shooter this is one of my main concern, I know some have developed the skills to pull it off but I find comfort in having a Videocam shooting the whole time at the ceremony/reception and save the DSLR usage for Bride preps/Park Shoots.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 06:53 PM   #32
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Hi Michael

I think you missed my point! The bride doesn't care what you use...if you showed her samples using a 7D,
5DMkII or a Pansonic AF100 she will choose the content she likes not the camera....she is not hiring you because you have a 7D at all...she is hiring you cos your sample shot with the 7D is to her liking.

If it's not overdone shallow focus is a sure fire sales winner for brides but like Noel, in the heat of "battle" I really don't want to have to fight focus and time limit issues ...I appreciate the huge advantages of DSLR's for creating footage that video cams cannot do but as I work alone I do need a camera that will "look after me" ..... I'm already looking at getting a GH2 for photoshoot and ceremony closeups so please don't get me wrong I like both camps!!! I can see huge advantanges using a DSLR for initame shots but I'll still use my standard cams for the rull-of-the-mill events.

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Old February 23rd, 2011, 07:22 PM   #33
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I do have a question for you folks; given that there is a much better chance of blowing focus with a DSLR during a one-time only event, does that ever come up as an issue? i.e. where something critical was missed and the bride later complains about it being out of focus etc?
Charles ... this comes up. Depends too on what you are offering ... I personally only do extended highlight videos - 10-15mins max. So if I miss something ... you just deal with it. I've never shot a wedding where I was able to acquire EVERYTHING perfectly. This is a fact of life regardless of format.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 07:37 PM   #34
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Michael, you added the extra twist for your own argument. If I ask a three year old if they want to play blocks the answer is yes. Do you want to play with the blue blocks or the shiny yellow ones adds a new flavor. When you give a bride the option of choosing what looks better to her, that is fine and dandy. Of course she will have a preference. I admit, I love love love the look of the dslr footage. But here is my point...

Just because a person uses a dslr doesn't mean that they get Travis' (sorry to pick on you Travis) quality of work. I have watched a million clips of dslr footage and just because you have the camera doesn't mean that you GET the yummy warm fuzzies. There's some skill there. Just like I'm sure Claire, in all her years of expertise, has on her traditional camera. It really comes down to what you are shooting though and how you shoot it. Any Tom, Dick or Harry can go to film school. Any Tom, Dick or Harry can pick up a camera and shoot a wedding. It's not rocket science. But that same guy who spent all those years in film school may not have the natural gift for it, whereas the guy who just picks it up....just might.

My wedding video is crappy. In fact, it actually sucks butt. It's grainy. It's dull. It's super shaky. The lady never, not once, shot a single thing on a tripod. It bites. HOWEVER, I watch it over and over and over and over again, because she managed to really capture the feel for the day. She got all the right stuff....and I cry every single time I watch it. She really had the gift for the moment. My girlfriend, on the other hand, paid a ton of money for some big shot to come in with fancy cams. She has excellent video quality, but it's cold and very uninviting. She hates it. She says all the time how she wishes she had mine.

I think the best wedding videographer is the one who is in the middle. The one who has a natural feel for capturing the right moments, as well as having some technical knowledge. Weddings are just a different bird. There is a rhythm and a flow. There is a mood. I've been to a gagillion weddings. I can play them front and back. But I have only FELT my own. And that is what a bride wants. She wants to relive her day over and over and over to reFEEL the feelings. My friend's video is like watching a wedding as a distant spectator. Mine is like being right in the middle of my husband and I's every whisper, touch, glance, dance, and I think at the end of the day that holds more weight.

I just don't think the argument should ever be whether one is better than the other. A camera, whether DSLR or whatever, is just that....it's a piece of equipment. If you can't get the moment....in the eyes of the bride, you really got nothing.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 07:42 PM   #35
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Granted all your points are bang on. The point is - don't knock the technology. If you want to shoot on a HVX200 or a 5D or 8mm ... thats your own prerogative. I think we can all agree it doesn't matter what tools you have in your hand ... but DSLR's in my opinion give you more options to create better work. And that really should be what its all about.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 08:05 PM   #36
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

There is no problem with DSLR cameras. They are fantastic tools - when used properly. And that's the point. The capabilities that DSLR cameras offer in skilled hands are amazing. The problem, and I believe may be an underlying issue with "DSLR haters", is the misuse by people who don't know how to use them or people who overdo some of the cameras capabilities. So when you see bad examples of DSLR footage, don't blame it on the camera, blame it on the nut behind the viewfinder.

As for blown focus, cover cameras have always been a good idea. Just add another good reason to use one when shooting a wedding with a DSLR camera. When those high risk DSLR shots turn out well, they are supurb; and when they don't, that's what the cover camera(s) are for.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 10:50 PM   #37
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

I'll fully admit that once I tried a friend's DSLR with video, I saw the potential... there's something there, in the right hands. It's a diferent skill set, a whole other layer of things to be on top of, and potentially "blow", but if you nail it, it's got lots of additional potential in the quality of the footage.

With my shooting style, I can have several video cameras running (they're here anyway, right?), and be running the SLT/SLR (I've already noticed I switch off the auto focus...sigh, manual just "feels" better), catching those high visual impact shots - that's how I see it fitting in.

IF I have a second shooter (and preferably a third) that is skilled and competent to shoot video with an SLR, I wouldn't mind doing that - but I don't know a lot of people who have enough shooting time (myself included at this point) to have that level of confidence in nailing the shot. I run dual audio anyway, so that's not an issue. The short clip limit is something I'm less than comfortable with, but could work around it - just a matter of careful planning.

I'm not going to "fly" the thing on a steadicam, nor am I going to be using a slider - I have enough confidence in my simple rigs to get those style of shots and get steady, well framed video, whatever camera I'm pointing at the target... and I hope to capture that special something that Amanda speaks of, those shots that make you go "wow", not because of what they were shot with, or how fancy the equipment used was, but because you caught the essence of the moment, and IMO THAT is what makes all the difference.


Perhaps part of the "problem" is that with all the drawbacks, DLSR's allow you to more easily get a much more filmic look that has that mystical "dreamy" thing going on, and that "works" for WV...
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 11:19 PM   #38
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

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Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I do have a question for you folks; given that there is a much better chance of blowing focus with a DSLR during a one-time only event, does that ever come up as an issue? i.e. where something critical was missed and the bride later complains about it being out of focus etc?
Funny story... this past weekend I shot a wedding in a crowded space, with two traditional cams covering safe. One of them was manned (or womanned, in this case). The unmanned cam was completely blocked when a bridesmaid stood 3 feet away from where she was supposed to. The womanned cam was almost completely obscured by a photog who knowingly kept blocking it (she later apologized). The most usuable and safest footage came from the DSLR that I was using.

Such is the way at weddings. One day I'd like to yell 'Cut' when stuff like this goes on... and see what happens.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 02:49 AM   #39
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Hi Charles, focus isn't really an issue. We currently shoot with naked dslrs, no ff, viewfinder or monitor. We do have some shots which are too soft to use but never of any crucial moments. Granted there is a higher chance of it happening but it's worth it.

Shooting live events you hone a particular skill for getting things done in one take as I'm sure you know. The same could be said about our use of steadicam, missing a shot because I walk into someone down the aisle.

The reason we do all this is people are bored of the play it super safe videographer who are now ten a penny. But every risk is backed up in some way :)
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Old February 24th, 2011, 07:05 AM   #40
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert View Post
I do have a question for you folks; given that there is a much better chance of blowing focus with a DSLR during a one-time only event, does that ever come up as an issue? i.e. where something critical was missed and the bride later complains about it being out of focus etc?
My A1's auto focus would sometimes focus on an object in the background and not the bride and groom in the foreground. That stunk. I like having the manual focus control of the DSLR because I choose what is in and out of focus.
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Old February 24th, 2011, 09:17 AM   #41
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Claire for just a bit of balance and a lean towards you. I think that many might be trading their picture perception up from semi-pro mini DV or HDV rather than coming down from 3x 2/3" professional cameras with f1.2 lenses, as you might be. Your long-term career in broadcast and related industries will have given you and eye and expectation of true broadcast quality images. That's what some DSLR shooters are now only seeing for the first time.

Don't turn on me now though; I've just borrowed a GH2 and intend to see how I get on with it at a warehouse shoot I'm doing on Monday. All under control so I shouldn't get in too much of a panic. I'll have the HM700 on standby just in case.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 03:26 AM   #42
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Earlier in this thread Danny both hit the point and missed it. This is an event/wedding section; it covers events and weddings in a variety of cultures/fashions/geographical locations and we cope very well with that. But Chris was right, this is not the place for "what DSLR camera shall I buy?" questions - there are sections for that and, like Claire, I am just a little weary of ploughing through screeds of postings which rightly belong elsewhere. Chris Hurd has given us plenty of options, please just use them.

But....

Happily there is room in this section for those wedding/event markets (often in the USA) which generally demand a cinematic type approach and those which usually prefer a documentary approach - and please note those two qualifying adverbs, generally and usually. But those programmes don't suit everybody. I can assure those who are able to tie up the couple for an afternoon, even a couple of days running around with their steadicams, their sliders and their filters that they'd be as welcome by most UK brides as a pork sausage at a Bar Mitzvah.

Most UK couples want to enjoy their wedding, meet their relatives and friends and enjoy a day to remember for the rest of their lives, not spend the day or more as unpaid actors. As Claire and Amanda both point out our brides couldn't give a tuppeny damn what we use, as long as we stay out of the way and make programmes which bring their memories flooding back. The poster who dissed Claire's mythical PD150 completely missed the point and should think again. As I say, clearly there are places, especially the US where the couples are generally (that word again) happy to give up hours to take part in a cinematic experience. Neither is wrong, but the production techniques vary greatly.

Where I work couples usually expect that we'll capture every salient moment, that everything will be in focus and nicely lit and that it looks like the programmes they usually see on their TELEVISIONS not in the art gallery.

But this is a business so I'm glad there are those who can live with (or blag their way out of) the occasional soft focus shot because whilst I may be the safe, backed up type Danny so disdains, my clients know they can ask me if I caught Uncle Charles tripping over the carpet and 3 to 1 (video cameras) I'll almost certainly be able to say yes, not try and explain I was getting that cool slider shot of the bride's shoes under the garden seat at the time. And Michael, please stop banging on about not being able to speak on a subject you've not tried - I'm over 21; I know the oven's hot, that's why I don't put my head in it.

For me, cinematic or highlight-only productions are the indulgence of producers preoccupied with themselves, their "art", the latest fad and dreaming of winning prizes. I don't want to single out any specific example for that would be hurtful but there has been more than one video here which the producer got wet pants about but which are frankly awful, unsteady, ungraded, lacking any technical merit whatsoever. And it isn't just a matter of the eye of the beholder. A technically incompetent film is technically incompetent, regardless of how many brides thought it was the dog's bananas.

Incidentally, we include a highlights programme in our package - to all intents and purposes we give it away - but it's an extra programme not the whole darn shooting match.

The photographer who produces the stills part of our package uses two Nikon D3s cameras. He's worked with me for over 20 years, on my video shoots around the world because in those days we could afford someone we'd call a Director of Photography except that we were never bothered with titles. So he knows the business of recording images regardless of the medium. His view is that the DSLR enthusiasts are just the current version of equipment nuts we've seen in every generation, except that now they have the advantage of being cheaper. "They'll learn" he says but then he remembers when Amateur Photographer magazine was full of questions like "which lens do you use most?" - that was in the 1970's. For Claire's sake as well as mine, please understand it's tiresome to find them mixed up in a wedding section.

Last edited by Philip Howells; February 25th, 2011 at 05:41 AM.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 05:09 AM   #43
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Hi Philip

Very nicely put. This is a wedding and events forum and if I need to know what mic I should be using then I head off to Chris's Audio Forum!! Makes sense as all the audio experts are more likely to be browsing posts there than under weddings.

DSLR's produce awesome footage in the right hands but if you need to discuss what accessories you need on your 5D or 7D then surely the best place to find the answers is the Canon forum.

It would be nice if we could stick to Chris's forum title "Wedding/Event Videography Techniques"

Chris
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Old February 25th, 2011, 08:51 AM   #44
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Well, my hat is off to you folks for shooting with bare cameras and focusing from the rear screen under challenging lighting conditions. On my last two projects we had some critical focusing situations that didn't work out and now we are cutting around them, and those were under controlled conditions.

I was working at a production company over twenty years ago and was assigned to shoot a wedding--my boss was kissing up to one of his clients and offered it gratis (yet I was the one who worked on a Saturday for free, what a sucker). When everyone stood up as the bride came down the aisle, I got caught and had to raise the sticks--this was a broadcast camera with heavy duty legs that had to be extended one at a time. Thus much of the shot of the bride looked like an earthquake hit it. I still remember meeting her after we turned in the edit where she asked if there was anything we could do to make the shot less shakey. This was of course long before post stabilization. She was near tears when I apologetically told her no. That would be my last time shooting weddings on a pro level. I can take the heat of an irate Hollywood director but not the intensity of an upset bride!!

Like I said, hats off to you guys and gals...
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Old February 25th, 2011, 09:06 AM   #45
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

At weddings so much can happen and go wrong. You can be on a nice stable floor and have vibrations from an unknown source cause loss of image quality. Kids running around or in the case of the Steadicam stuff wind and no grip to shield you :)

But often we have an alt angle we can cut to while the disruption (kids) do their thing. But seeing as our main productions only contain less than 2 mins of the main ceremony there isnt that much we actually need. As we dont show the ceremony blow for blow we use editing to use cutaways and shots from various points in the ceremony or speeches to build up the complete picture.

Now I know some wouldnt ever consider the short form edit and see it as cheating the bride. Again, totally depends on what you offer. The people who come to us want that. But by condensing an hour into 2 minutes you get so much more footage to create something special. Same as the hollywood peeps.

Charles Papert doing weddings. I somehow just cant see it.
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