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


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Old February 22nd, 2011, 01:49 PM   #1
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Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Now please don't take this the wrong way all you DSLR shooters but do I get the feeling that this forum is filling up with DSLR wedding shooter issues/questions?

First, nailing my colours so to speak, I am not a DSLR shooter and think the pseudo-cinematic look created by a horribly narrow DOF is a trend which graduates of film school appreciate more readily than us old graduates of broadcast television (and film for television).

Please don't tell me again that an episode of "House" was shot on a 5D... please. Okay if you can tape measure your focus distance (by the first camera assistant)... have the opportunity to do a walk-thru and get the actors to "go again" (thank you assistant director - floor manager)... rehearse your slider move and have your dolly fixed to a track (thank you grips)... check your exposure meter... get the lighting director to... etc etc.

Under those conditions the results are often superb, but weddings (lest you forget) are live events... no rehearsal, no walk-thru... no "let's go again." Therefore I am of the opinion concerning those seemingly slick "sample" videos which keep popping up "for feedback you understand" that the wastage (and price) is on the high side and there is often a lot of post work to get the project into shape.

I do understand that:

1. This is an international Board, therefore may follow both national and international trends.
2. DSLR owners shooting stills wanting (understandably) to add in video as part of the package.
3. Entry level for those not wishing to spend $5-10K on a videocam (and who does like spending their own money?)
4. The word "cinematic" as a selling point is another "cool".

However, at the recent BVE (Broadcast Video Expo) here in the UK you couldn't help notice all the young fresh faces on the Canon stand looking at... you guessed it... and the next stop was the slider shop. Which might answer another question posed in this forum about photographers getting equally fed up with videogs acting "unprofessionally." You can add your own interpretation as to what is deemed unprofessional.

At BVE you couldn't help notice young steadycam strong men looking like a Ripley-clad transformer-like person going to do battle with the Alien packing a 5/7D on the end of a macho-looking mechanical arm. Is there some ego at play I ask myself? I bet the mother of the Bride will love that one seeing it waiting at the end of the isle!

Peace :)
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 02:04 PM   #2
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Claire,
You have any recommendations of the best videographers that shot with the methods you outlined? In my area, I grew up with the stigma that wedding video's were bad/cheesy. I got into the business with the assumption (possible incorrectly) that dslr were the response/solution.

Doesn't blending into the day add to what you offer a bride?
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 02:34 PM   #3
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Claire, I'm not sure of the point of this thread.
There are many different videographers out there, each using different tools available to them.
Philip Howells is an example of someone who does not use DSLRs to shoot weddings, but is very successful and sought after. That's fine. Patrick from StillMotion is an example who uses DSLRs to shooting weddings, and he also is very successful and sought after.


It sounds to me, not knowing all the facts of course, that you are upset that you purchased an expensive videocamera and are now seeing other videographers popping up using equipment a fraction of the cost?

If in fact what you are saying that DSLRs don't have a place in the wedding videography world, then you have nothing to worry about; time will prove you right.


If you don't like the technology, don't use it. There is nothing else I can say.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 02:56 PM   #4
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

The question I ask myself, is what look would I want if it were MY wedding? After looking at a lot of skilled cinematographers/videographers I prefer the look of the shallower depth of field. I'm not saying paper thin, but I do like the shallow depth of field look. The reason I say after looking around, I was thinking of switching over to DSLR's last year and did a lot of research, but the form factor didn't entice me. I did however just purchase the AF100 because I DO like it's form factor. I have been shooting on XHA1's prior to purchasing the Panasonic, and when I see good stuff shot with DSLR's I think to myself how much I prefer that look and how much it blows the XHA1 out of the water. I think it's more of a personal choice rather than a fad. I'm a business owner at 28 years old, and a lot of the brides and grooms I work with are of the same age, and it seems that my taste is VERY similar to my clients. Maybe it's a generations thing, but everything evolves, no matter if it's a fad or a phase. It's still an evolution.

A good saying "I am convinced, that if the rate of change inside an institution or business, is less than the rate outside, the end is in sight"
This holds true, If people are searching and looking for a certain product, shallow depth of field, sliders, what have you. Consider that the change. If your not keeping up, the end is in sight. Sure you'll still get some work, but believe me when I say the large sensor look is now!
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 03:28 PM   #5
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Claire,

I think you might feel you are drowning in DSLRs because frankly, that's where I see the majority of semi pro and "smaller video house" users going. I am reading more and more threads where guys are relegating their existing traditional video cams to the locked down shots, while going for "the cool" with their DSLRs. I have also read threads where providers are saying that when their brides are given the choice of them shooting with the traditional cam vs the DSLR, the "look" from the DSLR is winning far more times than not.

There are things DSLRs are not good at, or not capable of, that traditional cams are. But in just about every instance there is an acceptable workaround getting the DSLR shooter up to par.

The biggest incentive a person has for going DSLR is as you stated, the amount of "bang for the buck". My GH1s can kick the butts of my old DVXs for less than half the price. When I go and compare dollar for dollar between the GH2 and the AF100, I can get 5 GH2s for the price of 1 AF100. Is that AF100 5 times more camera than the GH2 ? For most shooters and what they are shooting, my guess is it is a definite NO. Is the client going to see 5 times the quality if you use a AF100 compared to a GH2 ? Again I am going to say it is a definite NO. Will the AF100 cut down one's post time by a factor of 5 compared to a GH2 ? We all know that isn't going to happen even in a million years.

For me and my decision, it basically was a no brainer. I didn't see enough significant advantages to a traditional cam to warrant the expense as of against a GH1. I also saw abilities the traditional cam couldn't give. For me, when I subtracted the minuses form the pluses, it was still a no brainer. As with just about anything, YMMV.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 04:03 PM   #6
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire Buckley View Post
Now please don't take this the wrong way all you DSLR shooters but do I get the feeling that this forum is filling up with DSLR wedding shooter issues/questions?
Things come and go in cycles. Right now, the DSLR / EVIL cycle is heading for its likely peak. But I do expect this to be the year of the DSLR / EVIL. You don't have to like it. But it is what it is.

The "problem" is that the DLSR / EVIL is offering high value picture quality for a bottom end price. This is disrupting the status quo, thus the huge interest. Any disruptive technology in any market generates this same kind of response.

If the traditional video camera makers want to regain the market's attention, they'll have to compete. The Panasonic AG-AF100 is just the start of that competition. And competition in the video camera market is a good thing no matter which side of the debate you end up on.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 04:05 PM   #7
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Hi Claire, fellow little islander.

If everyone were talking about the latest, shoulder mounted broadcast camera would you still feel like you were drowning?

It is true that everyone seems to be talking about DSLR's but thats because they are pretty amazing. Some say they are doing a job they wernt designed to, but like many breakthroughs it was accidental but in a good way.

I think its fair to say that DSLR's are not for you in the same way a Steadicam or slider are not for others. People try and they simply cannot get on with them or dont know how to use them. But is that to say its wrong?

We are guilty of being DSLR. We ditched our Sony FX1's the moment we saw the footage. Ignoring the shallow DOF for one moment the footage simply sang to us and it's a song which resonates with our couples.

I'm not sure about the purpose of your post. Is it frustration that couples are choosing DSLR shooters over the traditional, totally unaware of the pitfalls of such a medium? Technically, there not as good as a good old camera but what really matters is how the finished product looks and our couples certainly like it. We do have to try harder on the day but we didnt get into this for an easy ride. We like a challenge. I'm just curious as to what your really trying to say.

If DSLR's are not for you, thats fine. Keep rocking whichever way fits you best.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 04:38 PM   #8
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Hey C

You have a massive understanding of all things technical (going by your previous posts/replies), but putting technical ability and knowledge aside, let's show a couple camcorder and DSLR clips. Which do they prefer? Honestly? And no, we're not talking shallow depth of field here...

And I sincerely believe you're over-worried about filming a one-time event with them. You don't need a follow focus, you don't need grips... Check my clips if you like. I don't use or worry about them. I have a monopod, tripod, and can happily not use my slider and glidecam. (e.g. My latest clip)

No-one is saying you should follow a trend...but all I will say is, borrow a DSLR for a week, see what you think (and your friends/family/customers think), then re-assess :)

p.s. I still use camcorders too. But I'd grab a dslr first if my house was burning ;)
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 05:06 PM   #9
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Hi Guys

I might be wrong but maybe Claire is looking at the fact that there seems to be a lot of DSLR technical issues discussed here that should be in the 7D or Canon forum and not in the wedding and events forum??? I'm still a video guy and if I want to discuss/ask/suggest anything on my Panasonic HMC82's I put them in the Panasonic AVCCAM forum not in the wedding forum.

I guess its tough deciding "Well, I have a question about using my Canon 7D on a slider rig at weddings"
"Do I put it in the Canon 7D forum, the rigs forum, the weddings forum or all three?????"

Maybe Chris Hurd might want to chip in and tell us where dividing lines are?????

Chris
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 05:48 PM   #10
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Hi Claire,

Your personal point of view, noted.

Mine: Ditch the all the video cameras, fight hard with the double-edged sword (that is DSLR), and don't look back.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 06:34 PM   #11
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Hi Claire

I guess DSLR users are a lot more edgy than video cam users????

The bottom line, of course, is it doesn't matter what you shoot with...as long as you get the job done and the bride is happy. As long as the posts here are wedding/event related, that's what the forum is for. The abundance of DSLR posts are probably due to the fact that it's a newish field and therefore there are more people looking for answers.

If it helps Claire, I am taking delivery of my second upgraded shoulder mount camera today to replace the old ones so there are still video cam users around to talk to.

What you use is totally a personal choice. If you can get good results for the bride using a bunch of Kodak Flips then great. In fact my buddy Chip in Green Bay has migrated to GH2's now but he's still my buddy regardless and his footage is still good!!!

Chris
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 10:36 PM   #12
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post

The bottom line, of course, is it doesn't matter what you shoot with...as long as you get the job done and the bride is happy. What you use is totally a personal choice. If you can get good results for the bride using a bunch of Kodak Flips then great. Chris
Amen to that!...its whats between your ears that really matter not what is in your hands...I wonder though if an amateur with big cash buys the 5D with all the L series lenses he could afford , a crane, slider, steadicam etc... and....have Jason Magbanua or Susanto shoot with a sony dvx 2000 i wonder who would produce a top notch wedding story? You know the answer :)

Kren
Vertical Video Works* Winnipeg Videography
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 11:00 PM   #13
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

Claire -

Well, as someone who has been contemplating the use of DSLR for some time, and finally actually added a video capable SLT to the "fleet", I think that the reason so much discussion is going on is that there is a "certain something" that happens when you "nail" the shot with a shallow DoF vibe - something that adds to the production value and intimacy of a finished production over that of traditional "video"... and everyone's trying to figure it out! It ain't as easy as it looks!

Coming from the still side, I definitely saw that "something" when I first picked up a video capable SLR, something I intend to use for what it does well. I was overdue for still camera body upgrades anyway, so why not add ones with video capability? I may add a couple "fast" lenses to my colllection to get better results... or I may decide it's too much hassle! My CX550's and 500's will continue to do what they do well (including performing better in bad light, thank you very much).

I've played around with steadicams, but frankly they too fall under the "one take" dilema - I can "fake" steadicam and slider shots with a monopod or my shoulder rigs, with NO setup time, and maybe save enough time for a second pass (more likely three or four) if I goof...

It's so easy to see an effect or a "look", and want to ape it (monkey see...), but in the end you're shooting a one take event, and you have to be able to pull it off seamlessly - if you can do that with a stack of Flips, great, if you've got a different approach, that is probably fine too, IF it works for you and your clients.

I'm not going to NOT buy a camera body because it has video, but I'll use it for what it does well, and let the video cameras serve their purpose as well.

Never hurts to look at what others are doing, but doesn't mean you've got to jump on just to "keep up with the Jonses". If you find intricate discussions of lenses too tedious, just hit the back button - it's easier and less hassle!
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 05:06 AM   #14
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

As Richard says, shoot something side by side with a DSLR and show it to your clients (they are afterall the ones who matter), which do they prefer? DSLRs still not for you? Fine, just avoid partaking in the discussions relating to them. The problem we saw with video cameras is the footage looks like it was shot on a video camera. You offer HD, there are people here who dont see the point and feel the same way about HD as you do DSLRs.

DSLR shooting has allowed us to increase our prices while everyone around us has lowered them to levels which just damage the industry. I'm guessing this is one of the reasons why you hate so much. How people using this 'toy' video camera are actually charging more than you (I've seen your prices, your way too low for your work) but when you add up all the reasons why we switched and the other changes shooting on this medium just naturally brings it has allowed us to enter a whole new market.

But the bottom line is this, if you dont want to shoot on DSLRs Claire.... DONT! If you think a shallow DOF look is wrong, dont use them, just keep doing what your happy with.

From looking at your site I would say all this stems from the fact you seem to have been brought up with a clear definition as to what video is, the rules. The same rules which mean the BBC refuse to use them. It is these rules drive you and make you... you. Stop spending time getting your knickers in a twist, move on, ignore us DSLR folks. This forum shouldnt have a DSLR vs Video split any more than it should have a HDV vs DVCAM split or monopod users vs tripod users. What we use to create our art is our choice.
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Old February 23rd, 2011, 07:58 AM   #15
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Re: Help, I'm Drowning... In DSLR

The reality of it, is the large sensor camera is here to stay. You don't HAVE to shoot with a DSLR anymore. In a few years the DSLR term will be less used, but we'll still see the same images. The panasonic AF100 is out (large chip camera), the sony F3 is on it's way (large chip camera). These are proper pro video camera's with pro camera features as well, waveform, ND filters, XLR audio inputs, overcrank etc

But to just rag on DSLR users is a waste of time. The large sensor look Is not a fad, it's here to stay. You can either choose to embrace it, or stay with what works for you. Every business person has to face decisions like this, when a wave of different tools come along. Do I take the latest and greatest, just to say I have it...probably not a good idea. Should I take the camera because I think it will boost my production value and in return hire more clients the following year? I did. I knew if I put out a better product THIS year, in return I'm hoping I can either charge more the following year, or book more brides. Everyone that you'll be booking in 2012-2013 will be basing your work off what you did in 2011, as they view your online portfolio. I'm setting myself up. It's all a chess game. The video camera's will work, but you don't yourself or your style to become stagnant.
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