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


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Old August 14th, 2005, 09:59 PM   #1
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What camera do I need?

I'm about to get into doing weddings and independent films. What mini dv camera should I get? And why? Also what are some good editing software for effects for weddings?

Could you also name what accessories I would need for the camera. What are IRiver recording devices? Is it better than Sennheiser's mics? Thanks for all of your help.
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Old August 15th, 2005, 01:34 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Stoll
I'm about to get into doing weddings and independent films. What mini dv camera should I get? And why? Also what are some good editing software for effects for weddings?

Could you also name what accessories I would need for the camera. What are IRiver recording devices? Is it better than Sennheiser's mics? Thanks for all of your help.
Hey Tony how are you? I'll list the gear I suggest though keep in mind everyone is going to be bias towards the equipment they own and operate.

Cams:
- Sony PD 170
- and/or VX2100(s)

Audio:
- Sony UWP-C1 wireless system
- Several 790 series iRiver units
- Senheisser ME66 (though after Douglas Spotted Eagles "Now Hear This" seminar I'm not quite sure

Support:
- Bogen legs and heads (501, 503 style)
- Monopod with tilt head
- Glidecam 4000 pro

Lense Accessories:
- Canon WD-58 (.7x) good all-purpose wide-angle with FULL zoom through
- Century Optics .55x, my favorite for handheld moving camera shots- very wide with minimal distortion, helps smooth handheld shots, limited zoom through
- Raynox .3x fishe-eye, effects lense only...great for exageratting distance and movement. Heavy distortion.

Software/NLE:
-Sony Vegas 6.0; smaller investment and just as much power as any other NLE if not more (in the audio arena), easiest to pick up and learn if your new to NLE's,
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Old August 15th, 2005, 07:09 AM   #3
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Panasonic DVX100a
Panasonic DVC30
4 extra batteries (5400mah)
UV & polarizing filters


Sennheiser G2 wireless kit w/ buttplug (2)
iRIver 799 (2)
Giant Squid Lavalier (2)
AT 897 shotgun mic
(cables as needed)

Bogen 503 head tripod (2)
Bogen 682B monopod w/ 501 head
Glidecam 4000 w 577 QR attachment

Bescor on-camera light with giant battery

Pelican case to carry stuff
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Old August 15th, 2005, 10:31 AM   #4
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a strong back
a power board
a car
a 30metre extension cord
good shoes
comfortable pants that wont split
a good eye (can u view your viewfinder and scope around with your other eye? you'll learn this in time... )
strong hands.. (if doing handheld work, RSI may set in over time)
A good attitude
A thermos with WATER
a spare shirt.. oh and deoderant...

as for gear.. it depends on what features you require from the camera. Dont let "low light" performance dictate your choice as this isnt the only function the cameras should have...

For weddings I use -

Cameras
2x DVX100's
1x MX500 as a backup and capture deck
1x DS88 single chipper as a throwaround camera or to hoist up on a monopod fitted with either a .3 or a .5 lense depending on the situation.
3x 9hr Belt clip batteries 5300mah (does wonders for weight carrying)
2x 10hr bolt on batteries 5400mah (bloody heavy but work a treat. good
battery to use when working for that stabilsed tracking a shot., The heaver the cam, the greater stability you get.
3x 1 hr 1800mah emergency batteries whcih we keep in our pockets
4x chargers
Powerboard
UV and Circualr polarising filters.. not that i ever use them...
and i ALWAYS carry a lens cleaner with me

Lighting-
1x basic Vitan on cam light with 20w lamp with half stop diffusion paper
1x Luxman/Bescor on cam light with 35w and half stop diffusion paper
3x 12v 6cell batteries
Lowel Omni Light as a keylight or dancefloor spotlight (500w adjustable)
Lowel Tota with diffusion brella (either 500w or 800w tubes Perfect for chromakey work)
Manfrotto gas lift light stands for Lowels
2x Generic Gas lift stands with crossbar. (Numerous uses, predominately Chromakey work and getting lights up to over 16feet high (theyre that high... )
Numerous backing cloths, greens blues, photographic textures etc etc
A sony LED flashlight ;)

Sound-
Panasonic MK100 (not bad actually... not the best either)
Senny K6 and ME64 (very crisp, senstiive sound with fat low ends, but runs a little hot.. the Rode NTG1 would be my choice now as its much flatter and not as hot )
Senny G1 wireless mic (its a back up now)
Senny G2 (got 2 of these for each camera unit with AA NmH batteries)
Senny buttplug for wireless boom
Lightwave boompole (no cable needed with using buttplug)
Rycote pistol grip
Rycote softie

Stability
Manfrotto/Bogen 501's and 055 legs (had these for years without ANY problems..
Manfrotto 127 foldaway Dolly's, fold em up and throw em over ur shoulder when ur done. Comes in handy for almost everything.
BeBob DVX Lanc controllers which are CRAP.. (prolly the biggest waste of $550 bux in the studio to date.. the bastards wont even zoom anymore..)
Manfrotto monopod with tilt head and 501 type release plate.
Custom made hand grips which screw into the thread mount of the camera (much more stable for handheld work.. much like a bike handle with a screw at the end.. )
Steady paced breathing
Learning to adapt your arms to counter your footstep (takes about a year of practice, but i can get glidecam like shots going handheld. Works going up stairs as well.. )
good shoes but i think i mentioned this
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Old August 16th, 2005, 03:25 AM   #5
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>>I'm about to get into doing weddings and independent films.

Well, they are two totally different things. So, this would be my recommendation for weddings (not independent films)

This is what I use and am very happy with it.

Camera > PD170 (X2). Or actually PD150 they can be found much cheaper

Audio Technica AT-100/AT-101 (Really rugged It also uses Diversity) $500 and worth every penny.

2 Mini disc recorders and small mics from minidisco.com. Itís kind of a pain capturing it to the computer, but works great for that far away sound that would normally not get captured. Also some adapters i.e. 1/8" to 1/4" for plugging into the board. I find it's usually easier/better to just plug into a headphone jack than try do dig through a soundboard at a church.

Nice small Bogen Sticks and Bogen 501 head. Not the best but definitely good for the cost.

A good onboard mic ME66 for instance.

Some super 8 junk as well

That's pretty much it. I have a very light package which makes me nearly invisible. The one piece of advice I would give you is that nobody likes to be on video. I can't tell you how many referrals I've gotten over the years from bridesmaids who say "I didn't even see you". The lower the profile the better more success you will have.

Jonathan
www.lumierebridal.com
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Old August 18th, 2005, 02:13 AM   #6
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Any other advice?

Does anyone have any other advice on cameras and accessories? Do the IRiver 799 really work that well? As well as the Senn wireless mics?
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Old August 18th, 2005, 06:14 AM   #7
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PD-170 is better in low light than a PD-150.

iRIver and Senn wireless are different. Neither one is "better", just better in specific situations. Each has its positives and negatives. Many pros put two lavs on groom, one to wireless and one to iRiver. Then you hope the wireless works and you don't have any issues with that camera, so you don't have to sync up the iRiver in post.
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Old August 18th, 2005, 06:52 AM   #8
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Forget DV: it will be essentially obsolete in another year or so. Save yourself the trouble of getting left behind and buy two Sony FX1s now, then do all your recording in the HDV format and edit in either DV or HDV mode depending on specific project requirements.

For editing there are lots of choices, starting with whether you plan to be working on Macs or PCs. Either way you'll need a good dual-core or dual-processor system to handle the HDV footage, and any well-known editing package with HDV support (see list below). Such editing programs come with a variety of built-in effects and may also support additional add-on ones:

Final Cut Pro 5 for Macs
Adobe Premiere Pro with Cineform HDV plugin
Sony Vegas with Cineform HDV plugin
Pinnacle Liquid Edition 6
Canopus Edius Pro 3
Ulead Media Studio Pro 8 (release pending)
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Old August 18th, 2005, 07:17 AM   #9
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Why HDV?

Why go HDV now? It still very expencive to work with and edit on, and still a very large amount of people still can't watch High Def. . .

SD is the way to go if your starting out IMHO, a Panasonic DVX100A, Canon XL2, or Sony PD170 should do the job just fine for you now and make your customers happy.

I do a ton of independant film work (just getting into weddings) and have had great sucess with the DVX100A and now my new toy - the Canon XL2.

Wait a little while longer to see where HDV goes, in my opinion - it's not worth the money right now.

Buy for your needs now and get yourself up and started, use the extra money you would save on a HDV camera and spend it on good microphones and accessories (filters, lights, etc). Then in anouther few years - think about moving up to HDV.

just my 2 cents.
Ryan
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Old August 18th, 2005, 07:52 AM   #10
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Hey Glen

Is this the Century .55X lens you are using?
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search
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Old August 18th, 2005, 08:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan DesRoches
Why go HDV now? It still very expencive to work with and edit on, and still a very large amount of people still can't watch High Def. . .
If you already have SD cameras then you can take your time upgrading to HDV, but for someone just starting out now the Sony FX1 is a good option to consider. It doesn't cost any more than some of the DV cameras being recommended here, and you can shoot and edit either DV or HDV. So you can make nice widescreen DVDs today and be ready to deliver full HD quality next year when the HD DVD players start shipping. To each their own, but if you buy DV cameras now and decide to upgrade to HDV later, that's a lot of extra money down the drain.
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Old August 18th, 2005, 10:05 AM   #12
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Kevin,

Only down-side I can think of with regard to your reccomedation is that Tony mentioned weddings - and "weddings" means "wedding receptions."

From what I've read, the low-light performance of this initial crop of HD cameras is not quite on par with the SD best-of-breed cams. When I selected the cameras I have now, low-light performance was in my top 3 criteria for camera selection... to overlook such an important characteristic, for a wedding videographer I believe is a big mistake.
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Old August 18th, 2005, 10:30 AM   #13
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HDV might be High 8 all over again. We are already seeing evidence of true HD cameras falling below the $8,000 mark. I suspect it will not be long before they push HDV aside.

I'll be sticking with SD for a while yet and renting true HD when I need it.

Mike
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Old August 18th, 2005, 12:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Cook
HDV might be High 8 all over again. We are already seeing evidence of true HD cameras falling below the $8,000 mark. I suspect it will not be long before they push HDV aside.

Mike
I have always believed in waiting for the second generation of anything electronic. Get the bugs out, get some customer input, plus see if it really works. The brand new, latest and greatest, is always very tempting, but waiting has always paid off for me. Besides prices start to drop.
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Old August 18th, 2005, 06:43 PM   #15
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Craig: it's true that low-light capability can be a concern with current HDV cameras, but this tends to be overstated. The Sony HDV cameras do fine in all but the very dimmest conditions, and if you really need the "best of the best" for that you wouldn't buy any of the cameras being recommended in this discussion. If we'd had cameras as sensitive as the FX1 a few years ago we would have tripped over each other to buy them, so it's all relative whether they're adequate in marginal lighting conditions.

Regarding Mike's comment about "real HD" pushing HDV aside, that both downplays the fact that HDV is a legitimate HD format, and mis-states the current economic realities of the situation. The upcoming Panasonic HVX200 is indeed an impressive camera at a base price of under $6000, but you'd need at least $5000 worth of Firestore drives per camera to record a typical wedding, so that's $11K x 2 = $22,000 of equipment for a two-camera shoot. Compare that to a little over $6K for two Sony FX1s plus a pocket full of miniDV tapes, and it's easy to see which solution is going to be more popular with wedding videographers. If you can afford to use the Panasonic camera that's great, but it's not a good option for someone just getting started.

After what I saw at the WEVA Expo last week I have no doubts that HDV is going to be a successul video format. It's clearly a compromise of sorts, but it's a compromise which works surprisingly well. And as I said before, with the FX1 you have the choice of shooting in either HDV or DV, so if you're not sure about HDV you still have a nice DV camera. Not the perfect camera for everyone under all circumstances, but worth considering.
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