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


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Old April 21st, 2011, 09:59 AM   #16
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Re: Dim Weddings

I have been shooting weddings since 1982, I have never thought of low light as an issue, or ever even considered using lights in a church, not that it would be allowed. Bear in mind, back then 30 lux was considered state of the art. Receptions are never a problem, simply, use lights. I personally use 2 Rotolights, excellent, AA battery powered lights, that are more than adequate for any wedding situation.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 11:12 AM   #17
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Re: Dim Weddings

Lighting a ceremony seems like a pretty bad idea - if it were even allowed... the physics of light fall off alone make it a difficult proposition - "good" small lights will only throw maybe 20 feet, even cranked up, so better to try to get by with "house" lighting.

Receptions are where a bit of "fill" comes in handy - that's why I immediately liked the variable output feature on the CN 126 - very controllable "fill" light level without blowing away the subjects - you don't want to light things up like a 5Kw floodlight, just give the camera enough help to be able to shoot with minimal grain/gain and still get a usable shot. It doesn't really take much, and shouldn't hurt anyone's eyes, IMO!

I'd love to have something like the smaller 36-64 LED lights, option to use the small Sony FH/FV battery, and variable output - but all the small lights are "one blinding output fits all"! In that respect, the CN 126 is about as small as you can get and still have the dimmable feature... but I'm sure there will be new lights coming out (that 5009 seems to be a "new" 120 LED design, wish it would take FV battery!)
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 04:09 PM   #18
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Re: Dim Weddings

As I mentioned, I had a couple YN 160 lights inbound... got 'em, and have had a chance to do a quick bit of playing with them.

YN is Yongnuo, apparently different brand/company from the CN lights, although they sure look similar! The YN 160 has both the hotshoe attachment (again kinda flimsy and not as stable as one would like), a handle you can put onto the light to use it handheld (goes where the shoe adapter does, so it's one or the other), has 4 filter/diffusers (clear, red/purplish, orange and blue), an adapter for using Panny batteries, and a nice velveteen bag to hold it all! For the roughly $15 difference, not a bad deal.

This light has "barn doors", which do seem to allow some light control, although I noticed "lines" from the LED columns/rows when using them, but they do nicely protect the light when closed. It's not much bigger than the CN 126, and uses a 16 step push button control (defaults when turned on to "halfway" setting). First two low settings are probably enough to help most cameras acquire a usable image if you're doing close ups, and it's bloody bright when "full on", noticeably more kick than the 126. Plenty of levels in between, so I guess the push button arrangement is adequate as opposed to the continuous potentiometer. Has a battery level meter, that only works when the light is on (CN126 will test battery level, even when off). Again, there's a slight hum/buzz, but not likely noticeable in ambient sound situations.

Build quality is as you might expect with something in this price range, one light has an "odd" LED, but doesn't seem to affect the light, and the other had a problem with the "+" level switch, easy enough to fix with a screwdriver and a soldering iron to correctly position the internal switch, which was off just enough to cause the button to jam...

My overall feeling is any of these lights would be a worthwhile addition to a kit where you might need to add some light, and don't want to blow your budget. At least for me AWB seemed capable of handling getting the image to look pretty good, although you'd probably want to play with the diffusers under some circumstances.

I'm sure LED lights will only improve, but these ain't bad for the $. Still wish there was a SMALL (30-70LEDs)light that would run from the FH/FV battery and had a dimmer, but all the smaller ones seem to be one output and run from internal or AA batteries...
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 04:53 PM   #19
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Re: Dim Weddings

Hey guys what do you think about this light?126 LED Video Light Sony DSLR a55 a33 a580 a560 a390 - eBay (item 130509773399 end time May-16-11 15:14:22 PDT)
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 06:04 PM   #20
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Re: Dim Weddings

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Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
so I bought a simple mini-ball head with a cold shoe on it and opened up the light and bolted the 1/4" screw into the light housing with a 1/4" nut. Huge difference!!! It's as stable as anything!!!
Hi Chris:

Care to share a pic or two of your fix? Im curios what kind of ballhead you used.

Thanks in advance

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Old April 23rd, 2011, 07:40 PM   #21
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Re: Dim Weddings

Hi Alex

I just grabbed the one attached off eBay. The bottom obviously goes onto the cold shoe of the camera and I just pulled my light apart (on the CN-160) you take off the front cover and work inwards. Unfortunately you need to take off the cover (that the doors attach to), then the LED array, then BOTH the control PCB's to get into the back of the cabinet....I just removed the plastic fitted, drilled a 1/4" hole and added an extra 1/4" nut and you have a really sturdy mount for the light.

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Old April 23rd, 2011, 07:48 PM   #22
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Re: Dim Weddings

Hi Tyson

I have both the 126 and the 160 and the 160 has a lot more "oomph" as Dave says, plus the barn doors are useful too....I would suggest the 160 unless your budget is really tight....however, if you need the light to sit quite high on the camera then add the little ball head as I have otherwise the plastic mount both lights tend to wobble a bit!!!

I do use my 160 in preference to the 126 and just keep the 126 as a spare!! The 6 x AA rechargeable batteries are also a pain to use in either light!!! I only use a CGR Panasonic battery in my lights...they are very cheap on eBay if you buy the generic 2600mah ones. (I think less than $10 INCLUDING a charger

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Old April 23rd, 2011, 07:58 PM   #23
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Re: Dim Weddings

Hey Chris,

Can you use the Sony Camera batteries in them?
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Old April 23rd, 2011, 10:19 PM   #24
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Re: Dim Weddings

Hi Tyson

Yep!! They however only can use the Panasonic CGR batteries or the Sony NP batteries....that's what the adapter tray is made for.... Even if your cam has different batteries you can pick up the generic batteries and chargers for just pennies on eBay....My old cams used to use the same batteries as the light but after upgrading they changed so I just got some generics off Ebay....it's worth getting two batteries so you always have a spare for the light...so far at weddings the 2600mah CGR battery has lasted the entire reception so they last well!!

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Old April 23rd, 2011, 11:50 PM   #25
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Re: Dim Weddings

Thanks Chris. To stay on topic, I too have a couple 120s wich I use on-camera and two 160s wich I use on lightstands where no one can knock them off.

Cheap equipment, wonderful solution.

Happy camper.

Cheers!
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Old April 24th, 2011, 01:17 AM   #26
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Re: Dim Weddings

Tyson -
That's the CN 126 you pictured - search "CN 126" and you'll find it $10 cheaper from US sellers. The YN 160 is harder to find from US suppliers at the lower end of it's price range ($65).

These both can use pretty much ANY current Sony battery in their built in tray from what I can tell... I'm using the NP- FH/NP-FV series, and I presume even the older FP would work. I believe they can also take the NP-FM series as well as the NP-F full size batteries that your FX7 full size camera uses... they both claim to be able to use 5 different battery types, one Panny, AA's, and at least 3 Sony sizes.

FWIW, I played with the filter/diffusers included with the 160, got some interesting results - blue would be cool for a simulated "night time" look!
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Old April 26th, 2011, 12:33 AM   #27
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Re: Dim Weddings

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Originally Posted by Tyson Yoder View Post
I run into a lot of dim weddings and receptions. Just wondering.what u guys do in these situations? I use a Sony fx7 and Sony fx1 so I don't have real good low light cameras.
Hi Tyson, It's true you don't have good low-light cameras. One of my cameras is a Sony 350 that cost around $19k (US). Even that camera isn't the greatest in low-light believe it or not. So one option you have, that's been mentioned already, is to bring lighting into your shoot. There are pros and cons to using on-camera and off-camera lighting. That's already been addressed. But there is another option. Here's a scenario to explain it. Another camera I have that I'll use sometimes is a Sony EX-1. In low-light this camera isn't great. If you gain-up in many cases you can achieve accurate exposure but now you have a ton of noise / grain. That's really the problem with low-light cameras. Most cameras allow you to gain-up but the resulting image is usually terrible unless you use software to clean it up. Here's a game-changer for you. go to neatvideo dot com and check out their software that costs $100 dollars. In my twenty years of shooting and editing weddings this is the greatest piece of software I've ever found. Simply put, it will allow you to remove the noise caused by using gain on your camera. It's amazing. FYI - I do not work for the company but I do use the software. It will add an extra step into your workflow and it will have to render but imagine going into a shoot and not having to worry about the lighting nearly as much as you do now. I hope this helps. Cheers.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 03:04 AM   #28
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Re: Dim Weddings

Robert. I dont understand your statement about the EX-1, at its price point, there is nothing to beat it in low light situations. We have some pretty dark churches in the UK, most dating back many hundreds of years, as I said in my earlier post, in 29 years of wedding videography, I have never had a problem recording in a church, I think there is a lot of paranoia regagarding "low light performance" most of todays. modern cameras perform more than adequately. My son is getting married in our local church on Saturday, it is known to be one of the darkest churches in the Southwest, no problem at all for the EX-1. With the right settings I can take it up to 9db without any noticable noise.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 04:50 AM   #29
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Re: Dim Weddings

The EX1 is excellent in low light, this is well known among wedding videographers.
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Old April 26th, 2011, 09:51 PM   #30
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Re: Dim Weddings

For about the last 10 years (since we first started filming weddings) we have always had a -no external lighting- clause in our contract. We also explain clearly (or so we believe) to the bride and groom, and even their families that low-light generally makes for sub optimal video footage at the reception. Also, we had been using GL1's and an XL1S and Sony VX2000 for the past 10 years. We used gain adjustments and shutter speed adjustments to get around the low light as best practical.

Well, when I ponied up earlier this year and got my NX5U, I got one of the 20W Sony brand video lights to mount on the camera, and WOW what a tremduous difference that really made during my last reception shoot.

Still got the clause in there about no external lighting, just so they don't expect us to come in and set up a bunch of lights on stands etc... but for run and gun reception shooting, I'm totally pleased with that singled 20W light.

I was going to pick up another one, but just checked yesterday and the price has gone up about $20. They were $78 and are now like $98 at BH.
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