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


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Old April 19th, 2011, 08:21 PM   #1
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Dim Weddings

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.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 09:03 PM   #2
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Re: Dim Weddings

Hey Tyson

The answer is in the post below you...I struggled with low light...especially the first dance where they dim the lights right down so for me an on-cam light is an essential!!! It makes a huge difference to your footage ..yeah, people will comment on a bright light a bit but for me it's a lot more convenient than trying to set up reception lights that might spoil the mood if they are constantly on!!

For speeches I do set up a 3' x 2' single softbox with 4 x 50w CFL lights inside and it gives a good result too.

Chris
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Old April 19th, 2011, 10:05 PM   #3
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Re: Dim Weddings

At my wedding ceremonies lights are rarely, if ever permitted. The best solution is a good low light camera. For you a move up to the FX1000 would be decent.

For a second camera, the Panny GH1 with a 20mm f/1.7 lens would be an outstanding addition as a rear camera, total cost under $1K with batteries and card.

For reception lighting go to www.lacoloronline.com and check out his products for some ideas.
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Last edited by Jeff Harper; April 19th, 2011 at 10:43 PM.
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Old April 19th, 2011, 10:24 PM   #4
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Re: Dim Weddings

Hi Jeff

I think I was referring mainly to receptions on my side. We also have a "no lights" policy in all Churches and also no camera flash either!!! For receptions, if you want to shoot without lights then you need a very nice wedding co-ordinator who is prepared to turn up the house lights for speeches and the bouquet toss but virtually none are prepared to let the B&G do their first dance in full lighting!!

My on cam lights certainly save me at receptions where even a GH1 would struggle!!!

Chris
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Old April 19th, 2011, 10:47 PM   #5
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Re: Dim Weddings

Right Chris, I clarified my post, I was thinking of ceremonies only, but OP did mention receptions also.

At reception his FX7 and FX1 will work fine with a one or two LEDs for sure. I now run pne LED on a light stand as well and it makes a huge difference. I put it up about 8 feet high and it is so much better than on-camera lighting, though I use those also of course.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 05:48 PM   #6
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Re: Dim Weddings

If you want to stick to videocameras,the new Canons, XF100, XA10, G10, HF-M4X and 4XX series will give you at least 2 stops more light.
However if you want realy good low light performance,get a couple Canon DSLRs or Panasonic GH2s and pair them with fast lenses (2.8 and lower). Do not get the older GH1, it is a joke in low light, hardly any better than the FX1
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Old April 20th, 2011, 06:03 PM   #7
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Re: Dim Weddings

I own and have used three GH1s and one GH2. If you put a 20mm f/1.7 lens on the GH1, it is excellent in low light. I've used this combination at three weddings. The lens is more important than the camera. Everything starts with the lens.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 07:21 PM   #8
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Re: Dim Weddings

Thanks guys! I have been thinking about an on camera light but I wasn't sure where to start. Any suggestions? I seen some on ebay that are LED and they run off Sony batteries. Are these any good?
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Old April 20th, 2011, 07:44 PM   #9
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Re: Dim Weddings

Tyson, why don't you try the link I put above for you for lights?
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Last edited by Jeff Harper; April 20th, 2011 at 09:38 PM.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 08:40 PM   #10
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Re: Dim Weddings

Hi Tyson -
I've tried some of the cheap eBay lights, and some of them aren't too bad for the $$, if you're on a budget!


I've tried the fixed output smaller LED count lights, and they work, but can tend to blind your subjects without dimming or diffusion, but you get what you pay for at around $30-40... enough light to work with!


I recently picked up the CN-126, lots of sources for this model, and can be had at just under $40 shipped, really good bang/$ ratio. It comes with 3 diffusers in a sleeve case (clear/orange/purple-ish), and a switch/potentiometer allowing you to continuously vary the output from near zero to really bright. Decent throw and coverage for an LED. I'm using Sony FH/FV series batteries, same as my CX550/500, seem to last well, the pins are there for the bigger F and FM series batteries from what I can tell, and you can use AA batteries too. Downsides, the thing is sorta big and clunky, hotshoe foot looks sorta fragile, and I wouldn't want to drop the thing! There's a very slight buzz/whine at some light levels, but it's not going to be noticeable in normal background noise.

There's a CN-160 (MORE LED's!) for about $10 more, and a YN-160 that has barn doors and a handle for handheld use - that one is about $65, will have a sample soon.

Some of the lights use a push button "step" bright/dim system, others use continuous, not sure if one is better than the other.

So far I haven't found a "perfect" light, but for the $$, the CN126 seems pretty good....

I wish for a smaller light that would run off the Sony batteries, there's one that I just noticed the other night using the F series batteries, and includes a copy battery and charger (try searching 5009 LED, or there's a couple mis-listed right now as "5006").
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Old April 20th, 2011, 09:39 PM   #11
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Re: Dim Weddings

Dave, I just checked out the ebay lights, I must admit they look good for the $$$.
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Old April 20th, 2011, 11:17 PM   #12
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Re: Dim Weddings

Hi Dave and Jeff

I use the CN 160 and it makes a big difference...it's great to even see the camera throw out zebras on the bride's dress now and again and the camera is running with an aperture of at least F2.8 so I'm not using any gain either!!!

The 160 only has one issue!!! The cold shoe mount is pathetic!! It wobbles all over the place 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!!!

You can also vary intensity with the "+" and "-" buttons...nice to know also if you want LOT'S of light just hold the "+" in and it will zoom right up to max in a few seconds.

Definately worth the price!!!

Chris
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Old April 21st, 2011, 08:45 AM   #13
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Re: Dim Weddings

I have three 'redhead' lights on stands that I bought off ebay and as most churches here have white ceilings I bounce the light off the ceiling...makes a huge difference... There are some priests and ministers that object to a strong light so I try and have the on board camera light turned on but wound back so as its not to strong. I usually bring it up with the B/G if I know the church is dimly lit when I meet with them so they can raise it with the minister.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 08:54 AM   #14
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Re: Dim Weddings

I've been in the wedding business for 19 years and I haven't used lights at the church in the past 18 of them.
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Old April 21st, 2011, 09:15 AM   #15
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Re: Dim Weddings

Hi Ray

You are lucky!! I have never used lighting in Churches as most here forbid them...Like Michael I don't use lighting purely out of respect.

We are mainly talking about reception lighting here rather than ceremony lighting where dimmed lights in the venue do become an issue and offer a lot less light than any Church.

Most of the older Churches in the West have lighting if the Church is dim so it just takes a kind word for the priest to turn on the lights and that's more than enough for most cameras

Chris
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